People love to feel loved. (Have you heard of a "vicious circle?" Loving is a "pleasant circle." Nourish it frequently to keep it spinning.)

Many people seek love but never find it. One reason that they don't find it may be that love begins as a "shared illusion".

When you meet someone, you don't really know how they feel about you. But suppose that your first impression is that they are a nice person, and moreover they seem to like you. That will make you feel good, and you would likely respond in a similar manner.

Either person can take the first step. Either person can also avoid taking the first step, because they want first to judge the other, to determine their worthiness.

Also, either person can either confirm or reject the other's first impression. You can choose to hide your feelings, because they are private. Or maybe you already have enough friends and you aren't interested in another.

On the other hand, the second person can respond in like manner and the circle has begun. It begins with friendship, and if it continues to grow, it can seem like love. For each, the other (someone who loves them so much) is a "rare find", and thus is very precious and worthy of special care. Each person goes out of their way to please the other, believing that they are loved by the other. Let us suppose that in each case their belief was originally a mistake. But because they both believe it and reinforce it, it becomes so.

What begins as an illusion can also be destroyed by "disillusionment." In a long term relationship it is inevitable that each person will show their "true colours". One individual having an illusion does not make a shared illusion, and hence the dream does not become a lasting reality.

Research has shown that other people are more willing to trust those who trust them. The same applies to love. Nobody is perfect, and sometimes they will do something thoughtless or unkind. For a lasting relationship, a couple need to have faith in one another strong enough to withstand a small setback. They also need to realize that love is not seen like light or felt like heat or cold--it lives in the mind's imagination. Therefore, to keep the shared illusion alive, so that it is a reality, each person needs to treat the other as they did when their romance was growing.

From Pathways daily ideas file, copyright Arthur de Leyssac, 2009; all rights reserved.