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Loving Without Losing Yourself!

By Allie Ochs

You are in love and it feels wonderful. This love is different and you are prepared to do anything to make it last. To prevent this ship from sinking you work hard to steer this relationship into a safe harbor. In the process you lose yourself and your romantic relationship becomes all-consuming!

When Kyra fell head-over-heels for Dan she went out of her way to create the wonderful relationship she had always wanted. She found herself at every hockey game or computer show, watching horror and science fiction movies, at parties with his friends and on vacations with his family. At home, things were not much different. Kyra cooked his favorite meals, kept the house just the way he liked it and listened to the music of his choice. On Dan’s advice, Kyra cut her hair short, wore less make-up and exchanged her up-beat wardrobe for conservative pieces. She gave up on her dream to become a firefighter, because Dan thought this profession would interfere with their relationship. She had even given up her night classes, because they cut into their dinnertime. For Dan, this relationship was perfect. All his needs were met and his expectations fulfilled. In an effort to not disappoint him, Kyra lived in constant anxiety over doing everything right for him. She had adapted to his lifestyle, learned to defend his views and even began to talk like him. Kyra’s friends witnessed her change from a spirited, easygoing and happy woman to a subdued, obedient and pleasing personality. This relationship had sucked the life out of Kyra, yet she was the last to notice.

While compromise in a relationship is a necessary ingredient for it’s success, denying the core of who you are is not. When you finally realize that an all-consuming relationship is depleting you, there will be nothing but resentment and identity-conflict. You will encounter great difficulty in reclaiming yourself while remaining in that same relationship. No matter how much he loves you, he loves the person you project for his benefit. He cannot love what he doesn’t know yet, the real you! The outcome of such a relationship is usually a heart-breaking crisis, with no one but you to blame.

The opposite of an all-consuming relationship is a half-hearted relationship. In this relationship you withhold affection until the evidence is in that the other is hooked. I love you, if you love me first is a common trend in newer and many long-term relationships. Fearing that you will give more love than you receive, you put him on probation while gauging your own behavior carefully. You want to control the power and maintain the advantage in this relationship. You judge him according to your expectations and keep track of how he measures up. The higher he scores, the more you are willing to reward him with love and affection. This conditional view imposed by one or even both partners creates tremendous emotional insecurity and prevents the relationship from evolving.

Mr. Scanner and Ms. Grateful have been together for over a year. She has enduring faith that this relationship will be her final one. While she is building “castles in the sky”, Still, Mr. Scanner continues to seek out other available females. Even though he appreciates Ms. Grateful, he has not allowed himself to truly love her. Thinking there might be something better around the corner, he fails to commit wholeheartedly. When one partner has one foot out of the door, both remain emotionally unavailable making it impossible to built a meaningful relationship. More interested in being loved than loving, Mr. Scanner will eventually seek a cure on greener pastures. Instead of fertilizing his own lawn, he may find the cure to be worse than the cause.

All-consuming or halfhearted relationships are not only very unnatural, but also highly unhealthy for each partner. As a matter of fact, these relationships hinder your personal growth and interfere with your happiness. Ironically, both types are guided by fear. In an all-consuming relationship, fear of not being loved, not being good enough as well as fear of abandonment and failure is the driving force. In a halfhearted relationship, fear of being hurt and becoming vulnerable prevents you from knocking down protective walls and opening your heart.

Is there a happy medium? How do you love wholeheartedly without losing yourself? Loving wholeheartedly while preserving your identity and staying the course in life requires a clear roadmap. It also requires a very different perspective of relationships. It appears that while relationships have become far more difficult to maintain, the approach to relationships has become more simplistic. Just make a wish list and check your prospective lover’s qualities against your wish list. Even though you know that relationships require work, deep down you cling to a sweet illusion that meeting the right person is all it takes. You will then take off on your magic carpet ride. Think again! Soon that magic rug will be pulled from underneath you. Welcome to the real world of the 21st century. Today, relationships are more defined by social influences than by character. Consequently, you have come to believe that a loving relationship has to provide you with as many benefits as possible. If it looks as if your partner is giving less than you do, you are likely to “check out.”

