Everyone wants true love, and while there remains no single, solid definition across the myriad relationships we can experience, there ARE certain universals that have materialized over the ages we’ve been searching. And the first of these, indisputably, is where that true love is to be found. The answer? Look to the steadily-stormed gates of the arena known as romantic love.
Indeed, in all of history there appears to be no human construct scrutinized more exhaustively than this. And there is also no place that has produced more disappointment, desperation, devastation — and sometimes downright tragedy — than the terrible colosseum of romantic love as we have made it.
This End Up: Fragile Contents Inside
As most of us know, however, and all of us learn sooner or later, there’s often a BIG difference between the “type” of love being experienced inside of most romantic relationships, regardless of how they appear on the outside. At the top we have, of course, true love (though it’s not what everyone seems to think it is, as you’ll come to find as you read on); at the bottom, total toxicity.
Most relationships are a mix of both, to varying degrees. While real, true love is a rarity most likely known to all but a small handful, toxic partnerships are far, far more common.
Why? Because they are based on needs — be it psychological, financial or sexual — and whenever needs are at the helm, particularly psychological needs, it means, simply, that there is more fear in the relationship than love.
Don’t Confuse Longevity With A Job Well Done
Many of the ideas surrounding “successful” relationships are also quite erroneous. Most people in our society are prone to think that the longer a relationship lasts, the closer it is to “true love”, yet this is not always the case.
Many people remain in long term relationships simply out of habit, or because they feel trapped (again, because it is a need exchange), or both, with the toxicity levels never quite high enough to break them apart, but continuing nonetheless to erode them over the years.
And this is how, as time passes, so many people who were once rapturously in love come to find themselves feeling diminished, restricted and deeply unfulfilled within the walls of the very stade they rushed to in search of freedom.
What happened? Well, it seems we’ve forgotten the one true ingredient at the heart of all relationships: Self Definition. In other words, who am I, and how am I being in relationship to this other person? The whole point, in the end, is growth (in other words, actual maturity, as opposed to just aging), moving both parties into a conscious co-evolution that finds them expanding instead of contracting, becoming more invigorated and clear about themselves and their partner as time goes by, with vistas continuing to widen on the horizon, as opposed to narrowing.
And if, along the many rocky backroads involved in getting there, they reach an impasse, neither would ever automatically label it a ‘failure’.
It doesn’t matter how short or how long a relationship lasts, what matters is the amount self-knowledge gained along the way–even if it was experienced as ‘painful’ at the time. (It is impossible to know what gems such an experience may divine 10, 20, 30 years down the road.)
And while there are no set rules here (because every relationship, just like each one of us, is unique) there nonetheless remain certain points to help guide us as we navigate our way along these winding highways, attempting not only how to explain true love, but to get a decent feel for it as we go.
And that’s what we’ve got for you with this post. Let’s call it a map, say — not a GPS or the old, confounding paper labyrinth hiding in the glove-box, but a compact checklist small enough to fit in your pocket, yet special enough that you’ll never run it through the laundry, or forget it at home; a 14-point run-down of essential knowledge in our on-going quest to understand the one thing that has confounded poet and philosopher alike across the ages: how to explain true love.
How To Explain True Love: 14 Rare Points To Consider
1) True Love: Development of self first priority.
Toxic love: Obsession with relationship.
2) True Love: Room to grow, expand; desire for others to grow.
Toxic love: Security, comfort in sameness; intensity of need seen as proof of love – may really be fear, insecurity, loneliness.
3) True Love: Separate interests; other friends; maintain other meaningful relationships.
Toxic love: Total involvement; limited social life; neglect old friends, interests.
4) True Love: Encouragement of each other’s expanding; secure in own worth.
Toxic love: Preoccupation with other’s behavior; fear of other changing.
5) True Love: Appropriate Trust (trusting partner to behave according to fundamental nature.)
Toxic love: Jealousy; possessiveness; fear of competition; protects “supply.”
6) True Love: Compromise, negotiation or taking turns at leading. Problem solving together.
Toxic love: Power plays for control; blaming; passive or aggressive manipulation.
7) True Love: Embracing of each other’s individuality.
Toxic love: Trying to change other to own image.
8) True Love: Relationship deals with all aspects of reality.
Toxic love: Relationship is based on delusion and avoidance of the unpleasant.
9) True Love: Self-care by both partners; emotional state not dependent on other’s mood.
Toxic love: Expectation that one partner will fix and rescue the other.
10) True Love: Loving detachment (healthy concern about partner, while letting go.)
Toxic love: Fusion (being obsessed with each other’s problems and feelings.)
11) True Love: Sex is free choice growing out of caring & friendship.
Toxic love: Pressure around sex due to fear, insecurity & need for immediate gratification.
12) True Love: Ability to enjoy solitude by being alone.
Toxic love: Unable to endure separation; clinging.
13) True Love: Cycle of comfort and contentment.
Toxic love: Cycle of pain and despair.
14) True Love: Conversations based upon intent to understand, help, or convey affection.
Toxic love: Conversations based upon intent to blame, defend, or manipulate.
Original list source: http://www.lightshifter.com/toxicluv.htm