What is Love? What is an intimate relationship? For years, the status quo had these concepts very well defined. Everybody would follow the same structure: You would get married under the promise: ‘Until death do us apart’, no matter what, that was the deal, divorces weren’t an option. And as everything in life…
When a relationship is based on a ‘have to’ be rather than on a ‘Choose’ to be… Obligation breaks the freedom of choice and it is natural that people often feel like trapped in prison.
There was not only the pressure to stay with the same partner for life but also the added pressure of living up to the Hollywood romantic films high standards! These films showed happy endings, roses and romantic scenes, but they would miss all that it takes to share life with another person day to day through the good and bad times. Nowadays we see these standards on social media profiles too where only the best part of relationships are shown. Rarely, couples with these kinds of expectations would or will meet them.
Nowadays though, everything has changed a lot: Leaving a relationship is easier than maintaining love, than looking after it and watering the plants. Divorces are not only possible but also they have been normalised. Marriage is just an option more than ever before, and each person has an ideal of what a relationship should be like. Relationships are diverse: Open, traditional, friendly, committed… Every single person has the freedom to choose how to experience love and with whom to share life. That is wonderful. However, as everything is less and less defined/structured it seems like we need to put more of us in order to understand each other.
No one starts a new relationship looking forward to ending it.
Why then are there so many relationships which break up?
According to Tony Robbins, either you are in a relationship or you are not, but if you don’t want a relationship is due to pain association. Relationships are based on emotional association: ‘I don’t want to suffer again.’, ‘I want love and connection but I don’t want to expose my vulnerability. I want pleasure but not pain.’
However, one of our basic needs is connection and love. You can read more about it here: ‘Emotional Dependency? All You Need is Love’. In contrast with most animals, we are the only social beings who spent an extended portion of our lives relying on other humans for survival. A baby needs the physical touch (Oxytocin) in order to survive. If you don’t caress/hug/hold a baby, it dies! In general, we are dependent on adults until we are able to support ourselves economically, but also we need to be emotionally supported and guided for a very long time. That is why love is a survival instinct for us. A big universal fear is to not receive love! This does not mean that all couples must work, or that we cannot live without a partner.
There are many break-ups which are completely necessary, the question is: Why are there so many? If now we have the freedom to choose who we want to share life with, why are there so much suffering for love? How much love is destroyed due to fear?
Couples and intimate relationships break for 3 main reasons. If those aspects flow, any relationship can become invincible and love can last and grow without limits.
1# Lack of Crystal Clear & Compassionate Communication:
The other day I went to the theatre to see ‘The Lover’ by Harold Pinter, and after the play, there was a social debate with the actors and the audience. The debate was fascinating: We talked about love, intimacy and sex. It was incredible to listen to so many opinions from people with different backgrounds: Old, young, women and men. We were all sharing our way to experience love, from a place of respect and tolerance. This experience was pure inspiration for me:
If you don’t know what you want, you can’t ask for it neither you can find it.
Being able to discover and communicate what is the kind of relationship that you want like is essential for a relationship to work, and for that, we need to be able to talk about love. Thanks to this debate, I reaffirmed an idea: The key to the success of any relationship is Crystal Clear & Compassionate Communication. It is necessary to tell the person you share life with what you love, what you don’t, and thank the person for what specifically you appreciate about the relationship you share. Also, being able to express what you would like to change or improve from a place of love is key. The idea is to stop playing the psychological game in which you believe your partner must read your mind!
Communicating what you want and what you don’t in a relationship is necessary in order to create clear and honest agreements, but it is important to do so through Non-Violent Communication: Without attacking, blaming or making the other responsible for your own feelings. Next week I will talk about Shame-free guilt-free love on the blog. As soon as you start judging and attacking your partner, you are breaking your own team.
2# Selection based solely on Attraction
Nowadays we are free to choose, free to choose the kind of person we want to share life with and in which way. However, when this selection is made based just on an initial physical attraction, often the relationship ends up not working. Sharing Values; agreeing on what really matters to you is key.
Having differences with your couple is natural and enriching. However, having opposite Life Values can lead to constant conflicts and to unfair commitments that have high consequences.
For instance, if the most important value of a person is family; she/he dreams of having more than a baby and form a big family, and the partner does not want to have any children, and values other things more. Do you think that relationship could work? Compromising your number 1 value for a relationship can have a very high price.
That is why, knowing what is your nature and your values, and taking them into account when it comes to choosing a life partner is essential. Differences can be accepted but not sharing life values can lead to constantly trying and changing your partner. If you want to know more about how to accept differences with your partner, you can read: ‘Conditional Love: ‘I love you but you better change’.
3# Lack of Time for Self-Love
The third reason why couples break up is due to lack of self-love. If you are looking for the love that you don’t give yourself in a partner, you will always demand more than what anyone can offer you.
When we first fall in love, it is easy to put all our attention on the person we love and to forget about filling ourselves up with self-love. Abandoning what fulfils you most, or what you love for a partner has also negative consequences.
What do you need to do in order to fill yourself with self-love each day? Allow yourself to do it, spending time just for yourself will benefit your relationships.
Today’s photo is a graphic representation of the way I see love: Love as a team, support and unity. We are hugging each other and we have a leg free on the air which represents our individual paths, we support each other and share our journeys but we also keep walking on our personal development, this way we don’t abandon the relationship, neither we abandon ourselves. It is much easier to give from the overflow (of your own self-love).
Love is not a transaction
Love is not about seeing who gives more. It is not a competition, it is about cooperation. It is all about putting the focus on giving rather than taking. Love is about unity, not separation. If you stop watering the plants they die. If you stop putting love on your relationship, it stops growing. If a relationship stops growing it dies.
As Tony Robbins would say, the universal purpose of a relationship is to maximise y the Human Experience through sharing emotions and experiences.
I think it is important that we stop describing love basing our description on romantic films, and social media profiles. It is time for debating openly: What is love for you? How would your ideal relationship be like?
Let’s start the debate down below in the comments, your opinion matters!