Before you can decide if you are “in love” or love someone, you have to know exactly what that is.
In their book, Love and Respect, the Eggerichs talk about how men need respect in their lives to love someone and women need to be loved in order to respect.
It’s an interesting cycle that can prevent a couple from enjoying a successful relationship unless one of them decides to go against their inner voice and either love or respect, despite the fact that the other person isn’t reciprocating.
Love might not be exactly what you imagine. Most people equate the feeling of “love” with that giddy, heart-pounding experience they have when they are around the person they are deeply attracted to. But those feelings are just attraction and not love. Although they feel great and are often the precursor to real love, they are not what you should expect to continue feeling as your relationship progresses.
Love is in fact a complex alchemy running in your brain. You can learn way more here on Neuro Couple about how using this latest brain science knowledge is the easiest way to enjoy your relationships.
Real love is actually a choice you make. Those feelings of attraction and lust will disappear and, if you are lucky and the relationship continues, will be replaced with emotions that are very close to caring deeply about the other person and loving them at the expense of loving yourself. The change of chemistry in the brain at given time periods in a relationship is mainly the reason relationships go bad.
Real love means that you are willing to put the needs and desires of your partner above your own. Without becoming someone else!
This might not be exactly what you want to hear. It can be hard to hear that those giddy feelings are going to go on forever. In fact, some people leave relationships when those feelings disappear because they believe they have fallen “out of love” with their partner. Instead, when the relationship moves past those feelings is when the possibilities blossom.
During the attraction phase your feelings are fueled by hormones, oxytocin, vasopressin and endorphins. As your relationship matures, your body doesn’t produce as much or as many hormones to feed those feelings. They do get secreted during the physical part of your relationship, which continues to help you keep warm and close feelings with your partner.
However, it does take a conscious effort to keep your attitudes that will ensure success. It’s important that you keep your attitude, and your attention, on the positive parts of your partner. Each of us has negative parts of ourselves that can create issues and problems, but what we focus on will expand, including in our minds. If we focus on the negative aspect of our partner then that’s what will expand in our minds. The flipside is also true.
This doesn’t mean that you are living in a make believe world. It’s important that you look closely – if there is abuse, cheating or other major issues, do NOT overlook those. But if the toilet paper goes on the role backwards or they don’t pick up after themselves when they come home from work – those are issues that don’t need to become the focus of your thoughts.
A partner who really loves you will put your needs above their own. They will support you in your dreams and desires and will be there when you need them. Love is not just a feeling – it is demonstrated in lots of little actions you can see every day.