It took me a long time to realise that I’d spent most of my relationship history feeling not so great with either dubious partners or guys who I failed to recognise as being decent. Looking back, I was actually downright miserable with some of my exes yet at the time I professed to be happy, or crazy about them and that we just needed to ‘work things out’. I also believed that being in a relationship meant that there was going to be drama and big lows. And then I got wise.

I’ve been asked several times recently what love is, how do you know when a relationship is good and variations on these queries. I’m not about to get all lyrical on you and start doing ‘Love is…’ poems but suffice to say that there are enough of you who have professed to love men that don’t love you to know that love means different things to different people. You can do love the healthy way…or the painful, not so healthy way…

Loving someone requires commitment.

That’s not just saying the words ‘I love you’ and bandying around the L word each time you have a free moment, but committing emotionally, physically, and spiritually to the other person.

Every relationship needs two committed people. That means two people with both of their feet in the relationship working towards the common interest of the relationship. One person doesn’t do all the loving and it’s not a tug of war as one tries to get the other to come around to their way of thinking.

To commit on a healthy level and find yourself with a partner to create that relationship you desire so much with, you also need to love yourself otherwise you won’t know what love is because you are out of tune with what makes you feel good.

Instead people who don’t love themselves and who have low self-esteem with poor ideas about relationships look to other people to validate themselves and also to fill the void and get loved. In seeking out people to be in a relationship, we gravitate to those that reflect how we feel about ourselves and life, so if you don’t love you, you find yourself with someone who will not only not love you but will reflect the negatives.

At the end of the day people who are in good relationships that are going somewhere don’t ask whether they’re in a good relationship. They’re too busy living and getting on with their lives and know they’re happy.

Love requires boundaries and accountability, which arises from being committed on an emotional, physical, and spiritual level.

Love requires responsibility. Life may throw curve balls and you’re not going to be happy, happy, happy all the time, but in genuinely loving someone, you act responsibly to that person and the relationship.

Often in poor relationships, there is at least one party who is trying to dodge the bullet of responsibility. When you call them on their behaviour, they say that no-one’s forcing you to be with them, or they told you x,y,z so you knew the score. They brush you off and call you needy for expecting from them, and manage down your expectations and blow hot and cold to avoid connecting and responsibility.

Love is about consistency and it should build and grow, not dissipate or take a nosedive.

Love has a foundation so whilst you can undoubtedly be attracted to someone when you meet them, the foundation for the relationship is created as you get to know them for who they are (as opposed to an illusion).

You will know genuine love when you learn to keep it real. Everyone can look to the future but people who are disconnected from the reality of their relationships are obsessed with the past and what used to be or looking to the future and what could be if only certain criteria were met. You need to enjoy your present and you know what, you don’t need to bet on potential when you’re being real and accepting the person for what they are.

Love feels good and pain is not love, it’s pain. If you have a history of poor relationships, can you genuinely say that you, as a person felt good, that your spirit and emotions felt good?

Loving someone involves genuine trust between both parties. It means that even though you may have fears, you don’t let them outweigh your love for that person.

Everyone has baggage although we should keep it to hand baggage territory. You can’t love someone and still be hankering for your ex and dealing with the ghosts of your relationship past.

When I met my partner, I had been through a hell of a lot in my past but I started afresh with him and I took a chance on myself and love. Yes I had fears but I didn’t allow them to derail me or the relationship and I dealt with them because to allow them and my old patterns to override this opportunity would have been denying myself and I’d realised that I loved me.

Loving someone means you’ll have care and concern for them. You’ll treat them with love, not ambivalence or fickleness, or disregard. Instead, you’ll be incredibly uncomfortable to put them through pain unnecessarily.

Love requires work although it’s not going to kill you to work at your relationship and you won’t regard it as ‘work’ if you’re in a good one. But you need to do the legwork because if you don’t deal with loving you, building your self-esteem and equipping yourself to recognise when you’re in a poor relationship that detracts from you, you’ll continue to be familiar with the horrid feeling of misery.

Love requires action because at the end of the day talk is very cheap. Love is shown and you feel it.

But ultimately, if loving someone means that you can’t love you, it’s not love.

Your thoughts? Would you know if you’re in a good relationship?

FavoriteLoadingAdd to favorites