We Don’t Always End Up With The Loves Of Our Lives (And That’s Okay)

 

I believe in Big Love.

I talk and I date like I don’t.

I don’t have frivolous expectations for romance. I’m not looking to get swept off my feet. I am one of those rare, perhaps slightly jaded individuals who actually likes hookup culture and is happy to live in an age in which monogamy is not necessarily the norm.

But I believe in big love because I’ve had it.

I’ve had that massive love. That all-consuming love. That ‘I can’t believe this exists in the physical realm of this planet’ kind of love.

The kind of love that erupts into an uncontrollable blaze an then simmers down to embers and burns quietly, comfortably, for years. The kind of love they write novels and symphonies about. The kind of love that teaches more than you thought you could ever learn, and gives back infinitely more than it takes.

It is the ‘Love of your life’ kind of love.

And believe it works like this:

If you’re lucky, you get to meet the love of your life. You get to be with them, to learn from them, to give the whole of yourself over to them and allow their influence to change you in unfathomable measures. It’s an experience like nothing else we have on this earth.

But here is what the fairytales won’t tell you – sometimes we meet the loves of our lives, but we do not get to keep them.

We do not get to marry them, to pass our years alongside them, to hold their hands on their deathbeds after a life lived well and together.

We do not always get to hold onto the loves of our lives, because in the real world, love doesn’t conquer all. It doesn’t resolve irreparable differences, it doesn’t triumph over illness and disease, it doesn’t bridge religious rifts or save us from ourselves when we’re corrupting.

We don’t always get to hold onto the loves of our lives because sometimes love is not all that there is. Sometimes you want a tiny country home with three kids and they want a bustling career in the city. Sometimes you have a whole, wide world to go explore and they are scared to venture out of their backyard. Sometimes you have bigger dreams than one another.

Sometimes the biggest, most loving move you can possibly make is to let each other go.

Other times you don’t get a choice.

But here’s another thing they won’t tell you about finding the love of your life: not ending up with them doesn’t disqualify their significance.

Some people can love you more in a year than others could love you in fifty. Some people can teach you more within a single day than others could teach you over the entire course of a lifetime.

Some people come into our lives only for a particular period of time, but make an impact that no one else can ever quite match or replace.

And who are we to call those people anything but the loves of our lives?

Who are we to downplay their significance, to rewrite their memories, to alter the ways in which they changed us for the better, simply because our paths diverged? Who are we to decide that we desperately need to replace them – to find a bigger, better, stronger, more passionate love that we can hold onto for a lifetime?

Maybe we just ought to be grateful that we got to meet these people at all.

That we got to love them. That we got to learn from them. That we got to have our lives expand and flourish as a result of having known them.

Meeting and letting go of the love of your life doesn’t have to be your life’s single greatest tragedy.

If you let it, it can be your greatest blessing.

After all, some people never get to meet them at all.

***

From Thought Catalog by Heidi Priebe

The Truth About Meeting Someone At The Wrong Time

 

By: Heidi Priebe

Timing is something that none of us can seem to get quite right with relationships. We meet the person of our dreams the month before they leave to go study abroad. We form an incredibly close friendship with an attractive person who is already taken. One relationship ends because our partner isn’t ready to get serious and another ends because they’re getting serious too soon.

“It would be perfect,” We moan to our friends, “If only this were five years from now/eight years sooner/some indistinct time in the future where all our problems would take care of themselves.” Timing seems to be the invariable third party in all of our relationships. And yet we never stop to consider why we let timing play such a drastic role in our lives.

Timing is a bitch, yes. But it’s only a bitch if we let it be. Here’s a simple truth that I think we all need to face up to: the people we meet at the wrong time are actually just the wrong people.

You never meet the right people at the wrong time because the right people are timeless. The right people make you want to throw away the plans you originally had for one and follow them into the hazy, unknown future without a glance backwards. The right people don’t make you hmm and haw about whether or not you want to be with them; you just know. You know that any adventure you had originally planned out for your future isn’t going to be half as incredible as the adventures you could have by their side. That no matter what you thought you wanted before, this is better. Everything is better since they came along.

