9 Feelings You Might Mistake For Love That Definitely Aren’t

We’re often eagle-eyed when it comes to figuring out whether or not a bag is genuine Louis Vuitton, but when it comes to love, the fake can feel just as real as the good. Believe it or not, you might think you’re in love right now, when really it’s something else entirely. Here are some faux-loves you might be feeling, instead:


Limerence is that bizarrely obsessive feeling of desperately wanting a guy to return your feelings, even though you don’t necessarily see a long-term relationship with him. This isn’t love. It’s an obsessive crush — and one that’s very likely to be unhealthy.


Have you ever met someone whose life you longed to be part of because they seemed to have what it takes to help you fulfill your own? That’s Meta-Lust. This isn’t a sexual emotion — it’s the feeling that you can become a better version of yourself by connecting with him. Believe it or not, Meta-Lust isn’t a bad thing. In fact, many people who have experienced it then broke up with their partners claim that the breakup was easy, and that they became better people because of having experienced it. Unfortunately, it’s not love, per se — it’s being in love with what that person teaches you.

Shadow Side Attachment 

We’ve all heard stories about good, churchgoing girls dumping their high school sweetheart for some misogynistic, illiterate bad boy. We’ve also heard plenty of stories about sweet guys who dumped good girls for trash. Did you ever wonder what makes people dump good folks for bad ones? Well, this is Shadow Side Attachment. This is an emotional reaction to being able to actually experience your “dark side,” or to stop playing by society’s rules. This isn’t the feeling of falling in love, here. It’s being in love with what a certain person represents, or being in love with the ability to relax your inhibitions.

IFD Syndrome 

This is one that many of us have seen, whether we realize it or not. Psychologists call IFD Syndrome the act of basically putting someone up on a pedestal as the ideal mate, and then freaking out when you realize that no one is actually perfect. Though IFD Syndrome can happen with many different kinds of relationships, romantic tends to be the most harmful and most likely to turn into abuse. In this case, it’s not really love because you’re in love with a person who doesn’t actually exist.

Spouse Acquirement Syndrome 

If you ever got so desperate for a husband that you’ve basically lied to yourself to convince yourself that you’ve fallen for a guy, then you’ve had Spouse Acquirement Syndrome. This is actually your mind playing tricks on you due to loneliness and desperation for marriage, rather than love.

Fatal Attraction 

As the movie by the same name suggests, Fatal Attraction is false love that is about obsession, control, and literally having someone at all costs. This is a form of fake love that is characterized by rage, violence, obsession, and control. True love doesn’t have any of those things associated with it.

Unresolved Conflict Attraction 

This is a very bizarre emotion, primarily because it’s an emotion that has you living out past history you may have had with another person. Unlike real love, which is based on the now, this emotion has you completely rooted in the past. To make matters worse, this emotion often causes the person to lash out at someone who didn’t do anything to deserve it, or may even lead to one party sacrificing everything to right a wrong that never happened. Either way, it’s closer to a form of emotional PTSD than it is to love.

Scam Love 

This actually is a very similar emotion to Spouse Acquirement Syndrome in the sense that you’re in a relationship that’s a means to an end. Unlike it, this is 100 percent premeditated, and you don’t think you’re in love at all.


This is a clinical term for the bizarre frenzy you feel when you fantasize about someone unattainable. If you’ve ever gone a little wild for a lead band singer, you’ll already know that this is really common in certain fandoms. It’s not love, though, since it’s unattainable.

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