Falling in love has been one of the most important events of my life, but staying in love continues to be a challenge that I welcome on a daily basis. And, every once in a while, I need a bit of help.
– by Talkspace User
Love. What can I possibly tell you about it? It is one of the most talked about subjects in human history with endless stories, songs, and works of art being dedicated to it since the dawn of time. But, we still don’t really seem to understand how to cultivate love or how to keep it going. Although almost every person in the world will tell you that love is the most important thing in life, it’s difficult to find people who have experienced real and enduring love with the same partner for an entire lifetime.
When I was younger, I think I was spoiled by the notion of love as it was depicted in cartoons, young adult literature, and romantic comedies. They left me, and I can only assume many others, with really absurd ideas about what love is and how it should be expressed. Drunk on this manufactured narrative, I entered my first relationships. Needless to say, they didn’t quite work out. The reason is simple: I wanted to be loved the way I though I should be loved, and when my partner’s expression of love failed to meet my expectations, I got out of the relationship.
Now, I will say that I have been in my current relationship for over a decade, and I hope to be in the same relationship when I take my last breath on this earth. But maintaining love for as long as my partner and I have managed to do so has been a very difficult and conscious effort on both our parts. It is surprisingly hard to shed the stupid ideas we’ve been raised with to learn a whole new way of seeing relationships, and our roles within them. Of course, it didn’t really help that my partner and I met when were still really young and incredibly stupid.
My parents divorced when I was very young. It was a bitter separation that took a severe emotional and mental toll on pretty much every member of my family, and the repercussions of it lasted for many, many years. As I started to mature and think about my own relationships, I used my parents relationship as an example of what not-to-do. It became my most accessible case study that I spent years analyzing and reanalyzing, trying to understand exactly what went wrong and why. Although I now have a few ideas, I realized early on that simply focusing on what not-to-do with my current partner wouldn’t be enough to make us last.
Although we were madly in love, we soon found our relationship in a world of trouble. My partner is an incredible human being whom I completely and utterly adore. And, as it so happens, my partner is also the most infuriating and maddening person I have ever encountered. In any relationship the line between love and hate really is ridiculously thin, and if you’re not careful or caring enough, you will find yourself crossing that line faster than you realize it’s happening.
We found ourselves on the brink of doing exactly that a few times, and we fought like hell to keep ourselves on the side of love…To Be Continued Next Week
Dear Therapist is an ongoing series of articles. Check out the other posts here!
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