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: Catherine Monkman