Feelings are complicated and confusing, even love. Especially love – because it can take many forms. People spend their lives looking for it and when it seems to be within reach, do everything they can to grasp it.
But sometimes, your imagination is more appealing than reality.
“Do I like him or the idea of him?” is the right question to ask yourself, one that will help you make sense of your feelings. Once you do, you won’t only understand how you feel about him, but you’ll understand yourself and your needs better.
How can you tell if you only like the idea of someone, if you’re with him only to have your needs met or if you actually like him? Here are the surefire signs that will point you in the right direction.
“Do I Like Him Or The Idea Of Him?” Imagination Vs. Love
If you’re asking yourself, “Do I like him or the idea of him,” it’s safe to say that you’re having doubts about how you feel. Your feelings might be genuine, but also projection, fantasy or wishful thinking.
Being open to whatever answer you might find will help you understand more than just how you feel about someone. Developing self-awareness makes it possible to have a healthy relationship with someone you genuinely care for and can see yourself with in the future.
Infatuation vs. love
Infatuation is a combination of a strong attraction to someone you don’t know well and fantasy about what this person is like. It’s very common and happens to most people at some point in their lives.
You meet a new guy you’re physically attracted to, and your hormones go haywire. You don’t know what he’s like, so you project your desires on him and construct a fantasy in your imagination.
These feelings can be so intense that it’s not rare that people who have just entered a new relationship believe that they’re in love.
But until you actually know the guy you’re dating, your feelings are based on who you would like him to be and not on who he really is.
As you get to know him, infatuation can develop into real feelings or, more often, fizzle out. By the time the rush of the honeymoon phase wears off, you either get to know him for real and realize you like the way he truly is, or he doesn’t live up to the fantasy.
Signs you just like the idea of him
Sometimes, love is all in your head. Here are the telltale signs of infatuation, telling you that what you’re experiencing isn’t real love, but a crush.
• You think about him all the time. Your thoughts are focused on how perfect and dreamy he is.
• You make up imaginary situations about him and yourself in which things go exactly how you want them to.
• Your life revolves around him; you can connect everything you see or do to him.
• You feel obsessed with him.
• You feel like he’s your perfect match or that he was made for you.
• You feel a strong physical attraction to him.
• You have feelings for him even though you haven’t had many meaningful interactions or experiences with each other.
• You don’t actually know him as a person.
• You only know surface-level things about him.
• You haven’t had many or any deep conversations.
• You ignore things about him that don’t align with your fantasies, including any red flags you should be wary of.
• You reject any sign of incompatibility between you.
• You make assumptions about his feelings.
• You want to impress him.
• You over-analyze your interactions with him.
• You look for confirmation of your beliefs about him in his behavior.
• You’re disappointed if he doesn’t act as you expect him to.
Can your relationship still work?
The signs listed above might seem pretty intense, but it’s not necessary to experience each one to know that you’re infatuated.
For example, you might over-analyze your interactions without believing he’s your ideal partner. Things aren’t always clear-cut; sometimes, it’s just about being unsure.
The answer to the question “Do I like him or the idea of him?” lies in whether or not you want to get to know him for real.
Infatuation isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It can turn into something more if you’re ready to get to know him and accept the real person instead of the idealized image you created in your mind.
If you’re not open to knowing and accepting him for who he really is, you should consider that as an important sign that you should probably move on. If you’re willing to give him a chance, letting go of the fantasy and accepting reality should be your first step.
Knowing someone is key to developing intimacy, and intimacy is the basis of love.
“Do I Like Him Or Just The Attention?” Needs Vs. Love
The feeling of contentment from having your need for companionship, attention, affection or validation can easily be confused with love. You might think you like or love someone because he serves the purpose of meeting your needs.
A relationship based on having your needs met can work, but it can never compare to a genuine loving relationship. You can also end up hurting the other person because he might feel used even if you don’t intentionally set out to use him.
Attention vs. interest
People crave attention and connecting with others. When a guy likes you and gives you attention, it’s easy to confuse your positive reaction with interest.
A way to test whether it’s just the attention you like is to imagine a situation where you want to do something and invite him to come along. When he accepts, are you pleased because you have someone to do it with or because you’re doing it with him?
