How to Know if You`re Really in Love/A loving breakup


QUESTION: I almost feel silly asking this. I'm 19 almost 20 and for the past few years I have been on a hard mission to recognize true love and work on expressing it well and sharing my knowledge with others. I'm still trying to work on it though. I strongly dislike getting mixed up with infatuation and the media telling everyone it's love.

    A wile ago, around 2 years ago, I met a girl and got real close. Purely platonic we were for quite a wile. We soon realized we had more feelings than that. Our relationship was wonderful for quite a wile. One of the strongest things I have ever felt. She was my hearts home. She moved away and we were forced to communicate via computer (which was terrible). I felt calm and collected and I tried to be there for her whenever she needed me, but that was hard if I'm not on the computer all the time because I'm working and my schooling and I don't know about you, but I have a life outside a computer. I tried to call hr once a day but her family thinks I'm a bad influence because I have dreads. In the end she seemed to think that I used her the whole time we were together. Which confuses me. She is bipolar and quite delusional at times I guess. I don't even know. So... I suppose there is a possibility we might get back together far in the future but for now I want to know how to handle this using true loving techniques. The longer we have been apart the more bad obsessive habits are getting influenced.
   It feels wonderful to give her the space she wants but she occupies lots of mental life. Not that I fantasize or spend hours thinking of her but everything reminds me of her. I dream of her a lot too. Just casual things like holding hands or nightmares abut her getting raped and I couldn't prevent it. How can I put this into perspective to myself to deal with this better? She made me fall in love with myself and not just myself but my son. Help <:) My life is full of love. Help me influence and share it<3

Thank you, thank you, thank you :)


What is infatuation?

What is your question?

It seems you need help balancing your life. Here's my recommendation:

1. Tell her because you livd her you want to bd present for her, and because you are away from ger and have other responsibilities, you would like to firmly suggest she get a life coach to help her (desl with her depression).

2. Send her little, positive notes, every other day (to teach her and you discipline, self-reluance, and balance) for a month. After that, if your luves are balanced and not heavily dependent ob one another's in a dysfunctional way, you contact each other each day.

3. See friends (to balance your life)

4. Do homework

5. Meditate (to clear your mind)

6. Exercise (to clear your mind)

7. Tell me if your relationship improves


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Haha sorry. I left out information. Me and her currently are not communicating any more. We have no contact. Her parents don't like me because they assume I'm a bad person into drugs because of my appearance. She also believes that I took advantage of our bond to have sex with her (Which isn't true), and those both combined kept her from talking to me. It made her feel like she loved me more than I loved her and when I "took advantage" of her she felt even worse so she told me that she didn't want to talk to me anymore.
She's also bipolar and has mental issues. For example, after I sent you my original question I learned that she had tried to commit suicide and is currently in a mental hospital. Which nearly killed me but I knew it was coming. I tried finding out what happened but her friend ignores me and wont tell me if shes doing okay or not. I know she hates it there and doesn't believe in their drugs with a passion.

So here I am. Wanting to know whats going on. I'm just hoping she gets better.

I feel stuck. Oh also we are family members by marriage. So her family also keeps me away because of that.

I just don't know if i'm in love or not and I wanted way to put these things into perspective in a loving fashion. Like... How should I deal with the suicide thing? Took forever for them to tell us about it. Should I try to stop by and bring her flowers and a get well card? or as being that she is upset with me or hurt should I stay away even if she had misunderstandings? Since I love her i'm not sure what would be the right option. I want her to know I care that she tried killing herself. She already feels like I took advantage of her I meant so much to her for so long. We haven't been talking since late October 2012.

Also what kind of meditation. I have been into clearing and cleansing chakras. I know there are different methods but I am not very familiar. Ugh I got to fit that into my scheduled more often. Which is good it's just I have a very busy schedule.
Thank you for taking your time to read about my internal quarrel.<3 It means a lot.

My view on infatuation is pretty much obsession. I don't believe obsession is love. Love is a bond not a feeling. Love is seeing the beauty in yourself, appreciating it and being able to see it and share it with other people. Not the mental and emotional high and dependency of infatuation. If infatuation is love than people can fall in love in minutes.

