I read somewhere the other day that love is supposed to be easy.
That it shouldn’t make us suffer, and it shouldn’t make us overthink. Then I reflected on my past relationships, and indeed, I’ve found that I had a few “easy” dates, maybe flings, or temporary romantic adventures.
Looking closer, none of these “easy” whatever-you-want-to-call-them lasted, really. They were fun and happy and movie-like, but that was it. It began easily, it was easy in the middle, and it ended even easier.
That’s my own story. Different people meet different lovers, and your experience could be nothing like mine. But I think we could agree on one thing: love isn’t supposed to be easy.
Adventures are easy. Flings are easy. Sex is easy. But love, the one that binds two people in a relationship, is nothing like easy. So I took a closer look at the other relationships I had. Obviously, they weren’t easy, but they were significant.
And “not easy” doesn’t mean foolish. It doesn’t mean a mistake. It doesn’t mean young and stupid and in love. “Not easy” means that our choice at the time was a reflection of our emotional growth.
I’m not talking about the people we are in a relationship with. Partners are only vessels who lead us to where we are supposed to be. I’m talking about the relationship itself, its essence, its purpose.
In my own experience, there are two kinds of relationships that most of us might come across:
1. The one that doesn’t evolve beyond “not easy.”
We all agree that this relationship is difficult, but we should understand that it could never evolve beyond that. It’s challenging, complicated, and painful, but no matter what we do, or say, or try, it feels as if this is how it’s supposed to remain.
When I say “difficult,” it doesn’t mean that it’s not happy or pleasant as well. It’s a normal relationship like any other relationship out there. The sex could be great and the laughter could be irreplaceable. But when it does get difficult—when conflict happens, when anger takes place—we feel stuck in limbo.
Although we might be aware of how we could change or grow or learn, it feels uncomfortable and sometimes impossible to do that. The only growth that takes place is when the relationship is terminated. This is when we feel comfortable enough to evolve.
2. The one that evolves beyond easy.
This relationship is difficult as well. Like any other relationship, there are fights, there are disagreements, there are moments of agony, but there’s always something new afterward. There’s either a lesson that we could put into action in the relationship, or a personal realization.
In this relationship, the “not easy” helps us grow, evolve, and turn the bond into a healthy and conscious space. No ending is required to grow. No one needs to leave. In fact, the longer partners stay together, the more mindful they (and the relationship) become.
The difference between this type and the other one is that in this relationship we transform our pain. Unlike the other one, suffering doesn’t linger, and it doesn’t hurt us for long. It becomes something better—something bigger.
Time is irrelevant. Some of us are still feeling stuck in limbo in relationships that have been going on for decades. Maybe there are kids involved, maybe we got used to the destructive cycle, maybe it’s our only haven.
Regardless, I think it’s important to know which kind of relationship we are in. If we understand how our relationships affect us, we can make better choices. We don’t have to leave or terminate the relationship. All we have to do is look at how our relationships make us feel.
The first kind—the one that could never evolve—makes us feel stuck, uncomfortable, and maybe unworthy. The second one makes us feel purposeful, loved, and safe.
That said, relationships aren’t supposed to be easy. But they are supposed to make us feel at ease.
So ask yourself today: how is my relationship making me feel? Do I feel stuck? Is it helping me grow? Am I seeing the patterns?
Is your relationship not easy? It’s okay.
But do you feel at ease?