When we fall in love with someone, it is our own feelings that we get so caught up in. We get hooked on what we feel in response to them.
There can be an adjustment period, where we really learn how this other person is as the boundaries lower and we become closer.
Our love can deepen and expand, where we appreciate their little quirks and idiosyncrasies and truly admire this person. And it can be mutual and beautiful.
Of course it exists, and of course it is real, but it's in us, always in us. Our ideas of reality, of what the other person feels or thinks can be flawed, but our love isn't really misdirected; it's just that sometimes we don't realize that the light/love we see shining from someone is really our own.
Some people blaze their own sunlight right back at you. It really does exist. It's no guarantee things will work out, unfortunately, regardless of how powerfully you both feel, but it exists.
You know that song, "if you love somebody, set them free"? It's one of those things that always struck me as being true, and it made it easier to let people go. If I love someone, I always want what is best for them, and to let them make their own choices. If they choose to stay with me, wonderful. If they choose their own path away from me, I respect it, even if it hurts. I wish them the best on their way. It's also helped me respect my own choice to leave when a relationship had run its course.
We don't choose how we feel, but we can choose how we act on those feelings.
We never know what someone has planned when they come into this world, and maybe our paths coincide for a long time, or maybe only briefly. Maybe they came into our lives to show us how profound our own hearts can be, when the light of our own love can be so brilliant we think everything else is shining too.
If you cultivate your own light, eventually it's not going to be such a heartbreak when you don't see someone shining back at you, because you can see your own way. You won't need a lighthouse in the distance to reach for, because you are your own sun.
So many of us confuse want, need, attachment, and control for love. Love is an outward radiation. It is light. It is not something we need from other people to fill ourselves--if we look at it from that perspective, we will always be disappointed. We will feel as though no one reaches us because we're not meeting their light with our own. And if we are busily radiating our love, there is little darkness left within us.
Note: this was initially a reply on Facebook but I considered it relevant enough to make into a post.