Attraction, Love Styles, and Intimacy
Love is a powerful word that connect people, allows them to communicate emotions in ways that words can’t express, and can provide for the most fulfilling human experience. Love encompasses a whole range of positive and strong emotional states, from our strongest personal trait or ideal, to the most intense interpersonal connection, the most satisfying intimate relationship. But it’s also a limiting condition because it can create unhealthy patterns of resistance to change. It’s important to recognise the limitations of love so that you can use it more productively.
Love isn’t always easy to cultivate in a world where we are constantly bombarded by messages telling us that everyone has to be our best friend, that we need to be successful and fulfilled in every possible way, and that our only relationship is with one another. All of these messages work to reinforce the idea that love is merely a one-way street, that our partner has to provide this for us in order to feel safe, nurtured and happy. If you’ve been conditioned to believe this, then love is unlikely to be very deep or sustainable. This is why it’s so easy to fall into destructive patterns when it comes to love. Your current love relationships are likely to be centred around the experiences of your parents or previous caregivers, and so you’re unlikely to have experienced great amounts of love yourself.
The only way to cultivate enduring love is to experience deep and lasting connections with another person – one who shares the same core values as you do. In a world where there are countless people vying for our attention and their own entitlements, it’s rare to find someone whose affection and attention you can truly give – and when you do, it’s unquestionably heartfelt. So when you find your heart moving towards another person and you connect with them on an instinctive level, you’re experiencing the powerful feelings of love. This is when you know you’re headed in the right direction.
Of course, cultivating a healthy relationship means that you need to feel comfortable opening yourself up to another person at least some of the time. The truth is that no relationship is ever truly strong enough to stand on its own. It has to rely on you and the other person to make it grow. The more you grow as a couple, the stronger and deeper your bonds will become, and the more likely it is that your love for each other will grow along with it.
A good way to foster long-lasting love is to ensure that the intensity of your feelings for your partner is appropriate for your relationship. If you allow yourself to experience strong feelings for a partner, but then have those feelings fade, you’re likely to fall into a form of infatuation – which doesn’t last. In the early stages of a relationship, it may be best if you don’t allow feelings of love to overwhelm it. Instead, focus on building an intimate, close and trusting connection first, before you let those wonderful feelings of affection develop.
Far too often, people who have a difficult time developing healthy relationships are afraid of letting their feelings get the best of them. The truth is, being afraid of love is one of the biggest barriers to building intimacy in a relationship. Allow yourself to feel the love and the wonderful feelings of affection; it will come. However, if you want your relationships to truly last and to blossom out into strong, beautiful marriages and relationships, you have to let yourself go and trust in the natural attraction that is inherent in all of us.