THE BLOG
07/12/2016 11:33 am ET Updated Jul 13, 2017

Faux vs. Full: Is Your 'True Love' Faking It?

Imagine you are carrying around a faux Prada bag you bought for six dollars in Chinatown. It looks real. It feels real. But how long can you keep convincing yourself that it is? 

Relationships all too often work the same way. Eventually, the fake label falls off, the seams bust, the handles break. The quality just isn't there. 

Whether you're leaving that toxic partner or searching for that one-in-seven-billion, someone may well come along that fits your needs. Then years go by, and you question, is he the right match? You sleep around, or stay around, afraid of being alone. You've both settled into a faux relationship that is no longer alive, often at a damaging cost to one another. You know something is seriously wrong, and you don't know what to do.

There are many days we feel clueless, and riddled by blind spots. We rarely understand the difference between 'faux and full' when it comes to relationships. Too often our relationships masquerade as real, and we spend countless months trying to build on something to get us to the next phase, only to discover that we're trapped by a faux love that's actually going nowhere.

When a relationship is real, it's growing; it's going somewhere. You have shared interests, and there's an unspoken acceptance. And without these building blocks in place, you're setting yourself up for a pile of agony and heartache.

Lynn is a Pilates teacher, ambitious and sassy. Her body is tight and toned. She told me about her recent break up: "I told myself that he was my soulmate, but I also knew from the get-go he would take me away from what I was doing. He was a sex addict and sleeping around with everyone and everything. There was a chance that he was the real deal; I thought I could change him. I ended up married to him. It wasn't a long marriage, but it lingered, and it still does. It turns out he wasn't a nice man. He brought the worst out of me. Had I been wise enough, I would have realized that he could never be 'The One'. I would never have married him."

Some of us have invested years into a relationship, just to turn around and realize that it was temporary, a faux situation, a place card for the real thing.

Breck Costin, an acclaimed professional life coach, believes this: "There are many reasons that one would stay in a faux relationship:
• Desperation (For finding connections - emotional and otherwise)
• Hope (Thinking something will move, or that something will change)
• Will (Thinking you can turn lead into gold, which only works in business and sports, never relationships)
• Familiarity (Becoming used to living off of vapors)
Whatever the reason, it's painful to watch even more painful to be part of."

You can never know something looking forward; you can only know something in hindsight. If you flashback on a faux relationship, it will have been obvious that, even in the first week, this wasn't going to go anywhere. The crucial difference between a faux relationship and one that is substantial is the capacity for growth.

In a real relationship, growth takes place for both of you, and it begins immediately. You become more beautiful, more successful, more creative, more enlivened. Those around you respond in kind; there's support, attraction and inclusion from others in your life when you've found the 'Real Thing'. When you are in a faux relationship, those around you often say: "Love You. Love Him. Hate the two of you together."

Even from the beginning, in that very first week, we all know when something is wrong. It's very easy to absorb misinformation, to create and spread an underlying assumption that you're somehow incomplete if you haven't found your soul mate.

People pine away for years. 'I can feel you near me,' they'll say, gently. Then, 'Why aren't you here?' Until finally, you meet a special one (or so you think) who is extraordinary for that one magical moment. Until the months go by and the pain sets in.

Try taking this litmus test: The next time you are facing a snag of doubt, try going back to the first week you met, or an early moment where you felt something was off. Take a minute and see how your body feels; you may experience uneasiness or a bite of fear. Your body is telling you something crucial. Trust it, explore it, and it will reveal what you need to know.

It isn't wrong to want an ideal love. We all want one. And we have a perfect right to believe that such a love is possible in this life. Not a faux love. A full love.

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Suzannah Galland is an internationally acclaimed life advisor and influencer for mindful living. Suzannah contributes invaluable Quick Insights to the Huffington Post blog, and writes regularly for Gwyneth Paltrow's Goop.com and Spread the Light for KORA Organics by Miranda Kerr. She has been featured on Harper's Bazaar, USA Today, Vogue, Los Angeles Magazine, Glamour, and Marie Claire U.K. Visit her website or follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram for more Insights to Keep You in The Know.

Suzannah's work work is about giving individuals (like you!) dynamic insight into what agonizes them most and offering breakthrough solutions. She offers instant, real-time solutions to what troubles her clients -- all delivered with a large shot of compassion. Schedule an Appointment Today.