I realized this, that love is not enough, when I was in my early twenties. I was in love with a highly traumatized person who did a lot of drugs when I did none, hung out with people I didn't like to be with at all, lived a life I didn't connect with and did things for fun that I didn't find entertaining. At the time, I couldn't have articulated how I knew that love was not enough but I did. It didn't seem "fair" but I just knew that, however painful it was to admit it, it wasn't going to be enough to keep me with that person.
You can love a person with your whole heart and they can love you back the same way but if the actual relationship you are having with that person doesn't feed your needs, makes you feel small or insignificant, goes deeply against your (or his/her) personal grain, disrupts your nervous system, takes you too far away from your own life and desires, doesn't align with your most essential values, you have nothing in common, or it otherwise makes your life too difficult or uncomfortable, the love will very often not be enough. No matter how much love you start off with, incompatible relationship requirements can wear it down to nothing.
|Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash|
This list I am building, all of the things on it can affect me, affect how I feel day-in-day-out. Having a guy who has a huge heart, cares for the homeless and acts like a superhero when there is a great need, being very kind and helpful, rushing in when there is a tragedy and drama is great but if he's always at work or always helping others and has little or no time for me or our life together... am I okay with that? And what if I love to spend time together learning new things and he loves to sit and watch sports a lot or work alone in his garage building things? Everyone's choices need to be respected! No one should have their needs, wants and desires denied to please the other person but some things, some people (even if they love each other deeply) are not compatible in close, intimate, everyday relationships.
It might simply come down to this: how do you want to behave and feel MOST days and how do you want the other person to behave and feel MOST days. How do you want your days to play out and what are your expectations and desires?
Sit down and write it out. Pay attention to what you are getting and not getting in all types of relationships that you presently have. What are you enjoying and not enjoying because it might actually be the real make or break.
A relationship is not something that we can just order up and have it be perfect. As with our choice of partner, we need some flexibility depending on certain periods in our lives, exceptional events, etc. However, I think it's really important to become aware of our needs in this area. We need to start naming and defining what we want when choosing that invisible third party ...the relationship itself. It may be just as important as our choice of partner.