Why does this continue to happen to me? Why is it that every girl I manage to get involved with ends up hating me after a year or so? Am I the only one with this problem? Here’s the real complication; I have no problem answering relationship questions for others, but I can’t seem to do it for myself. My friends always refer to me as the relationship psychologist, and now I’m the one who needs the shrink.
Love, by definition it is adoration or a very strong liking. Anyone who has experienced love knows there is something more to it than just that. I adore puppies, popcorn has a special place in my heart, but the way I feel about my lovers seems colossal compared to the way I felt when I watched Marley & Me. Perhaps we should dig a little deeper.
In 1986, Robert Sternberg proposed the triangular theory of love. He suggested that there are three elements of love: intimacy, passion and commitment. Now we are getting somewhere. Intimacy refers to the caring, compassion and support one offers to another. Passion involves the physical and sexual arousal one would experience. And commitment is the basic decision one makes to be honest and loyal, and to remain so over a long period of time.
Dissected, this seems relatively simple, almost like one could make his or herself love another. So when does the loss of control we have all experienced in love join the party? We will call this the magic of love, the ruthless magic of love. This is what no one seems to be able to explain, what tends to get us all in trouble, and breaks our hearts. I know my heart has been broken numerous times, and I am quite sure I have broken a few myself. Somehow, I still have yet to learn a thing. We want to love and we want to be loved. It is our natural instinct to put ourselves out there on the chopping block for love. There are times when we can seem very shielded, but when love happens there is really nothing we can do to avoid it.
I think two very important elements Sternberg forgot to mention are sacrifice and compromise. We sacrifice so much to make a relationship work, and to give a relationship the opportunity to develop. Without compromise, love would turn into war. No matter how compatible two people may be for each other, there will always be differences in perspective and opinion. You must be able to communicate and ultimately compromise to work out these differences. Sometimes compromise is the sacrifice one has to make for the other. Love makes it worth it. I think there are more elements to this ruthless and magical love than anyone can possibly understand.
We are learning how love happens and how we can make it work, but why does it end and where do all these feeling go? This is what I don’t understand. Looking back at the love I have experienced, it feels like it’s still there. So maybe it isn’t that that the feelings go away or disappear, maybe love really does last forever.
Is toleration another element of love? How long can we manage to tolerate the person we love so dearly, even after we learn we are not as happy as we could be? Apparently I am either very tolerant, or not so tolerable.
First, I think the most important aspect is to really get to know your partner. Having secrets spells disaster. Learn to recognize how they are feeling, even when they won’t tell you. You want know how they are going to react before they do so you can approach the issue the right way. And guys, if you’re really serious, you have got to know the size of her ring finger without having to ask.
Secondly, trust plays one of the biggest roles in your love story. You have already become vulnerable to your commitment to love and continue loving. Now is not the time to get insecure and jealous. It will only make things worse. She wants to see that you are confident.
My last tip is more for myself than anyone. Maybe if I write it down I might retain it. Stop trying so damn hard. If she is with you, she is already impressed. All you need to do is love her and make her feel good. She will do the reassuring. Let her worry about why she is still with you.
We are very complicated creatures. There is really no explaining how most of our emotions we experience work. Most of the time it is best not to worry so much and just go with it. The important part is to be true to ourselves. If we are going to commit to someone, we must be true to them as well. Love is a dangerous game, but the prize is more valuable than anything imaginable.
By Corin Robinson