I offer a facility for separate sessions - Please note, for relationship counselling, marriage counselling, relationship advice, I ONLY see individuals who want to work through their OWN concerns, issues in their relationship, privately.
I don't see couples for relationship counselling or marriage counselling.
Love Needs, Love Addiction, Love Addicts - Relationship Counselling
Nature Of Love In Its Many Forms
Let your teacher be love itself...Rumi
Forms Of Love How to evolve as a loving human being, make love last may matter to us as may being ready, willing, choosing, deciding to love no longer avoiding love. The nature of love has many variations including nature itself, the parental love in its nurturing form, sibling love, a platonic love not involving any romance or sexual interest (e.g. a close friend), a limerent form of love (where there may be unspoken romantic or sexual feelings). Shades of love vary and there can be a difference between loving someone and being in love with them. Some of us may passively wait for love. The energy of love can be experienced and expressed in many different ways, through: blind love, unrequited love, love sickness, obsessive love, perfect love, idealised love, possessive love, passionate love, consummate love, empty love, giving, receiving and sharing love, reciprocated love, requited love, dependent love, interdependent love(see also State Of Interdependence (Coming Together As A Couple Yet Retaining Our Separate Identity)), codependent love, romantic love, selfless love, unconditional love and altruistic love, compassionate love and enduring love, mature love through self-awareness, physical love, e.g. through loving touch, embracing each other, hugging, kissing, erotic love, including sexual arousal, attraction, sexual love, spiritual love (including our search to know a spiritual Love), being love, universal love, consciousness. There are many qualities of love, ingredients of love, expressions of love. Love can be painful, elusive at times as we wait for love (and we may be holding on to unhelpful love beliefs). A part of us may feel unworthy of love, loving, closing down our heart, lovability. Some of us may sabotage love. We may want to explore our fear of love, falling in and out of love, what stops our readiness, willingness, choice to love, risk love through our personal love challenges. We may want to think about how much we avoid love - love avoidance, our relationship style, how loving we are to ourself - self-love. As we open our heart, we may have a passion or love of: beauty, nature, animals - a pursuit or interest close to our heart or a love of others and humanity (including that of our own), being part of a shared community. We may experience an embracing love - belonging to humanity, inclusive and respectful, serving others and wanting to share how we love. Most forms of love support our self worth. (See also What Is Love?)
And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: it is only with the heart that one can see rightly,Antoine de Saint-Exupery
what is essential is invisible to the eye.
The most authentic thing about us is our capacity to create, to overcome, to endure, to transform,Ben Okri
to love and to be greater than our suffering.
Chemical Change In Our Bodies Certain studies have shown that the neurotransmitters in our brain react differently to these different forms of love through serotonin, oxytocin and dopamine. We may have certain peak experiences. (See also High-Low Addiction Model)
The greatest pleasure of life is love.Euripides
Shades Of Love There are infinite shades of love, ways of giving, receiving love, sharing love, being loving (see also Ingredients Of Love, Expressions Of Love, Mutuality - Being Loving In Our Actions - Actively Showing Our Love). There are many qualities of love and we experience and express our love in many ways. Saying the words "I love you" can be said and felt in different ways dependent on who and how we express our love to. The love we have towards a child is different to the love we have for our brothers, sisters, friends, which again has a very different quality to the love that we have and express towards a parent (see also Forms Of Love). Expressing love towards our intimate partner has a different texture...
When you love someone all your saved-up wishes start coming out.Elizabeth Bowen
Loving Someone Or Being in Love With Them There is a difference between "I love you" and "I am in love with you" (see also Am I Really In Love? Am I In Love?). We may love and care for our friends, family, be emotionally attached to them, yet not be in love with them, which is reserved for our romantic or sexual love.
Love is space and time measured by the heart.Marcel Proust
What Is Love? How can something like the unscientific, subjective experience of love, the chemistry of love be defined - especially when we all have our own personalised love maps, resonance (see also Forms Of Love). We may confuse: longing with loving, desire or sexual union for love, excitement for love, obsessive love with a deeper love, love with approval, the getting of love with the sharing of love. The limits of language, culture and our own love beliefs also make it hard to define love. The nature of love is not just a thing - something that can be measured, understood. Love is not what we say, not simply what we give or get - it's more what we do. It is a felt experience through the heart and soul of who we are and until we experience it we may not know how to love - expressing this or experiencing this in our lives. It is such an active indefinable, evolving force of nature. Love is not only an emotion, but also a skill to be learned, practised, a challenge where love tests us, including a sacrifice, which includes accepting we won't get everything we need from love, our relationship. Love can be elusive, mysterious, paradoxical. Love can be experienced in silence - on our own, yet is also connecting, embracing. Expression of genuine love includes kindness, gently helping others to be the best versions of themselves. It has many meanings, evoking personal reactions in us (see also What Is Being Communicated - Listening To Our Inner Voice). Love and suffering can be experienced as two sides of a coin and it is through the pain and joy of life as we open our heart we also contact our lovability. And when our heart is open, love can express itself through self-care and care of others. Absence of love erodes our esteem. Love is not judgemental, indifferent, apathetic and it is said that these alongside fear are the opposites of love. Love expects nothing in return and is therefore not conditional. Love is a wake up call and when love includes our will it is driven to emotional growth towards connection and expression. Love is open and requires a letting go. Love is who we are and is not about what we do, yet love does not exist until it intentionally acts with conscious effort through our drive to love and meet our basic dependency needs (see also How We Love). Love is not a potential of stored up energy, a characteristic we acquire or a possession we have, it is a proactive decision to love - a choice, a cultivated action ("What would love do now?" may be important to address), where we do the actions of loving, and motion in our thoughts and responses, a process as we learn about love (see also What We May Need To Learn Through Our Relationship System). And learning about love may include being real (not as fantasy figures),so we can love each other as we truly are, responding to the challenges of truth. In this truth also lies our and others' shadow, the unappealing parts of us and others, who are mistaken, broken, disgraced, ashamed, angry, hateful, resentful, frightened, messed up, lost, stuck. Love is also gentle and benevolent, forgiving towards us and others, directing our sympathy in unexpected directions, not just towards perfection. There are many qualities, ingredients, expressions of love, shades of love. Love as a practice, grows stronger and is ultimately an act of generosity. Love is inspiring and an inspired art and the nature of love can be experienced as an act of creativity and imagination and can appear, flourish, reignite, in all sorts of places, times, beauty. Love is irrational (and can also be connected to our pheromones). Moments of love can be spontaneous and surprising. Love is simplicity, it makes us feel good (with the possible exception of tough love) and right. Love can feel full, fulfilling, alive, vibrant, calm, peaceful. Love can feel safe and nurturing, fun and pleasurable, captivating. Yet to love is also to be vulnerable and where there is love, there is acceptance. Having compassion for ourselves and others are also aspects of love. Love enhances our outlook and disposition, making us happy, joyful, empowering our response, informing our actions, making our life more meaningful. Love has the potential to heal, embrace and integrate, tolerating all differences. Love is also a motive. Love is also grace, gratitude. Love can feel expansive in it's fullest form touches all our senses and experience of our sensual, instinctual, emotional (see also Good Feelings, Elevated Moods, Elevated Emotions), physical, mental selves. Love is who we are - influencing our presence, interactions and actions. Love is transformational and as we transform so too may our relationship. Sometimes surrendering fully to love (see also The Pain & Joy Of Life - Opening Our Heart To Heal Love) can be experienced as light, an energetic force in life, forever changing - flowing between giving, receiving and sharing love through the lover, being loving, being loved, being love, at times all one, whole - belonging with humanity, (larger than individual experiences or aspects of love), when we feel connected, at one with everything - a universal love and we may experience Love as what spirit is - our deepest source of love. Love is infinite and the relationship counselling can be a space to explore navigating the course of love.
Love has reasons which reason cannot understand.Blaise Pascal
Energy Of Love - Being In Touch With A Real Love Embodying the power of love - its energy, as a motivation, may be our challenge. Sometimes we express our real love - the joy, passion, aliveness, creativity within us through an active will, and on other occasions it is an inspiring feeling emanating spontaneously within us yet can also be expressed through an energy field around us (see also In Tune With Us, Community & The Wider World, Our Interdependence, Interconnectedness). When we are in touch with our own vitality and energy of love, being open to our personal love challenges, we are freer to live our potential to love. And synthesising our love with our power - harnessing our love with our will can be a powerful force and when we open our heart to ourselves and others, we feel differently inside (and can be received differently). The energy of love is spacious, absorbs, accepts, is experienced by us, known and felt by others. It makes us happy, feels secure. How we love, opening our own heart and expressing this has an energetic resonance. The energy of love needs expression and to be returned, met, shared, as evidence of its existence (see also Reciprocated Love, Requited Love). We may also express or experience love through touch, eye contact, loving words our simple appreciation, kindness, compassion, aspirations, our desires, passions, sexual desire, passion. We may express, experience different forms of love, shades of love, where loving someone and being in love with them is felt differently. In our relationship we can feel more emotionally connected (see also Ingredients Of Love, Expressions Of Love, Mutuality - Being Loving In Our Actions - Actively Showing Our Love). The energy of love can be calm and peaceful, exciting, vibrant, joyous and very alive, allow love into our being. The energy of love moves, changes, it flows, can be light and creative. Love can feel connecting, embracing (see also Consciousness In & Beyond Us) and for some may be experienced as spiritual source. (See also What Is Love?)
Real love is never ownership, only stewardship of this moment's experiences.Karen Casey
Energy Of Love In Our Relationship, Marriage Am I really in love may be a question we hold. Just because two people love each other it doesn't mean the relationship will work (especially when holding conscious, unconscious expectations, assumptions). We all can get better and wiser about loving, look at ways we sabotage love. We may want to develop a relationship slowly - honouring ourself in this process so our partner is not responsible for making us feel good. What we resonate affects us and others. The energy of our love (influenced by our early attachment style) may be blocked if we are holding tension, stuck in our head, fearful, anxious, depressed, feel unsafe, disconnected or need to control and we may struggle to risk sharing a more real love. And when we are not anxious, have let go of our tension, the energy of our love can grow, we can feel safe in our heart, have the potential to experience that we are love as part of our nature, we don't have to try so hard to love, be loving or give our life-force away to others. (In our relationship one of us may pull, the other push away.) Real love is unconditional.
Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened.Buddha
Loving Someone When It's Hard - Opening Our Heart To Others, Even When Things Are Difficult It can be a challenge to be open to love when things are difficult. Being connected to who we are, internally safe, secure, anchored, grounded, in our adult self provides us with a base to be present with the other, curious, patient in understanding their innermost world, even in conflict, disagreement, distress as we openly give, receive, share love as a natural act of being alive. Our difficulties may include when others are coming from a wounded place, affecting our own wounds and when our partner is unloving (see also Relationship Hurt, Fear Of Getting Hurt). We may be wondering what gets in the way of our loving, especially if we feel controlled, hurt, rejected. Holding back our love, we may struggle to choose to open to love, risk love, letting it in, feeling it in our being, sharing it. Sometimes our heart may contract, instinctively blocking our loving feelings and we may choose safety over love or struggle to embrace our vulnerability. From our empty, wounded, defended place we may try to get love (or validation, approval, affirmation, reassurance, confirmation, permission, recognition, appreciation, praise, attention, adoration, admiration) from others, or by trying to control our partner. Compassionately acknowledging that we can't change our partner, may help us. From our anxious place, painbody, maybe fearful of love, some of us may be stuck in our head, analysing, trying to work things out, how to love. Yet our thinking mind may get in the way and not understand that as our heart opens (where simplicity and compassion live) and we drop into the core of our being, our reality shifts. Reminding ourself that our heart opens and closes, and allowing for our rawness when our heart is closed, may soothe us. Softening our heart, being compassionate and gentle, tender, vulnerable, choosing to love in our grief of being human and lack of control over outcomes may warm our heart. And opening our heart may include of playing, laughing, crying, being courageous, willingness to learn, even through conflict. Being loving, opening our heart to both ourselves and others is always a choice, as is allowing for spontaneity, surprises. When our heart is open, things change, we relax, feel more emotionally connected and able to extend our love to others in their imperfections yet lovability. Letting go of old patterns, being kind with generosity of spirit, opening our heart to love with those around us, may be of a different quality. Allowing the impulse of our heart, yielding to our willingness to be free to love with our whole heart without guarantees, can move things in us and our relationships. As we open our heart, so too may others around us. For some, listening to the voice of our Self - our heart, opening our heart can also bring us an experience of safety, joy, aliveness and peace, sense of the spiritual.
Keep love in your heart. A life without it is like a sunless garden when the flowers are dead.Oscar Wilde
The consciousness of loving and being loved brings a warmth and a richness to life that nothing else can bring.
Qualities Of Love Unlike fear, self-centredness, which can be defensive, protective of closed heart, the nature of love is openhearted and giving (to ourselves and others), unconditional, embracing, accepting, softer and curious with the potential to transform. Loving can be experienced as taking a leap of faith, being in our power (yet vulnerable), as simplicity, peacefulness, joyousness, compassion and aliveness, vitality, devotion.
Love is life. And if you miss love, you miss life.Leo Buscaglia
Ingredients Of Love, Expressions Of Love, Mutuality - Being Loving In Our Actions - Actively Showing Our Love Alongside supporting our partner to be the best version of themselves, accepting ourselves and our partner may be a base ingredient for love. Giving, receiving and sharing love, mutuality, emotionally connecting with our partner, fostering companionship can be enhanced in many ways through simply being together, enjoying each other's company or having special, quality moments together. These may include establishing simple rituals of acknowledgement, connection between us as a couple - our own ones as a couple, alongside our "hello's", "good bye's", facial expressions, giving eye contact and of course through being warm in our gestures, looks, a smile, touch and physical connection, hugging, stroking, kissing, skin to skin contact, being cherishing, romantic, trusting, intimate, sexual. We can be loving at times through being selfless and doing things, offering and sharing something - giving our time, energy and resources, affection, expressing intimate emotions, being vulnerable and tender - enhancing trust and security. We all have distinctive ways of feeling loved, giving love. Our loving may include being empathic, through thoughtful actions (giving our time, praise, advice, practical help), being compassionate, caring, generous often in small, simple ways, forgiving, having grace, counting our and others' blessings, spending quality time together, caring, complimenting our partner, showing our appreciation, gratitude, offering affirming words, being openhearted, nurturing, protective and taking care and responsibility for our partner at times, so we can develop a love that lasts - not based on what we get, but showing our loving nature by seeing and truly cherishing our own and partner's essence - their mystery, our true authentic selves. Other ingredients of love may include risking honesty, being original, playful, including laughter, being "in the moment", spontaneous, surprised and giving surprises, offering small yet meaningful gifts, supporting our partner's joy and freedom - what they want for themselves rather than what we think they should want (or we want for them), anywhere, anytime in expected and unexpected places (see also Our Readiness, Willingness, Choice & Decision To Love).
How We Love Some may try to use or direct love rather than being loving. The way we love - give, receive, share love (see also Relationship Choreography, How We Engage - States Of Relating, Relating States) may also be linked to early connections and bonding patterns and the impact of our past may affect our relationships now. (See also Relationship Style, Attachment Patterns)
Fruit Salad Of Love We've all been brought up with social, cultural, cinematic, romantic novel definitions of love, which may not only enhance but also limit the full and rich variations to love and interact. We may want to open our heart, tuning into the nature of our love and art of loving, awareness, consciousness - be love, expressing the shades of love in all its possibilities, as if selecting fruit from a fruit bowl of love containing fruits throughout the world, in love's shapes, sizes, smells, sights, colours, textures, tastes and qualities.