When you are with the right person, time falls away. You don’t worry about fitting them into your complicated schedule, because they become a part of that schedule. They become the backbone of it. Your happiness becomes your priority and so long as they are contributing to it, you can work around the rest.

The right people don’t stand in the way of the things you once wanted and make you choose them over them. The right people encourage you: To try harder, dream bigger, do better. They bring out the most incredible parts of yourself and make you want to fight harder than ever before. The right people don’t impose limits on your time or your dreams or your abilities. They want to tackle those mountains with you, and they don’t care how much time it takes. With the right person, you have all of the time in the world.

The truth is, when we pass someone up because the timing is wrong, what we are really saying is that we don’t care to spend our time on that person. There will never be a magical time when everything falls into place and fixes all our broken relationships. But there may someday be a person who makes the issue of timing irrelevant.

Because when someone is right for us, we make the time to let them into our lives. And that kind of timing is always right.

***

From Thought Catalog by Heidi Priebe

Why you’re doing your relationship wrong

 

Having come from an 8 year abusive relationship, I would have to say that the one I have right now with my current squeeze is refreshing. What makes it more beautiful is that prior to its inception, I had read Neale Donald Walsh’s Conversations with God, as recommended by a friend. The words that he wrote, as he claimed were told to him by God Himself, blew my mind.

In the book, he says that WE ALL GO INTO RELATIONSHIPS FOR THE WRONG REASONS. We always ask ourselves prior to getting in one, “What can I get from this? What can he/she give me in return? What’s in it for me?” 

And if you really think about it, if this is your frame of mind, the relationship is bound to FAIL. Because if you keep asking yourself what’s in it for you, you’re bound to have EXPECTATIONS. You want the person to be perfect. You want him/her to fulfill all your needs and wants etc. etc.

But what if he/she doesn’t? Then what?

Then you get disappointed. Then you start throwing a tantrum. Then the fights start.

In the book, Walsh says that we have to go into the relationship telling ourselves “Okay, this is the person that I want. And this is the love that I have to give. I am going into this relationship because I have all this love that I want to share.

It sounds pretty simple, but it spells a world of a difference!

When you have such a positive perspective and you think about love as something you GIVE and not something THAT HAS TO BE GIVEN TO YOU, you create a partnership. You create a real bond that’s not always looking for a return on investment. 

I got involved with my ex-boyfriend at the age of 19 and we were together till I turned 26. Looking back, it was silly of me to have been involved with someone so seriously because those were my developing years. I was so determined to marry him even though he would treat me badly. (Thank God I dodged that bullet!) But at the time, I forged on because in my head, “I’ve gone this far, I can’t give up now!” This resulted in many years of depression and loneliness, even though I was attached. I was waiting for my return on investment.

And when I didn’t get it, I was at a dead end.

There I was expecting that he would change. But he never did.

I learned later on that the kind of love I was giving him even when I was unhappy wasn’t love at all. I felt like a vendor who didn’t get paid. It felt like I was staying because he was indebted to me.

Fast forward to years later and after having read that life changing book, I now know better. Love now has become more of a want rather than a need. I want to be with him because I love him. Because I have all this love to give and he deserves it. I don’t mind if he doesn’t reply back within 5 minutes of receiving my text because  he may be driving. Before, I would dramatize scenarios in my head that the reason why he may not be replying was because he didn’t love me. But now, it feels so light to love this way. When you love and love and love and you don’t care about your return on investment. It just feels good to give it away. Now that infamous Bible quote really makes sense.

[“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.- 1 Corinthians 13:4-8]

I know what you’re thinking. How can I stop myself from expecting from him/her? If you think that this perspective is so one-sided, because it’s human nature to always look for how a situation can help you…

Then it’s simple. It isn’t love. It’s love that you seek from someone else but only you can give yourself.

What you have may not be love at all (in the complete sense of the word), but attention.

Before you enter a relationship, I think that it is vital that you are completely whole and that you completely love all parts of yourself before you can give it away. That sounds cliche but it makes the most sense when you think about it this way.

