Allowing Relationships to Work: A Guide to Unconditional Love. ~ Demetra Szatkowski

Via Demetra Szatkowskion Oct 28, 2013

Photo: Jesadaphorn Chaiinkaew on Pixoto.

 It is disheartening to me to see how many people, young and old alike, believe that true love isn’t real.

After many failed relationships, people seem to give up, convincing themselves that if they don’t have it, nobody does. I think the reason for this is that they don’t love themselves enough. They think they aren’t worth it and it becomes too much effort to take responsibility for themselves.

Relationships do work.

That fairy-tale love you dreamed about since you were little? You are not doomed. It exists. I know this because after many failed attempts, I am in a real relationship and it is the most beautiful thing in the entire world.

Healthy relationships are based on love. That doesn’t mean that the first time you meet someone, you need to fall in love with them. It simply means that you need to be open to love. All of your actions must have loving intentions.

Many people in this world may operate from a space of fear—that doesn’t mean you have to. Neither does your partner. There just isn’t any room in love for fear. Love is the all-encompassing thing that you are, not just a simple feeling. Fear and worry are negative states that thrive on attachment. When you attach to someone, you will inevitably drive them away. It is crucial to be able to love without feeling attached. If you are living in fear and worry, you are not loving as much as you possibly can. Love more and fear less. This is only possible when you are secure and happy with yourself, exactly the way you are.

Of course, there is one caveat: the other person needs to feel the same way you do. You can love as much as you want, but it will never be the same as it could be if the other person was reciprocating. Don’t get me wrong—love all the time. Send it out into the world. It is just going to be a different type of love than the love you would exchange with a partner. In a relationship that “works,” both people love equally.

All you can do is love as much as you can. If your partner doesn’t feel the same way, you are allowed to love them from a distance. Leave.

Don’t stay in a relationship where you aren’t completely happy, because good relationships really do exist and you deserve to have one.

Wish the other person the best and move on.

The problem human beings usually have in relationships is that we don’t value ourselves enough. When we don’t value ourselves enough, we inevitably accept less than we deserve. When that happens, there seem to be two main outcomes, although I’m sure there are more. One is that we begin to make excuses for our partners. We let them treat us however they want and we believe that as long as we hold on, we can make everything okay. Since we don’t know any better, we start to think that it really doesn’t get any better than what we already have. We don’t think anyone out there has it better, and if they do, it’s probably because they deserve it more than we do.

The other outcome is that we begin to blame everything on our partners. Since it is easier to find fault with them than to find fault with ourselves, we believe that the reason the relationship isn’t happy is because of them. We don’t love ourselves enough to feel accepted as we are, so we can’t admit our flaws. It becomes impossible to examine them. If we can’t acknowledge and work on our own flaws, we will never be able to be in a truly successful relationship.

Look—it’s totally okay for a relationship to come to an end. It will never feel pleasant when it does end (unless, of course, you never really liked the other person.) I’m sorry, but it is entirely possible to understand it, and yes, to even love that it happened in time. As long as you recognize that the universe has your best interests at heart, you can be secure in knowing that everything always works out for the best.

When you love yourself, it doesn’t matter if anyone else loves you.

This might not show up as a feeling of joy; rather, it will probably be a feeling of deep security. I see the end of a relationship as a progression, not a failure. How can you fail if everything is always exactly as it should be? You learn from it and move on, whether you’re 20, 50 or 85-years-old.

After many failed relationships, one-night stands and everything in between, I am in a relationship that is full of unconditional love. This is what it looks like:

I love myself just as much as I love him. I know when I need time to myself and he is secure enough in my love for him that he doesn’t resent me for taking it. He is me and I am him. If he pulls away, I let him, because I know that if he loves me he will come back. I am fully and unapologetically myself. So is he. I don’t think it would work otherwise. Yes, sometimes he annoys me. Instead of getting mad, I figure out what he is triggering in me, and why, and I work on that quality. Starting a fight would make me feel terrible, so I refuse to do it. We still have never had an issue worth fighting about.

If he were to leave/cheat/do something awful, I would not be happy, I would be extremely sad. I would allow myself to feel the pain, knowing it would pass, and I would let him go. Even then, I would still love him—it just might be from a distance.

That is unconditional love and it is possible for everyone.


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 Assistant Ed: Miciah Bennett/ Ed: Cat Beekmans

{Photo: Pixoto.}

About Demetra Szatkowski

Demetra Szatkowski practices and teaches yoga, plays on aerial silks, talks to trees and listens to the universe.  She believes that love and happiness should be everyone’s first priority.  She is particularly interested in psychology and how thoughts and emotions affect the human body. You can contact her through Facebook.


11 Responses to “Allowing Relationships to Work: A Guide to Unconditional Love. ~ Demetra Szatkowski”

  1. cchica121 says:

    I really enjoyed reading this article and I think it's nice and refreshing to read something from someone who sounds very healthy emotionally. I think the way you treat your relationship and your partner is a true sign of maturity and gives me hope that one day I will find that too!

