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Projection and Romance : Falling In Love

Projection is a typical process that characterises falling in love.

When we fall in love we believe that the other person is the most extraordinary being we have ever met before, even though we actually know practically nothing about this person.

The partner is loaded with exceptional qualities that do not belong to him or her, or belong to him or her only slightly. Idealisation stems from the fact that we are projecting an unconscious inner model, an image constructed in our psyche: we are projecting 'the other us' onto the person, the object of falling in love, and this produces an inevitable force of attraction.

After this first phase of intense involvement, there inexorably follows a second phase that sees a downsizing of the emotional aspects. In this phase we begin to discover that in fact those qualities are not there, our expectations of our partner are lowered. Disappointed, we convince ourselves that the person has changed, that he is no longer the same person we knew at the beginning.

In fact, it is not the other person who has changed but it is we who have loaded him or her with characteristics that did not belong to him or her, and now that the acute effect of falling in love has passed, we are beginning to see what he or she really is.

Inexorably we come up against a disappointing and unsatisfactory reality; we thus enter a third phase in which we begin to belittle and devalue the other. The more illusory the idealisation, the greater the devaluation.

And here we know that, having reached this point, the relationship can only come to an inglorious end.

This final epilogue, an unfortunately inevitable fate for many relationships, occurs because there is no adequate degree of awareness, the whole process is experienced in a state of psychological immaturity.

The idealisation of the partner is a normal process in falling in love, but if a high degree of awareness has been reached, once the first acute phase of falling in love has passed, there can only remain a deep affective involvement with the partner, since the idealisation has not been totally based on unrealistic and illusory expectations.

This greater psychological maturity allows us to truly see who the other person is and truly see who we are. In this way, aware of projection, we are able to ensure healthy and fulfilling relationships. The higher our state of awareness and psychological maturity, the lower the probability of relationship failure.

"Every encounter you have is an encounter with yourself; few seem to realise that others are them." (C.G.Jung)

Jungian ideas of Anima and Animus in falling in love

According to Jung when falling in love is triggered, one projects one's sexual counterpart onto one's partner; what he calls Anima and Animus.

By Anima Jung means the feminine aspect present in man, i.e. an unconscious image formed by all those sedimented experiences man has always had with the feminine nature. While the Animus represents, equally, the male sexual counterpart present in woman given by all those sedimented experiences that woman has always had with the male nature.

In other words, according to Jung, with falling in love, we project the Anima and Animus, models of the feminine and masculine present in our unconscious psyche that constitute the 'Other us'.

The partner onto whom we project the 'Other us' becomes its personification, in this way we have the possibility to know those parts of us still unknown.

Falling in love is therefore an opportunity to meet the 'Other us', complete ourselves and find a renewed personality.

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