Dear Jo,

You must be going through a lot of pain. And it has to be doubly hard, because of all the family--oriented stress you have suffered; love is confusing enough before having to deal with junior high or high-school-like dynamics and issues of over-protective and jealous parents. I know how you feel. 

Virtually everyone dating in The country I live in goes through that, unless they do the completely unhealthy thing (which most do); hide the relationship from the parents--and I mean people in their late twenties and thirties have to do this. I am still dealing with this. 

There is a lot of mental illness out there, Jo, which some people just think of as "culture". It isn't. People who control other people are ill. I don't care if it's endemic--across an entire population. It's illness, based on poor environmental, family, and psychological training. Human beings were not meant to control one another.

So don't get caught up in it. It's politics, racism, culturalism, religious-intolerance, business, and eugenics; finally, mental illness, which makes parents tell their adult children they cannot be with people they love. 

If you love her and she loves you, and you are not a threat to one another, nothing else matters. 

However, do you love her. Well, we'll get to that in a minute. If she has sincerely tried to kill herself, you have a larger concern--if you can believe it or not. Should you visit her?

Well, that's up to her and her doctors. I would write a letter. And I would get in touch with a family member close to her who might listen. And I would send her a card. I would tell all the parties I wrote to that I cared about her dearly. Don't say you love her at this point--except to her, if you are sure. Write that there has been--as in all relationships--misunderstanding, but that you care about her deeply and would like to come and visit, and cheer her up, and be there to support her, and that is all. 

If you write to her father, or someone who accused you, you don't have to address his crazy accusations (unless they happen to be true on some level--but I believe they are not, as you told me).

You can send flowers, with a note, to her...

People say things all the time that have little basis in reality. My ex-girlfriend's father said early on that I took advantage of her kindness to be with her romantically. He had never met me. This infuriated me, on a moral level; that a man in this day and age could make a false accusation and possibly spoil a relationship that way--and be a lovely young woman's guardian and father. I thought, 'how can a grown man put such prejudicial fear into his daughter?'

We learn in America, that parents who fill their children with fear, about the world, fill them with limitations, even issues. I thought, 'what kind of depravity, control, jealousy--is at the heart of such a man; what racism, xenophobia, nationalism, religious intolerance?'

Or was it just over-protection? I didn't think so. You don't meddle that much in the relationship of a girl who is 26 years old--without meeting her boyfriend--unless there are issues. But then, that is the culture, here. Childrens' rights is not yet a social issue in the country I live in.

Don't internalize it. It can also mean--as in the case of your ex-girlfriend, that SHE has the issues, and the parents are just frightened for her. I thought about this in my case. There were reasons for me to believe that maybe my ex was hard for her parents to guide. But, getting to know her better, I almost completely rest my case at her father's feet. 

Anyway, the way to deal with this is to be mature, strong, and polite, even though part of you may feel very angry at the slurs they have leveled at you, and at how it affected your ex-girlfriend's feelings (if it has).

Now, do you love her? Infatuation is undeveloped love, in my book, and some people go on feeling attracted long after the initial development of feelings, though they didn't develop the love.

You obviously care a great deal for this woman. You have written me a lot on the relationship. As long as this is sincere, and not just defensiveness--in the face of rejection, then I trust you.

And as long as you are physically, emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually attracted to whom she really is; and you want her and care for her exclusively, thinking of her first in the morning, last at night, and at those special times that you see or experience beauty, great learning, elation, deep mortal fear; as long as you feel viscerally connected to her and want to care for her, you love her.

Meditate to clear your mind. Spend a few minutes each morning, sitting up straight, and only breathing--in a quiet place. Just focus on your breathing; the wonderful air nourishing and cleansing your body, going in and out. 

Or you can focus on your pulse, if you feel it.

When stray thoughts enter your mind, observe them, connecting no other thoughts or words to them, consciously; if it happens of the accord of your mind (by itself), let it, but attach no additional ideas yourself. 

Let your thoughts and visions be like clouds in a blue sky, passing by. Return to focusing on your breathing. Meditation is not thinking, not doing, not asking. It is giving yourself a break from thought. Thoughts are often corrupted. Meditation is peace from corruption. Meditation is just being.

