In our culture, we make a huge deal about how love is the cure to all our problems. The movies we watch and books we read, all portray love as this lofty cure-it-all solution to all our problems, struggles, and pain.
In our culture, we idealize love. We idealize love and see it as the ultimate goal in life, and like we do with most things, and I hate to say it, it is completley overestimated.
And because it is seen as this cosmic solution to absolutley everything, many relationships tend to ignore other fundamental values like respect, mutual competency, humility, conflict resolution etc. I mean, why even care about all those values, if love is, supposedly, the answer to everything?
A Couple of Harsh Truths About Love…
A week ago I sat at the dinner table with my parents and siblings. We had a discussion about relationships, love bla bla bla… It wasn’t long before I started to stirr the pot and bluntly point out that people shouldn’t always let themselves be guided solely by the emotions when it comes to intimate relationships, but also make use of their mind and rational brain. So here are some more truths I believe in…
#1 Just because you’re in love, doesn’t mean you’re compatible!
We have all heard of weird and scary stories from a friend or someone who knows someone who tells us about how lousy that one boyfriends treats his woman. And yet, when we ask why the hell they never break up, we usually hear something along the lines of – OMG, because they’re just soooooooo in love!! or because it just FELT soooo right. (whatever that means).
Look, my point is that just because you’re in love with someone, doesn’t actually mean you’re compatible. Love is an emotional process. Compatibility a logical one.
You can love someone who dosen’t treat you well. You can love someone who holds different worldviews, beliefs etc. You can love someone who doesn’t do your happiness any good.
This may sound paradoxical, but it’s true.
We have all heard of stories like that.
These are the relationships that typically begin really passionatley with being madly in love with each other… and six months later, all you hear about is how the relationship burst into flames, and ended up crashing like the Hindenburg into an oil patch through crying voicenotes, 3-hours facetime sessions, thrown iphones, and 3 a.m emergency Ben & Jerry ice-cream runs.
You see, when looking for a partner only using your gut feeling you’re basically setting yourself up for failure. When looking for a partner, make use of your mind. Evaluate the situation. What is it that attracts you to them? Is it your common set of shared values? Or is it the fact that you jsut need someone to feel complete? Try to identify common values, beliefs, worldviews, life-goals etc. High compatibility will give your relationship a solid foundation that will help you both navigate and endure through times of conflict.
Click here for my article on chemistry and compatibility in relationships.
#2 Love doesn’t solve your relationship problems
One of my flatmates recently told me her story of her last relationship and how they were both so madly in love with each other.
Despite the fact that he was a plumber who lived on the side of the country, both had completley different lifestyles and social backgrounds, they were, omg, sooo in love with each other. And after every hourly long fight, and both thinking they’d work it all out they’d come back the next day and tell each other how they didn’t actually mean it, and how much they loved each other.
But afterall, the fights continued, the arguments got worse, and as you can imagine, nothing ever improved. Their love made them feel like they were going to overcome all their issues, when on a practical level, nothing ever changed.
The lesson we can take away from this is, quoting Mark Manson;
‘while love may make you feel better about your relationship problems, it doesn’t actually solve any of your relationship problems’
Emotions can be intoxicating. Sometimes we get on an emotional rollercoaster with our partner that takes us through ups and downs in our relationship. And unless you don’t have a solid foundation underneath your feet, all those mixed emotions will wash your relationship away like pebbles in a river.
#3 Love is not always worth sacrificing yourself for
One of the defining features of love is to be able to think outside the box and take care of your partner. This may involve sacrificing your own needs and desires too sometimes. And thats fine. In fact, I would argue it’s one of those key things that make a loving relationship so great in the first place.
However, the question that doesn’t get asked enough is – what are you sacrificing and is it really worth it?
Many tend to live under the assumption that just because you’re in love, you automatically sacrifice everything you’ve got, no matter what it takes for the other person. After all, love is only proven by what you’re willing to sacrifice for each other, right?
Wrong. Love is not necessarily only about sacrificing your own needs for the gain of your partner, but also about finding a partner who supplements your individual identity. Sure, occassionally, sacrificing your own needs and desires is a must. But if you’re sacrificing your dignity, self-respect, or life’s purpose for your partner than all you’re doing is losing yourself in a relationship, setting yourself up for codependency, and allowing love to consume you.
Instead, each partner needs to find a healthy balance between sacrificng their own needs for each other and focusing on what they really want from life. This is why compatibility is so important. If the key dosen’t fit the locks, then what doors will you open for each other?
Congratulations for making it to the end of this article!
What do you think? Do you know couples that allow themselves to be consumed by love? How are managing your relationship with your partner?
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