Love is frustrating. Love is Beautiful. Love is transformational. Love is painful. Love fills the soul. Love can break our heart. Love motivates and inspires us. Love can also shut us down.
I could go on and on with that list. Love is so many things and holds many different meanings to many different people. One constant we all hope for is to find some sort of love in our lives.
Most of us will search for that love within another person. We wish to share life experiences and grow with a special someone who makes our heart flutter; someone who arouses our body, mind and soul (pick your order, this is my order!)
Finding that love can be difficult enough. Many times we think we have found it only to be left in the dust with questions and frustrations about why our love did not connect the way we wish it did in the end. Sustaining the love can be equally hard. The brutal truth is that many of us have our own way to express “love,” and it may conflict with the person we are attempting to share our version of “love” with.
I quote the term “love” as it pertains to our own version of expression. I have never known two people to love the exact same way. I suppose that is why they say “opposites attract.” However, I would like to amend that statement. I believe the best type of love is when two lovers complement each other. They do not need to share an abundance of common interests (though that does help) or even need to have similar personalities. I believe the best types of relationships are the relationships where two people can fill in the gaps and learn to love and grow together as a true couple. A partnership.
The first component to loving is physical attraction. I have expressed this so many times that I almost feel that the actual words have lost meaning. However it is true. Think on it. What is the first thing that you notice about someone you either currently care about or someone you once cared about? I would venture a guess that over 90 % of the time it is the physical appearance that drew us in at first. Everything that happened after that was arbitrary in a way.
We often change certain aspects of ourselves to be with a person that aroused our senses. However, after that initial arousal phase, this is when we must begin to learn to love the right way.
This is when our true self is revealed. It is not as if we have been lying before about who we are, it is that eventually we reach a point where our guard becomes completely lowered and our partner gets to see the depths of who we are. Our physical attraction still burns, and that is a normal reaction, but now is the time where we find out our true compatibility.
I feel the biggest problem facing successful and healthy relationships is communication. In this, we truly learn to love the right way. The more we open up to our partner, the vulnerable we become and the more worried we may become that judgments will be thrown our way as we begin to lower our guard and share what truly is in our minds and the expectations that we hope for in a relationship.
There is a time in every relationship that becomes a defining moment. This defining moment sets the course for the future growth and direction the relationship will continue to move in.
The talk. There comes a point as I mentioned before that after all the initial excitement of meeting and spending time with someone new that there needs to be a defining moment. Sometimes, if we are lucky it happens naturally and we need not discuss it. However, more often than not, a discussion is necessary. Both in my humble opinion are healthy ways to progress a relationship that two people wish to continue.
The problem. If we were not fortunate to have that magic moment where words are not needed to be spoken, yet we care deeply for someone and want our relationship to flourish, we need to communicate. Communication is tricky because many times we say what we think the other person wants to hear and we do not fully advocate for our own needs and desires. We desperately desire our partner to want and accept us that we make compromises in order to continue upon the path of love and affection.
What we must do is be honest. We must be up front.
What I have learned in my experience is that if we do not come clean to our hearts content when the time for talking is upon us, we often find ourselves frustrated because we have unfulfilled desires and are now nervous to re-initiate “the talk” because the time for talking is past us. If we bring our issue and desires back up at this point, after we already had the chance, we run the risk of pushing our emotional baggage upon our partner, which may lead to resentment and moments of unhappiness and even more frustration.
So what is the best approach? Honesty. Take the risk. We must be ourselves. We must leave nothing on the table. We must advocate for what we truly hope for in a relationship. We also must evaluate what our partners needs are as well. Can we accept these needs? Can we live up to their expectations of what they want out of a relationship with us? If we are coming up with yes’s, then this is where we can begin to have those magic moments. We can create infinite magic moments, moments that will define our relationship and help our love grow in a healthy manner.
Too many times I have held back. I have been too complacent and have wanted to please too eagerly. This led me to that frustration and even some cases of resentment I mentioned before.
Yet I have now learned the right way to love. That way is to be yourself. The most authentic version that we can be.
Yes, I would be remiss if I ignored the fact that almost everyone one of us lies to some extent on a first date. We want to be accepted and if we are interested in the other person, we want to see them again and see where it can potentially go. Yet let us not go overboard with the little white lies of early dating. Soon those can become the backbone of relationships; trying to constantly live in the “white lie world.”
Loving the right way is never easy. It takes time to develop. Sometimes we may feel we are taking a step forward and then two steps back. However if we both truly care, we keep the lines of communication open and honest. We pick each other up. Where one of us is strong, we pick up the other where they are weak. Where we are weak, we allow our partner to pick us back up. This is complementary. All good things, commonalities can develop from this simple notion.
This is where we begin to share our passions with each other. This is where we open our world to our partner and we begin to accept and immerse ourselves in our partners world. Our foundation has been laid in place. Now is when we begin to develop our own unique common interests. In doing so, we move farther away from “needing” this person, and closer to “wanting” this person.
There are not many greater feelings in the world than to feel wanted. This to me is the right way to love. Love from wanting to be with someone special. Love from wanting to share our life experiences with each other and develop a deeper desire to develop our own unique and authentic life experiences that we can call our own…and no one else’s. Experiences that will be eternal.
Author: Adam Wilkinson
Adam Wilkinson, high school Social Studies teacher by day, freelance writer and free spirit by night. Firm believer in fate and that all things happen for a reason. Worshiper of the sun, ocean and the stars. Lover of tattoos, deep intellectual conversations and meaningful connections with like minded people. A jack-of-all-trades, so to speak. Someone once said of me, “You’re a lot of things, but one thing you never are is boring!” Words spoken from someone whom I’ve had a close bond with most of my life and words that I have always tried to uphold. “Vive intenso!”