Then write that letter or letters; something short, honest, confident, and polite. Trust yourself. 

Contact her hospital and ask if you may visit. If you can, they'll tell you. See if you can get permission from her. And send flowers, either way, with a note expressing your care and well-wish.

One last thing: don't poo-poo the medication. Someone who commits suicide is in a life-threatening, unstable state. She likely NEEDS medication to calm her--at least now. Meditation and other stress-relieving techniques are for relatively healthy people--at least healthy enough that they are no danger to themselves or others.

Prolonged SSRIs may not be for all people at all times, true, and if we can help it, we don't want to be on them at all, but she is in the hospital; why, Jo? Remember that. Trying to commit suicide--if that is sincerely what she did--usually indicates a total break-down in self-esteem, stability, and healthy mental functioning. 

Please stay in touch, Jo, and be compassionate, healthy, and strong.


Carl Atteniese Jr. 

How to Know if You`re Really in Love

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Mando (Carl Atteniese Jr.)


I've read, thought, written, and taught about love for over eleven years. I've had thoughtful love-oriented relationships only--for about twenty-eight years. I struggle endlessly to be a supremely thoughtful, compassionate, fair, and empirical thinker. This is crucial. I believe in the feeling and process of love. This is also crucial. As an artist, a poet, and an essayist--as a teacher of ESL in other cultures--I have had ample opportunity for the analysis of love... personally and inter-culturally, and this has made my introspection and analysis of relationships--with original ideas and those of my favorite psychotherapists--very fruitful. I will tell you three things, which will help you now--before you even write to me: To have true love in yourself and with another, you must: 1. Be Free. 2. Be Adult. 3. Be Honest. 4. Be Disciplined. 5. Find numbers 3~5 easy, because you are overcome with love. 6. Be willing to do virtually anything reasonable (and many things unreasonable from the point of view of others).7. Never settle (in other words, be with someone you do not love), thinking that you will grow into love. 8. Never take a match made by another; your heart and mind must choose your love--period. 9. Never allow yourself to be put into temptation--ever (this is also natural--if you are in love). 10. Be able to listen like you never listened before--to yourself and to your beloved. 11. Love humanity--both the conditions & qualities, and all people.


I've been fortunate to have helped many people around the world and I love to do it. I will be happy to help you, too--no matter whom you are. If I am busy or unable to help you right away, consider these books to help you help yourself--until I can respond: "Being Happy", by Andrew Mathews; any books by Dr. Wayne Dyer; "The Art of Loving", by Dr. Erich Fromm; "Love", by Leo Buscaglia, "True Love", and "Anger", both by Thich Nhat Hanh. Also Read "The Beloved" and "The Prophet", both by Khalil Gibran. Read "The Road Less Traveled" and "People of The Lie", both by Dr. M. Scott Peck.... Learn more about me at

Amnesty International Partner of Conscience (, Union of Concerned Scientists ( and (htp://

Korea Herald (, New York Newsday, The Planetary Review, The Long Island Catholic, Wake Up And Laugh (, The Ocean And The Stars (, Cradle of The Universe (

Certificates in recognizing violence in the home and child abuse, in preventing violence in school. Raised with an emphasis on loving all people and to be politically active. Studied Zen at Hwa Gye Sa Temple, Han Maum Zen & Culture Center, and The Buddhist English Library of Seoul, in South Korea. Taught seventeen years in the US and South Korea. Teacher Training in the U.S. at Berlitz and the Center for English Studies, NYC, and at Inlingua, Princeton. Studied Drawing, Photography, and Painting at the School of Visual Arts, NYC, and basic Psychology at Nassau Community College, Long Island. Fifteen years of experience teaching English as a Second language--many of those years abroad--has helped as well, as people from other cultures help us see ourselves and other human beings in a different light.

Awards and Honors
My reward is knowing I have helped people.

Past/Present Clients
I have taught and counseled people of all ages, experience-levels, professions and religions, and consider myself lucky to have had the opportunity and thankful to those who have shared with me. Every such interaction is a learning experience, and an opportunity for growth and improvement.

©2016 All rights reserved.