I had a conversation with a friend the other day.
About what it’s like to be in a romantic relationship.
He told me how he always tries to do little things.
To show his partner how much he cares for her.
One time it is flowers sent to work.
Another time it’s a special gift he brings home when he travels.
One way or another he is always working to show her that he is thinking about her and sees her as special in some way.
As he told me all this?
The only thing I was hearing?
He doesn’t think giving himself to her is enough now.
Unless he is endlessly upping the deal?
His partner will eventually think he’s dropping the ball on her.
I’m not saying it’s bad to want to do special things for your partner if it is really you to do so. As long as the reason you’re doing so is because it’s just an extension of who you are I’m completely okay with it.
True to form though I found myself wondering.
Why did I really disagree with him?
Am I really not a loving guy after all?
Do I expect to have love without any effort?
Why was I so uneasy with what I was hearing?
Seeing it all as “hoop jumping” that’s totally unnecessary?
I didn’t just see it as totally unnecessary I found myself thinking it is going to backfire. He is setting up such unrealistic expectations from his girl he will never consistently be able to fulfill them.
Then I realized.
It is because of what romantic love actually is.
When you recognize it?
You’ll see why this ceaseless “giving” pattern is not only bad.
It’s positively dangerous.
I’ve told you that romantic love is the desire to experience sexual fulfillment and emotional connection that’s mutually shared and enjoyed.
But the key thing behind it?
The thing that makes it all work?
Is why you desire this connection at all.
You desire it because you value your partner.
Who they really are.
Not because of anything they DO for you.
My experience has been that you often start out this way and the more time you spend together the more you come to love each other.
The relationship goes on for a long time like this.
Just meeting and sharing and loving.
There isn’t any need for anything else.
What you want is just to be together.
But somewhere down the road things start to shift. You start thinking you deserve something better.
What was good enough?
It no longer is.
You start to demand things from your partner now.
It is no longer enough they share themselves with you.
That was good at the start.
Now it is no longer sufficient.
You start to say, “Well if he REALLY loved me he would buy me flowers, take me somewhere special” or a myriad of other such things. You forget that none of that was important at all when you first got to know each other.
If you are a guy it is often that sex subsides.
Now she’s just not that interested.
Of course that’s a part of what romantic love desires.
But now you start to demand it of her.
You start to complain to her that she never wants to make love and the more you do the more you destroy your connection.
Don’t you see the digression that’s happened here?
You’ve both shifted from giving to getting.
Instead of valuing each other for who you are?
Now you’re fixated on YOURSELVES being valued instead.
Special times you share and things you do should flow out of the love you feel for each other. The central thing you should always want more than anything else is just your partner. That’s all.
When you start to get your eyes off that?
You sink real fast.
Because romantic love is not about getting.
It’s about your response to your partner’s value.
If your partner doesn’t feel that way anymore?
No amount of demanding proof of their love will change it now.
But if you’re expecting more than you did at the start you are the one who is being unreasonable. You’re trying to change the deal and asking for something your partner never promised to begin with.
You’re not really valuing your partner anymore.
And as always?
When that happens romantic love will fail you.
Like so many do?
You’re wanting something else now.
And that is when romantic love heads for the exit sign.
What do you think? Is my friend right to think he has to offer more than himself if he wants his partner to continue to love him?