I listen to people express their desire for a relationship and romantic love, and a significant portion of them come across as embarrassed and almost apologetic. They feel they have to defend how they feel and what they believe. When confronted with romantic partners presenting them with something less than mutually fulfilling, they settle. Some will back away from their desires to keep the peace and avoid appearing ‘uptight’, ‘difficult’ or ‘needy’. Next thing, they’ve been on a permanent date for several years. Their ‘partner’ keeps flip-flapping in and out of their life or putting the brakes on progress. They believe what they want is ‘wrong’. Or they believe that if they hang in there and keep trying to be as ‘pleasing’ as possible, the other party will finally cave and meet their needs, expectations, and wishes. And round and round they go.

It’s okay to desire love and a relationship. If a romantic partner prefers something else, that doesn’t invalidate our desire. Their preferences are a matter of taste for their life. Imposing theirs upon ourselves, whether it’s them or us doing it, suggests that their preferences are objectively ‘right’.

Sometimes, our attitude towards relationships reminds me of our attitude about enjoying life and retirement.

We work ourselves to the bone. Of course, by the time we retire, we might be too frickin worn out with ill health or shrinking energy levels to enjoy our lives.

Similarly, we could spend a significant chunk of our life pursuing that one person who we’ve decided will be ‘it’ and that will eventually make us the exception to the rule. Or maybe we’ll chase variations of the same person.

Lets say we finally get them to succumb to a relationship. In that case, we’ll probably be emotionally exhausted and bankrupt of energy, esteem, and even the other things that used to matter to us. It will all be a bit of anti-climax. Is this it?, we’ll wonder.

It’s essential to be honest about what we want. This isn’t just so that we can be more authentic by being and doing what aligns with our values, including our needs, expectations, and desires, but also so that we can consider how we’re going to go about fulfilling our desires.

We must consider the consequences of the option(s) we pursue.

Sometimes, we get so focused on what we want and the fundamental premise that, yes, we’re only human and it’s only natural for us to want to love, be loved, and desire companionship that we forget to consider the fact that there are various options for arriving into a relationship, all with consequences.

Not all relationships are created equal. We can’t pursue or hold on to all versions of what we see as ‘love’ because they represent pain. These relationships also end up decimating our self-esteem.

A fast fling or romance may result in a heady rush of feelings, some great sex, fun times and the sense of being in a relationship (or the potential for one). Still, the likelihood is that if we’ve moved too fast to either get to know each other or to notice some rather important factors that show whether we have shared core values and compatibility issues, it won’t grow into a medium- to long-term relationship.

Starting up a booty call or Friends With Benefits arrangement means sex and potentially other trappings of a relationship without the relationship. A casual relationship might suit us depending on our needs, expectations, etc., at the outset or just based on the typical pattern of who we are. Equally, though, the consequence of getting into a casual relationship (oxymoron alert) is someone treating and regarding us casually. We might experience selfishness and inconsiderateness. If our feelings, needs, etc., grow, we will no longer fit into the arrangement. If we continue anyway, the result of compromising our needs will be pain and anger, with much of it directed inward.

Even shortcuts have consequences.

Becoming involved with somebody else’s partner or spouse might appear to be a shortcut to a relationship. The likelihood is, especially if it drags out and it’s an unhealthy relationship, it’s going to be an affair where we both playact in a relationship—fantasy and pain alert. If we end up together, we’ll have the relationship, but then we’ll also have trust issues.

Being with someone who likes things on their terms, so being in control of us and the relationship, means we get to be in a relationship and to be directed (if we’re afraid of asserting ourselves). Or, maybe it’s a power struggle. Likelihood is, either way we’re potentially feeling bossed around and diminished while bubbling with resentment and frustration.

Involving ourselves with a narcissistically inclined person at best, even if they’re good-looking, admired, or intelligent, as well as being exciting when they’re ‘on’, means getting involved with somebody who is selfish, cruel, and incapable of empathy. These qualities equal major problems and intense pain, especially when they’re ‘off’.

Marrying someone who is just like one or both of our parents who we have unresolved issues with that have us looking to fill up voids means we may end up marrying into a repeat of old patterns. We then wind up feeling like a child while they’re the boss of us. The relationship might help us recognise that it won’t right the wrongs of the past or give us our self-esteem. We’ll still have to provide ourselves with that.

A consequence of not treating and regarding ourselves with love, care, trust and respect is that we’ll be so starved that somebody can come along and showboat with their crumbs, and it will look like a loaf compared to what we’re giving ourselves.

We won’t recognise a healthy relationship (or an unhealthy one, for that matter).

If we treat and regard ourselves with love, care, trust, and respect and live by our values, we’ll be that much more inclined to be in relationships in harmony with this. If we value ourselves and use healthy boundaries to express our self-esteem, we get to enjoy more of our desires.

It is more than okay to want to love and be loved. It’s more than okay to want a relationship.

When, however, we’re honest about why we want [a relationship], we stop needing a relationship as a form of salvation. We…

  • Stop looking for external esteem to be our self-esteem.
  • Know then we are giving and receiving, not going into our involvements with an underlying motivation to ‘get’ validation out of it. Know that we’re loving, not piling on the feelings and pleasing, hoping that it will create a tipping point of reciprocation.

When we are more honest about our desire for a relationship, we are more conscious, aware, and present. Reflecting honestly about our ‘why’, our intentions, isn’t about questioning the validity of our desires. Instead, we ensure that we come from a place of healthy desire as opposed to looking to right the wrongs of the past and fill up voids created in childhood. Before we saddle up with somebody, we consider the consequences of our choices because we are responsible for ourselves. Keeping us in alignment with who we are is part of the job of being us.

It’s time to stop selling ourselves short. We need to care about ourselves as well as others. When we choose ourselves, we allow vulnerability into the mix. We love.

Your thoughts?

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