How to Stay in Love
Falling in love is easy. It's knowing how to stay in love that is the challenge!
Falling in Love
Falling in love is like eating ice-cream or spending a day at the beach… it requires no effort and involves a whole lot of pleasure. But staying in love – that’s the real challenge! And what makes it even more challenging is our beliefs about what love is supposed to be like. From the first fairy tales that we hear in our lives, to the Hollywood endings of the most beautiful love stories, we’re indoctrinated to believe that the prince and the princess will live happily ever after. The problem is just – so often they don’t!
Myths about Love
One of the reasons why we find staying in love so difficult is because we buy into the same old lies about love. Russ Harris, author of ACT with love
describes the big four lies of how to stay in love:
- The Perfect Partner: We would all love to believe that somewhere in this big wide world, there is a perfect partner for us: someone who is just waiting to make us happy, fulfil all our needs, and live with us forever after in a shower of romantic bliss. Guess what? Not so. As much as we wish it were true, there is no such thing as a perfect partner, just as there is no such thing as a perfect relationship. The problem with this myth is that the more we believe it, the more dissatisfied we allow ourselves to feel with our partner’s very real faults and flaws and shortcomings. It’s worth reminding ourselves that the grass only looks greener on the other side of the fence. Of course, I’m not saying that you should stay in a destructive relationship that’s really not working for you. I’m just advocating that you take an honest look at your own beiefs about how your partner should behave and what your relationship should be like for you to be happy. Notice the judgments you are making and when you get caught up in them. Are your thoughts helping your relationship or harming it?
- You Complete Me: Don’t you just love romantic comedies like Four Weddings and a Funeral, Bridget Jones’s Dairy, orWhen Harry met Sally? How about this one? Jerry Maguire. And how about that famous line where Jerry Maguire looks deeply into his girlfriend’s eyes and tells her: You complete me. Breath-taking stuff. But whoa – let’s just think about this for a second. If you go along with the myth that somehow you’re incomplete without your partner, you’re setting yourself up for all kinds of issues. It’s the perfect belief to buy into if you want to be needy, dependent and fearful of being alone, which isn’t exactly conducive to a healthy, vital relationship. The truth is that you’re already complete – regardless of whether you have a partner or not. And if you feel that you’re not, you have to find that completeness within yourself before you enter into a relationship. It’s only once you feel whole within yourself that you will know how to stay in love and be able to sustain a happy and whole relationship. This will allow you to be true to yourself in a relationship: to express yourself without reservations, to ask for what you need, and stand up for yourself without fear of rejection or abandonment.
- Love Should be Easy: …Really? Here you find yourself in a relationship with someone who has different thoughts and feeling;, different interests; different expectations about housework, sex, money, religion, parenting; a different style of communicating; different likes and dislikes, different standards of what is acceptable and what not; different habits and quirks that annoy you; and they come with a whole set of friends and relatives that you haven’t chosen and maybe don’t even get on with all that well. And we think love should be easy? The fact is that unless you enter into a relationship with your own identical twin (which is, umm, against the law) there will always be significant differences between you and even the most compatible partner. And this is why relationships will never be easy. You will know how to stay in love once you understand that a happy relationship is about acceptance and negotiation and dealing with conflict appropriately. It’s also about learning how to focus on the things that you have in common rather than any difference that may drive you apart.
- Everlasting Love: The idea of everlasting love is wonderfully romantic, but if you define love as a feeling, then you’re in for a rude awakening. Feelings tend to change much like the weather. So as long as we think of love as an emotional state, it will shrink, grow, disperse, and reappear – much like the clouds above continually change. An authentic, loving, meaningful relationship only really has a chance to develop after the first Romeo-and-Juliet intoxication wears off. After the honeymoon-phase there is an opportunity to build a relationship that is not founded on feelings but on love as an action. Think of it this way: the feeling of love comes and goes like the weather. You can’t control it. The action of love, on the other hand, is something you can do, regardless of how you’re feeling. Love is as much about connecting with the sort of partner you would like to be and the sort of relationship you would like to build and consistently revitalizing your relationship as it is about who you expect your partner to be in the relationship.
There are plenty more love myths floating around, but in the end it comes down to being open to creating the best relationship you can, given the limitations of reality, and accepting full responsibility for your own part in this process.
If you enjoyed this article on How to Stay in Love, feel free to browse the following pages too:
* Being in Love Signs
(From How to Stay in Love back to Healthy Love Relationships)
(From How to Stay in Love back to Healing Love Notes Home Page)
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