  2. Ahsa says:

    This article really spoke to me. Thank you, Demetra! I needed to be assured these things. :)

  3. Emily Alp emilyalp says:

    LOVE this!!!!!! Thank you for writing it–just sent to my sis. We are our own fans and now also your fans! <3

  4. Jenna Penielle Lyons The Lyoness says:

    Thanks for the wonderful and HELPFUL read! Xoxox

  5. kayra says:

    I’m going to have to come back and reread this a few times. I am not sure if I agree with all of it. I’m 43 and my husband cheated. I stayed. But I can’t shake the fear. I’ve had moments of being able to detach enough to love. But it is so difficult when you’ve been together for 24 years and you’ve raised kids together, and your families have become each other’s families. It’s not that simple to detach and move on when your lives are completely intertwined. And yet, it’s impossible to shake the fear and anger from the betrayal. So I don’t know if your point is an ideal that I should return to, or if your point is an ideal that is naive and hasn’t yet been tested by time, age and experience.

    • sleuthgoose says:

      Kayra, I am so sorry that you are experiencing that kind of hardship. I don't know the details of your situation obviously, but you are absolutely correct in saying that neither path you choose is easy. Whether you choose to stay with your partner or leave the relationship, you have to grieve, and that can take a lot of time. The grieving process is a letting go of the relationship you once had, and either rebuilding and transforming the current relationship together, or rebuilding and transforming your life independently. Couples have come back from this kind of thing, even stronger than before, but it takes time and faith and an almost inconceivable amount of bravery. You will learn to see things clearly in time, without fear in the way. I am sorry you are experiencing this. Sending good vibes to you.

    • Demetra says:

      Hi Kayra,

      It's true that I've never been married, so I can't argue not knowing about that. My parents, though, were married 21 years and are currently going through a divorce that probably should have happened a long time ago. From what I've seen, trying to stay together after a betrayal because it seems easier and better for the family as a whole doesn't really benefit anyone. Especially if you haven't gotten over it.. I don't know that you really can and be happy without moving on. It's not simple at all – I never said it was. It's actually traumatizing and heartbreaking and stressful and awful. But at least through that there is a chance for growth and the ability to find true happiness somewhere else, instead of being stuck

  6. Anna says:

    Dear Kayra

    I have just read your comment. I don't know whether any of this still applies to you so long after you posted it but I am sure there are many others in your position – which was also my position around 3-4 years ago – so I am posting this comment in the hope that it is of some help and comfort to whoever needs it.

    I am 49, I have 4 kids ranging in age from 8 to 17. Three years ago I divorced my husband after 25 years together. The excuse was that he cheated on me. But the real reason was that for a very long time neither one of us had been happy in our marriage. Cheating is a symptom not a cause. I am glad I did not stay in the marriage. What we had was not true love. It was not unconditional in any sense of the word. It was me making compromises all the time for a quiet life, for the sake of the kids and to keep my ex-husband happy. I gave up my career and negated a large part of my personality to fit in to his idea of the perfect wife and still repeatedly came way short of his expectations. He even blamed me for his affair. Said I didn't pay him enough attention, that I put weight on after childbirth (I've never been bigger than a size 8!), that I was too tired to stay up partying with him, that I always put the kids first, I am sure you've heard these and more other criticisms yourself, as has any other mother unlucky enough to be married to an asshole out there… And, I am ashamed to say, I started to believe him… He crushed my self confidence to such an extent that I thought I was worthless and deserved all the disrespect I got from him. Total. Utter. Bullshit! Designed to keep me quiet and under control while he carried on with his life sharing none of the work or responsibilities of having a family and undermining my confidence at every opportunity.

    Of course I didn't realise any of that during the marriage. I assumed that what we had was the norm. That true love didn't exist. That life was all about compromise and negating myself was necessary and expected of me for the sake of my marriage and my family. That, as I later learned, was of course me making excuses, for myself and for my ex. Luckily for me I saw the light and got the hell out of there before I totally suffocated.

    And now for the good news: True love does exist. And it is unconditional. And it can make you feel amazing, rather than stressed and scared. I can't tell you what to do about your marriage but I can tell you that I have never been happier than since my divorce and that I never understood and felt true love until I started seeing someone else and experienced the real thing after my divorce. I am not in a romantic relationship with that person anymore but the love and understanding, respect and admiration for him and for the new me that I have become thanks to him are still there.

    I can't tell you how glad I am that I did not settle for a crappy marriage and did not continue put up with any more misery and unhappiness by staying in my marriage. I would never have experienced how perfect the real thing could be if I had stayed married. Just for the short time it lasted, it was worth it and now I know that the real thing does exist I know what I am looking for and maybe one day I will have it again. But even if I don't, I have no doubt I won't settle for anything less than the real thing out of fear of loneliness. I am happy as I am. Anything more would be a bonus.

    Do what you need to do, but don't lay responsibility (and ultimately the blame) on the kids, the families or anyone else for your choices and your happiness. This is all about you. You alone are responsible for your happiness and for how your life turns out. You can change whatever you are not happy about. You are stronger than you think. And you are definitely worth it. You only get one shot at life, don't waste it. Don't settle for less than you deserve and don't stay miserable. Whatever you chose to do, whether you stay or leave, make that choice out of love not fear. I know it's not easy but trust me you can do it. And don't ever forget that everything works out exactly as it is supposed to, for the best.

    Good luck! x

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