Your partner shouldn’t be the one having to call you beautiful all the time or singing you praises all the time. If he/she can’t, then let it go. Give it to yourself. The things that you expect him/her to do, do it for yourself. Do your best to fill all the voids so that way you won’t have to NEED anyone. And it would feel TEN TIMES MORE AMAZING to feel that you WANT to be with this person.

I have made this mindset my advocacy to share it with anyone who will listen. Believe me, that it makes a HUGE difference in how you perceive everything. If you’re reading this, I hope this post changes your life somehow.

xoxo,

Cristine

The 10 Habits of Long-Lasting Couples

We’ve all swooned at the adorable stories of couples who spend their whole lives together, and are just as much in love with each other in old age as they were right at beginning. But what is their secret? How do they manage to maintain, and strengthen, their love through the years?

Well, psychiatrist Mark Goulston has published his advice. Read on to discover his 10 tips for lasting relationships:

1. Go to bed together. This doesn’t mean go have sex every single night, but rather go to bed at the same time. Dr. Goulston reckons that “happy couples resist the temptation to go to bed at different times” even if one gets back up shortly after. There’s nothing like a bedtime cuddle!

2. Work out your common interests. It’s fine if he loves rugby while you’re into painting, and you shouldn’t even worry if the thing you find most boring is what really gets him going. But Dr. Goulston reminds us that the initial passion won’t last forever, so you need to make sure there’s some substance behind your relationship.

“If common interests aren’t present, happy couples develop them,” he says. “Don’t minimize the importance of activities you can do together that you both enjoy. At the same time, be sure to cultivate interests of your own; this will make you more interesting and prevent you from appearing too dependent.” Got it.

3. Hold hands. Next time you’re out together, make sure you’re in sync by holding one another’s hand. A public sign of affection, Dr. Goulston advises that it’s a sign of real comfort. “It’s more important to be with your partner than to see the sights along the way,” he tells us.

4. Always trust and try to forgive. Obviously this depends on the severity of your disagreement, but as a general rule Dr. Goulston thinks it’s key to make “trusting and forgiving, rather than distrusting and begrudging” your default setting after an argument.

5. Focus on what they do right, not what they do wrong. Positive reinforcement is an age-old concept used with children and even the training of animals. But it’s still important for fully grown adults too. So compliment your partner when they deserve it and try not to look for things they do wrong. “You can always find something,” Dr. Goulston says.

But that works both ways; “If you look for what he or she does right, you can always find something too. It all depends on what you want to look for. Happy couples accentuate the positive.”

6. Don’t forget to hug. Dr. Goulston urges us to hug our partner every single day (if circumstance allows). “Our skin has a memory of ‘good touch’ (loved), ‘bad touch’ (abused), and ‘no touch’ (neglected),” he explains. “Couples who say hello with a hug keep their skin bathed in the ‘good touch,’ which can inoculate your spirit against anonymity in the world.”

7. Say “I love you” and “have a good day” every morning. Seems obvious, but it’s an important one. Saying something caring like that first thing will set the other up for their day. “It’s a great way to buy some patience and tolerance as each partner sets out each day to battle traffic jams, long lines, and other annoyances.”

8. Say good night, every night. Regardless of how you feel. Never go to bed on an argument. According to Dr. Goulston, even the gesture of saying good night “tells your partner that, regardless of how upset you are with him or her, you still want to be in the relationship. It says that what you and your partner have is bigger than any single upsetting incident.”

9. Check in with them throughout the day. Calling your partner to see how their day is going is “a great way to adjust expectations so that you’re more in sync when you connect after work.” So if your other half has had a nightmare of a day, you know what to expect. And you can probably get the Ben & Jerry’s, in an attempt to cheer them up.

10. Be proud to be seen together. We know there’s a line between a sweet show affection and blatant PDA, but Dr. Goulston reminds us that a display of tenderness in public is important. “It’s not showing off, but rather just saying that they belong with each other,” he tells us. And that’s quite nice.

By: Catriona Harvey-Jenner