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7 Types of False Love

There is nothing quite like being in love and sharing a loving relationship. You often hear about finding “true love,” but we seldom stop to think about what that means.

To consider this properly, you need to know a little something about true love. What makes it true? There is much to say about true love, and there are so many various opinions as to what makes love true. True love is a mystery; almost impossible to put into words.

But we do have a guideline for what makes for true love:

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never ends.

Single people hope to find the kind of love others have found. Is it possible that singles have not found true love because the love they have to give is false?

I have seven kinds of false love for you to consider. These are seven approaches to love that many people are inclined to take, typically without even knowing it, which have disastrous consequences.

1. The Critical Approach

This is someone who does not believe true love is possible, and criticizes any person he attempts to find love with. True love is impossible for critical people because they don’t love themselves. Yet, instead of criticizing oneself, a critical person finds faults in others in order to maintain a superiority. Critical people feel their love is something that others should feel grateful to have and spend their life showing that gratitude.

A critical person is quick to criticize the person he or she claims to love, deep down never believing this person could actually love him or her. The “beloved” is never good enough. The critical person lives as someone who can just as well make due without the beloved.

2. The Scrupulous Approach

This person is very careful about showing too much devotion to a person, fearing that God will somehow be made number two. He or she feels guilty for wanting and needing a person, since they believe they should only need God. This individual holds back expressing love and affection in order to prove to himself or herself (and sometimes to the other person) that he or she has control of passion and desire.

Guilt plagues the scrupulous person, because as much as he or she believes that love shared between two person is extremely special and wonderful, he or she can’t admit it in principle.

Ultimately, this person views love not as a gift of God or a blessing, just a necessary evil. He or she allows the beloved to feel like he or she is an obstacle to God, instead of a vehicle toward God.

3. The External Approach

This person is only concerned with outward experiences of love. This love is not giving, but taking. This person is anxious if there are not constant external proofs of love. He or she says “I love you” and needs “I love you” said endlessly. This person believe sharing love is about quantity, not quality. Lots of romance, lots of sex, lots of gifts, lots of flattering words.

A certainty about love in quiet, unspoken moments is foreign to this person. If there is no emotional high being experienced, He or she is afraid love is fading.

4. The Presumptuous Approach

This person is completely fine with his or her own lousy behavior while presuming the beloved will understand and accept it. This person’s love for the beloved presumes the unconditional love he or she will receive, regardless of one’s actions. This person’s own passions and needs are the priority.

This person is at peace with bad habits and feels no need to work on faults. He or she hides things like their impurity, injustice, anger, foul manners and speech, rudeness, detraction and gossip, while making himself or herself out to be worthy to be loved by the beloved.  Forgiveness and second chances are presumed.

5. The Inconstant Approach

This person is wishy-washy when it comes to love. Sometimes he or she seems really into you and will do anything for you. Then this person can seem distant and uninterested, like a different person. He or she is willing to invest initially in winning your heart, only to back off after it is won This person easily changes, whether in mind or mood or with the latest difficulty in the relationship.

He or she willingly makes promises and takes on more than he or she can handle in showing love, and leaves you disappointed when it was just empty words and promises. This love is unreliable.

6. The Hypocritical Approach

This person has high expectations and strict requirements when it comes to the love received from another, while not submitting oneself to the same standard. This person loves with a double standard that sets the beloved up as always being the guilty party for all problems, while he or she is always justified in what they do.

This individual displays a consistent intent of deception in his or her love by passing as a good person committed to loving another while not really caring to live it out. He or she is trying to be someone that he or she is not. His or her efforts and actions in love are things this person thinks the other wants in order to win affection and approval, not things that spring naturally from the heart as part of who he or she is.

7. The Interested Approach

This person sees love for another as a utility for one’s own purposes, not as a giving of self and respect of a person. He or she has recourse to you only when he or she needs something, otherwise there is no interest.  This person loses patience and shows signs of wanting out at even the slightest degree of not getting what he or she wants out of typical relationship experiences (such as discussions, problems, or decisions that have to be made). Tolerance of the other is proportional to the satisfaction of his or her wants.

All of us can find ourselves in one or more of these. This is because none of us can escape selfishness (the very definition of pride). The more selfish we are, the more prone we are to false love, and the more difficult it is to live out true love.

What is your approach to love? In which of these false approaches do you see yourself? No matter which ones apply to you, it’s never too late to change. Recognizing it is half the battle, but it’s a grace to recognize. We often don’t want to accept when we have a problem, therefore we purposely keep ourselves blind.

Praying for God’s grace to recognize your approaches to false love is necessary for making progress. Take time before the Blessed Sacrament asking Jesus to open your eyes so you can be observant of false love tendencies and He will surely enlighten you.


Anthony Buono is the author of Would You Date You? and founder of Avemariasingles.com. For thousands of Catholic singles, Anthony offers guidance, humor, understanding, and practical relationship advice.  Visit his blog at 6stonejars.com


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  • Caledon

    The “love” many people discuss is false love as Mr Buono suggests. Most people have no idea about real love. In saying “I love you” the “you” is easy (Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie or variants!). “love” could be passion, lust, desire, friendship, attraction,infatuation, manipulation, neediness, lowliness or other things.
    And the “I” is a complete mystery to most people.

    If you don’t love yourself,you can’t love anyone else and you can’t receive love from anyone else (because you “know” the “truth’– that you are unloveable.
    You can’t love something you don’t know and so, if you don’t know yourself, you are in serious trouble!

    • Mary Kochan

      The succint profoundity of this comment is wonderful. Why aren’t you writing for Catholic Lane? 🙂

      • Caledon

        Hmmm. Just discovered your site.
        I am Catholic but a liberal Catholic. You might not approve of all my opinions!

        I have a blog, The Daley Post, (http://www,thedaleypost.com) which I haven’t posted on for several months b/c I’m preparing a course and other material including what will be my main website, Self-Knowledge College (under construction).

        But you can certainly get an idea of my current subjects on the blog! I’ll be back posting there frequently soon.

        My main topic is Self-Knowledge.

        My contention is that if you do not know yourself, three bad things will happen to you in life:
        You will not be with the right person.
        You will not be in the right line of work.
        You will not be happy.
        You won’t be happy, of course, b/c of the first two.

        Perhaps we should talk privately!

  • Caledon (or is it Frank?),

    What does it mean to identify as a “liberal Catholic.” That part intrigued me. So does “Self-Knowledge College.”

    My understanding is that to know yourself, you must know God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and I first understood that reading Fides et ratio. Maybe that’s what you are saying too, sort of?

    Discuss…publicly?