Getting the love you need in all circumstances

Posted 2/2/22

Since February is referred to as the Month of Love, this column is about relationships, whether you are coupled or single.

If you are in a happy relationship, I applaud you. That isn’t an …

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Getting the love you need in all circumstances


Since February is referred to as the Month of Love, this column is about relationships, whether you are coupled or single.

If you are in a happy relationship, I applaud you. That isn’t an easy thing to maintain, for a variety of reasons. Also, if you are single by choice, I applaud you as well. You are living the life you want. I wrote the books, “Secrets of Happy Couples” and “Choosing Me Now” to address how to best love one another and how to love yourself, respectively. This column attempts to highlight that information.

As a couples’ counselor and coach, I notice several themes in relationships; landmines, if you will. Be careful not to step on any of them.

Working hard to change your partner to be more like the person you want them to be. We use a variety of behaviors to make that happen: complaining, blaming, criticizing, nagging, guilting, emotional blackmail, threatening, punishing or bribing to control someone. None of these behaviors ever strengthen a relationship; instead they chip away at the foundation of the relationship you are trying to improve. Sure, you may get compliance with what you want in the moment, but how do you think your partner receives your efforts? It feels like you don’t think they are good enough as they are and that you don’t like them very much.

Using sex and romance as weapons instead of expressions of the love you feel for one another. At the beginning of a relationship, there are copious expressions of sex and romance, but over time, these begin to diminish as life encroaches on the relationship. Typically, one person in the couple prefers sex, while the other prefers romance. If you aren’t vigilant, you and your partner may begin to use what the other one values, rewarding them for good behavior or restricting sex or romance as a punishment for not living up to the other person’s desires.

When it comes to tools for getting what you want, make sex and romance off-limits in your relationship. Instead, only engage them as the expression of the love you have for your partner, even when you may not be feeling so loving. It’s what’s good for the relationship.

Losing yourself in the relationship to the whims of your partner. Often the person in the relationship with the biggest need for connection falls prey to this challenge. In their desire to keep their partner happy, they may accommodate so much that they lose who they are. They are doing, thinking and being the way their partner wants them to be. No relationship is worth losing yourself over.

Sometimes, this can happen because you haven’t ever truly gotten to know who you are. If this is you, I recommend a self-discovery journey. This is outlined thoroughly in “Choosing Me Now.” Sometimes it’s because you fear the loss of the relationship if you assert yourself. Whatever the reason, become your own person. You are much more attractive when you are. While it may feel good in the beginning, having a partner so malleable becomes boring over time.

Learn more about maintaining a strong, healthy relationship in “Secrets of Happy Couples.”

If you are not in a relationship during the Month of Love and you wish you were, then go on that journey of self-discovery; it will culminate in a loving relationship with yourself. If you’ve never entertained the idea, or it sounds hokey or scary, that’s all right. Feeling the fear and doing it anyway is what courage is all about.

The first step to loving yourself is getting to know yourself. What do you enjoy? What activities do you like? What are the hobbies you enjoy? What do you think about important issues? Who are you?

Learn about your five basic needs: safety and security, connection, significance, freedom and joy. Figure out which ones you are rocking and which could use some work. The goal is to create enough to fill each need as you want without it resulting in an overflow. Having too little or too much can cause unhappiness for you.

Make plans and follow them to achieve a balanced life for youself. Balanced means you have exactly the amount of each need filled as you want. Finally recognize that you have everything you need already. You are safe. You are love. You are significant. You are free. And you are joy.

You need to take responsibility for filling your own needs. Do not abdicate that responsibility to anyone else. You are also responsible for your own happiness. No one else can give you lasting happiness. You may experience momentary pleasure but that long-term happiness, in any setting, under all circumstances, is your responsibility.

There is no reason you can’t have the love you want during this Month of Love, whether it comes from someone else directed at you, from you directed at yourself or from within you, surrounding you and emanating out to others. Have it on Valentine’s Day, every day in February and every day for the rest of your life.

love, relationship, themes, self-discovery, Month of Love, health


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