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
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
• You hold back intimacy to protect your vulnerability.
• You have a need to manipulate your partner and the course of this
• 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.