I’m often asked the question: Why do we still have relationship problems if we love each other?
To answer this question, we first have to establish the reasons that we feel LOVE and how we display LOVE. There is TRUE LOVE, PHYSICAL ATTRACTION / LUST, which is translated into feelings of LOVE and then there is that great imposter EMOTIONAL DEPENDENCY.
Let’s start with TRUE LOVE. Now, I’m not here to get preachy with you but I’ve never run across a better definition of love than that found in the bible.
It says there that: “Love is long-suffering and kind. Love is not jealous, it does not brag, does not get puffed up, does not behave indecently, does not look for its own interests, and does not become provoked. It does not keep account of the injury. It does not rejoice over unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things. Love never fails.”
Wow… That’s a lot to live up to! I’ll break this down for you in a later article and show you how each piece should apply to your relationships. For now, you can see that this definition doesn’t relate love to any kind of emotional feelings.
So, do you need to have those breath-stopping, heart-throbbing, euphoric feelings that you equate to love? No, not at all, you can show the kind of love described above to a parent, sibling, friend, neighbor or a complete stranger. Love requires both inward and outward activity or actions from you. It’s not something that you get but something that you give. I’m sure that you’ve heard that you can’t give what you don’t have.
That doesn’t mean that you don’t or won’t get those wonderful warm feelings we translate as love inside of you. The fact is that you do get these feelings when you are shown love and whenever you show love to others, especially your partner.
You can ask yourself if what you have in your relationship has any resemblance to, TRUE LOVE in the light of the above definition. Do either you or your partner show or are working on showing love to the other. Remember love “does not look for its own interests”. Love is about what you give, not what you get.
Are there really relationships out there that show this kind of love? Most of us fall short of displaying all of the qualities of love, but when you really know what love is supposed to be, you have something to shoot for.
Physical / Sexual Attraction and Lust
When you are physically / sexually attracted to someone, you begin to change. You will change physically, physiologically and emotionally. When the attraction is strong, you feel extremely excited and start to feel euphoric and will have overwhelming feelings of being in love.
When this happens, each perspective partner puts on his or her best behaviors. They consciously and subconsciously try to show their best side to the other. Is this the “relationship that is meant to be”? In fact most are first attracted to our partner because of a physical attraction. Healthy loving relationships go well beyond this point. Those aren’t what i’m talking about here, I’m talking about relationships that remain in this state and never progress to any kind of real love.
It’s a fact that you can become physically attracted to many different people and they to you.
When purely physical attraction is defined as love in a relationship by one of both partners, the relationship is doomed. The partner isn’t in love but is in lust with their partner. The whole relationship is defined by lust and lust is all about what you get and never about what you bring to or can give to your partner. This type of relationship partner falls in and out of love often and never displays any commitment to their partner in the relationship. They always put their own interests ahead of their partner’s. They may even get an emotional high by making a conquest of partner after partner.
Emotional dependency causes a euphoric and overwhelming feeling of being in love very much the same as being physically attracted to someone. In most cases these feelings are much stronger. From your point of view, you are in love. Not just in love but have extreme overwhelming feelings that the one you are attracted to is the only one for you and that this is the proverbial, “match made in heaven”.
How do you know if you are in this kind of an emotional dependant relationship?
I think that people often think or say it with this oxymoronic expression, “I love my partner, I just don’t like them”. This statement shows that there is an internal conflict that they can’t explain.
There are things that you don’t have to like about your partner. These aren’t what I’m talking about. I’m talking about a general feeling of repulse and disgust that you feel toward them and yet feel that you still love them.
I hear it all the time. “My partner has cheated on me 6 times in the last 2 years but I love them so much”… or “My partner does nothing but call me names and put me down, but I just love them to pieces”…
As crazy as it sounds, it is possible to turn this kind of relationship into a very loving one. How? You need to learn how to engage in what we call Therapeutic Dialog™ with your partner. See the explanation at the end of this page.
What kind of love do you have in your relationship?
To help you answer this question, take a look at the following description of what a good relationship looks like and see how much of its description fits yours.
Good relationship partners work through their issues. These relationships offer security, comfort, support, fun, and a sense of self-worth for both partners.
Only through understanding and a willingness to work things out will you be able to experience growth together as a couple.
True Love is based on what you give to your partner and brings good to your relationship. The other things that we translate into feelings of love are about what we get from the relationship. They cause harm to the relationship because the motives are selfish.
You would be naive to think that there won’t be times of stress and frustration. Relationships go through natural highs and lows, growing pains as it were.
Even though things like the loss of initial attraction, cultural differences, energy levels, expectation differences, and enthusiasm are quite normal; they can add stress to your relationship. There are also things like financial pressures, work related stress and other outside influences that can cause problems to your relationship.
Don’t assume that if your partner is hurting you emotionally in some way that they really understand why what they are doing upsets you. They have a different frame of reference, understanding about things, family values and cultural than you do.
Because of these things, they almost always need some kind of intervention or eye-opening revelation in order to change.
Any relationship that starts out based on physical, sexual attraction or lust or on emotional dependency can become quite wholesome and full. Of course, it would depend on the right type of intervention and each partner displaying a good and willing attitude.