An Unexpected Twist On Romance

Feb 14, 2024
valentines day, couples, intimacy, relationships

Recently I was seeing my female doctor and we were talking about intimate relationships. One of the things that she said she's learned to ask women who are struggling with intimacy is “do you like your partner?” She never thought to ask it at the beginning of her career because she assumed that partners liked each other and, based on that assumption, treated the symptoms. But when that didn’t work, she realized quite quickly that the real issue had to do with something far deeper.

You might think this will be a blog touting the virtues of partnerships. I’ve been happily married for 30 years so that might make sense, but you would be wrong. Like my doctor, I’ve seen many couples who did not care for each other stay together for the sake of the children or because it was against their belief system to part ways or because they were lazy. Their marriages were not easy or enjoyable and then, when one person decided enough was enough and wanted out, that person often became the object of anger for violating an agreement they’d made decades earlier. This was especially true if the other person wasn’t aware of their partner's unhappiness or if they had deep religious or other beliefs about the importance of the union. Anger, hurt and a brokenness resulted, especially because a part of an identity was lost. When someone is used to be part of a "we", it's hard to lose that and this isn't exactly fun news to share.

When thinking about love and thinking about Valentine's Day - which is the day I am writing this on - it makes me think of Hollywood movies. In the movies, the focus is always on the development of the relationship; the initial attraction and desire for each other that brings the characters together. Lust and hormones make for an electric, fun, and intense storyline.

Lasting love, on the other hand, is both simple and complicated. Only the most talented Hollywood directors tackle the story about what happens after the initial newness of a relationship has worn off because it’s just not that naturally dramatic. And, the reality is, if your relationship is dramatic, it’s not probably not healthy. Companionship, stability, support and a feeling of belongingness don’t scream “take me now, or lose me forever!” Instead, they whisper, “I’m here for you, if you need me.”

If a long-term, happy relationship is what you want then my advice here might surprise you, but stick with me. Like attracts like. If you want a great relationship, you can get one by starting to  have a great relationship with yourself. I realize this is not where you thought we would go, but it is the truth. Mentally and emotionally healthy people attract the same unto themselves. Those who are wounded, insecure, needy, and/or unhappy will attract the same. Look at the people in your life - that will tell you a lot about yourself. Your relationship with your partner is not going to be a whole lot different than your other relationships because you are the central figure. 

So if you want a Valentine for many years to come that uplifts and excites you - one that you like - become that person. I encourage you to do the work of getting your own heart and head in a good place before deciding to swipe right or left on your dating app or say 'yes' to the any other invitations. Once you do the work, you'll quickly know if a relationship is worthy of all you have to offer. 

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