Most people are unaware that Valentine’s Day is one of the biggest break-up holidays of the year. It seems like an oxymoron that the holiday of love would be the one that often breaks the camel’s back, but that’s what happens when we expect a single day to make up for the benign neglect that our relationships are too often steeping in.
Learn how to look for and recognize these mistakes to prevent this coming Valentine’s Day from ruining your love life.
1. Stop comparing loving with the moments of falling in love
This is one of the deadliest of all the misperceptions that we bring to our relationships. And on a certain level, it is understandable that we don’t see the early stages of falling for someone as a biologically driven phenomenon. Oftentimes, we end up feeling overwhelmed or disappointed by the long-term work of loving someone after the falling in love euphoria has dissipated.
Everyone who has danced through the magical and mysterious wonderland induced by biochemically balanced hormonal attractions are convinced that they have found the real thing… And truly there is nothing better than the immediacy and profound connection of perfectly matched lovers in their early discovery of each other. There is no drug that can induce the lasting feeling of well-being that comes from falling in love.
Unfortunately, we don’t embrace the practices of learning to love over time with the same fervor.
Instead we are confused and sometimes resentful that we have to wrestle with the other aspects of love which can feel a lot more like work than the heightened and extrasensory moments when we fall. The problem is that we are continuously comparing these two places and striving to get back to the euphoria of feeling in love – rather than being willing to dive into the heavy lifting associated with accepting the love that is between us.
Giving up the longing for the high creates a lot of energy to accomplish the advanced loving work of both giving and receiving.
2. Learn to hold opposites together
We often have strong opinions about what we like and what we don’t. Embracing the ancient Eastern view that both dark and light live simultaneously inside of us helps us grow our ability to love. When we realize that our greatest strengths are also our greatest weaknesses, we become more compassionate about how that is true for our partners as well. And is where the real work of loving begins.
Learning how to hold what we love and what drives us crazy about our partner side by side creates spaciousness in the relationship – the opposite of what happens when we fixate only on what annoys us.
This kind of growing up in love creates the space to let other people be who they are and allows you to witness their efforts at loving you.
3. Don’t think they know; ask for what you want
Another misunderstanding that often wrecks our intimate relationships – especially at the holidays – is the erroneous belief that our partner should know what we want. We think by asking we are somehow getting less of the real thing. This is a potent poison to what would otherwise be a healthy sex life. It is fueled by the memories we attach to in the early falling in love phase.
Many people believe they shouldn’t have to work for passion. That it should just happen. Asking for the kind of intimacy you want is courageous and sexy.
It gives your partner permission to be sexy in a whole new way. Expressing your desires demonstrates the profound trust it takes to know what you want and share with your lover. Mirroring back these revelations to each other creates a dynamic and escalating passion that is only available to people who know each other intimately.
Asking for what you want emotionally is equally transformative. The relationship grows exponentially because people aren’t parenting each other and expecting the other to fix something. Learning to say what love feels like to you is the most evolved way of loving yourself and gives your relationship the room to become better than you could have hoped for.