How to Make Love Stay

September 17, 2011
Love thrives in the absence of fear. In my experience, most romantic relationships are riddled with fear. You wonder if they like someone else more than you, or what they’re doing when you’re not there, or what you’ll ever do if they break up with you.

The more fear you have, the less love you have. The more love you have, the less fear.

Fear is often realized in our relationships as pressure. You pressure your partner to act in a certain way, or you feel like you’re being pressured to behave like your partner wants. This is a poor basis for a relationship, and you have to get past pressuring and feeling pressure if you want a really good relationship.

Pressure is fear: one partner is afraid that the other partner’s behavior will result in the end of the relationship somehow, so the partner requests or demands a certain change in behavior. Any attempt to control the actions of another person is based on fear.

Another form of pressure in a relationship, besides outright attempts to control behavior, is expectation. One partner has a certain preconceived idea about how the relationship “should” be (usually based on observing some other relationship(s) in real life or on TV or in movies). When their own relationship doesn’t fit the prescribed model, they become afraid that something is wrong.

To have a healthy relationship, don’t try to force it into a mold that you wrongly think is right. Let it develop as it will, and learn from watching it happen. Let your partner be and enjoy the relationship while it lasts.

Maybe it won’t last. You don’t know. You don’t control that. But the freedom you give to your partner by not trying to pressure or expect unreasonable outcomes will come back to you in the form of a great relationship—if you’re with the “right” partner (if there is such a thing).

If your partner leaves despite the lack of pressure, the next one will probably be better. Life rewards you when you do well by removing the negative and replacing it with the positive. Don’t be afraid of letting your partner be himself or herself. Enjoy that person. If they’re “right” for you, they’ll stay. If not, you just dodged a bullet.

(Written in 2005 and freshly edited on December 19, 2016.)


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