Sanskrit has ninety-six words for love; ancient Persian has eighty, Greek three, and English only one.Robert Johnson
This is indicative of the poverty of awareness or emphasis that we give to that tremendously important realm of feeling.
Eskimos have thirty words for snow, because it is a life-and death matter to them to have exact information
about the element they live with so intimately. If we had a vocabulary of thirty words for love...
we would immediately be richer and more intelligent in this human element so close to our heart.
An Eskimo probably would die of clumsiness if he had only one word for snow;
we are close to dying of loneliness because we have only one word for love.
Of all the Western languages, English may be the most lacking when it come to feeling.
A Love Of Our Interests Not all love is for people, we may love our pets, animals, nature, places, even objects we love - maybe books, music, dance, art, even our bike, car, computer. For some of us our love of inanimate objects, things, may be a way in which we struggle to emotionally connect, be intimate with others. (See also Being & Doing - Dilemmas We May Hold)
Love Of Humanity Our humanity includes what we all have in common (see also In Tune With Us, Community & The Wider World, Our Interdependence, Interconnectedness) - our vulnerability, imperfections and not knowing things, self doubt, sadness, suffering and love, joy, laughter, creativity, will and motivation, our body, feelings, mind, spirituality, sexuality. We may have a love of the human race, world, peace. Yet some of us may struggle to get on, connect, be intimate with people close to us. The counselling and psychotherapy can explore this further.
I am human, and I think nothing human is alien to me.Publius Terentius Afer
Compassionate Love We may be seeking a more lasting compassionate love in our relationship, marriage (see also Embracing Ourselves With Compassion & Understanding For Us & Others, Being Loving, Sharing Love With Others - What May Help Us). Our compassionate love can be experienced as what is left after the intensity of the early, sexually charged fire, passionate love has settled, served its time, transformed towards a deeper, compassionate warm glow of enduring love. A good relationship doesn't have to mean we are awake every morning consumed by passion (not that the passion has to go away). Our compassionate love between each other is different to that of a passionate love (see also Sexual Desire, Energy, Passion, Eroticism, Imagination, Fantasy, Drives, Urges, Impulses). It can be experienced as a more contained, secure and stable experience and can have a stronger, deeper and fuller, enduring quality to it, burning slowly away (see also The art of loving sexual union can occur). Our compassionate love can enhance our maturity as a couple and may include feelings of a lasting attachment, complementary bond of companionship, emotional connection, intimacy, trust, commitment and mutual respect, genuine affection in our actions. And we may want to express and show the warmth or tingle we feel, when we simply see our partner across the room - they are ours, that sometimes when we kiss, a spark that may still burn between us, deep in our hearts. (See also Consummate Love)
Consummate Love Linked to the triangular theory of Robert Steinberg consummate love can be viewed as an ideal, achievable in moments, challenging to permanently maintain. It is said that certain components of consummate love support a balanced loving relationship - a passion, intimacy and commitment, where we both love and like our partner, have some shared values and the amount of love we experience may be dependent on the strength of these components. The therapy can explore how these inter-related elements (and compassionate love), relationship phases affect us. We may for example only feel passion towards our partner, which ends up being infatuation. Some of us may feel intimate with our partner, yet lack passion or commitment, ending up liking our partner as a companion, yet not loving them. Others may experience an empty love (which may point to an experience of emptiness inside us), where there is commitment without intimacy or passion. As our relationship, marriage evolves, so too may the different elements of our consummate love, as they balance out. Yet having an intimate, passionate, committed perfectly balanced state of consummate love all at the same time may be rare. We may for example be passionate in one phase, more intimate in another or committed in another phase.
Romance In The Relationship Or Marriage
Being Romantic One or both of us may have lost or forgotten how to bring the romance back into relationship, be out of touch with our drive to be romantic. Bringing romance back into our relationship, marriage (without obsessing about romance, become easily infatuated), adding some old or new spice can be refreshing, exciting and fulfilling. We may desire to rekindle our relationship, passion, love and romance and this can be explored in the relationship counselling or marriage counselling. What is romantic for one, may not be for another, and responding to what our partner romantically appreciates may be important. Being willing to try new things, so our romantic offerings are appreciated may help (see also Ingredients Of Love, Expressions Of Love, Mutuality - Being Loving In Our Actions - Actively Showing Our Love). Simple romantic rituals and gestures expressing our deep love and affection when hugging, kissing, showing we are happy to see them, appreciating, complimenting, reassuring, offering gifts, can help enable the relationship to thrive, supporting intimacy. Opening our heart, expressing our intimate emotions or passionate spark, being warm, attentive, demonstrating our romantic interests, giving our partner special, romantic attention showing we care by intuiting what our partner appreciates, may help. Creating quality moments together, preparing and setting the romantic, sensuous scene, facilitating the romantic mood, atmosphere (lighting, candles, music, how we touch and say things) may also be important. We may have overlooked offering small, romantic gestures, being adventurous or daring, spontaneous - offering unexpected surprises, any place, anywhere, and being original, laughing again, being playful and having fun, not taking things so seriously, seeing the funny side of life.
Being Together As A Couple - Widening Our Perspective Of Romantic Love Some of us may sit back relying on romantic destiny to take charge in our relationship, without promoting romantic growth (see also Waiting For Love). We may want to love our partner in a more rounded way, be lovingly appreciative, empathic, compassionately caring, even when our partner is unloving (see also Loving Someone When It's Hard - Opening Our Heart To Others, Even When Things Are Difficult), simply being themselves or when they are being kind, thoughtful, show their gratitude, put themselves out for us. We may value the trust we feel when finding a way together through a difficulty and feel stronger together as a couple. Having a healthy enough attachment, relationship style, we may feel more stable with them as our relationship grows, flourishes, is nurtured so we can be there for each other in the difficult times and good times, where joys and sex (the glue maintaining the romantic relationship) are celebrated, struggles worked through, challenges are endured and we are able to support our own and each other's happiness and growth, developing a longer lasting consummate love with a mature perspective through self-awareness. We may feel joy, when connecting with each other in just being together, doing nothing in particular, valuing companionship or maybe through a favourite movie, song, dancing together. We may feel a deep connection or sense of awe when we remember to remember that our partner really gets us and understands where we are coming from, and we get them, are able to be romantically playful together. We may want to acknowledge and demonstrate the comfort and appreciation we feel in their presence. We may allow a softness that melts our heart, brings a warm smile to us.
In real love you want the other person's good. In romantic love you want the other person.Margaret Anderson
Flirting When We Are In A Relationship Subtle or not so subtle flirting (hand on heart - we know when we are being flirtatious), the verbal banter, fantasising, innuendo and suggestive, mannerisms or comments, playfulness, having a laugh can be fun, enjoyable, even harmless at times, yet when we are in a relationship, being flirtatious can be complicated (flirting amongst each other in a group can have a different energy to flirting one to one). We may be an outgoing type, bubbly, flighty and don't want to be controlled by our partner (just putting it down to their jealousy) as to whether we flirt or not. We may want to consider:
- How confident we & our partner are in ourselves & the relationship - that we know, trust each other well enough
- What flirting is safe, unsafe
- Our intention behind flirting
- Whether we are baiting our partner
- If we would want our partner to flirt in the same way
- What's flirting & cheating
- If the person we are flirting with is single & doesn't know we aren't
- How things can be misconstrued when written, e.g. what we reveal on social media, sexualised conversations in chatrooms, through texts
- The effect of sending ill thought images, messages (that are stored online - are there for life & can be found by others) that we may later regret
- The effect of sexual innuendo
- Whether we are breadcrumbing, ghosting
- How others subjectively perceive flirting, make distinctions.
Searching For A Soulmate Love may be elusive for us. Mutual physical attraction may initially be essential to us (see also Choosing Our Partner). Seeking out and finding and someone - a soulmate - someone we feel we can be completely ourselves and at home with (also in our inner feminine, inner masculine), experiencing mutual, unconditional love, chemistry, shared vision, companionship, tolerance, may be important for us, as may sustaining deep emotional connection. We may believe we have found our soulmate, knowing this in our heart yet our soulmate experience may also be connected to a pull to recreate history through unhealed wounds connected to our own wounded parents. (For some their soulmate may not necessarily be their lover.) Others are very clear they want to find their true love, yet this belief may be counterproductive (see also Living Happily Ever After). Some of us may confuse longing with loving or have a deeper longing, yearning of a different nature. If we desperately want something so much - grasping for it, tend to fall in love quickly or lose our self, this may have adverse reactions. The beliefs we have and hold can become our reality, so if we focus on what we don't have, this is what we may manifest. We may want to explore the people we draw to us, any unhelpful beliefs (e.g. that someone out there can make it all right for us, that others couldn't possibly be looking for us, we will never find the right one, that the world is an unloving place, that "my soulmate will find me", that we passively believe that love is meant to be). We may believe if we don't find our soulmate, we will be forever lonely and for some this may be linked to a belief that our soulmate somehow completes us, that we are not whole without another. Letting go of what hold us back, breaking through our fears, having space in our mind, life and heart, communicating well, being a soulmate to ourself, may benefit us in finding another soulmate. Inside we may not be ready for relationship or fear love. Clearing our minds, releasing past hurts, pain (we may for example be unconsciously negative in our current or future relationships because of previous wounds, so outwardly we want a loving relationship, yet another part of us may also be saying "No"). Getting to know the qualities of our inner masculine, inner feminine may support us. Opening our heart to being loving, knowing and believing we are lovable, being loving to others may support us, as may listening to our own intuition (rather than being led blindly by our hopes) and taking action, when opportunities present themselves, allowing for surprising ones.
Dating Patterns Dating is the first step towards developing a successful relationship and getting to know each other and dating can trigger all our old attachment styles. Some of us may believe that only others are the lucky ones, get over-anxious, decreasing our chances of finding the right partner (see also Online Dating). We may:
- Become anxious when we don't receive prompt reply back & when we do can misinterpret words, meanings, create a whole range of scenarios in our head
- Obsessively over-date, ignoring our red flags
- We may treat finding a partner like a commodity, consumerism, as similar to shopping - with so much choice, always trying to get best deal, but at some level never satisfied, there always being a better offer around the corner. Carried away with our initial passion, after we get the "person we want", we may no longer want them any more
- Have such deep desire to prove our worth that we work too hard in the beginning, trying to impress, give too much, that we can lose being ourself, being real
- Ignore the early warning signs
- Hurry things along by getting overly involved too soon, fall quickly in love without taking the opportunity to know our potential partner, struggling to enjoy the ride, getting there when we get there
- Interrogate our date, struggling to relax & simply enjoy each other's company, slowly getting to know each other
- Bring old baggage, issues, talking too much about past relationships, inhibiting a fresh start with our potential partner
- Hold so much hope, or little hope, struggling to hold our hope lightly & relax
- Fantasise about the future, getting ahead of ourself, as if we are creating an illusion about the other person, so our expectations become unrealistic
- Play games, play things safe & "cool" (because we fear being rejected, abandoned) and this may later backfire on us
- Struggle to have the courage to show who we really are, be real
- Not be honest about our needs or appropriately express them
- Quickly make the relationship sexual without getting to know our new partner well enough
- Not making the time & space to develop a lasting relationship
- Be mindful, respectful of our partner's feelings, checking out what is OK, yet avoid intimacy - being too cautious about showing any sexual gestures, which may offend our date, because we are afraid of commitment, being hurt.
Developing The Early Relationship Attraction may be a slow burner or instant as we discover, get to know each other, exchange conversations, humour, slowly reveal ourselves personally, display affection, kiss, feel aroused. And often this early phase of the relationship may unconsciously mirror our early bonding patterns.
Our Red Flags Knowing what we don't want, searching our heart for what we do, can support our clarity, so we are clear about ourself. Our own intuition can also help us to know our red flags, when someone we meet just isn't right for us (see also Sharing (Not Necessarily Agreeing With) Each Other's Vision Of The Kind Of Deep & Meaningful Relationship, Marriage We Really Want). And when we value ourself we are more likely to pick people who also value us. Some of us can pick up subtle cues from initial contact - somethings that don't feel right in our gut feelings, checking what is going on with our potential partner and addressing problems early on (see also Negative Aspects Of Our Relationship, Marriage). Trusting our senses may be important and responding to early warning signs, giving importance to the clues we see in someone, can help guide our decision whether to stop or carry on with the relationship. The qualities we look for in friendships with supportive others may also inform us about us about partners. (See also Considering Relationship Breakup, Divorce)
Online Dating We may turn to the internet to seek out and find someone. Technology, dating apps, social apps, social media makes it easier for us to meet people online, offering potential matches. Online we can draw conclusions about someone's profile, make snap decisions about suitability. However their and our personality, values, goals, physical energy, subtle nuances may not easily come across. The image we have of others (and they of us) may be very different to the person we meet up with. Some of us may treat the online dating experience similar to shopping, yet overlook the power, value and attraction of human connection. Some of us may be tempted to bend the truth, when presenting our best image, emphasising certain aspects, ignoring others. Focusing on what we want from a relationship, being ourselves, not taking the initial dating experience so seriously or rejection so personally, may support us. Through our longing, searching for someone (and some of this may date back to our very early relationships), we may experience highs and lows for the likes, winks, etc. and in the lows, breadcrumbing or ghosting may be happening. Obsessively over-dating, for some of us it can be exhausting especially if we put ourself under unnecessary pressure and seem as if we have a dating addiction.
Living Happily Ever After Some of us may be caught up in a fantastical dream chasing their fairytale romance, that if we just meet the right person, we will live happily ever after, however we may have failed to examine what we may need to learn ourselves. We may be comparing our partner to an impossible ideal, which may be a magical belief we hold on to. We may have a dream, that being with a kind, loving, trustworthy man or woman, who completely gets us, loves us unconditionally, someone who's our best friend, partner and soulmate in every way is what we must have. Grieving this fantasy, listening to our truth, when we are happy and content, accepting, appreciating our partner who they really are, may support us. (This doesn't mean overlooking supporting them to be the best version of themselves.) Many cultures encourage the myth, that we can have it all, find Mr or Ms Perfect, that if we meet the one, right person (often our physical ideal, the one that gives us butterflies, where fireworks go off) we will live happily ever after. Yet the rational part of us knows that this is part fantasy, that relationships go through difficult times, enduring challenges. This emotional part of us can get hooked into this myth, that our partner can fulfil our dream, as in the movies. Grieving this romantic fantasy (and often a further fantasy in our head, that the reality of the person we are attracted to, or our relationship, is different), allowing us to feel disappointed in the illusion of the fairytale may support us. We may believe there is only one right person that can make us happy or tat we can get everything we want from love, relationship. Somewhere inside we may believe if we meet the one and only right man, woman, we can both live happily ever after. We may have overlooked understanding, that being in a loving, stable relationship can make us happy, that these qualities tend to occur when both partners are committed to enduring, managing long-term inevitable highs and lows of love and fostering an enduring love. Deciding to choose the person we love every day, whether they annoy us or not, living from real love may ironically enable our loving, realistic relationship, marriage to last.
