In a recent newsletter Jordan Gray said the two main reasons he thinks relationships fail are these:
1) People get into their relationships for the wrong reasons
2) People stop prioritizing their relationships and become lazy
Can’t say I disagree with him there.
I wrote about the 3 worst reasons to start a new relationship at the beginning of 2016.
I also added my perspective on the real reason you don’t have love in your life.
Both of these posts point out you relationships are failing because romantic love is not your priority.
Love will always fade if you don’t give it your undivided attention. It will not survive your neglect.
Jordan points us to a couple of things he feels can fix this problem
First he says you need to work on your self love.
Then you need to find someone you’re compatible with.
Both good things.
But are they enough?
Or is there something deeper going on that is making your monogamous relationships fail so much?
I think there is.
I think you have a fundamental misunderstanding of what romantic love really is. You don’t understand what is necessary to keep it flourishing in your life.
Sure it is good to be a complete person going into your relationships.
If that isn’t the case you’re going to be using your partner instead of sharing youself.
Compatibility is worthwhile too but as you’ll see in a moment, it’s not as important as you think.
The reason you think self love and compatibility are so important, stems from your fundamental misunderstanding of what romantic love actually is.
Romantic love is the desire to experience sexual fulfillment and emotional connection that is mutually shared and enjoyed.
To experience this with someone, you don’t have to love yourself perfectly.
You don’t have to be completely compatibile with them either.
You just need to value them for who they are and want to share yourself with them as a result.
What causes all the confusion is when you mistake all these other things with romantic love.
The biggest mistake is to think it can survive domestication, cohabitation, or the possessiveness that come with commitment.
“Building a life together” is…well…something entirely else.
So is coming to believe that your partner is “yours.”
This is what puts the strain on your romantic relationships.
This is what kills them.
Once you begin to build a life together “because you love each other,” everything building a life together entails becomes your purpose, instead of your love.
There is a reason romantic love has always thrived outside traditional marriage.
With mistresses and lovers.
Because in those kinds of relationships, the romantic connection is the point.
Nothing else is.
This is also why when people leave their partners to marry or cohabit with the person they had an affair with, the new relationship usually ends too. Because now it is no longer the affair that is the point.
Instead, making “life together” work has become the focus.
Of course when you fall in love it is very natural for you to want to have that experience always and somehow “capture” and “contain” it.
What better container than “till death do us part?”
This is why the desire to marry and become monogamous is so strong in you.
But you have to recognize just because you desire that, does not mean it is going to work.
The statistics are completely against you on this.
Hey don’t shoot the messenger!
The fact is, I believe romantic relationships are centrally worthwhile.
But while I don’t deny they take some effort, I disagree they have to take a lot.
The effort comes when you try to make your relationship more than it actually is.
Then you get worried about things like whether you or your partner is complete or self loving or whether you are really “meeting each other’s needs.”
You worry about whether you “have them to yourself” or not.
All of that stems from trying to make a “whole life” out of what is a mutually enjoyable connection.
You don’t have to be completely compatible with someone, to value them for what you value in them.
You can love someone without them being someone you need to be able to live with.
This is why I recommend Romantic Friendships.
Romantic Friendships allow you to enjoy intimacy with different people, who you connect with on different levels.
Both of these approaches prevent your romantic relationship from being brought under the strain usually caused by monogamy and cohabitation.
By keeping your relationship on a friendship level, you can continue to enjoy your partner for who they are.
Without all the stress caused by trying to make them into something they aren’t, or the relationship into something it isn’t.
Are romantic relationships worth all that effort?
I say no.
They are worth better than that.
They are worth configuring your love life so you remove the strain of all the effort that comes from trying to make them something they’re really not.
What do you think? Is it time you quit putting so much effort into your relationships?