I was having a conversation with a friend recently and he was telling me about a past relationship that had gone sideways.
He told me he really loved this girl and how she made him feel so special.
He loved how she really wanted to be with him and really thought he was everything.
The sex was great too.
In so many ways it seemed to be a relationship made in heaven.
Yet something still wasn’t “quite right.”
So it ended.
Since this is sort of what I do for a living I asked him if it would be okay to toss a question or two his way.
The first thing I asked him was this: “What did you value about this girl? What was it about who she was as a person that made you want to be with her?”
He paused for a minute in thought and then admitted, “You know, I’m really not sure.”
That was what I expected to hear.
Because I wasn’t hearing real love for her expressed in his description of their dynamic.
He had told me how great it was that she was so into him
That she really made him feel special.
And I agree it’s a really great feeling when that kind of energy is coming at you.
It’s quite a rush!
It definitely makes you feel valuable and makes you want to keep your connection with this person who makes you feel this way.
But that’s not love.
Unless you value your partner for who they really are, you are not loving them.
You’re using them.
Because the only reason you want to be with them is because of how they make you feel.
I’ve talked about this before.
We all like the feeling of someone being really into us.
It makes us feel important.
Who doesn’t want to be loved right?
Don’t we all need love?
Here’s the challenge.
You can never really have love by seeking to get it.
It has to come to you.
It comes to you when you give love first.
If you don’t give love first, eventually what you’re receiving will leave you because you’re not giving in return.
This is why your relationships go sideways.
You’re seeking to be loved instead of to love.
You’re not putting in the value.
Romantic love is more than just the feelings you get when somebody loves you.
Romantic love is valuing your partner for who he or she actually is, and giving yourself to them because of this.
This is also the key to finding love again when your feelings for your partner fade.
And they usually do at some point.
I’ve told the sad story of my long term relationship. How almost exactly at our wedding day my feelings for my wife disappeared and I spent literally years trying to figure out how to get them back.
Until finally the crisis came and she was thinking of leaving me.
I desparately scrambled to figure myself out finally, and try to find my feelings for her again.
How did I do that?
By returning to what had made me come to love her in the first place.
As I focused my attention of what I valued most about her, all the feelings of love for her returned.
You see feelings and emotions are always responses to stimulae.
You cannot bring them up directly through an act of your will.
And no amount of navel gazing or introspecting will cause them to return.
Think of it this way.
See if you can bring up a savory feeling of some wonderful taste.
Try as you may you’ll never bring that feeling up by focusing on it and trying to have it.
But now visualize a juicy steak or a sweet tasting lick of your favorite ice cream.
I imagine some of those feelings are starting to well up now right?
That’s how feelings work. They happen as a response when we experience or think on the stimulae of those feelings.
For me I genuinely valued my partner.
She meant everything to me and the characteristics that made her who she was are what drew me to her in the first place.
Yes it didn’t hurt that she showed genuine attraction for me at the beginning too.
That always produces reciprocation within us.
But I would never have chosen to be with her for the long run had I not valued the things that made her uniquely her.
Value is the foundation of love.
It’s gold standard.
My friend wasn’t consciously or deliberately sabataging his relationship.
I’m sure your intentions are good too.
But without recognizing it, the reason your relationships are failing to be what you hope they will be, is because you’re using your partner to feel loved.
You’re with your partner not because you truly value them for who they are and are giving yourself to them in response to that value.
You’re with them for the feelings they give you when they express how they value you.
In other words…you’re using them.
You’re trying to print paper love money with nothing to back it.
You can change.
You can return to your first love or start love right from the start.
Begin to see your potential or existing partners for who they actually are.
Come to know them.
What do you value about them?
What is it about them that makes you want them in your life?
If you can’t answer that question you shouldn’t be with them.
Because you don’t really love them.
If you can answer that question, that’s the reason to be with them, and grow your relationship together.
What do you think? Are you just offering up fiat currency, or can your partner really bank on your love?