Perfect Love, Idealised Love
The Perfect Love, Ideal Love We may have dreams about our ideal love, perfect love, supported by love songs, stories, films, which we never quite reach and love may be elusive, which may be connected to believing that one person can give us everything we want from our relationship, love needs (and this for some may be connected to our dream for the divine). Despite our maturity and the truth we hold in our heart of hearts, we may hold onto romantic infatuation or magical beliefs in our head how our ideal love, perfect love should be (see also Projecting Onto Others) and the illusion that the fires of passionate love should always spark, yet the spark may have gone out from our sexual relationship. And when someone new comes along, high on the giddiness of those early encounters and expectations, maybe putting our new love on a pedestal, we may struggle to develop the full relationship further (see also Obsessive Love). Some of this may be related to our early bonding patterns or our own narcissism. The relationship counselling and psychotherapy can explore these issues further with us. The singer-songwriter Bob Marley writes of perfect love, acceptance from a male point of view...
He's not perfect. You aren't either, and the two of you will never be perfect.Bob Marley
But if he can make you laugh at least once, causes you to think twice, and if he admits to being human
and making mistakes, hold onto him and give him the most you can.
He isn't going to quote poetry, he's not thinking about you every moment,
but he will give you a part of him that he knows you could break.
Don't hurt him, don't change him, and don't expect for more than he can give. Don't analyse.
Smile when he makes you happy, yell when he makes you mad, and miss him when he's not there.
Love hard when there is love to be had. Because perfect guys don't exist, but there's always one guy that is perfect for you.
Imperfections Our own background, culture, the impact of love songs, fiction and films may shape our view, expectations about finding the perfect love, ideal love. Some may believe that there is only one person for them - that they are the one, the only one. Always rigidly looking for someone better, some of us can be overly picky, forever searching for a man or woman of our dreams, the perfect partner as a soulmate. If our idealised partner doesn't match up to all our criteria or irritates us (compounded by any commitment concerns we might have) we may prematurely end the potential of a relationship developing. Struggling to find any middle ground, we may idealise or devalue our potential partners. Some of us may have multiple relationships or serial affairs, yet not be satisfied. We may believe that love only exists outside of us - as we become dependent on someone else responsible to meet our love needs. Constantly seeking the ideal or perfect partner ("they're out there somewhere"), we may never be satisfied (see also Am I Really In Love? Am I In Love?). Our difficulty may be less to do with finding the perfect partner and more about ways we respond to the inevitable discomfort, insecurity and hurt in relationships, alongside recognising and respecting each other's difference. Accepting the flaws of our relationship, that this is not ideal, (that neither are we or them) can be challenging, as may being the best version of ourselves - supporting each other in this. A further challenge for some may be to become a soulmate to ourself, accepting our own and others' imperfections, that the good in our relationship can be good enough - very different to blind love, obsessive love. These considerations can be included in the relationship counselling and marriage therapy.
We come to love not by finding a perfect person, but by learning to see an imperfect person perfectly.Anon
When Our Current Relationship Is Not Perfect No woman or man is perfect and it can be impossible for some of us to live up to what we envisage as the perfect relationship, or way of loving (see also Expecting, Assuming, Needing Our Partner Or The Relationship To Meet All Our Needs). We all fall short of this, and some of us struggle with accepting our failures and limitations, and therefore our partner's especially if we have initially put them on a pedestal (see also Perfectionism, Control, Being Over-Demanding, Competitiveness, Uncertainty). In the relationship counselling and psychotherapy we may explore the feelings and thoughts we have about unconditional love, what's realistic. Some of us may have already settled down into a relationship, or got married, believing that everything will be fine or perfect, yet feel disappointed. Our disillusionment may feel intolerable. Searching for the ideal or perfect partner erodes our esteem. And if we do find someone we believe is suitable (knowing deep inside that things can't be perfect or last forever), we can have an overwhelming feeling, that it is bound to end, will soon go wrong, even making it so at times. Worrying about this can stop us enjoying developing the blossoming relationship. We may be searching, longing for a love, that is so great and ideal, but impossible for a human being to give, maybe leading to jealousy or a suffering of life's limitations. It can be as if we are almost searching for the divine in human form - a sometimes painful and creative process many great artists have attempted to portray. This longing may be connected to yearning for a deeper connection in life and beyond. Our longed for search for the perfect relationship may point to what we idealise or a deeper search for a union. The marriage counselling and relationship therapy can be a space to look at what we might be searching and longing for.
Elusive Love? - Struggling To Make Lasting Relationships
Personal Love Challenges We may do all the right things, yet wonder why love (or a non-obsessive love) eludes us, relationships don't last and some of this may also be based on some unhelpful fears, blocks about love, beliefs about love. We may punish ourselves by choosing people at some level to meet our parents', friends' approval or who are emotionally unavailable. Most of us have experienced previous disappointments in love and it can be challenging (and our choice) at times to hold hope, attain love, risk and find the courage to love, commit from our heart, be loving, give, receive and share love. Are we willing to risk having our worst fears happen and find out whether our fears are based on truth? If not, we may remain stuck or may be faced with a decision to open our heart to others - even when things are difficult. Softening our hard edges, allowing for our vulnerability, letting go and being loved for who we are may matter to us. In spite of needing, seeking love, we may struggle to respond to love, intimacy, be loving in a variety of ways, especially if we feel unlovable inside and therefore choose a partner who struggles to reciprocate love. The energy of our love may be blocked. Saying "Yes" to love, choosing to love the person in our life, every day - as they are, taking loving action even when we're not feeling very loving, can be a loving challenge, as can learning to love well, deeply and fully. We may want a love that is real, not overly-sentimental, like treacle. Further personal challenges for our own love may be to learn how to bear suffering, align our love with our will and continue to emotionally grow, learn about the elements of love yet accepting we may never learn everything there is. Others may be challenged in accepting that we don't get everything from love, our relationship. (See also Creating A Loving, Trusting Bond)
Relationships - Love & Its Pitfalls We may have felt deserted, humiliated, shamed or betrayed in the past. Not all love endures. The person we love may not love us back in the way we need. We may choose to love someone, because they have qualities we too aspire to. Some of the love we experience may be fragile. We may feel ecstatic one moment, despair the next. For our love to emerge, flourish it may require us to have the courage to act, open our heart, be caring without asking for anything back. Willing to risk hurt and pain in order to love may be one challenge. Being loving without necessarily approving of everything our partner does may be a further challenge. Love can render us vulnerable to the person we love, as we become susceptible to hurt or emotionally dependent, losing who we are in the process.
Everybody is like a magnet. You attract to yourself reflections of that which you are.Dr. David R. Hawkins
What Is Transmitted, What We Attract, Repel Our own body vitality, what we resonate not only affects us, but others, as does the energy of our own love and any relationship fears (see also Our Painbody & Physical Wellbeing - Body Vitality & Breathing). In our relationship, marriage the paradoxical longing for intimacy and independence may be in play (see also Being Autonomous Yet Part Of A Couple), some of us may be caught in a pushing and pulling away pattern or one of us may tend to only give love, the other tend only to receive as if in some sort of relationship dance (see also Emotional Dependence - Dance Between Emotionally Dismissive, Avoidant & Emotionally Dependent Partner). Others may question how come we attract certain people or high maintenance relationships into our life (which may reflect the nature of our love and relationship style, any repetition compulsion, codependency). Some may attract narcissistic, closed, angry, emotionally unavailable, dismissing, avoidant, judgemental, controlling people in our life who may have come as strong at first and tend to disappear out of our life. Others may attract open, available, loving, supportive people. This may also point to the kind of magnet we are and the counselling can explore how we can become the kind of person we want to attract and what in us (including our relationship style, attachment patterns, relating states) gets drawn to certain partners or struggles to make relationship last, repeating certain patterns. (This may also be related to whether we attract people similar to one of our parents or at a common level of woundedness or health, as if what we transmit, we receive back and we can utilise our free will to determine what we are giving out.) We may believe that if only we can attract good people in our life, we will feel good ourself. Yet if we are emotionally needy (which may simply be a symptom of our desire) or don't feel good inside about ourself, we may attract others likewise. When we are caring and loving to ourself and are being genuinely loving rather than us pulling on others for it, (or feel attractive) this can be picked up and received differently by our partner. Some people relate what we do with our conscious and unconscious intentions to karma. (See also In Tune With Us, Community & The Wider World, Our Interdependence, Interconnectedness)
Waiting For Love Some of us may passionately be waiting for love, as if it comes to us, wondering why it never arrives yet don't express this (see also Being a Loving Human Being, Loving Ourself, Self-Care, Self-Love - How Do We Love Ourself? - Being Our Own Strong, Loving, Maturing, Mature Adult, Loving & Caring For Our Self). We may base our happiness on our partner and the relationship. If we want love, we may need to cultivate it, offer our heart, have a proactive approach to love. Being open for love, we may overlook that love is also an action and creation from within us - how we open our heart to others and ourselves, find the courage to love, hold, share and express love, be love, impacting on us, others around us. We may be waiting for others to love us and self-abandonment may be one consideration, especially if we attract a partner like one of our parents or at our common level of woundedness or health and we may want to heal our own fears, blocks which get in the way. Some of our personal fears may be rational, others not so (see also Intuition & Inner Knowing - Gut Feelings, Hunches, Instinct, Improvising). (See also What Is Love?)
Basing Our Happiness On Our Partner & The Relationship Society frequently tells us that love is something we get from others - see also Waiting For Love. (In order to do this some of us may run from one relationship to another.) We may seek relationships, get married, because we want someone outside of ourself to give us comfort, protection, relieve our fears and soothe us, struggling to do this for ourselves. Undermining our own self-esteem, we may have convinced ourselves that if only we have a good relationship, we would be happy. Yet, if we have a partner with the same logic, it will be a relationship of two unhappy people. We may be unhappy in our relationship, marriage, yet this may be connected to some unhappiness inside us, maybe believing that happiness can only be found by getting love, undervaluing giving love or being loving. Being happy, stable, content in our own life, in touch with our own intrinsic worth, sense of self, may be challenging for us, yet when we are happy, it can lead to a better relationship. The marriage counselling or relationship therapy can help unpick what this may mean for us. (See also Codependency (Co-Dependency) - Caretaking)
It's our imagination that's responsible for love, not the other person.Esther Perel
Early Needs & Expectations Our early bonding patterns back in time may mirror our bonding patterns in our relationship now. One of us may initially value and need emotional connection, affirmation, whereas the other may initially value visual arousal, sexual arousal. Searching for love, our initial challenge may be about what do we need let go, how we can be loving to us and others. It may be a challenge to appreciate and accept others without overwhelming dependency or expectation. We may have expectations that we should meet someone, always be loved unconditionally, settle down, have what we need and what's important to us by a certain time. The intensity or seriousness of it all, analysing everything, coupled with a loss of sense of humour, playfulness, light-heartedness, may not assist our romantic pursuits. We may become desperate or despondent and struggle to be open or light. We may become emotionally needy, and people around us pick this up. We may fall into a relationship where one person is more enthusiastic than the other. Relationship counselling and marriage counselling can offer support with our challenges around this.
Early Destructive Relationship Patterns We may have developed unhealthy patterns and beliefs around love. Early familiar themes can occur in our relationship and often relationships trigger things which are unhealed in us (see also Repetition Compulsion) - providing us with an opportunity to heal. In unintended or unconscious ways we may undermine, or even sabotage (see also Our Painbody), the possibility of being in a loving relationship or marriage. We may only be interested in unavailable men or women (or choose the "wrong" people), ensuring that a full loving relationship is not possible. We may choose (or create) destructive relationships, sabotaging them. And, if we do have anything good, we have to destroy it (see also Breadcrumbing, Disappearing Act, Vanishing Act, Ghosting). For some this may be linked to our own separation anxiety, fear of commitment, fear of rejection, abandonment, engulfment or self-worth. We may have a wounded part of us who tries to have control over getting love from unloving others. We may find people like our (wounded) parents, who may not have always given us the role models we needed. Some of us may have learnt to treat ourselves the way our parents treated us (and the way they treated themselves), which may attract us to destructive relationships and we may become envious or jealous of people in permanent relationships. We may enter into a relationship where only one of us is enthusiastic, that there is little shared enthusiasm (see Relationship Dances - Pushing & Pulling). Some may base their relationship solely on sex. We may have emotional or sexual affairs, which lead us nowhere. In the relationship counselling and marriage therapy we can look at ways things get sabotaged and alternative responses, so we can become the kind of person we want to share love with and no longer recreate unhealthy love patterns (see also Potential To Heal Our Relationship Or Marriage - Considerations).
Early Influence Of Parental Love The love we received, have felt and feel to our parents (see also Our First Relationship - Early Connections & Bonding Patterns), the way we adjusted to that dynamic and how we relate maturely to our parents now, may also influence other relationships.
100% Unconditional Love, Altruistic Love When we were younger we may have felt loved, been told we are loved, yet it felt conditional that we had to behave in the right way, achieve, earn love, that there was a demand or punishment or withdrawal of love (which may bring up control issues in our relationship). As a child it can be confusing to be told "I love you" to be followed by unloving actions. Some of our experiences as a child or previous love experiences as an adult may have shaped our beliefs about love and relationship style now. We all appreciate being loved and cared for altruistically, unconditionally, giving and receiving altruistic love without conditions put upon us when it can be withdrawn, or with any expectations, limitations attached. Unconditional love is steadfast, expecting nothing in return, not dependent on what is received, what we want or don't like. Relinquishing what we no longer need to hold onto may help enable us to love unconditionally and others may experience this unconditional love. We may demand that our partner loves, approves and accepts us for who we are, yet refuse to love them in this way ourselves. We also may struggle to unconditionally love and accept all of ourself (yet demand this from others). We and our partner may want to come from a complete place, are open to love, without attachment to outcome, sharing with our partner, that we are willing to learn about our self and support each other. We have the power to love unconditionally - practicing maintaining this, yet in our own humanity we may tend to go in and out of loving both ourselves and others. Given the human constraints, limitations, stresses, tensions, disappointments, it may be unrealistic to expect us and our partner to always keep their heart open, unconditionally or selflessly love. Expecting someone to totally love us unconditionally, we may get hurt. Unconditional love for some may mean that there should be complete acceptance, obedience, that we should be loved for all of who we are. This belief doesn't allow for us or the relationship to grow, adapt, change the parts of us that need to change, evolve. Rather than betrayal, genuine love may also include kindly and gently helping our partner become their best version of themselves, rather than accepting them precisely as they are. Helping someone evolve may also be an act of genuine commitment. Learning to love ourself and share our love freely may be our challenge. Our need for unconditional love may also be based on our need for perfection, a belief that it should be made up to us now, because of earlier deficits. For others this may point to their own spiritual enquiry, feeling spiritual, choosing spiritual path or a spiritual direction.
Liking Someone Very Quickly, Falling In Love Quickly Learning from what we need to learn from relationships (and bearing in mind our red flags) may be important. Excited, enthusiastic, some of us may impulsively dive, jump in, tend to fall in love quickly, loving someone completely "fall in lust" before we even know them, because of our own basic human needs, overwhelming neediness which may feel desperate at times (maybe pointing to our own relationship style) and make this new person in our life responsible for our happiness, sense of worth, safety. Obsessively loving, we may actually fear real intimacy, fear commitment. Living as if only we count, we may energetically pull on others and they may repel. Grasping, we (or they) may come on strong at first then may end up breadcrumbing, ghosting - disappearing. Others may fall in love, be in love - want to nurture this as we move into the different phases of love.