When you invite him to hang out, would you be just as happy hanging out with your best friend if he’s not available, or were you really looking forward to hanging out with him? Is he not only the first person you call but the only one because it’s him in particular you want to see?
Sometimes just knowing that he’ll be available if you reach out is enough to make you think that you like him, but it might have nothing to do with him as a person.
When you like a guy, he’s not interchangeable with someone else and can’t be replaced if unavailable. If you’re interested in him, you can see yourself in a real relationship with him and picture him in your future.
Signs you just like the attention
Here are the signs that you’re only responding to his attention and don’t really care about what this man wants and feels.
• You communicate with him and meet with him only on your terms. You send him sexy texts when you want to hook up and ask for attention when you feel lonely.
• You don’t get particularly excited when you hear from him.
• You don’t know him on a deep level and don’t care to find out.
• You don’t feel the need to open up to him and show him what’s inside you.
• You only like superficial things about him.
• Your relationship isn’t moving forward, and you’re okay with it.
• You don’t include him in your future plans.
• You don’t see a future with him.
• You’re with him because you feel comfortable.
• You don’t hesitate to ditch him when something better comes along.
• You have dating apps installed and still browse them.
• You only contact him when you’re lonely or bored.
• You like what he does for you more than you like him.
• You get annoyed when he wants to hang out if you’re not in the mood.
• You ignore him if you have something more fun to do.
• His behavior, his body language and his words show that he likes you more than you like him.
• You’re emotionally unavailable.
Should you end this relationship?
All kinds of relationships can work if everyone involved is on the same page.
If you’re with him just because he’s convenient, comfortable or useful, but he wants a serious relationship with a future, it’s unfair to him. His feelings will end up getting hurt, but yours won’t be spared either. You’ll never be happy in this relationship.
Relationships you enter just to have someone’s attention can last for a long period of time. It might be enough for a while, but you’ll never feel the need to take it to the next level.
Staying in a relationship just because you’re comfortable means you would leave it if someone better came along.
Most people don’t get into a relationship with the intention of stringing the other person along. You might not even be aware that your relationship is unbalanced. Still, if you’re wondering about it, you’re probably aware of it.
Unless you’re consciously using him, it’s reasonable to assume that you don’t want to hurt his feelings. So how can you achieve that?
• If your relationship is new
If your relationship is new and you’re simply enjoying the attention, you can let him know that you’re not interested in anything serious.
When he knows where he stands, he’ll have a choice to guard his feelings and decide how much of himself he wants to invest in a relationship without a future.
The real danger here is false hope and useless perseverance, as many men believe their feelings will eventually be returned if they don’t give up. It’s up to you to decide how to handle it if this is how he reacts.
• If you’ve been together for a while
If you’ve been together for a while, you should deal with this issue as soon as possible. The longer you draw it out, the deeper his feelings will get hurt. It would be best to have an honest conversation with your current partner.
Don’t try to distance yourself, don’t choose the option that’s the most painless for you and don’t try to avoid a confrontation. In a kind and warm way, tell him how you feel openly and sincerely. Tell him of your confusion and lack of intent to hurt him.
If your relationship ends, don’t ask him for attention again by trying to stay friends. Give him time to get over you.
How Do I Know If I Actually Like Him?
The desire to love and be loved can cause confusion and uncertainty. Understanding your own feelings and whether you really like someone can be challenging.
Everyone feels love in their own way, and it doesn’t always look the same. This is why it can be challenging to be sure of your feelings of love, but it’s not as difficult to figure out if you like someone.
It might not be true love yet, but having a genuine interest in someone is where it starts.
Liking vs. attention vs. infatuation
Some signs seem to overlap between all three, but it won’t be difficult to separate liking someone from the other options when you look at your feelings as a whole.
The easiest way to think about how you feel is to ask yourself the questions that follow. Honestly answering them should provide you with a conclusion.
1. Are you curious about him?
Do you want to know him as he is, the good and the bad? Are you curious about the little things and the things that he considers to be a big deal?
