We all get wounded by the people we love. This is part of being human. The hard part though, when we are in a relationship, is putting the pain between you and your partner.
And we do this almost instinctively. We get our feelings hurt and boom the wall comes up or we tell them incredibly strongly how much they hurt us.
This pattern is pervasive with couples. I see it in my therapy practice. I live it in my own life. When I am hurt I am unable to ask for what I need. My instincts are to fight. I don’t raise my fists or anything, but my insides look for someone to blame. I usually become angry on the inside after I feel hurt and I express it, sometimes loudly.
We all know what it feels like to feel love. We are also keenly aware of what is feels like when we don’t feel it. So if we know what it feels like, can we describe what it looks like? This is such a difficult question, and it’s so hard for many couples to really describe what love is. So let’s give it a go.
As I think about this, I wonder if it might be easier to describe what it is NOT. I was talking to a client recently and she was telling me how she loves her man very much. When he asks for something she goes out of her way to give it to him. For the client, this is an action of love.
Another client was telling me about a vacation where her husband was trying to make his two daughters happy by buying them everything they wanted. And they were still not happy. So I think it’s OK to look at what love isn’t in these two examples.
Doing things for your mate with the expectation that they will be happy is not love.