Falling In & Out Of Love Falling in love is an intense experience in which a form of amnesia may affect our rational mind, connection with truth. And love at first sight can be real but also a deception. Trying to grasp, control this new connection in our life, we may struggle to stay connected to our self, without believing our magical thinking. Riding the rollercoaster of falling in love, with it's ecstasy, agony, may be a further challenge. Having fallen in love, we may then believe the passion has gone from our relationship, that we may have made a mistake with the partner we are with, craving those initial feelings again and again. Some may believe that we are not enough without our partner, that we are so fortunate to be liked. The way we attach ourselves, latching on at all costs, we can make our partner our sole purpose for everything, yet leave us bereft. We may feel derailed by what is happening. Devastated at times, when our partner does not meet all our needs, it can feel as if someone died - ourselves. When we fall in love we become completely absorbed, enthralled and distracted. Things may have become misted over. We are certain all problems can be resolved. Yet over time, the fog clears, the rush of passion may have slowed, as may the desire to be together at every moment. Usually we only know a small part of our partner at this stage. Adjusting to each other's differences may be important. Habits (often unspoken), assumptions, expectations, may emerge. It may be that our partner can't meet all our needs, that we become easily disappointed, maybe angry. One of us may resent our partner for not appreciating us or what we do for them. The other may feel alone, empty inside, as we blame each other for not meeting our own needs. Our challenge may be to find the courage to look within ourselves (no longer abandoning who we are - expecting our partner to be responsible for our needs), learn and love who we are. (See also Contradictory, Ambivalent, Mixed Feelings About Our Partner, Relationship Or Marriage)
Falling in love is easy, but staying in love is something very special.Anonymous
Falling Out Of Love Often falling out of love may simply mean that our original butterflies are gone, that the "in love" feeling has dimmed. We may rush to conclude that the relationship must therefore be flawed fundamentally and therefore must end, yet it may have just begun. Jumping to this conclusion may for some cause us to walk away from what is otherwise a healthy, loving relationship. Consciously reflecting on this, the relationship may need some fine tuning or at least some adjustment in the way we think about love. The relationship counselling, marriage therapy can also explore what we expect of our relationship, marriage. Our sadness, or falling out of love, may be connected to losing some passion in our relationship, grieving the initial stage of relationship, and that we may be ready to develop the relationship further, as it enters a deeper stage. We may be initially excited when we meet someone new, yet confuse excitement for love, hooked on a passionate stage of love, needing others' assurances, validation. On a blissful high, falling in love feels wonderful, an exhilarating experience, as our heart opens, can for some be the easy bit - staying in love may be of a different dimension.
Falling Out Of Love - What Might Be Happening Inside We may be questioning am I really in love. As the chemicals in our body subside (e.g. oxytocin), so may our "falling in love" (or often falling for love) experience. It is then a more real relationship can begin when any idealisations subside. At the same time of having loving feelings towards our partner it may also be important for us to be ourself, look after ourself, so we don't lose our self and work through any addiction to the initial feeling of falling in love of our own fears around fear of loss, separation, abandonment, rejection, engulfment. Some of us may have set up a codependent, caretaking relationship, which no longer works, where one of us gives ourself up for the other and we may feel we have nothing else to give. Addicted to bad relationships and emotionally overwhelmed, we may feel empty inside - looking for our partner to fill our emptiness, struggling to fill ourselves with love. We may lose our centre, our own ground, become out of touch with our own intrinsic worth and value. We may hold a notion that we should get everything we want from love, the relationship. Seeking value outside of our self, it can be a challenge to trust ourself, remain in touch with our own powerful energy, connected so we don't give ourselves away and we protect our open heart as an asset, not a liability, yet at the same time foster an enduring love. The counselling for love addiction may explore the impact of our early bonding experiences any repetition compulsion, separation anxiety alongside what is happening for us.
Getting Our Partner To Love Aspects Of Us Some of us may end up feeling angry, hurt, rejected by our partner because in unspoken way, or hidden "deal" made (that they will give us the love that we are not giving to ourselves). We may try to sabotage our relationship. We may have handed over a vulnerable or wounded part of ourself to them to take care of, give attention to - handing our power away, doing things we don't really want to do. Yet since we don't attend to these aspects of us, we attach ourselves to a man, woman. yet after a while they get tired of doing these and cut off or leave. We can feel doubly devastated for both we and they have abandoned this younger part of ourselves who unsuccessfully turns to others for healing. Preferring to criticise, judge or abandon ourselves, we may want to avoid the pain not only of separation, but learning to love ourselves, all of us, the vulnerable wounded parts, so we no longer continue to abandon ourselves by seeking another to make them responsible for our feelings of worth, safety. Filling ourselves with our own care and love we can then be free to share love rather than get love. We may also attract others who want to share love with us, rather than attract partners who are just as emotionally needy as us and also abandon themselves.
Selfless Love For some of us, loving selflessly may mean we may take on a caretaking role in our relationship, always trying to please or fix things, give, where we lose ourselves, sacrifice ourselves, feel like a victim or martyr inside, sell ourself short. Being selfless in our love - boundlessly loving regardless of what we need or would personally gain from, being there for another, happy when they are happy, offering unconditional love can have a different quality to it as we drop into loving selflessly. When we are loving ourselves - just being love, we also want (as opposed to need to) to give to others, because it brings us joy, helps nurture relationships. (See also Healthy Side Of Being Self(ish))
Selling Us Short Being selfless in our love, loving unconditionally can be deeply moving, rewarding for us and others, yet there may be other factors in play. In order to get love we may sacrifice our own identity and personal power, so the foundations and ground of the relationship cannot be built. We may cut off - deny we have any needs or ask for them (see Emotional Dependence - Denying Our Dependence On Others). In our pursuit for love, some of us can end up being emotionally needy or desperate, and some of us may end up regressing to a much younger age. We may try to overly please, frequently trying to fix things, get the approval of our new partner at a cost to who we are. We may be confused between love and approval. We may have abandoned ourselves, sacrificed ourself.
Self Sacrificing Sacrifice (including accepting that we won't get everything we want from love, our relationship) and compromise is crucial to a successful, close relationship. It can bring us closer together deepening the relationship. Sacrificing for the greater good of our relationship, marriage and for our partner is as admirable quality when it is an act of love and sacrificing ourself as a loving act at times may matter to us, yet some of us may sacrifice our very self or feel like a victim in the process. Secretly seeking attention, praise, we may be self-sacrificing, selfless for unhelpful reasons, motivations. Unhealthy guilt may be one of them. Coming from an empty place within, some of the uncomfortable feelings we can feel in the pit of our stomach and we can become even more self-sacrificing, as if we don't fully exist. We may have ended up in a caretaking role and have given ourself up. Underplaying ourself we may not want to shine or be fully ourselves for fear of rejection, abandonment or criticism. We may believe when we love someone, that we are responsible for their feelings and have become overflowing with our love or self-sacrificing - martyr-like, trying to fix others or please them without pleasing ourselves. Forsaking ourselves, we may be self-sacrificing in our relationship, out of duty, loyalty, guilt, our own unmet needs (or unspoken needs), in which we can end up not only resenting our partner, but ourselves. One of us may be sacrificing more than the other, leading to unhappiness, resentment and we can be in despair and it can become unbearable and we can feel helpless or broken inside, especially if we are on the receiving end of abuse. We may also believe that someone out there can make it all right for us or it is uncaring and selfish to be happy when our partner isn't, that we have to reflect our partner's moods, even if our own ones are different (see also Enmeshment). Relationship counselling and marriage counselling can help explore these patterns with you. The way others, our partner treats us (and the way we give ourself up to take responsibility for their feelings, needs) may be a mirror for how we treat ourself. (See also Healthy Side Of Being Self(ish))
Forsaking Ourselves In The Relationship, Marriage When we first meet our partner, we may be eager to show our best side or take on roles which please or "fix" them, even if we feel slightly uncomfortable that this isn't really us (sometimes fuelled by our fear of rejection, abandonment), yet we may no longer keep this up as the relationship develops. We have the option of basing our self-worth externally or internally. "How would you like me to be?" may be our stance in order to get love, approval, acceptance, etc. yet not be true to ourselves. We may have pretended to be their dream lover, yet felt inauthentic inside, tailoring what we say by guessing the negative, positive responses we may receive. How we feel about ourself whether or not in a relationship, we may fixate on our relationships, as if our whole world revolves around them. Sometimes as the relationship develops, powerful feelings emerge different to any other relationship where we may almost regress, old wounds become triggered or we feel disempowered especially if we are on the receiving end of abuse. These reactions and sense of Self, our own passion, free will and free spirit, can be explored in the therapy.
The relationship counselling & marriage psychotherapy may help address these concerns about love lasting alongside any influential memories, beliefs and any feelings from when younger, which despite our adulthood may continue to shape and limit our experiences. For example when we fall in love we may in repetitive and reparative ways also be re-enacting our very early bonding patterns and the structures we were brought up in (often as unconscious infantile fantasies), sometimes in an attempt to undo earlier wounds (see also Influence Of Our Past). The counselling and psychotherapy can also explore our inner world, own ideals about love, how we cherish each other. It can be challenging for both in the couple to find tolerance, determination and loyalty to heal, work things through, have a mature love through self-awareness, so we grow and develop, evolve individually and as a couple.
Our issues only get triggered within our relationship - not when we're alone. The closer the relationship, the deeper the wounds become activated, providing us with opportunities to heal whet we need to heal.
Beliefs About Love, Beliefs About Relationships
Love Beliefs, Relationship Beliefs Our own culture, religious background, history, social conditioning (including all those book, films) and what we learnt when younger, may shape our views, beliefs, expectations about relationships and love, which in turn may shape our love needs and expressions of love. (Some may find it hard to believe we are loved - see also Our Esteem.) We may believe we will stop being loved, liked, if our partner finds out who we really are, and this could be explored in the relationship counselling. Relationship counselling and marriage counselling can be a space to look at our beliefs (and fears) about love and relationships, examining whether they are still helpful to us (see also Sexual Expectations, Attitudes, Assumptions, Beliefs & Thoughts about sex). Shedding our limiting conditions may enable us to experience other rewarding relationships. We may have certain injunctions about love, believing that:
- That if love is real it must be eternal. Love (or my true love) always lasts forever.
- That my true love will be perfect. Love should be perfect, giving us everything we want.
- If I lost someone, I know I can make the relationship work
- That there should be complete obedience, acceptance, that we should be loved for all of who we are - see also 100% Unconditional Love, Altruistic Love. (This belief doesn't allow for us to grow, adapt, change the parts of us that need to change, evolve for the relationship to grow, transform. Rather than betrayal, genuine love may also include kindly and gently helping another become their best version of themselves, rather than accepting them precisely as they are. Helping someone evolve may be an act of genuine commitment.)
- Love is about admiration, adoration, adulation. Love is enthusiasm, excitement.
- Love equals how well we are told we are loved
- We should have an instant attraction, fall in love immediately, have an obsessive love
- We should put a strong emphasis on how we or our partner looks - undervaluing our own or potential partner's internal qualities (see also Our Body - Counselling London)
- Chemistry alone is enough to sustain the relationship
- The love we had will be lost forever, when the romance dies or we disagree about things, struggling to develop what we have into a deeper, sustaining, compassionate love, very different to an obsessive love
- Being nice or infatuated, is the same as love. That once we are no longer infatuated by our partner, the relationship is over, that someone else can save us.
- Love is about sexual attraction, that the chemistry of sexual attraction is the same as the chemistry of love (this may call for a deeper relationship based on intimacy, trust, emotional connection, understanding & kindness)
- That we can only thrive or condition ourself by being attracted to a certain type of person
- Love is about being approved
- That others have to love us to prove our self-worth
- Love is about indulgence for ourselves and others, without taking personal responsibility
- The passion has gone from our relationship or that we are not enough without our partner
- Love isn't safe or that it means loss of ourself or the other. (This may date back from our earliest wounds - see also Relationship Style, Attachment Patterns).
- We are undeserving or unworthy of loving, unlovable (which cab become self-fulfilling)
- We must pretend we are OK even if we don't feel this otherwise we won't be loved
- Worrying about someone is love
- If we make our partner happy, they are supposed to make us happy
- We can't be loved if we are vulnerable
- Just as we open our heart something will take it away
- If only we attract good people in our life, we too will feel good about ourself
- We can't manage possible heartbreak so end up pushing love away (see also Fear Of Separation, Loss, Rejection & Abandonment Issues)
- We may make a mistake (or another mistake based on previous experience)
- We have to give ourself up for love (see also Fear Of Engulfment)
- We are responsible for our partner's feelings & it is uncaring & selfish to be happy when our partner isn't
- Happiness can be found by getting love
- Love is a feeling that others bring to us, others give us love (see also Our Readiness, Willingness, Choice & Decision To Love)
- Longing is about loving
- The grass is always greener
- If we are real & authentic, we will be alone
- We shouldn't have any needs & have to look to our partner to fulfil our needs
- We shouldn't feel any hurt, pain or disappointment in our relationship, marriage
- There is love where there isn't - because it is unrequited (others may be loved yet not recognise this)
- Because we are generous, love our partner or feel overwhelmed with love & they aren't generous, don't love us, we should work hard at it even if we get little back in return (see also Unrequited Love)
- There is one special person & we wait in vain for them to arrive
- Our partner & our relationship should meet all our needs
- That if we have to ask for something it isn't really love
Love Scripts We may hold on to certain love scripts, which no longer support us, that love means losing ourself, eventual betrayal, heartbreak or loss, that love won't last, it safer to be on our own, that we feel too damaged to be loved, love. We may believe that if we open our heart to another, taking the risk of being hurt, that we may lose control (which for some of us may date back to what happened when younger and vulnerable)
Sometimes we can allow our fear of love to intrude upon our thoughts, e.g.:
- "I wouldn't be feeling fearful or anxious if I was definitely with the right person."
- "Something's missing and it must be to do with them."
- "I don't love him/her."
- "I don't love them in the right way or enough."
- "I love them but I'm not in love."
- "I am just convincing myself that I love them."
- "If I love, I will be hurt." (See also Relationship Style, Attachment Patterns)
Mistaking, Equating, Conflating, Confusing Love (Or Intimacy) For Something Else Our desire to love or be loved may exceed our own (or partner's) capacity to do so (See also Maturity As A Couple). We may believe that if we have to ask for something isn't really love. We may confuse, equate, conflate, mistake the chemistry or momentary experience of love or intimacy for:
- Romantic infatuation
- Sex and longing
- Approval or validation
- Worrying about someone as if that is love
- Overly pleasing or fixing things - giving people what they want
Dilemmas Of Love, Fear Of Love, Scared Of Love, Afraid Of Love
Scared Of Love, Fear Of Love, Afraid Of Love We all have a need to love, connect. Some of us may have lacked role models for loving ourself when younger. We may want to have control over feeling safe (see also Choosing Safety Or Love), which can lead to defensiveness. We may distance ourself or pull away or tend to disappear. Fearing dependence, denying our own dependency needs, many of us may fear love, are scared of love - that we will not find it, that it will not last, believing that it doesn't exist, fearing our heart will break, that love isn't safe, that it means loss of us or our partner. Scared of taking our chance and putting ourself out in the world, we avoid risking love or taking a leap of faith. We may worry that we or our potential partner will fail our expectations (and even hesitate when things are going really well). Some of us may be caught between fearing abandonment, rejection or engulfment and may fear losing ourself or finding out who we truly are. We may also struggle to be real, vulnerable, willing to let go, relax and trust. Holding onto certain love scripts, we may not only fear love, be scared of love, we may also fear commitment (or have other relationship fears), speculating if the relationship will last. We may become what some people call love avoidant, relationship avoidant, marriage avoidant (see also Giving, Receiving & Sharing Love - Loving & Being Loved). Some of us may believe we're unlovable (which can become self-fulfilling), don't deserve love. What may lay behind being scared of love, or having a fear of love, can be brought to light in the relationship counselling or marriage therapy.
