The more and more I am learning about relationships while I am recovering, it is making me sad that I am coming to the realization that I don't know that I have ever even experienced a true, loving relationship with a man before. All the relationships that I considered to be loving at one time have all the characteristics of an unhealthy, non- loving relationship. So many of the materials I am studying seem to focus on the traits of an unhealthy relationship... things that are bad that you should change. I know this sounds pathetic, but can anyone actually explain to me what a true, loving relationship is like?
mlchris, I feel the same way when I did an inventory of all my past relationships. Sorry that I can't tell you what a true loving relationship is like. But be hopefule tha maybe one day when we have a lot of recovery in us that we can have that.
Post by reinventmyself on Dec 1, 2011 11:04:14 GMT -8
Early on in therapy my therapist had me read `the art of loving’ It profoundly changed my view on love.
I used to think of it was all about feelings and emotions. Those intangible things we think we have no control of.
The book explains that love is more of an action or behavior. . To act lovingly and behave lovingly.
These are things we have control of. (within ourselves)
Based on this simple principle I took a step back and looked at my marriage and so many things my ex H did were actually hateful!. . Yet he continually verbally professed his undying love for me. NO WONDER I was so confused! He was deceitful, volatile, controlling. . I could go on. These are not loving behaviors.
Such a simple principle yet so many of us continue to put ourselves in harms way with people who treat us badly yet we hope upon hope that the intense feelings we are having must be love.
As my ex H continued to try to save our marraige in his own way. . he continued to exclaim how much he loved me but was never successful at changing any of his behaviours. When he said `he loved me'. . My response was`I am so glad. . please show me'
One the most profound lessons I learned. . it actually precipitated my need to divorce.
Post by sillypoppet on Dec 1, 2011 18:13:36 GMT -8
To me love is something that you work at, not something that occurs magically. The pastor at my church was talking about love and comparing it to the "pie in the sky" ideal that our society creates. He said that it's hard work, it's making the choice to be with that person, and sometimes it's changing your dreams. If you think about this, in a healthy parent-child relationship the parent does all of those things. They change their goals, they work hard, lose sleep, and they choose to keep loving their child. I know that I was a challenge to my parents at different times, but they always chose to keep caring for me. This is love.
I have been in love twice in my life (M was most recent, about a year ago). The best way I can describe it is safe, warm, hard work, and sometimes selfless (granted not to the extent that we make ourselves martyrs). What I mean by that is wanting to do something for the other person because it makes them happy. Not because I want them to be indebted to me, or to take care of me and my problems later on. Granted, both relationships turned sour. By the time that M and I broke-up, we were very enmeshed. I had him in the position where he was "responsible" for taking care of MY emotional needs (I have social anxiety and somehow I ended up with him being responsible for that). Vice versa, I ended up being "responsible" for taking care of HIS physical needs. You can imagine that was a recipe for disaster, and we both ended up hating each other for it. It stopped being love when we started placing those unreasonable expectations and responsibilities on each other. It makes it really hard for me because I did truly love M, although it later turned into an addiction (I couldn't leave him when it was time to end the relationship). It's a notable difference for me, although it's hard to explain. I just know the big difference between the slew of flings I've had, half @ssed relationships, and the 2 serious relationships.
I also read a quote about love- it was talking about the passion and what is left once it burns out. That is what love is- when the excitement of newness has died down, when there is no more lust, and there is trust.
And therein lies the problem for the love addict -- when the passion burns out and the "excitement of newness has died down, when there is no more lust" -- then what?
That is when the love addict moves on to the next conquest. At least, that is what I did. That is the crux of my addiction. Dear God, what a nightmare that becomes. Exhausting. Always chasing the fantasy. And never, ever catching it. Like trying to find the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. It simply does not exist....
Last Edit: Dec 2, 2011 4:50:05 GMT -8 by havefaith
HaveFaith..........that's what I do also. I would like to stop. Find someone to love and be happy with them............somehow. I just don't want anymore people peopling up my bedroom. I want it private and sacred.
Post by sillypoppet on Dec 3, 2011 21:02:00 GMT -8
I was driving this morning and this conversation came to mind. We spend so much time focusing on finding romantic love, and ignore the love that is already present in our lives. I think that as humans we need love to survive, but we don't need romantic love to survive. Instead of focusing on what we don't have (or never had), maybe we should focus on what we do have (haha, it sounds so cliched especially for the holidays, but it's true).
Sillypoppet!! That is excellent. We really do all have love - or the potential for love - all around us.
I think some of us don't recognize it because it's not packaged the way we want it to be.
Create love today. You can, you know. I've been consciously acting with love in all my relationships lately and it's amazing how people are responding differently to me. Even my little granddaughters are responding, especially the middle one who was always the stand-offish one.
Love is one of those things that multiplies, not divides. I'm coming to believe that it is an energy force you can put out into the atmosphere around you and eveything will respond.
I posted this on another thread, but it's appropriate here as well --
Something that works for me -- I really try and look at others, both men and women, with agape love ("selfless love of one person for another without sexual implications; love that is spiritual in nature").
I also love 'love', specifically, the sexual intrigue of love/lust, the possibility of 'the chase', the chemical reactions in my brain when I'm pursuing a potential POA -- but then I ask myself -- is that 'love'? Nope. That's addiction.
That is where agape love comes in -- I have to make a conscious effort to replace addictive love/lust with a spiritual love for others.
Post by sillypoppet on Dec 4, 2011 21:59:07 GMT -8
That is exactly what I'm talking about! :-)
Romantic love is one thing, love addiction is another, and having love for others is most important... Let me tell you a quick story... a local children's hospital in town was running a toy donation. They received some wonderful and very expensive gifts to use in the hospital. The place where the toys were being stored was in a locked room in the basement of the hospital. Only a handful of people knew about it's location. About 2 weeks ago, someone broke into it and stole EVERYTHING. There was a loading dock down below the hospital, and the thieves used this to get away. They didn't catch the person, and there was no evidence left. The news ran the story... not too much longer, the hospital reported that they had received almost TRIPLE the amount of donations they had had before. This is love... giving selflessly.
I think there's a big difference between what we identify as love ("love addict" love) and real love. Love addict love is selfish, manipulative, childish, and immature. But, we all have the capacity for real love... it was built into us by God (or as some people like to think of it, their higher power).
I think we all need to take a moment and think about all of the things that others have done for us. My brother not only did a tune up on my car last week, but he also researched and fixed the problems. He didn't ask for any compensation in return, even though he spent 2 of his days off working on it. What have others done for you as an act of love?