Do you struggle at times to love your partner? Many people do. There are four commonly held beliefs —I call them myths— that ruin many romantic relationships. When you debunk these four myths you create new possibilities to make loving your partner easy.
The four myths that often cause pain and suffering are listed below
- Relating needs to be hard for people to grow
- Other people make us feel the way we do
- We can’t love another until we love ourselves
- Love is/should be unconditional
Relating needs to be hard for people to grow
Relating to our partners does not have to be hard. Yet, many people believe that when it is hard that gives them a chance to “do our personal work” and to grow. After counseling couples for over twenty years I have come to believe that when relating to our partner is easy, and we feel fundamentally safe and accepted — that’s when the real growth occurs because we are able to open our hearts and be present.
When we feel the need to defend ourselves we stop growing emotionally. Growth is no longer our focus; safety is. And focusing on safety, which implies we are in danger, stimulates our primitive brain, which urges us to fight, flee or freeze. None of these are conducive to intimacy.
And here’s the thing, if we remember that our partner is our friend, our lover, someone who is on our side, then there is no reason to ever be nasty, rude or overly aggressive with our partners. The reason we behave in those immature ways is because somewhere along the line we decided such behaviors are acceptable. But they aren’t, not if we want to make relating easy.
Other people make us feel the way we do
It is because we believe that other people make us feel the way we feel that we don’t feel safe. If I believe that you scare me, or make me angry, or intimidate me, then I have put the locus of control outside myself. In other words, you are the one who determines how I feel.
That’s a myth. There is a way to communicate that keeps the locus of control within ourselves. As soon as we start communicating in this way —taking responsibility for our feelings— we will be more in control and feel safer. We stop blaming our partner for how we feel. We stop projecting onto our partner. And as soon as we make this shift our level of anxiety is greatly decreased because we no longer feel the need to defend ourselves, and then we are more available to connect with our partners.
We can’t love another until we love ourselves
Some people say, “I can’t love my partner until I learn to love myself.” Another myth. Yes, there may be times when it is helpful to focus on learning to love oneself. However, we believe that loving another person is one of the things that helps us love ourselves. Loving oneself is not a prerequisite to loving others.
Love is/should be unconditional
Here’s the real bugaboo. This myth creates much confusion. One of the things that makes love easy is establishing conditions that allow both partners to relax. Without such conditions and some fundamental agreements there is too much uncertainty. And uncertainty leads to anxiety . . . anxiety leads to defending ourselves, distancing, disconnecting — and in that state it will be hard to love our partners because we’re too focused on protecting or defending ourselves.
The point of this article is to invite you to stop and question some of these myths —assumptions— that seem to be common. These myths are just ideas, not truths, but many people have bought into them and as a result they are at a disadvantage in creating an easy, uncomplicated romantic partnership.
In addition to these four myths we have also identified seven keys that make love easy. You’ll find them in this article, along with a free webinar replay on this subject. (Scroll to the bottom of the article to find the webinar replay).
We hope you take the time to dig into this material, because to make love easy requires more than quickly reading this and then going onto the next activity in your day. If you really want to learn how to make love easy, immerse yourself in this exploration. And if you need help, feel free to send us an email or comment on this article.