Some people never say the wordsPaul Simon
"I love you"
It's not their style
To be so bold
Some people never say the words
"I love you"
But like a child they're longing
To be told
Am I Really In Love? Am I In Love? Questioning whether we are in love may depend on which part of us and our partner we are "in love" with. Being in love from our wounded self - attached to just external, almost superficial things (someone's body, looks, social standing, status, job, financial success, power) may not be a good recipe for love to last. Being in love from our core self, essence, valuing the soul qualities, inner worth of each other and the energy we radiate (see also Setting Boundaries Psychotherapy - What We Resonate - Noticing Our Energy, Vibration, Energy Inside & Outside Of Us), the small yet real things, each other's playfulness, genuineness, kindness, sensitivity, compassion, demeanour, the subtleties of each other's body movements, including each other's smell, smile, may be a love of a different nature.
Fearing Love, Mulling Over The Past, Worrying About Future Relationships Most of us want to share love. We may feel lonely without love, and it may be unloving of ourself if we don't share love. However grief or "unfinished business" may affect our ability to be open in a current or new relationship (see also Unhealed Wounds - Counselling London). This can take time. We can also spend years doubting, questioning, analysing past, current and future relationships and break-ups, fearing we may be rejected, abandoned if we aren't a good lover. We may continue to fear love, sometimes based on our unhelpful beliefs about love (see also Our Painbody). Fearing separation, loss, rejection, abandonment, a challenge for some may be how to stop being afraid and take a chance in love, find the courage to face our relationship fears, reduce any walls of self protection, and let people in, rather than push them away or sexually close down. Intimacy avoidance and trust may play a role. We may also experience problems emotionally connecting with others (see also Our Sensitivities - Pushing Each Other's Buttons, Counselling London) or have certain commitment problems, fear of engulfment, fear of love, fear of relationships, have difficulties sharing love, which can be explored in relationship counselling, alongside addressing our our readiness, willingness, choice and decision to love.
Love Dilemmas We may have various love dilemmas:
- How to respond to differences between us & our partner
- Whether the need to be right & win should be more important that to be loving
- Whether to continue or end our relationship, marriage
Confidence, Esteem, Insecurity, Anxiety & Fear In Relationship Or Marriage
How Confidence, Insecurity Affects Our Relationship When we feel insecure, our relationships can present difficulties and we may feel it isn't safe, sexually safe. If we are feeling fragile, we may have a strong need for reassurance, approval, affirmation, recognition, validation, appreciation, praise, permission or confirmation, to gain acknowledgement, admiration or be cherished. Our "inner chatter" might be: "I don't like myself, so how can anybody else like me?" We may fear criticism. We may have a need to be rescued. We may project our unwanted feelings, insecurities onto our partner, feel forever unsure, at times super paranoid, jealous or frequently contemplating breaking up. Some may become self-absorbed, focusing conversations on ourself - what our partner does or doesn't do about us. We may develop an encyclopedia of excuses to maintain our morale, and find it hard to accept any negative comment about us or our behaviour. The relationship therapy can help us discover direct ways of getting our own needs met and asking for what we need, establishing our sense of worth, safety and security.
Our Esteem When we are with a potential partner, we may be in a familiar habit in believing we deserve better or that we or they aren't good enough, yet in doing so we set ourselves up for an unhappy relationship. (Others may have real difficulties being open to receive love yet are fine giving it.) Outwardly we believe we deserve loving and to be in a loving relationship or marriage. However inwardly we may believe we are undeserving or unworthy of a loving, healthy relationship, convinced it is not possible and end up pinning our esteem on others - giving our self away in the process. Unworthy or feeling inferior inside, if we don't like who we are, we may try to locate, project the way we see ourselves, onto our partner (e.g. seeking ways to prove or confirm we are unlovable, inferior) to support our own belief of unworthiness. As if to fulfil our own beliefs, we may know we are doing it, see ourselves doing it, yet can provoke others to reject, abandon us. When people don't say or do what we need them to, we blame ourself as if we are bad or wrong, and back off (see Relationship Expectations, Assumptions & Disappointments). Basing our happiness on our partner, we may have become overly sensitive to what our partner thinks and does - holding on to this, basing our esteem on their responses. (Some may believe we have to reflect our partner's moods, even if ours are different - see also Enmeshment.) The relationship counselling and marriage counselling may also explore what's happening inside, which may get in the way of loving, e.g. fear of separation, loss, rejection, abandonment or struggling to open our heart (see also Unhelpful Self-Beliefs Related To Our Esteem). Beliefs (some dating back from childhood) in how we should act in order to be loved may no longer work. However before we seek love in others, we may want to sense, reassure, love our own child within.
Losing Our Self In The Relationship We may feel lost in life or fear not only losing ourself but our partner, money, power, control, engulfment. Some of us can take care of ourself when alone, yet lose ourself, adapting ourself around others when around someone we are attracted to or when we connect with them (see also Codependency (Co-Dependency) - Caretaking). We may then neglect or abandon ourself, become self-critical. It may be that our intent shifts from taking care of ourself when alone to trying to be controlling how others feel about us, so they like us, are attracted to us, stay with us for example we may start pleasing, trying to fix things. We may be tied to our partner's feelings - even say things we don't mean. Giving ourself up for this (besides our astute partner will pick up on our inauthenticity anyway) it can be as if we somehow hold on to old beliefs, that if we are authentic, we will be alone, that we are somehow not good enough, unlovable. Getting back to being in touch with our essence - our self, being centred, anchored in our own ground, and coming to terms with what we can and cannot control may be important. (See also Emotional Dependency - Losing Who We Are)
Relationship Fears, Fears In Our Relationship, Marriage Some of us may be single and others may be in a relationship where there can be love, connection, shared values, honesty, yet our fears, blocks can get in the way of fully loving, being loving in our life. When we are guarded, our responses can have a repelling effect on others. We may want to explore our beliefs about love which may themselves come from fear or love. And if from fear we may shut down our heart, allowing our fear to rule as a way of keeping us safe from the risk of loving, sharing a more real love. We may fear the loss of a relationship, loved one or loneliness so much, that we struggle to fully engage in the relationship in the first place, by risking love, intimacy, warmth, security and being honest, real. The relationship counselling explores our fear-based beliefs, what scares us and how we may drop our fears. We may have certain anxieties, fears in our relationship, marriage:
- Fear of relationships
- Fear of love, scared of love, afraid of love (see also Over-Giving, Overflowing With Love Or Difficulties Receiving Love)
- Fear of getting hurt
- Fear of disappointment
- Fear that our partner (or us) may go off with someone else
- Fear of separation, loss, rejection & abandonment, engulfment
- Fear of trusting others, vulnerability, intimacy, touch & sex
- Fear that if we show our love, it will be unrequited
- Fear of being controlled
- Fear of sabotaging the relationship
- Fear of making mistakes (or another mistake based on our experience in past relationships)
- Fear of letting our partner down, disappointing, hurting, upsetting or annoying them
- Envy & jealousy
- Fear of dependence, denying our own dependency needs
- Fear that our partner might die (see also Reflecting Upon Our Mortality)
- Fear that relationships won't work out or last
- Fear of commitment, commitment phobia
- Fear of losing our self in the relationship, marriage
Fear-Based Beliefs Despite our rational minds, we may believe that we shouldn't feel any fears in our relationship, that absolute certainties should be in place. Wanting sure guarantees (to which there aren't any) and our relationship to last forever (that all will be well for the rest of our life) and fearful inside that it won't, we may neglect its nurturing, thriving and building moment by moment. It can be a challenge to allow what will happen, to happen, so our personal fears don't take over. Dropping our fears, being clear to our partner, stating our concerns, making helpful responses, accept help and allow ourselves to be comforted may support us. The relationship counselling and marriage therapy can be a space to explore and find ways to overcome our fears, relax, basing our sense of safety on us, less dependent on others for this, be in control, in our own ground, resilient, without depending on others for this, managing our own emotional neediness, so we are secure in our own base. And in our securer base we may want to be freely available to show interest in our partner's concerns, be empathic and responsible. (See also Dilemmas Of Love, Fear Of Love, Scared Of Love, Afraid Of Love)
Relationship Anxiety For many of us relationships can be scary, even if our relationship is good or we fear it could actually go well. We may end up sabotaging it as if love and fear have collided, and we choose fear (see also Our Painbody), anxiety. Some of its origins may go way back to conclusions we made in the past, that love means we can't be ourself, or for others it may end up in abandonment, rejection. Anxious inside we may be continuously weighing up everything. Some of the origins of our relationship anxiety may also be connected to early bonding experiences - maybe affecting our separation anxiety, what we witnessed about our parents (including how they responded to their anxiety), beliefs and experiences from our past, with our peers and previous relationships. Loving another human being makes us vulnerable, and we may want to run away from this. Finding courage to step into the unknown may be important.
Unmet Love Needs & Emotional Neediness
Looking To Our Partner To Fill Our Lack We all need others, relationships. Distinguishing between our basic needs that can only be met by others and needs from a more emotional place that we need to learn to meet ourself maybe challenging. The therapy can explore what in us gets drawn to certain partners alongside being in high maintenance relationships. Many of us seek from our partner what we believe to be missing in us as if we are damaged in some way (we may for example view them as strong and us as weak), emanating strong emotional neediness, clinging on at times (which may point to our early attachment, relationship style) and the counselling can explore this further with us and for some, our insatiable needs may point to a feeling of emptiness deep inside. If one person is empty and the other is full, the empty person may be clingy and try to get the love they want from the full person, who in turn feels drained when being with this empty person (see also What Is Transmitted, What We Attract, Repel). And if two empty people hope the other will connect with them, fill them with love, this is unlikely to happen unless both parties take responsibility for their love needs and also develop the potential to heal our relationship. The counselling can explore whether our needs come from a self-abandonment place and how we can reach out and share from a connected place with our own full heart.
Unmet Love Needs - Preoccupations, What May Be Happening Inside The relationship therapy may take into consideration what preoccupies us, things that get in the way of developing and nurturing our relationship or marriage. Wanting love, yet fearing love, some of us may:
- Trying to get love from our mother or father we never received back then. And if we are not enough for ourself, others can't be enough for us
- Be needing, searching for external validation, because it was lacking in our childhood
- Associate love with pain, be terrified of the pain of being on our own
- Feel helpless somewhere inside, powerless and our pain & suffering may stop us appreciating the relationship we do have, no matter how good it is
- Use people to prop us up, make us feel better about ourselves, as if they can save us
- Always want more, being so very pre-occupied with close relationships, that we become dependent on others, overly needy for our esteem, support
- Be so preoccupied by our work, habits or addiction or other diversions that it limits the chances of romance in our life
- Have other preoccupations, looking for problems
Possible indicators of being emotionally needy may include trying to fill our emptiness, overcome low esteem, feel secure by:
- Being in reactivity
- Working out what our partner needs from us and being what they need us to be, wondering what else we can give them
- Putting on a mask
- Caring to get something back, to get care (see also Codependency (Co-Dependency) - Caretaking)
- Having a constant need for connection, validation, approval, affirmation, reassurance, confirmation, permission, recognition, appreciation, praise, attention, adoration, admiration
- Feeling empty inside, trying to fill ourself through another (sometimes anyone but not no one)
- Jump from one relationship to another
- Trying to connect with another without first connecting with ourselves
- Lost sense of self
- Being emotionally dependent on others
- Pulling on someone to fix us, fill us up (e.g. for sex)
- Asking for what we need from an emotionally needy place
- Leaning on others, clinginess
- Being in a high maintenance relationship
- Having a frequent, intense need for excessive contact, hungry for love - any love
- Getting hooked on romantic infatuation, idealisation
- Preferring one to one contact, so we get the attention we need
- Consistently pleasing others, trying to fix things
- Trying to control, blame or criticise our partner or being subservient
- Demanding attention & feeling hurt or jealous when someone else is around
- Pulling on our partner for sex
- Believing nothing we do is good enough
Overcoming Our Emotional Neediness Frequently relying on the attention of others to make us feel good, if we get it, we may even then believe we don't deserve it. Stepping back before responding to our emotional neediness may support us. Calming ourselves down, relaxing, assessing and reflecting upon our emotions and their root causes, tolerating them may help us recognise and articulate what we really need in clear and positive ways, without burdening our partner, so we respond to our own sense of emptiness, loneliness, pursuing our own interests, passions, pleasures. We may feel like a doormat, victim, martyr to our emotional neediness. Relinquishing the fantasy (usually from our wounded self) that someone is going to make everything OK for us, that we need to control them, may be important. No longer abandoning ourselves or adapting ourself around others most of the time, taking charge of our emotional security and desires ourselves, being in touch with our personal power, knowing we are enough may also help release us, so we are no longer so needy, energetically pulling on others, or being clingy to fill us up with love and attention and are now able to live our desires, share love, ask for what we need (see also Validating, Valuing, Appreciating, Affirming, Liking, Accepting Ourself - Giving What We Want). Alongside examining what in us gets drawn to our partners, the therapy may explore the difference between having basic human needs - honouring them, communicating them to others and being emotionally needy. The counselling and psychotherapy acknowledges that may also explore our understanding that one of us has more of a need for separateness, the other for connection (see also Relationship Dances - Pushing & Pulling), how we can tolerate these differences, consider others' needs, remain stable, grounded in our self, resilient curious, loving and how we can honour our desire for love have the potential to heal our relationship, any shame we continue to carry and feel abundant in ourself. (See also Distinguishing Between What We Want & What We Need)
Being Loving & Strong Some may fear losing themselves in the relationship, marriage. We may want to have the courage to express or receive love without losing our strengths, sense of control and humour, our individuality, difference and to be empowered - just being our self, free of obsessive love (see Being Autonomous Yet Part Of A Couple). We may for example be OK without someone special in our life, yet once they appear - lose ourself, get consumed by our new partner, hooked on them, fear abandonment or rejection, as our dependency need or insatiable need for love takes over, losing our sense of who we are. Our craving for connection may also outweigh our ability to respond to our need. Needing our partner, rather than wanting them, may diminish sexual desire. These issues can be discussed in relationship counselling and marriage therapy.
