Dangerous Infatuations

I’ve had these notes in my personal notebook for a while. I’ve seen some authors that deal with the GT (Gifted and Talented) experience mention how GTs can become involved in turbulent romantic relationships. I’ve seen it repeated often enough for me to put out these thoughts on the pattern that I’ve seen. I believe that there is much needless heartbreak that happens when there is an inability to see and deal with the pattern.

From my own observations, I’ve seen that it’s fairly easy for many of us to overwhelm someone else with our emotional intensity when the other person still hasn’t really decided how much he or she likes us.

Infatuation can be more intense for us because of our emotional intensity and active imagination; we might find ourselves more easily projecting our own feelings onto another person or overestimating the depth of a still fairly new and superficial relationship. I believe that a naïve reception of flirting, or a more consistent pattern of seductive, flattering attention from someone of the opposite sex  may contribute to overestimating the potential of the relationship and the depth of the other person’s affections.

This may lead to an obsessive, fantasy relationship where there may only be some acquaintance and friendship or simply where there has been some superficial flirting. In other words, one person is assuming that the other person has conceded the game, as in chess, when there have only been several opening moves. The other person may be unsure of his or her feelings, or may have in fact communicated that he or she does not return the same feelings either with words or with actions such as withdrawal and avoidance. Sometimes this leads to stalking behaviors — monitoring the other person’s comings and goings and romantic relationships with a watchful and jealous eye. I believe that this does happen for both men and women as well.

I think that sometimes these infatuations may be what can be called ‘merge wishes’: the object of infatuation has something about him or her that the infatuated perceives is lacking in himself or herself. These would be the kinds of relationships where there’s a kind of perception from others that the infatuated is ‘reaching up’ in some way.

At other times, I’ve been led to believe that these infatuations are more in the realm of power fantasies: the other person is seen to be someone that the infatuated can control or dominate in one way. In this situation a desire for power over another is projected onto the relationship.

Or, the infatuation may be allied to fear from past traumas: the attraction to the other person is mixed with a desire for someone who will not hurt the infatuated. Strangely enough, the power fantasy and trauma avoidant infatuations both seem to be directed to those who may seem to be passive or non-assertive.

This is what I would advise at this point:

First, beware if you see any kind of stalking behaviors in your own actions. The person that can stop stalking first and foremost is the stalker who comes to his or her own senses and says to himself or herself, "Stop!" The fantasy of dogged persistence conquering unrequited love happens in movies and novels far more often than it does in real life.

Second, be careful in regard to taking flirting and seductive, attention getting behaviors too seriously. Look for words and actions that demonstrate respect and reciprocity as well.

Third, find a friend or two to discuss things and put things into perspective on a relationship that you believe may have potential. A trustworthy person may be able to help you understand when to switch to the brake pedal and take your foot off the accelerator in the romantic pursuit of another person, and to see where perceived potential becomes foolhardiness. Someone else may also help to spot destructive character flaws, such as financial irresponsibility, extreme selfishness, deep dishonesty, etc., in the other person while you’re under the haze of infatuation.

Again, I think that GTs often face difficulties in this area because of our own tendencies to emotional intensity, strong attachments and active imagination. We may also find others who are more inclined to snicker at our difficulties than provide wise support when we need it. Or they may rather withhold their feedback until it’s too late. And I do believe in having a strong and passionate romantic relationship — but that there are times when you need to make sure that you kiss with your eyes open — to see yourself and the other person.

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One thought on “Dangerous Infatuations

  1. […] rape of Tamar by Amnon (II Samuel 13:1-22). Previously I wrote about these kinds of situations in Dangerous Infatuations. A more serious area is that of sexual obsessions, and these may eventually result in the sexual […]

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