Do you want to know what he’s really like and what he really likes? What about his favorite color and zodiac sign, or his dreams and hopes?
Curiosity and willingness to get to know someone separate interest from infatuation. You want to discover who he really is rather than being stuck with your fantasy. It also shows that you care and that your interest in him goes beyond the attention you get from him.
To know someone is to love someone, the saying goes, and it’s true. Love develops from intimacy and connection, and it all starts with getting to know another person and accepting them.
You’ll know that you like him if you want to know him.
Do you want to share things with him; the little details of your day and the big, important stuff? The need to tell him about yourself is one of the most obvious signs that you like him and goes hand-in-hand with your curiosity about him.
If you want to know him and you want him to know you, your interest is clear. You don’t see him as just a fantasy and that you’re not trying to impress him by pretending you’re someone you’re not.
Opening up and telling him the things you usually don’t tell people, sending him good morning texts or trying to keep in touch as much as possible are some ways to connect with him.
Genuine interest precedes genuine connection, which is built through sharing and opening up. Your desire to know him and for him to know you is a clear sign that you want to bond with him.
3. What do you like and dislike about him?
If you’re interested in a guy, thinking of everything you like about him won’t be a problem.
List everything that comes to mind: his traits, his appearance, his behavior – anything that comes to mind. If you like him a lot, the list might end up being longer than you anticipated.
Next, think of what it is that you dislike about him. This list might be shorter, but no one is perfect, and there’s probably at least one thing you’re not crazy about.
The purpose of asking these questions is to carefully think about what he’s like and how you feel about him. If you only like your idea of him, you won’t be able to know for sure what you like because you don’t really know him.
It will be even more difficult coming up with something you dislike if it’s all just a fantasy. And if the list of negatives is longer than the list of positives, that also says a lot.
4. How does he make you feel?
One of the questions you should ask yourself is, do you feel good when you’re around him?
This doesn’t mean that he has to go out of his way to make you feel good, that he always has to be in a good mood or show you his feelings by making the first move.
The reason you should think about this is to explore your own feelings about being around him. Does his vibe make you feel good or is it all in your head?
Spending time together makes you feel better about yourself when you like someone. Enjoying his company is a sign that you’re interested in him, but also that you’re developing positive feelings for him.
5. Do you want him in your life?
Do you feel disappointed when he asks you out and you already have plans? Would you rearrange your schedule to make time for him? Are you happy to include him in your life even if you have to change something?
We make time for the people and things that matter to us, and doing it doesn’t feel like a sacrifice. If you want to include him in your life and you’re happy to do so, you can be sure that you feel something for him.
When you like someone just for the attention he gives you, you won’t go out of your way to accommodate him. When it’s infatuation, you’ll only welcome him on your own terms.
Making someone a priority isn’t a problem when you really like him. Moreover, it’s easy because you want him around.
Signs you really like him
People express feelings in their own ways. If you’re the kind of person who has difficulty being affectionate, doing cute things for your boyfriend might not be how you choose to let him know that you like him.
Similarly, all of us experience feelings differently, so it’s important to try to understand how you feel. The following signs that you like him will be much more apparent if you think about what they mean for you.
• You want to know everything about him and enjoy having deep conversations with him.
• You want him to know everything about you and accept you as you are.
• You embrace his qualities and his flaws.
• You notice everything about him: something he mentions in passing, his mannerisms, his habits.
• You miss him when he’s not around.
• You’re different with him than with other people.
• You get excited when you hear from him.
• You have no problem changing your plans to be with him.
• You want to spend a lot of time together.
• You want to show him that you care.
• You feel compassion and understanding for him.
The Bottom Line
“Do I like him or the idea of him?” is a deeper question than it seems. Answering it helps you figure out how you feel about someone else, but also gives you insight into what you’re looking for.
Being interested in someone because of a fantasy you created or because they give you attention can never result in a healthy relationship. Love is a wonderful thing that can only grow out of sincerity.
If your feelings aren’t real, you’re cheating yourself out of feeling true love by staying in an unfulfilling relationship. After you know for sure what you’re feeling, you must focus on improving your relationship with yourself first, then look for someone you can like for who they are.