40 Lessons at 40

Lesson #37

By Venus Souls

Romantic relationships: you could love them or hate them, but you damn well need them.

Many women have been raised to believe in the fairytale – not just from Disney but also from cultural and religious expectations of what a relationship must look like. Real life, however, doesn’t care for these ideals. Here are a few shocking facts:

  • Not everyone has a need to be in a long-term relationship.
  • Not everyone is capable of being in a monogamous relationship.
  • Everyone is capable of change. In fact, everyone does change over time through personal growth. But if you go into a relationship with the intention of changing your partner so you could love them better rather than loving them exactly the way they are today and letting them grow in their own time, you are setting yourself and your partner up for a disastrous heartbreak. 
  • No one changes according to anyone else’s agenda. Real change comes from one’s own need for growth.

I’ve learnt that when it comes to what we label as romantic relationships, there are at least 3 levels:

“Why are you knocking at every other door? 

Go. 

Knock at the door of your own heart.”

 

Rumi

Level One: The Selfish Kinda Love

At this level, the couple are too emotionally immature to appreciate what love is. The focus is on meeting their individual needs and not necessarily meeting each other’s. The relationship here is fragile and trust is weak. Everything has strings attached. Both partners are needy in different ways and blame one another for being too needy! This again comes down to the fact that their kind of love is selfish and incapable of seeing beyond their own needs. There’s a tremendous amount of manipulation going on in this relationship. It’s the only way to secure meeting one another’s selfish needs. There’s a lot of bartering, calculating and vengeance if the price hasn’t been paid.

Level Two: Conditional Love: You Get Yours If & When I Get Mine

This is where a lot of relationships live particularly in the first two years of a relationship. You may be sitting there and thinking, “Hell no, our love was unconditional from the start!”.

Think again.

At this level, conflict arises when one of the partners feels that the other is not pulling their weight in the relationship, either emotionally, sexually, financially, in the kitchen, housework, looking after the kids, etc. At this level and after the honeymoon period, both partners seem to be keeping a quiet score in their heads. The relationship may keep falling into level 1 due to stress from repetitive conflict. At the other end of the spectrum of this level, the couple has a mutual agreement on common consideration and fair exchange but they become so independent, they become removed from one another and emotionally detached. They lose the ability to move each other or stir deep emotions for one another without massive gestures of affection of which the effect dies as soon as it’s over. Sex is chummy and polite and becomes a habitual activity or routine.

Level three: Unconditional Love: Putting Your Partner First

At this level, love runs through the soul’s veins. The partners put the other’s needs first and are present in the relationship to discover what those needs are. Love flows. It’s spontaneous because there are no calculations and no need to manipulate the other. They just want to give and in this very act of giving their needs are met. They each make the effort to understand and learn about the other and learn about what makes them happy, what brings them joy, how do they want to feel loved, etc.

This is the rarest level of love – the Nirvana. At this level, each partner is allowed to be completely and authentically themselves and the more they are, the more they are loved for it.

How do breakups and heartbreaks happen? 

When the partners’ love and view of the relationship is not on the same level. 

On Heartbreak

Like most people, I have lived and experienced all these levels of relationships and have learnt so much about myself through them.

Ultimately, the biggest lesson to take from any kind of relationship is this: no one is sent to you on your journey haphazardly or coincidently. Each person has been sent to you from the beyond to bring you a gift of growth often in exchange for a gift of growth from you. In order to receive the benefits of this gift – any gift, for that matter – you must be present, accept it with humility and be grateful no matter what the outcome is.

Heartbreak is a beautiful thing if done properly. As Rumi once said: “You have to keep breaking the heart until it opens.” And once the wound opens, that’s where the light comes in.

I have found that a heartbreak from an unconditional and true love is the most marvellous experience. It breaks your heart wide open. Suddenly you can’t stop giving love to everyone and everything around you. You’re overwhelmed with how much love runs through your veins and how much you want to give it back to the world. When you experience a love like that, you are in the most beautiful and rewarding relationship: the one you have with yourself. The one where you are giving and receiving love, compassion and loyalty unconditionally. When you’re full of that kind of love, it overflows and lights up the world.

It also translates into the ability to find and have healthier, more loving, more meaningful and fulfilling relationships. To love one’s self is to know what your needs are, how you prefer to meet them, what your love language is (how you like love to be expressed to you), and what you’re specifically looking for and desiring in a partner. You become more intentional and your focus becomes refined. As a result, you will break the negative pattern of attracting what you would describe as the ‘wrong type’. You will learn that there was a never a wrong type. Only a type which matched your sense of self-worth. 

When you raise your self worth, you raise your standards. When you raise your standards, you expect nothing less than what you feel you deserve. The more you believe you’re worthy, the more likely you will find the partner who will appreciate and love you for your worth. It all starts with you.

How do you raise your standards and self worth?

That’s a topic for another post. 

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Posted by thesoulsurgeon

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