The God of Love lives in the state of need.Plato
Our Need for Love, Connection Especially if we feel a strong, independent woman, man inside, some of us may feel bad, inadequate or ashamed in needing care, love (or afraid of love), touch and attention (even ones that can only be met from another person), that it is selfish to have any needs, believing we are supposed to be self sufficient (some of us may be living in a largely codependent relationship). Yet having desire for love, sharing love, is a basic need. We are all interdependent, thrive on sharing love, connecting and have this basic human need that can only be met by someone else (see also Emotional Dependence - Denying Our Dependence On Others). We may find it hard to tell the difference between being in touch with and asking for what we need - speaking up for ourselves and letting others, our partner know what works best for us, expressing our desires, being emotionally needy, our crave for attention and obsessive love. We may struggle to have love and compassion for ourself - share our love, pulling on them, trying anything that might work to get the love we struggle to give ourselves, often experienced as emptiness inside and getting upset when others don't give us what we need. From this empty place our intention is different, often picked up by our partner, where our emotional neediness can be from our wounded part of ourself and our needs from a more adult part. Am I really in love may be our dilemma. Craving for attention, we expect others to give us what we are not giving to us, looking after our own needs, taking care of our own feelings. Pulling on them, our hope is that the other person will fill us up, so we have feelings of worth and security, and the marriage counselling and relationship psychotherapy can be a space to talk about this. (See also The Connections We Need & Make)
Our Need For Contact We have the right to need attention, contact, in our relationship, marriage, yet may find our partner unable to give us this (see also Relationship Dances - Pushing & Pulling). And we may be faced with the choice of accepting we are in a relationship, marriage, with someone who doesn't make a lot of time for us, to learn to give this attention to ourselves or to seek a relationship with someone who does (see also Contradictory, Ambivalent, Mixed Feelings About Our Partner, Relationship Or Marriage). For some it can become unbearable when we don't receive the contact we need when we need it (see also Connecting, Disconnecting, Reconnecting, Interconnectedness). At its most intense, a part of us can appear to disintegrate, as if we have lost our own ground. When the love we need appears to desert us, we can feel abandoned, rejected, out of control, separate and unloved (see also Our Sensitivities - Pushing Each Other's Buttons, Counselling London). We may struggle to validate ourselves find our own faith and love. This can activate our early experiences in life as we struggle to get in touch with our own resources, which can be explored in the relationship counselling and marriage counselling.
Running From Relationship To Relationship Some of us may feel unlovable, believe we don't deserve love, which can become self-fulfilling. Others may struggle to grieve our previous relationships, reflect, have a sense of our own OK-ness, as if someone else can do this for us. Empty or lonely inside, we may jump from one relationship to another, be hungry for love to fill our emptiness, yet never quite be satisfied as if our desire to be love and be loved may exceed our (and others') capacity to do so.
Our Own Needs The marriage counselling and relationship therapy can be a space to get in touch with, observe, articulate our own needs, be aware of our own dependency needs. Struggling to take responsibility for our own needs, we can sometimes feel bad about the way we act, feel unhappy with how we are, as we treat others, and indeed ourself, in hurtful or damaging ways. For some this may be connected to feeling wounded or emotionally needy, and then being initially attracted to someone at a similar level of wounds or needs. We may need to feel wanted for the sake of it, without other important considerations. To be with someone because we genuinely like them, not from just an insatiable need or desire from within us, may be important, so we don't make them responsible for filling our own needs, or giving us approval, affirmation, reassurance, recognition, validation, appreciation, praise, permission and confirmation. Each of us can then get caught in hoping that the other - our partner, fills us up and makes us feel good (e.g. be the other missing half of us, taking away our emptiness, aloneness, anxiety or insecurity). Yet they never quite can, and we may be caught in a familiar scenario of believing that the "grass is greener", or moving on to another partner without discovering that feeling full and good inside comes from caring for ourselves, our own intrinsic worth, safety and security. We can make others the meaning of our own existence.
Love Addiction, Romance Addiction & Obsessive Love
Love Addiction, Love Addicts - Getting Overwhelmed Sometimes our esteem can be fine in other areas of life, yet something happens in relationships as if we are addicted to bad relationships even though we have a biological imperative for relationships. What is love addiction - we may ask. Is love, addiction in itself? What are the similarities and differences between love and addiction and what is codependency? Some of us may have begun to see ourselves as love addicts, seeking love addiction therapy. The relationship counselling and love addiction therapy can help ascertain what happens to us when our loving feelings become too much - addicted to the feelings of love, as if there are no other sources of happiness, only our relationship (and/or our limerent relationship - an emotional affair) can make us happy, putting it at the centre of our universe. Some of us may get overwhelmed by what we see or want to see in others and consequently feel manipulated or used. We may have become hooked on online chat, internet dating. The thrill of the chase can give us a real high or rush, often followed by a low (see also High-Low Addiction Model). Hopscotching from one person to another, it can be as if we are searching for our next attraction or "fix", trying to hold on to something. Some people may be impatient (even expecting everything to happen on the first date), expecting love to happen instantly, rather than allow it to evolve and grow. Some may be deeply connected to one special person (see also Emotional Affairs), yet lose our sense of control, power, preferring fantasy, magical thinking, to reality, viewing others as if in some way they are objects. We may be hooked on obsessive love or the infatuation phase of romantic love, longing for someone, who we can never entirely have (what some people call a romance addiction), and mistake this for real love. We may well exaggerate our new partner's attractive characteristics, giving scant attention to any unattractive ones (which frequently disappoint us later) or attract unhealthy relationships. Having our own identity issues we may compare ourselves unhealthily with others, judge ourselves and others or become envious, jealous. Some of us may be so hooked on needing the ideal or perfect partner, seeking an unconditional love (seeking it in others, yet struggling to find it in us), adoration, approval, affirmation, reassurance, recognition, validation, appreciation, praise, permission or confirmation. The love addiction counselling explores how we can begin to rely on our sense of self, so we no longer need the love of others to love ourself.
Love Addiction - What May Be Happening Inside Many things, including our relationship style, may be influencing us inside, including:
- The addictive feelings of falling in love affecting our brain chemistry, when we get a high from a dopamine increase & the pleasure feelings causing an increase in excitement
- Falling in love with the ideal of love - not necessarily the person, projecting our idealised life, hopes, onto them
- Confusing longing with loving, confusing romantic infatuation for love
- Putting our new partner on a pedestal (attracting people at a similar level of wounding)
- Conscious fear of ending up alone & feeling empty inside & fear of rejection, abandonment yet unconsciously fear intimacy, experiencing a level of attachment anxiety
- Always seem to pick the "wrong partner", feeling used
- Struggling to see the signs & can't say "No" to things that in hindsight were plainly wrong
- Wanting our partner back even though we know it's wrong, staying in the relationship even though we know it's not right - hanging on in there for fear of being lonely
- Analysing a lot, obsessing about our partner, checking up on them, strong envy, jealousy
- Worrying our partner will lose interest in us
- Believing that our partner can fill a hole inside us
- Hating our needy side
- Trying to please our partner, fix things, give people what they want rather than what we want
- Underlying feeling of disappointment
- Coming from an emptiness inside - expecting others to fill this
Obsessively Thinking About Our Partner Or Someone Else We may have obsessive thoughts about our partner or someone else. Unable to focus on things, some of us may be preoccupied about them, obsessing, overanalyse things in the relationship. We may have obsessive thoughts "What have I said, done, should have said, done?", "What are they thinking?", "Besides they don't want to really be with me anyway and if they were with me, really knew me, they wouldn't like me", going out of our way to prove these beliefs as if our esteem is based on them. Our envy and jealousy may lurk. Adapting ourself around them, it can be as if we don't know who we are without them. The relationship counselling, marriage therapy can explore other ways of thinking differently about us or our partner and how we get love and approval.
Obsessive Love Orientating ourself around our relationship or partner and obsessing about our relationship we may make it the be all and end all, abandoning ourself. Does our love have to be obsessive may be a question we keep coming back to (see also Perfect Love, Idealised Love). Some of us prefer this obsessive love, rather than risking real, long term love, and authentic intimacy. Alienated, unhappy inside, we may be seeking happiness from others continuously looking to others for love, as if we could never be whole without a partner. Some of us may obsessively love in an unrequited way or become enmeshed - wrapped up with our partner. Obsessing about someone else, and getting them to make us feel good, pulling on them to fill our emptiness, feeling desperate at times, out of control, we may have ignored our own feelings, needs, and the therapy can explore this with us. Freeing ourselves of obsessive love, learning or risking how to love, be loving (without overflowing with love), hold love, express love may be a challenge for some. Others may have a lot of envy, jealousy. Obsessive love can be a way in which we keep our mind occupied from what else is troubling us.
I can't live if living is without you.Harry Nilsson
Blind Love Some of us may have a blind love - entering into a loving relationship without really seeing the other person (or indeed ourselves). We may ignore our rational mind, our intuition, senses. Our love may be blind and we may idealise our partner because we choose not to see what is, covering our eyes. We may appreciate each other's essence and ignore qualities we don't like. (See also Being Together As A Couple - Widening Our Perspective Of Romantic Love).
Love begins when infatuation ends.
Romance Addiction, Love Addiction - Romantic Infatuation We may enjoy and value romance and keep this alive in our relationship, yet not want to get so carried away by it, that we lose ourselves. Romantic novels, films, often begin with a searching, longing and end happily ever after, when we find our perfect match, idealised partner. Romance is important for many of us, yet for some this can become part of our love addiction, turn into infatuation or become part of our magical thinking, as we fall in love with the idea of love rather than the person. And in love with the idea (or ideal) of love, we may become hooked on the idea of romantic notions, yet not fully see or connect with the real person we project our romantic fantasies, hopes, onto. Our infatuation may come from an emptiness inside, expecting the other person to fill this for us (not necessarily our sexual partner), as if we have abandoned our self (see also Self-Esteem, Confidence, Criticism, Insecurity & Assertiveness). Boredom may quickly follow infatuation and we seek a new "romantic fix". We may become emotionally needy. (Some of us may feel a strong passionate love, which we fear fading and we may believe we have to remain infatuated in our love without incorporating other aspects of our consummate love.) Our romantic infatuation can be almost like a crush at times and may be based on our need to possess our partner, trying to get love by trying to control or own them. We may struggle to be in touch with and ask for what we need. For some of us caught in the blind intensity of loving, the burning, romantic passion, we may have become like a "love addict". We may also project onto others qualities we don't own in us. The relationship counselling and love addiction therapy explores what happens when we become infatuated, as our brain chemistry changes. For some of us it can be as if we are missing our self, seeking to fill ourself through another. We may experience a "high" from our dopamine increase, the hormone which produces pleasure feelings or norepinephrine, causing an increase in excitement (see also High-Low Addiction Model). Connected to ecstasy, we can't get enough, crave and want more contact, more of them and go to extremes to get attention, affection. Envy and jealousy may play a role. We may have lost our own ground or sense of power and confuse romantic infatuation for love. We may be yearning for a passionate, romantic, forbidden love, yet at the same time be blinded to a committed, down to earth love, which isn't always exciting, and includes ordinary human life, the rough and tumble of interactions, where the tasks of our relationship aren't always romantic, can be challenging at times yet deeply loving. (See also Consummate Love)
The children of lovers are orphans.Anonymous
Romance Addiction, Love Addiction - Finding Our Way Through It Some of us can be addicted to the rush we get from the chemicals in our body. Romantic love can be seen as sometimes an almost blind love, an initial stage of love - the honeymoon period which can be called the falling in love stage, when we are buoyant and uplifted in the hope that our new partner will meet all our needs, where we may bask in mutual idealisation. Often it can be as if we see, or want to see, our new love as very similar to ourself. (For some, making love can create a premature bonding before other aspects of the relationship have been developed without really getting to know each other, cultivating trust, friendship.) This romantic love may also be conditional, where for example we would do anything for them as they must do for us, yet may jeopardise a deeper form of love as the relationship progresses if we hide our true nature. We may only expect our partner to be madly in love with us, never without doubt or uncertainty, that it must be ecstatic and pure. We may become anxious that this romantic stage of love may end. At a certain stage of the relationship we may believe we have fallen out of love, because the person we have loved is not what we expected, not so great after all, where mundaneness may arrive. We may have lost our curiosity (see also Falling In & Out Of Love). Feeling threatened we may have negative thoughts, fearing the relationship is over, yet it may only just have begun as we move away from just saying "Yes" and fear of upsetting our partner to also finding a "No" and "Maybe" (see also Being Autonomous Yet Part Of A Couple). After this collapse of often mutual projections onto each other (what we would like to see, hope for, etc. or qualities in them we don't see in us) we may be faced with a familiar choice of searching for this idealised love elsewhere or accepting the not so good bits in our new partner, which we couldn't see before. Viewing the initial romantic stage like a kind of hors d'oeuvre to what love can be may support us. Taking care of our wounded self lurking in the background may be essential, so we don't come from a feeling of lack from our childhood, wanting to fill our emptiness through our partner by trying to control our partner. Taking full responsibility for the wellbeing and happiness of our own inner child, so we are fully equipped to be an adult in our relationship, may support us as may relaying on our sense of self, so we don't need others' love to love ourself. Choosing to love our partner for who they actually are (with their imperfections) including acceptance of our own limitations, has the potential for these unacknowledged, disowned parts in them (and us) to be healed through a deeper enduring and compassionate love, without losing the romance and being together as a couple - widening our perspective of romantic love as we negotiate through relationship phases. (See also Maturity As A Couple)
Love is a drug. The ventral tegmental area is a clump of cells that make dopamine, a natural stimulant,Helen Fisher
and sends it out to many brain regions (when one is in love). It's the same region affected when you feel the rush of cocaine.
Seeking Out & Finding Someone Consumed by intriguing romantic thoughts, we may become obsessed by a whole range of personal triggers that start us off through different phases of our love addiction. Driven to follow through our obsession, we go on the hunt seeking out someone who, we hope, will satisfy our powerful drives. And some of these drives to seek out someone may date back to our first relationship, early connections. We may set up elaborate rituals on our hunt to seek out the object of our desire, as if the other person is not entirely real, but plays a part in the script of our romantic drama and the roles we play. We may try to enlist others to help us in the process and when someone responds to our advances we become temporarily gratified, feel at peace for a while until a further obsession kicks in. Trying to justify our behaviour - that what we do comes natural to us, we may also experience feelings of remorse, guilt. We may try to blame others for driving us to make the choices we make. Guilt about what we have done, shame about who we are may follow. We may experience despair, hopelessness, very different from the exciting feelings we had earlier, as our world comes crashing down. Empty inside we may temporarily promise ourselves not to go round this circle again, yet after a while we become frustrated and inside know it is only a matter of time before we start this addictive cycle again. (See also Searching For A Soulmate)
Love does not consist in gazing at each other, but in looking outward together in the same direction.Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Longing, Searching Some of us may become fuelled with our passionate love, desire and longing for sexual union, emotional connection with our partner - connected to trying to get all our unmet needs met from one person (carrying our projections - see also Relationship Style, Attachment Patterns). And some of us may be longing to be seen and known relating to our early bonding patterns. Others may have a strong need to belong. Therapy may explore what in us gets drawn to certain partners. We may long to feel good about ourself - seeking this in others, trying to find the "right person", yet when we also feel good about ourselves - feel "right", we attract and transmit to those around us who feel the same, and this can be explored further in the therapy (see also No Longer Abandoning Us). Many romantic novels and films still give messages, that through our longing for love we only just have to meet the right (and often only) person (and that we will just know) and often the film, story, ends. Yet in real life it is then (once we meet and get to know our new partner) that the relationship begins, after the searching, longing. And it can be at this stage of the relationship the pursuer, distancer dynamic occurs (when we know our partner isn't going away), it is us who wants to leave. Some of us may confuse our longing with our loving and sexuality. Our longing and searching may be also of a different quality, where our search may be connected to our first relationship, relationship style or of an existential or spiritual nature.
