What makes love work?
While romantic love has some special characteristics, loving relationships of all types have some core qualities that set them apart. At the heart of love is:
- being able to depend on one another in times of need
- mutual understanding and sharing
- giving and receiving support
- open and honest communication
- enjoying one another's company
The more you practice being a loving person the more love you will attract. Creating intimacy is like participating in a fitness program: it takes time to achieve results, requires daily effort, and at times is extremely difficult to keep going.
Build your ability to love by...
Expressing yourself...Put your positive feelings into words. For example, “Our friendship is really important to me, I really care about you.”
- Loving Yourself:...Love yourself so you can hold steady when your partner has doubts and fears about the relationship.
- Tolerating Differences...Everyone has differencesof opinion. Agree to disagree.
- Being Understanding...If you can see life from the other person’s point of view, you’ll be more understanding and less judgmental.
- Enjoying Time Alone...If you can enjoy spending time alone or out with your friends, you will be less dependent on your mate. Feeling secure and independent will enable you to enjoy more of what life has to offer even when you can’t be together.
People who are insecure and lack self-esteem will sometimes use love relationships to boost their confidence or give themselves a sense of identity and purpose. When one relationship ends, they may anxiously seek another to replace it. Unfortunately this form of relationship seeking is self destructive and cannot substitute for true healing or personal direction.
Co-dependency and Infatuation are characterized by need rather than conscious decision making. Signs of co-dependency or infatuation include:
- Wanting to become one with the lover
- Feeling anxious about being loved in return
- Never feeling loved enough
- Idealizing the loved one
- Feeling insecure about being single.
- Experiencing extreme episodes of happiness or misery
In a co-dependent relationship, one typically neglects their own needs while hoping that their love and efforts will be reciprocated. A relationship of infatuation entails falling in love with a figment of one's imagination; the subject of infatuation is created from projected needs and desires, and is not representative of the individual who actually exists.
You will know you are at risk for developing unhealthy love relationships if you experience:
- A tendency to love too easily
- Feelings of entitlement or being overly deserving of love
- Frequent daydreams and fantasies about unattainable goals
- A need for more love from others than is usually reciprocated
- A high sensitivity to goodbyes and separations
- Defensive emotional reactions when criticized
- A failure to discuss anger or other negative emotions openly and directly
- A failure to discuss anger or other negative emotions openly and directly your emotional well being
- A primary focus on the needs of others while ignoring your own
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