Unfortunately, most everything we learn about love teaches us that love requires nothing but our presence. True love lasts forever, love conquers all, and if you love me you should know how I feel. The misconceptions are countless, yet so is the number of Americans trying desperately to prove they’re true. So let’s instead channel all of that frantic energy into developing a curiosity about the lessons our partner’s qualities and quirks hold for us. Once we get over thinking, “Why won’t she/he . . . ?” we stop reacting — as if they were anomalies — to the repeated dysfunctional dramas we create and experience in every single relationship. It’s only then that Mother Nature’s brilliance catches fire and we realize our partners’ traits say as much about us as they do about them.
About: Ada Rios-Rivera, PhD
Social Psychologist, Life Coach, and writer with a career background in Individual, Relationship, Family Counseling, Conflict/Diversity and Organizational Consulting. Ada writes for "Psychology Tomorrow," an alternative online, sister magazine to "Psychology Today" and is currently working on a book that explores her life in foster care and journey of discovery through story and poetry.
Recent Posts by Ada Rios-Rivera, PhD
But what if there is a method behind the madness of love’s deception? Rather than feeling duped by our partners once the proverbial honeymoon is over or shamefully deceitful towards our partners when our own true colors reveal their shady hues, we might consider that the fraud perpetrated by both parties and our unhappiness with the “truth” are actually motivators. Mother Nature’s incentive behind the blissful state of falling in love could be to compel us to look at and change things about ourselves that we otherwise wouldn’t look at or change.
I’m not ashamed to say I’ve got my own issues with relationship ambivalence. From my own hopelessly sentimental, blind-eye refusals to give up on love to my unconscious strategies designed to resist love, I’ve searched for the middle ground between hopeless romanticism and ambivalent attachment. So I’ve taken notice over the years of how many of our movies focus on our “come here, go away” relationship struggles. In fact, A Place In The Sun showed us The Way We Were so that When Harry Met Sally a Whole Wide World opened up to Jerry McGuire, who finally proved that Something’s Gotta Give, convincing us that Never Again would we let An Officer And a Gentleman drive us Out of Africa only to fill us with regret Before Sunset. Don’t worry, you haven’t suffered a stroke. That was just a small sampling of how many of our classic and modern films feature our ambivalence about love.
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