No matter how you define love, relationships are, and have always been, about loving each other. While love is a must, it is not the sole answer to meaningful relationships. Your relationship IQ may consist of controlling and manipulating him into what you need him to be. You want him to be understanding, listening, compassionate, loyal and trustworthy. It is important that he is real and does not play games. In short, you long for a partner who is wholeheartedly behind you. Ask yourself, are you the same partner? Do you reveal the real you? How much do stage your behavior to keep this relationship afloat? Ironically, many lack the qualities they seek in their partners. How about you? When you fail to give what you seek from him, don’t be surprised if it backfires. While there are many right things you can be or do in a relationship, the most important is being the best real you. While putting all your eggs in one basket is a bad investment policy, it is essential in all relationships. If only a part of you is invested, the relationship becomes fueled by go-nowhere-energy and that is exactly where the relationship will land you: nowhere. Once you are comfortable in your relationship, throw your whole heart into it and then try to catch up. If you want a wholehearted relationship, be a wholehearted partner and always remember: You can never get more than you give!

Listen to your heart, for it is so much smarter than you are. When it feels right, feel the fear and love anyway. Love without hesitation and with all you heart. There will never be a fearless way of loving or living in your lifetime. It is true that choosing the wrong partner is detrimental to your health and wealth, but failing to take action when it is right can be equally destructive. Don’t let your fear of rejection and getting hurt kill your desires or steal your dreams. You may have stared in the face of love before. Maybe you “chickened-out.” Next time, don’t be a chicken!

If you are in a relationship and love each other, here is a universal truth: Love is choice and if you choose it wholeheartedly, you are never going to lose it. Love teaches you to become a better human being. Restore your faith in love and become emotionally available to each other. Put your fears and your past behind and accept this lesson. Become lovable by being loving. Learn to trust by trusting yourself. Giving in to love does not mean losing yourself. Yet, even when it is safe to open your heart, you may feel weakened by the anxiety that this love will disappear.

When in love, how do you preserve your identity and course in life? Here is the number one reason for losing yourself in a relationship: Your belief that love is something you either deserve or not! Your misguided belief leads you to counterproductive efforts to do almost anything to get love and even more to hold onto it:

• You modify your identity to gain approval and love from your partner.
• You hold back intimacy to protect your vulnerability.
• You have a need to manipulate your partner and the course of this relationship.
• Your fear of abandonment paralyzes you

Yet, in reality, love either exists or it doesn’t. There is nothing you have to be, or do, to earn it. When it is love, there is very little if anything you can do to destroy it. If there is no love, there is nothing you can do to force it. Love is something that you deserve and if you can believe that, you will accept that:

• You can be loved even if you are not perfect
• You can be loved just as you are
• You can be loved while keeping your course in life
• You can be loved without getting lost in love
• You can be loved while pursuing your life’s dreams
• You can be loved, let go and let be

Love is the most powerful human lesson you are ever to learn. It is about overcoming the past and realizing your human potential, a purposeful interdependence through which you become so much more than on your own. Maybe this is why we fear being loved as much as we fear not being loved. Love has so many more solutions than it has problems. Love is not a commodity that is supposed to make you happy. Once you can understand that love is not something to be found, rather it is in you to be shared, you can love wholeheartedly without fear. Don’t turn your back on love every time it touches you, because when you give up on love you give up on yourself.

Article by Allie Ochs
Relationship Expert, Coach, Speaker and the Author
www.fit2love.com
askallie@fit2love.com

 

 

Article by Allie Ochs
Relationship Expert, Coach, Speaker and the Author
www.fit2love.com
askallie@fit2love.com

This work is copyrighted by the author. No unauthorized duplication or presentation allowed. © 2005 Allie Ochs, Relationship Expert, Coach, Speaker and the Author of “Are You Fit To Love?” ISBN 0-9720227-9-1. Her articles are published in numerous magazines and newsletters. She has appeared on radio and TV. To order her book or to take the Fit 2 Love! Test visit her website at www.fit2love.com. For FREE relationship/dating advice e-mail: askallie@fit2love.com
 

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