Passionate Love Our own values and cultural differences may view passion as a positive attribute or with suspicion, negativity. It is an enlivening feeling, when we are in touch with our passion, enthusiasm and desire, being passionate, and especially rewarding when it is reciprocated. We may enjoy ravishing our partner, being ravished (not just in a sexual way) Yet sometimes the fires of our love can be all consuming, needing the containment and protection of something that will last - a more secure and enduring love (maybe slower burning). Passion and instant love is not the sustaining principle for a relationship. Inside the burning, romantic passion together, fuelled by the intense flames of passionate love, we (or others) may fizzle out at times. For many of us it is natural for passionate love to burn itself out and transform into stronger bonds, where our passion is also for the minutiae of daily life or is no longer so much in the foreground. We may want both a passionate love alongside the security of a more lasting love. Passionate love (though not the sexual attraction) is usually fleeting, invariably transitory, quicker to fade. And as the relationship progresses through different phases, it may give way to a more compassionate love. It may be relevant that passion is from the Latin verb "pati", which means "to suffer" (see also Suffering & Love). However, passionate love may not last and we may have a habit of falling in and out of love or struggle to move through and beyond this stage of the relationship, without forsaking our passion, where our love life may have fewer highs and lows. Our passionate love may remain infatuation unless accompanied by the other qualities of consummate love, emotional connection and when the passion tends to fade, other elements of our consummate love may become stronger. It is said we need to feel passionate love in order to form a consummate love. We don't have to resign ourself to a passionless relationship, because we have been together for a while, yet this may inevitably mellow out over time. The relationship therapy may also explore what happens when the spark goes out and the nature of our desire, passion, imagination, fantasy, drives, urges, impulses. The quality of our passionate love, influenced by our relationship style may include:
- The Ways We Think In the early passionate stages of our relationship, we may be forever thinking about or preoccupied with our partner, wanting to know everything about them and they us. Through the experience of our own upbringing, love stories, films, we may have taken on some preconceived ideas of how our ideal love or prefect relationship should be, that we should admire our partner, fall in total love and remain in this heightened, aroused state, whenever we think about or are in the presence of our ideal lover.
- The Ways We Feel Our passionate love, intense affectionate feelings and sexual attraction can appear to come out of nowhere or when the time is right for us - that we are ready to be in love with another person. Some may only want to experience passionate love, staying romantically infatuated - almost being addicted to it, not wanting to temper it, craving those initial loving feelings. When we are intensely passionate, we have strong feelings about a person or thing. (Sometimes seeing a person as a "thing", struggling to relate with them and see them as they actually are, so they are not only a projection of our needs.) Our passion, enthusiasm and desire, even euphoria, can be compelling, yet anxiety provoking and may have a desperateness to it (we can feel very good when things go well and very bad when they don't). When these feelings are reciprocated, we can feel elated, fulfilled, yet when our love is not reciprocated or requited (or we discover our partner doesn't measure up), we can feel in despair, very anxious, rejected. Our passionate love can carry an intense longing and search for union and is an emotional and exciting love. We may be very aroused and sexually attracted to our partner, needing a complete and permanent union fearing that when our passionate love dwindles, that the relationship is over. In fact it may have only just begun.
- The Ways We Behave If we are in a relationship, we may obsessively try to find out how our partner feels and do a lot for them, have a strong need to be physically close to them. Sometimes our passion may drive us towards a limerent relationship - a deep, emotional connection, or also a sexual attraction.
Reciprocated Love, Requited Love Reciprocating love to others will not lead us to receiving reciprocal love from them, yet it may improve our chances. Love is two-sided. Love doesn't only absorb and accept, it returns energy back from where it has been received and this reciprocation is evidence of the existence of love. Love reciprocates (not necessarily mirrored back - for the ingredients of love can be given and received in many forms) and is implicit in love. Reciprocated love in this ideal form is shared (not always equally yet in balanced ways, see also Giving and receiving love) sustained and requited, so when we love someone, they love us back - that the love is returned, that both lovers mutually feel it, experiencing union with another and fulfilment, including sexual fulfilment. This experience of love can feel like ecstasy (especially in the early romantic stage of the relationship). In order for the relationship to blossom, thrive, grow, most of us need reciprocated love and need love to be revealed through responsive and considerate actions, so we feel it - that the love we give is returned in similar measures. Reciprocated love can be painful in its absence when love is unrequited.
Unrequited Love Unrequited love means we love someone, yet they don't love us back, where giving and receiving love may be out of kilter. Many novels, love songs, films portray love sickness - an unrequited lover persisting despite rejection and it can be our very fear of rejection, abandonment that keeps us in a relationship where our love remains unrequited. Unrequited love is one-sided love, where the other person may not be aware of our love or doesn't return it in kind. It is as if we hold all the hope and go through the same amount of pain as a relationship ending without the benefit of having that loving relationship in the first place. When we love someone, it may be natural that we receive a proportional response, that reciprocation is implicit, so our love is not only absorbed, but returned, that our love is evidenced through reciprocation. We may struggle to find out unequivocally from the person we love if they are romantically, sexually interested in us, which may leave us hanging, hoping. (Platonic or limerent relationships are fertile ground for unrequited love, where the admirer finds it hard to express their true feelings, express their needs, because they are too embarrassing fearing that this revelation may lead to rejection, abandonment, that it might end all contact with the person we love - see also Breadcrumbing, Disappearing Act, Vanishing Act, Ghosting.) When our love is unrequited it weighs heavily on us. The pain of our unrequited love can go back many moons or be current. When the love we feel is unrequited, our gut wrenching love sickness, preoccupation, moods can swing between euphoria and depression. When love is unrequited - not reciprocated, we may feel very separate, despairing, anxious, unloved - affecting our esteem. We can feel despondent, helpless, be in despair, as if our soul is withering, as if we are dying from a broken heart. We may cling on because it is our only connection to the other person. One-sided love just doesn't feel good, and there may be something is us that make us persist even when the information we receive back is that a relationship is not possible. We may have developed a pattern of falling in love with the wrong people in the first place, risking unrequited love again. For some of us seeking unrequited love may have comparisons with being addicted to pain, suffering and this can be explored in the counselling and psychotherapy. Unrequited one-sided love (similar to jealousy and envy) can be seen as about us (and not them). The relationship counselling may also look at:
- We may confuse longing with loving
- If we need to move away from fantasy, a fantasised relationship, away from our magical thinking, towards honouring the truth of the situation
- Whether the love we have for this other person has become obsessive
- Our logic, that just because we want our love returned, it doesn't mean we have the right to it
- What characteristics in the unavailable lover we are attracted to
- What else is happening in our life in terms of social interaction, our sense of emptiness, loneliness (we may fear emptiness more than having our love unreturned)
- What aspect in us can't accept having love unreturned, e.g. better than being alone, needing to have things our way, unable to bear this not happening because we desire it
- What is happening in terms of our confidence, judgement, impulsiveness & self-control (see also Diverting, Changing Responses To Our Drives, Urges, Impulses, Passions, Desires, Aspirations, Energies, Creativity)
- Lack of meaning & purpose in our life, so we end up solely relying upon romantic relationships to define this for us
- Can we love ourself enough to let go of this situation if it has become so unhelpful
- How we can grow & learn from our experience, putting it into good use
The person who is unable to reciprocate our love may not feel the same towards us or offer unconditional love. Some may struggle to be loving to anyone, fear intimacy, fear love, have difficulty giving love, reciprocating love or are unable to love anyone but themselves (see also Breadcrumbing, Disappearing Act, Vanishing Act, Ghosting). We may believe that by loving them we can change them.
Love Addiction - Craving Those Initial Loving Feelings Some of us may want to move on to a different relationship once the honeymoon period is over, and this may be a pattern - falling in and out of love. And when we fall in love, in this fragile euphoria or the initial stage of our relationship we may feel joyous, passionate, alive, excited, ecstatic, creative and these feelings are in us anyway. We may believe that once the infatuation stage diminishes, the love is lost, that love is exclusively a feeling, and not also a choice and decision. Swept off our feet, the arousal, game playing and drama (e.g. exhilarating highs, despondent lows, the pursuing, and being pursued) of this intense adoration stage can be intoxicating, turn our stomach over, distorting our thinking and behaviour. We can fall head over heels in love, experiencing an avalanche of feelings and we may struggle to manage this when full-on love wanes in moments and to some extent this can mirror our early, symbiotic relationships, early bonding patterns, affecting our relationship style now. If we are stuck at this heavenly adoration stage, lost on "cloud nine", it can be painful to come back down to earth - too difficult to contemplate for those of us who have become love addicts. Initially excited, we can end up deeply unsatisfied, unable to move forward and develop the relationship further. Powerless inside, we may seek the hypnotic gaze of our lover's eyes, caught like a rabbit in the headlights, it is as if we have become helpless, taken over by something outside of our control. Seeking to adore others and be adored by others may also point to unmet love needs in our past. What happens to us when we fall in love, its positive and negative aspects, including obsessive love, no longer abandoning ourselves, can be discussed in the relationship counselling, love addiction therapy therapy, alongside how we embrace a deeper phase in the relationship or marriage...
Possible Indicators, Patterns Of Love Addiction:
- Falling in love with the idea of love, rather than the person
- Looking for a sense of safety, security in another, the relationship rather than give this to ourself
- Giving ourself away by accommodating our partner
- Starting off falling very much in love, yet ending up with a familiar feeling of rejection, not being good enough.
- Have problems maintaining intimate relationships, once the initial excitement, newness, has worn off.
- When in a long term relationship we may often be unhappy, detached, judgemental. Yet when out of a relationship we may feel desperate or alone.
- Constantly searching for romance, love.
- Missing out on other important aspects of our balanced life, e.g. family, friends, career, interests, exercise, wide range of social experiences, so we can find & create a romantic relationship.
- Consistently unhappy with a need to find a partner, anxiety when alone
- Often mistaking romantic infatuation or passionate, intense sexual experiences for love.
- Trying to control the relationship, maybe using sex, seduction, money, drama or other methods as a means to hook or hold on to a partner (see also ).
- Quickly falling in love with people we have met superficially or even not met, e.g. online.
- Becoming obsessive with "happy ever after"
- Wanting commitment yet inside being commitment phobic
- Patterns of us pushing, the other pulling away
- Acute fear of loss, abandonment, rejection
- Consistently choosing emotionally unavailable or abusive partners.
- Being unable to leave unhealthy or abusive relationships, despite the promises we have made to ourselves or others.
- Returning to previously painful, unmanageable relationships, despite telling ourselves or others we wouldn't
- Giving emotionally, sexually, financially or otherwise to partners, who need a lot of looking after, yet are unable to reciprocate what they are given.
- Believing we are unworthy of love, that someone out there can make it all right for us
- Setting our personal values, self-worth, self-image by the object of our affection, as if we can't live without them
- Waiting for someone to save us - believing that solutions for everything in our life can be found in another
- Confusing sex with love
- Making decisions about what to say, how to look, based on how others may perceive us rather than our own sense of Self, comfort & creativity.
- Giving up by avoiding all the above pursuits for long periods of time in order to solve the problem.
- Losing our Self and relying on our partner to give us a sense of self
- Needing our partner's love to love ourself
- Aligning or enmeshing our identity with our partner, codependency, remaining out of touch with our own identity.
- Fearing any change.
Staying Strong Inside Disconnected, empty or lonely inside, consumed by our need for love or affirmation, some of us may struggle to see our idealised partner (the object of our dreams) as an imperfect, fallible human being, just as we are. When they are not the person we thought they were ("there is no chemistry any more"), our perfect, safe bubble may burst, and we may struggle to accept our partner exactly as they are, devaluing them. Despite our intelligence, our rational mind may be captured by our fantasy mind, so when our "perfect match" lets us down and we can't have it all, we feel devastated because we have gone along with the fantasy in our head. It can be as if we are addicted to love or our fantasised ideas how love should be. Emotionally dependent, we may fear or believe that the relationship is over, yet it may simply be a grieving for a stage of a relationship, that is ready to develop further. Our relationship may have just begun, where other qualities, like trust, nurturing and building the relationship, may be important (see also Loving Someone When It's Hard - Opening Our Heart To Others, Even When Things Are Difficult). Love addiction therapy, marriage counselling and relationship psychotherapy offers support through this uncomfortable experience of obsessive love, love addiction, crave for attention, need for approval and the "fix" we get from it. We may also want to find ways to be OK, be a partner to ourself so we can be a partner for others, more in control without an overwhelming need for someone else, yet at the same time be balanced, passionate and strong inside, anchored and grounded in our own centre. Our obsessive thoughts, fantasies, can get in the way, and we may struggle to give them a time and place so they are not so dominant. Responding and managing our disappointment about our relationship may also be important.
Getting Over Honeymoon Period In our relationships we may wonder how to get past honeymoon period and some of this may be related to struggling to negotiate relationship phases or craving those initial loving feelings, our state of dependence, codependence, independence, interdependence. Widening our perspective of romantic love and deepening the relationship, emotional connection, maturity as a couple may be important.
Risking, Sharing A More Real Love Alongside our personal love challenges (see also Am I Really In Love? Am I In Love?), and away from allowing our fantasies taking over, some may want to risk a more real love for our own good as well as our partner's, cherishing, honouring us and our partner for who we are, secure in ourself. And real love requires action. Getting to know and valuing our real self, loving who we are, so we don't abandon ourselves, may be important, sharing the heart and soul of who we are with our partner. For those of who want to explore the relationship between love and addiction, compulsively needing someone, questioning "Is love an addiction" or who identify as love addicts, we may want to find positive, lasting ways of loving, replacing our projections. Treating each other as a whole person, acknowledging our need of each other, yet free to be what and who we are, giving, receiving and sharing love, may be important. The marriage counselling and love addiction therapy can support us with this so we learn about love, invest in a real love, not a possessive love.
Moving From A Love Addicted Relationship Towards A Loving Relationship Many couples may unconsciously come together through their common level of need, woundedness or self-abandonment. Insecure or fearful inside we may limit ourselves or end up limiting what our partner does. One partner may try to fix things, please, take care of the other, who rejects this (see also Codependency (Co-Dependency) - Caretaking). When we let go of making others, our partner responsible for our self-worth, no longer taking responsibility for our partner's feeling of self worth, we can be in touch with what we need and ask for it. We may feel more connected with ourself and with each other (where there is a space for a me, you and us), are able to fill ourself with love, so we are no longer needy of another's love to fill our emptiness, feel OK. Transforming our love-addicted relationship into a loving relationship (see also Addictive Element To Certain Attachment Styles), where real love can grow, can be helped when both partners are willing to learn to take care of their own feelings and heal the relationship, where we dance together as opposed to dancing out of synchronisation and the giving and receiving of love is more shared. And as we both individuate, yet are part of a couple, we are able to enjoy each other's company, have fun, to resolve conflicts more easily, support each other with what brings each other joy, share compassionate love, be giving of love rather than get love, so the love between us grows as we learn to love and value ourselves, moving from feeling powerless towards powerful, getting control back into our life with our own sense of worth, safety, security. The counselling for love addiction can explore ways we can put ourselves under less pressure and not only love but be together as a couple, respectging and loving the personality of another human being.
