Relax, I’m a hopeless romantic too
I love everything about love. The process, the discovery, the peeling of layers. Sharing meals. Exploring bodies. Writing / reading notes, emails, texts. Talking about nothing. Having someone to think about. Knowing someone is thinking about you. Cuddling. A head on your chest. Stoking hair. Kissing a forehead. Their natural scent on your bed. Breakfast. Coffee. Sex hair. Laughing. Learning. Sharing revelations. Growing. The day to day. The special occasions. Seeing other parts of the world. Looking into someone’s eyes and knowing, understanding that you guys are doing this life together.
Happily ever after.
Well, not really.
Under the rock of love, there are things that we rarely look at because it’s not advertized, things that don’t see much light.
All the shit that comes up. The triggers. The miscommunication. The resistance. The control. The hurt. The jealousy. The drift. The wandering eye. The blame. The shame. The lack of tools. The distance.
The reason why happily ever after is bullshit is because it’s misleading. There should be a class in high school that gives us a reality check on what it takes to build a healthy sustaining relationship. The documentary of love and relationships instead of the romance novel turned into a studio movie. So we don’t go into our twenties thinking the hardest thing about love is just finding someone. And not just finding someone but seeing someone across the room and hearing angels or a lightning bolt and “the one” stamped on their chest.
I used to measure chemistry and who I’m supposed to be with by the intensity I felt. Did she turn my head? Did everyone else in the room disappear? Did I have butterflies and lose track of time? I used to tie if we were meant to attraction. But two things.
- Attraction isn’t necessarily healthy. Yes, there is obvious physical attraction but it’s the underlining thing that we don’t see or are aware of that draws us to people. And sometimes, causes us to let go of ourselves.
This “attraction” has to do with our story, wiring, sometimes what’s lacking inside us, or maybe what smells familar and familar doesn’t always mean healthy.
So the glue that’s produced between two people who can’t keep their hands off each other doesn’t always equal legs of a relationship. It may equal hot sex and surface intimacy but deep true intimacy and all the things required to build a lasting relationship, is like good wine, aged.
Now if you’ve experienced the “lightning in a bottle” and turned over the love rock and dealt with all the stuff that comes up, the differences, the misunderstandings, and hurt, the congruences, and both came out the other side still holding hands with that knowing through thick and thin glance, congratulations. That’s fucking amazing. And rare. Keep it real and keep it going.
But most who have experienced earth shattering love collisions have not been able to turn them into sustaining relationships that become greater than themselves and grow them as individuals.
2. This is because most of these earth shattering collisions happened when we were younger and had very different definitions of love. We also had less imprints on our tender hearts so these experiences ran deeper. We didn’t know better. We put all the weight on what we felt and ran with that. Straight into sharing one bedroom apartments and realizing how much little things start to bother us very fast.
This sets us up for crushing falls.
Welcome to your twenties.
Then we grow up and compare our new experiences with that one crazy love because it felt so powerful, even though it didn’t work out.
And so we create another trap.
We’re comparing apples to oranges. That powerful feeling was called codependency and it was powerful because we lost ourselves in someone else. And that feels like crack cocaine. But it is not being in love. It’s being in lost. And it doesn’t not equal happily ever after. It leads to Alanon meetings.
So we need to stop thinking and searching for happily ever after because nothing of value is that easy. Healthy doesn’t come naturally. Yes, you can meet someone and it can feel effortless. But that doesn’t mean everything’s going to be rainbows and unicorns. Eventually, it will require effort. Lots of effort. But what of value doesn’t?
Instead of happily ever after, maybe we should start saying happily now and let’s keep building. I know it’s not as sexy and won’t sell as many movie tickets. But it’s the truth.
Here’s what I’m learning. I say learning instead of learned because I believe love is an on going learning process that changes as we change, our definitions change, our lenses change, our energy changes, and what we put weight on changes.
- Yes, there has to be initial attraction. Of course.
2. Then trust must be built.
3. This requires the ability to create a space safe and be your own whole complete person.
4. The more that trust is built, the more people really show themselves, be vulnerable, let someone truly inside.
5. Many don’t get this far but if they do, it’s in this space where true intimacy starts to grow and form.
6. To keep feeding it, love requires self examination. Not only once or during couples counseling, but continuously like pedaling a bike. That’s what creates the safe container that is your relationship. If not, the trust start to break and your relationship container cracks -> People start to drift.
7. And you have to start all over.
When I say relationships are built. There is no end to it. You’re always building your relationship, investing in, challenging, observing, and owning what you need to own, taking responsibility, finding new things you love about the person, about yourself, changing definitions, leaning into discomfort, everything under the rock of love.
Loving someone means flipping that fucking rock over, exposing it all, and choosing to stand on it. That may not be as romantic. But there’s much more hope there.
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