The romantic love fantasy is really a substitute for intimacy—real, connected, vulnerable intimacy.
So then, how do we make relationships work and stay happy?
We begin with the understanding of what pure love is, and then redefine and update the romantic fairytale into a healthier type of love.
1. Use relationships to teach you how to be whole within.
Relationships aren’t about having another person complete you, but coming to the relationship whole and sharing your life interdependently. By letting go of the romantic ideal of merging and becoming “one,” you learn as Rainer Maria Rilke says, to love the distances in relationship as much as the togetherness.
2. See your partner for who he or she really is.
The romantic tragedy occurs when you view the person you are in love with as a symbol of what they have come to represent, the idea of them. When you realize that more often than not you don’t really know your partner, you begin to discover who they are and how they change and evolve.
3. Be willing to learn from each other.
The key is to see the other as a mirror and learn from the reflection how you can be a better person. When you feel upset, rather than blame your partner and point fingers, remain awake to what has yet to be healed in yourself.
4. Get comfortable being alone.
In order to accept that love can’t rescue you from being alone, learn to spend time being with yourself. By feeling safe and secure to be on your own within the framework of relationship, you will feel more complete, happy, and whole.
5. Look closely at why a fight may begin.
Some couples create separateness by fighting and then making up over and over again. This allows you to continue the romantic trance, creating drama and avoiding real intimacy. If you become aware of what you fear about intimacy, you’ll have a better sense of why you’re fighting—and likely will fight far less.One thing that unites us is that we all long to be happy. This happiness usually includes the desire to be close to someone in a loving way.
6. Own who you are.
We generally grasp at romantic love because we’re yearning for something that is out of reach, something in another person that we don’t think we possess in ourselves. Unfortunately, when we finally get love, we discover that we didn’t get what we were looking for.True love only exists by loving yourself first. You can only get from another person what you’re willing to give yourself.
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