Loneliness & Aloneness In The Relationship Or Marriage
Being Alone, Lonely, Whether Or Not We Are In A Relationship Or Marriage Sometimes we can feel unappreciated, be lonely in our relationship, struggling to emotionally connect, experience the pain and frustration of not being seen, heard. Some may be lonely in our relationship with someone who is unavailable for connection, withdraws, withholds or blames. Experiencing heartbreak, we may be lonely, being in a wrong relationship. Others may fear they will always be lonely, scared, that we will never meet the right person, have a proper relationship, maybe dating people for the sake of it, sensing deep inside that the relationship won't flourish (see also Our Painbody). Fearing rejection, abandonment, we may be lonely, yet deep inside fear intimacy, keeping it going. Some of us can be lonely, feel alone, whether we are in a relationship or marriage or not, expecting our relationship or marriage to solve our problem with loneliness, aloneness. We may have convinced ourselves that in the early stages of our relationship or marriage (especially if intoxicated by falling in love), that our own experience of aloneness or loneliness would never return. And when these feelings return, we may view our loneliness or aloneness as something connected to our relationship or marriage, yet they may be to do with us, what's happening inside. For example it may not have occurred to us that once we settle down, we will still be alone. Accepting our partner's differences, finding quality time to explain our loneliness, concerns and needs, yet at the same time be open to change, loving and receptive, experiencing emotional connection can be challenging. In the relationship counselling and marriage counselling we may want to consider our own sense of aloneness, loneliness, alienation and emptiness (what we do to fill this) and how we can be who we are in each moment with ourself and our partner.
Your letters they all say that you're beside me now. Then why do I feel alone?Leonard Cohen - "Marianne"
Choosing To Love
How We Love We all have a need to be loved, especially as a child. We may have developed "magical beliefs" about love, based on our childhood. As adults, our life journey may have less emphasis on being loved, and be more about being loving and supporting to ourself and others for the highest good. In the marriage counselling and relationship therapy you may want to review the cycle of giving and receiving love in our relationship, the energy of love - being in touch with a real love.
Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.Rumi
Our Readiness, Willingness, Choice & Decision To Love It is a cliché that if we can't love and trust who we are (see also Compassion & Understanding For Ourself - Allowing, Letting Ourself Be The Receiver Of Our Love), we are unable to love and trust others. Yet sometimes we may find it difficult to do so - to make a decision to love (see also Loving Someone When It's Hard - Opening Our Heart To Others, Even When Things Are Difficult). If we struggle to nurture ourselves, we can become demanding and emotionally needy of our partner, wanting to control their choices or limit their joy, as if they are responsible for meeting our needs, taking away our unwanted feelings or making us feel better about our own hurt and pain. We may want to look at how our own envy and jealousy may get in the way. We can try to make our partner liable for our unmet needs from our past and our behaviour, as if they are causing our own distress or loneliness, alienation. Love is a decision, choice and action (see also Ingredients Of Love, Expressions Of Love, Mutuality - Being Loving In Our Actions - Actively Showing Our Love). In searching for love from another we may have overlooked our own choice, readiness and willingness to love and how we don't always need others to make us feel alive so we love for the joy and privilege of loving (placing our focus on loving ourself and others) without trying to control the outcomes. Making room for our own instinctive compassion to flourish and cultivating our love into action, opening our heart to others may be explored in the relationship counselling and marriage counselling. (See also Energy Of Love - Being In Touch With A Real Love)
Need For Fulfilling Relationship, Marriage It can be hard to get and expect all things from our partner, relationship or marriage and also challenging not to look to our partner to fill our needs (see also Am I Really In Love? Am I In Love?). Making a decision to love (see also What Is Love?), building a fulfilling, secure, safe, yet romantic, emotionally connected and intimate relationship, where there is mutual support and encouragement of each other's goals and dreams, is loving work. Fulfilment for many may include sharing worthwhile moments together, yet supporting each other's freedom, accepting each other, helping the relationship thrive, flourish and each other flourish, fulfilling ourself.
Giving, Receiving & Sharing Love - Loving & Being Loved
The greatest thing you'll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.Nat King Cole
What We Do With Our Love Needs A part of us may feel unworthy of love, loving and this may date back to our early attachment patterns. (If we have never experienced love, we may need to be held by someone who is loving, so we can directly receive the experience of love.) Connecting with others is our best route to giving, receiving, sharing love. Only giving or receiving love depletes our energy, where burnout or resentment may follow. Both effectively and confidently giving and receiving love (supported by our self-worth and sense of significance) can be seen as creating and completing two halves of a circle of love, regenerating our energy. We may struggle to give or express our love, leaving us drained. It can be hard to personally grow (and for the relationship to flourish) without love being reciprocated or for the relationship to grow in a sustainable and healthy way without giving and receiving love, sharing love. And when we share love, we feel less empty inside. One challenge may be to receive love - allow ourself to be loved, another to freely give it - being loving (without the necessity to always please, fix things). Making loving ourselves a higher priority than trying to control others will support us when giving, receiving, sharing love. Understanding and articulating our distinctive ways of feeling love may be important. Being love, so it exudes, flows through giving, receiving and sharing love and touch may be important. Despite any challenges or differences between us, keeping the fire of our relationship burning, being compassionate with each other - sharing love, considering what matters to our partner, supporting our and their interests, etc. may matter to us. There may be a dance between one of us who is emotionally dependent and the other who is emotionally avoidant - one may push, the other may pull away (see also Loving Someone When It's Hard - Opening Our Heart To Others, Even When Things Are Difficult). Balance in the relationship between giving and receiving, so vulnerability is embraced, love (and sexual pleasure) is shared, that we love with our whole heart without a guarantee, without obligation guilt may be important.
- We may fear love or own our own dependency, independency needs.
- Some of us may try to give love, receive love, from our wounded child place, which affects our adult relationship.
- Some of us may have numbed our feelings, closed off, shut down, bottled things up (see also Our Painbody).
- We may have concluded that we can't receive love now because we have felt rejected, hurt in past relationships or we weren't loved back then in time. It may be as if we have become a victim of our childhood, believing that our current ability to give and receive love, feel worthy is caused by our childhood lacks rather than how we choose to receive love now (see also Intrinsic Self-Worth - Valuing Our True Worth, Who We Are).
- Although we need our defences may struggle with choosing to be open. At some level we may believe we are unlovable or don't deserve love, holding on to deep hurt, pain inside, seek love and approval from our partner (some of these feelings may have their origins when growing up or if we lacked emotional support or physical affection - see also Our First Relationship - Early Connections & Bonding Patterns).
- We may struggle to trust others including our partner, even ourself.
- We may want to be in touch with our intention to control or to love.
And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.Paul McCartney
Over-Giving, Overflowing With Love Or Difficulties Receiving Love Some of us would like to be more open to receive love yet struggle to believe (see also Beliefs About Love, Beliefs About Relationships) we are loved or can be loved, that it is real. And this may date back to our love being jolted in the past, hurt and pain when younger or even earlier through bonding patterns (see also Our Esteem). We may find it easier to give love - be loving, yet find it hard (or shameful) to receive, (which through giving so much can be a self-sacrificing method of keeping others out in a masochistic way). Relationship counselling can explore how we can allow others to get close to us. Sharing our love with others makes us feel good, yet it may also be important for us not to make loving all others a one way street - to notice who shares their love back, which can be a way of loving ourselves. We may be loving simply because we love or as an act of service. Selfless, some of us may give and give - overflowing with love to others, yet not receive it back (denying our own basic needs), and we may fear rejection, abandonment, by giving from an empty place within - sacrificing our very self. We may struggle to fill our own emptiness with love first. Feeling not good enough we may not know how to be loved or how to love without being hurt. We may give from an emotionally needy place, often unseen - even by us. Some may fear abandonment, rejection. We may intuitively be in touch with others' needs, express compassion for others' pain in an openhearted way, take action to help others. We may want to be loving without absorbing others' hurt, pain (see also Qualities Of An Empath) and not be doing their caretaking, setting up codependent relationships. We may have become enmeshed or becoming their rescuer, pleaser, fixer. The counselling may explore where our giving feels good and not so good. We may want to consider:
- How we make ourself unreachable, struggle to receive, validation, approval, affirmation, reassurance, confirmation, recognition, appreciation, praise, attention, acceptance, trust
- What is it we are lovingly giving? Our time, energy, attention, tolerance, explanation, patience, affection, praise, advice, practical help so we become aware of responding to our perception of what the other person needs & reflect upon is that what we would like to receive?
- If we are taking emotional responsibility for others
- The nature of our esteem
- If we are being some sort of martyr believing we don't deserve it (yet deep inside really need love, to be loved)
- Whether we naturally give to others as opposed to automatically needing to give with an attempt to control
- Do we give naturally, spontaneously just for the joy of being in the moment or because we want something, to be liked, noticed, protect ourselves from criticism
- If the giver in us may be attracted to takers & struggle to receive, acknowledge our basic needs, be in touch with and ask for what we need, get them met or take responsibility for them - see also Healthy Side Of Being Self(ish).
- That by giving (from our own place of discomfort) we may disempower others, not allowing them to grow
- That sometimes the more we give, the more the other takes or they feel overwhelmed by us being very loving.
- Learning to receive love, compliments gracefully
- That we may find it unbearable if we are loved, as if we must only suffer. "I've got to do it on my own" may be our mantra.
- If we hide our own vulnerability, or may have also become cynical.
- Whether we struggle to trust ourselves, trust our partner and we may eventually feel lonely inside. Empty inside, in order to feel safe, worthy and lovable, some of us may have learnt to give love in order to get love, yet this can be experienced as controlling.
- If we hide our feelings out of shame.
- Our attachment style
- Whether we choose others, who find it difficult to give
- No longer giving our heart away or allowing our sharing of love to be one-way, sensing who reliably shares love, supported by our personal boundaries, which is an aspect of loving ourself.
- That being so focused on over-giving, we may not even notice we are loved - that even if we feel it, we can't allow it, let it in, believe it and therefore have to reject it
- Trusting, practising, learning to take it in - receive
- That the way we give may also include how we would like to receive
- Getting in touch with our desires, sexual desires
- Being receptive, open to receiving
- Being in touch with & asking for what we need - speaking up for ourselves & letting others, our partner know what works best for us
- Learning to let ourself be the receiver of our own love
- Looking to ourself to satisfy our deep learning
- That it may be painful for others that we can't receive & we may ironically be perceived as selfish, as if we hold up a "Keep Out" sign
You can give without loving, but you can never love without giving.Victor Hugo
Difficulties Giving Love, Maybe Used To Getting Love, Consuming Love Waiting for love, we may struggle to give love - generate it, share love, reciprocate love, communicate in meaningful ways from our heart, be kind not realising the act of giving love, showing gratitude, counting our blessings can fill us, open our heart (see also Embracing Ourselves With Compassion & Understanding For Us & Others, Being Loving, Sharing Love With Others - What May Help Us). And when we give love it doesn't have to be through grand gestures. It might be a heartfelt complement, a smile, a flower, a silent blessing. We may have focused all our attention to getting love, approval, being well off, having children, a big house, lots of friends, sex, being competitive, creative, powerful over others, travelling, that we overlook being generous, loving, sharing love. We may be comfortable in receiving love (or be like a sponge - soaking it up), yet find it difficult to give, reach out (maybe fearing rejection, abandonment or have a fear of being dependent), be loving (see also Loving Someone When It's Hard - Opening Our Heart To Others, Even When Things Are Difficult). This pattern may also echo sexually. Obsessive love may be a concern for some where our sense of happiness through being overly dependent on the relationship with our partner, can put pressure on them to meet our needs - see Unmet Love Needs & Emotional Neediness. (Some of us as parents may seek to get our love needs met through our children, withdrawing from our partner.) Loving others, in selfless ways at times without thinking of what we might get in return, makes us feel better (and there can be a correlation between the more we love, give love, the more we receive - see also Gifts). Taking our partner into consideration, reaching out, inspiring them, being kind, empathic, caring and compassionate - valuing our partner's needs (and responding to them - maybe giving something through time, attention, approval, support, money) as much as our own, being tender, gentle and taking care in how we communicate may now matter to us. Alongside exploring any feelings of emptiness, the relationship counselling may explore what it's like to focus on giving instead of getting. (See also Our Readiness, Willingness, Choice & Decision To Love)
The love we give away is the only love we keep.Elbert Hubbard
Difficulties Sharing Love We all have a need to belong and share with others, to share our heart and soul with another, fully receive. Yet some of us may feel very enmeshed with our partner, others may feel very separate from them (see also Personal Identity & Shared Identity As A Couple) and we can't share a love (or give a love) we don't know we have (see also Self-Acceptance, Loving Ourselves Unconditionally), or fear love - see also Being a Loving Human Being, Loving Ourself, Self-Care, Self-Love - How Do We Love Ourself? - Being Our Own Strong, Loving, Maturing, Mature Adult, Loving & Caring For Our Self. Others may feel emotionally needy and struggle to share love. Reciprocating love, enjoying shared experiences - being there for our partner, sharing love - when we intentionally give with love and intentionally receive with love (not just our partner - anyone where we can be together, feel safe and share love) can bring us great joy and connect us to our purpose. Some of us may struggle with our own personal identity and shared identity as a couple - our interdependence, that there is an "us". We may want to enjoy quality time together, creating a safe, open, kind and loving relationship space, so we emotionally connect, bond as a couple with a mature love, where we are able to relax, have a laugh, be playful, tactile, intimate together, emotionally connected - giving and receiving emotional support. And when we share love this can naturally lead to love-making, union. We may confuse the getting of love, which tends to be momentary, with the sharing of love, which can be deeper, lasting. We may enjoy sharing our love with those who share theirs and as we are loved, accepted for exactly who we are we are more able to accept, love ourselves. Yet when we come into contact with others who withhold their love or find it difficult to share, we can choose to love from a distance or bless them from the place they are currently in. (See also Potential To Heal Our Relationship Or Marriage - Considerations)
You know it's love when all you want is that person to be happy, even if you're not part of their happiness.Julia Roberts
Givers & Takers Most relationships aren't set up as one way traffic - where one person gives and the other just takes, but there are some who live in a give or take relationship rather than give and take, share. (There may be a good fit between the giver, whose role is to give, and the taker who is very attracted to the giver.) For those of us who are givers, we may never give enough to a taker or receive any care back, because takers often don't like themselves - rejecting themselves (and therefore are incapable of giving from their wounded self) trying to get others to give to them. Maybe caught in our own codependence, we may believe that if we just love others enough, they will heal, love us back. Yet this won't happen if others take out their self-judgement on us, are not open to love, have their heart closed. We may not be appreciated or even liked for being caring. In some situations it can be as if the life is being sucked out of us if we spend time with a person (or family system) that just takes. Burnout, resentment may follow. As a taker in relationships, we may believe it is others responsible for our feelings of pain and joy - that we are not. Takers may be people with narcissistic tendencies, wanting to control things, yet afraid of being controlled, resistant to what others want us to do, maybe through our defences. When others just want to take, are incapable of valuing, caring for us, we may question whether it is in our highest good to be with them (partners, friends, family). Being self-responsible, it may not be loving to ourself to be around others who treat us badly. A common denominator between givers and takers can be that both don't take care of themselves, ending up feeling unseen, unappreciated, misunderstood, unloved, resentful, angry, trapped.
Questions About Counselling For Love Addiction We may be seeking love addiction help, holding lots of questions about us and our relationship, marriage:
- Love addicts - am I a love addict?
- Is it love or addiction? What is love addiction?
- Do I have an addiction to love?
- Choosing a partner with an addiction - why do I choose to be in love with an addict?
- Is there such a thing as obsessive love?
- Do I have a relationship addiction?
- Love feelings - what is the link between love & emotions?
- What is love counselling? What problems a love counsellor can help with?
- How do I get past the honeymoon period? - is getting over honeymoon period possible?
FAQs about the Love Addiction Counselling London practice based in Kings Cross, Camden:
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