THE RISKY PARADOX OF LOVE: THE MORE YOU GIVE, THE MORE YOU FEEL
Love is often perceived as this easy thing that everyone is capable of doing. I find this to be untrue. To love and be loved can create anxiety.
To have the faith that we are lovable and beautiful with our scars, not just temporarily, but permanently in our own heart, is a questionable endeavor for many. Even I am not immune to the protective armor we wear to guard our fragile bleeding hearts.
I remember sitting in my psychoanalyst’s office talking about a new relationship I was starting. I told my analyst that my mind was jumping to conclusions. “Maybe she wants children right now and I’m not ready for that,” I said to him. “She doesn’t text very often because she’s busy working an amazing job. I don’t think she has time for me.”
THE DEATH OF LOVE ISN’T NATURAL: THE 7 STEPS TO SEPARATION
“Love never dies a natural death. It dies because we don’t know how to replenish its source, it dies of blindness and errors and betrayals. It dies of illness and wounds, it dies of weariness, of witherings, or tarnishings, but never a natural death.” – Anais Nin
Marriages rarely end overnight. They tend to unravel over time, in ways that are now fairly predictable thanks to research by Dr. John Gottman. In 1986 Dr. Gottman and his colleagues built a Love Lab to learn the secrets of lasting love and understand why love dies.
By studying couples for over 40 years, Dr. Gottman could predict with a 90% accuracy which marriage would fail, and which would succeed. These are the factors he found most often contribute to the dissolution of a marriage:
7 DAILY RITUALS INTENTIONAL COUPLES USE TO CULTIVATE LASTING LOVE
Due to the daily pressures, distractions, and dynamics of modern life, a romantic couple doesn’t have to be dysfunctional to grow distant over time. Long working hours and the demands of raising children can push date night, sex, and romantic vacations to last place on the priority list.
Researchers at UCLA observed 30 dual-career couples with young children to understand the daily challenges for finding opportunities to build strong relationships and families. They discovered that these couples:
- Spend less than 10% of their time at home with each other and without their children around
- Are career-focused with long working hours (partner one) and a have a double burden of work and childcare (partner two)
- Prioritize children and household needs over the needs of their spouse or self
- Become more like roommates, drifting apart emotionally and physically
- Miss important opportunities to connect emotionally on a daily basis
5 WAYS TO MAKE SMALL GESTURES COUNT IN YOUR MARRIAGE
One of the things that Jake appreciates about Kristin is her way of showing love through her actions. Jake puts it like this: “When I come home after a long day and Kristin is there, she usually gives me a hug and wants to know how my day went.”
According to a new study by researchers at Penn State University, you don’t need grand gestures to show your partner love. In fact, this team found that small gestures, such as hugging, holding hands, and regular acts of kindness all top the list of how most Americans report feeling loved and appreciated.
Kristin explains: “It’s the everyday moments that matter. Jake and I have found that little things make a difference. When I forgot to pay my cell phone bill, Jake noticed it lying on the counter unopened and quickly called in the payment so it wouldn’t be late.”
THE POWER OF FRIENDSHIP (WHEN FRIENDSHIP IS A VERB)
The word “friend” is a derivative of the verb “freon,” which means, “To love.” A friend is a person. And a friend is a verb…
Two years ago, as my daughter was sprouting up through her fourth year of life, I was helping her put on a pair of jeans, and the waistband strained mightily. I asked her if she would like me to loosen it. She looked at me with puzzlement and asked, “Why?” So I found the stretchy strap inside the waistband and loosened it several notches. I looked at her and asked, “Better?” This time, she looked at me with awe and she sighed,
“Oh my, that’s a lot of better.”
My daughter didn’t know how uncomfortable her pants were, because she didn’t know how comfortable they could feel. When dis-ease sets in like a slowly dripping faucet, we don’t notice it. We unconsciously adapt to it. This can happen to our pants. But it can also happen to our hearts.
THE LOVE TANK THEORY: HOW TO MAKE LOVE ACTUALLY LAST
- “Our relationship is emotionally dead.”
- “We never talk anymore.”
- “My partner is distant, and we never have any fun.”
My inbox is full of emails like this.
These couples often ask, “How did we get here?”
Have you ever had that thought about your relationship?
DOES YOUR LOVER ACTUALLY LOVE YOU?
Sometimes we become attracted to people and date individuals who treat us poorly. I once dated a woman who would shame me for acting needy. She would tell me I was crazy, and it made me feel humiliated and worthless. It sucked. But as I pointed out in Attachment Theory Explains Why Your Relationships Suck, our attachment needs cause us to be insecure when they are not met. They cause us to behave in crazy ways, because we’re trying to find security.
Unfortunately, some individuals don’t value our needs. Sometimes they neglect us. If you’re an anxious person, this can cause you to frantically dive into a toxic relationship, unconsciously drowning yourself in a love that can make you hate yourself later on as you invest more and more in the relationships, only to get a little back in return
Getting our needs met in a relationship is complicated. Due to conflicting emotional blueprints, using vulnerable communication doesn’t always immediately solve a problem. But there comes a time in every relationship where you will decide if the woman is actually going to help you get your needs met and make you happy, or if you’re going to have to move on.
LOVE AND CONTEMPT
It’s so easy to go from one to the other.
Contempt in love relationships occurs at the end of a long chain of resentment, caused by accumulated perceptions of unfairness. Contempt makes partners seem more like opponents than loved ones. They see their problems resulting not from the way they interact or regulate emotions. Rather, the problem is characterological, they’re immoral, selfish, unstable, or stupid—there’s something wrong with them. Contempt sends people to the Internet to diagnose their partners with various personality disorders. The desire to diagnose a partner typically indicates a level of contempt that, unabated, spells doom for the relationship. It’s hard to be compassionate, kind, and loving to someone you hold in contempt, and it’s equally hard to be compassionate, kind, and loving to someone who holds you in contempt. A relationship in contempt is like a patient on life support. Without heroic intervention, it will die.
How to Know that You Have Contempt for Your Partner
Contempt is present when you use (or at least think) contemptuous attributions such as, lazy, selfish, inconsiderate, crazy, narcissistic, borderline, and so on.
WHY SIBLINGS FIGHT (AND WHY WE ALL FIGHT LIKE SIBLINGS)
Siblings fight because they assume love is a limited resource. They assume they have to compete for caring. In other words, siblings are just like the rest of us…
I was brutal to my siblings.
I beat up on my little brother’s shoulder and I beat up on my little sister’s heart. When we were all grown and had gone our separate ways, I realized what I’d done, and I started to beat up on myself. I felt guilty about being a bully and sad about the lost opportunity to be their friend.
Even after they accepted my apology, I couldn’t forgive myself.
THE ONLY TWO THINGS YOU’LL EVER NEED TO KNOW ABOUT PEOPLE
People matter. They matter when they love us. They matter when they hurt us. They matter when we don’t know if they’re going to break good or break bad on us. And because people matter, it’s important to know the two things that really matter about people…
Last month I was in an airport with a friend. He and his wife had booked seats together but, when they printed the boarding passes, they were seated at opposite ends of the plane. It was a nine-hour flight. I expressed my sympathy.
He looked at me with a sideways grin, and he said, “No worries, Kelly, we’ll sit together.”
I looked down at his boarding passes and wondered what he knew that I didn’t.