This is why 'missing out' in critical stages of youth is such a problem, it damages our ability to see the world in this idealized way that is probably necessary to "fall in love".
Having experienced nothing but negativity, the man in the example will always see others that way. A collection of flaws or cynical motives.
On the two things: 1. 'missing out' and 2. 'negativity based on experiences'
1. The "missing out" thing. It is a very weird trap. When we see others having what we desire, we form a belief that if we had it, we would be at peace, or, wouldn't feel 'missed out'. But this is not really true. If always had it, we could still feel missed out on other things. We wouldn't feel 'grateful' if we had it without any efforts. It takes great intelligence to feel grateful in a genuine way, about the things we received without efforts and sacrifices.
So for example, a person born and raised in a poor household will wish he was born in a wealthy household. Whereas a person born and raised in a homeless condition will wish that he missed out on having a shelter to be raised in. The situations of both are drastically different. But the emotions and experiences, same!!!
Another example is someone who never had a girlfriend claims that he wouldn't feel missed out if he had one. But if he had it, he would have wanted something more, despite his otherwise claim.
We miss out on billions of things, but only feel missed out on some of those.
2. The negativity based on negative experiences.
I see things in 3 'phases'. Innocence, adulthood, and maturity.
" it damages our ability to see the world in this idealized way that is probably necessary to "fall in love"."
It seems like if I have touched upon the dark side, I am deprived of my innocence and hence, I will never be able to 'fall in love' again. I know that you are trying to emphasize this thing and it had bothered me in the past as well.
This thought comes when we only see two phases. Innocence and adulthood. A huge problem with the 'innocence' phase is vulnerability. You have innocence, but you aren't aware of it. For instance, a guy who never had to struggle to get a girlfriend throughout a certain phase from the beginning, definitely seems in a better position. But not really, he is absolutely unprepared to navigate through things when the winds change.
If a kid was always shown appreciation, he will not be able to tolerate rejections. This is the transition from innocence to adulthood.
I was always the best student in my class. I never saw life from a student who was kicked outside the class for not doing homework and who got less than passing marks. It was definitely a good feeling to get great scores and appreciation from all teachers. Oh!! Those back benchers must be jealous! They must have wondered what it feels like to be at the top!!
But NO!!! I didn't know that I could fall too. And I had never trained myself to reach from bottom to the top because there wasn't ever a need. But alas! It happened. When I got into college, my scores started degrading due to certain mental health issues. And the fall was consistent and rapid! In one semester, I had the worst score of my entire batch. And I was never trained or wondered how to move out of this situation (because of the mental stress that comes with it).
It took a lot of mental effort, thinking, practice, reflection, etc. to get back to the top. I am still not at the top of my performance that I had as a teenager. But what feels more appreciating is this upward vector, than the stator at the top. It made me aware that I could fall too!!!
If you want to experience the top consciously, you must touch the bottom. It is a necessary part of the development process. Only then can you get rid of ungratefulness in the true sense, when you reach the summit. This is the third stage, maturity or in other words, 'regained innocence'.
What do you think on this?