Is love supposed to be painful?
Is love supposed to be full of drama?
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Is love supposed to be forever?
What is normal love?
These questions are unanswerable in a direct way for all of humanity because there are no Universal Truths here in the Human Experience of Love. There are only individual experiences at given moments. Some moments last hours, weeks, months...and some last a life time. What is normal love?
As we contemplate this thing called love, we wonder what is normal, we compare our relationships to those of others, we judge the relationships of others, and we seek to fit in and be normal. The thing is there is no such thing as normal when it comes to love. Love is an individual experience shared with another individual. When disharmony is present in a love relationship, it just means that there is a gap in alignment, understanding, and perspective. It has nothing to do with you personally when there is discord.
The beauty of discord, when it transpires in the space of love, is it gives us a moment to pause, contemplate, and make choices that are for our highest being-ness. We learn along the way what love is and is not for ourselves in our own lives, in our own way.
There are three prominent discords in relationships: cheating, jealousy, and non-acceptance.
"My boyfriend is cheating on me. He cheated on his previous girlfriend. And he was cheating with me when he was with her. It pains me to know that he is not faithful to me. Can you make him change? Can I make him stop cheating? Does he love me?"
There are people (both men and women) who cheat and those who are faithful. Who am I to judge whether or not cheating is a good or bad thing, for it is neither. It simply is he cheats, you don't. Is cheating in your partner's nature? Does he define monogamy as having a committed relationship with an exception allowing sex outside the relationship?
Some people are designed to need the allure of serial non-monogamous relationships. It does not mean they don't love you; it just means they have different needs than you. Does this mean love is not present in the relationship? No, he loves you; he just does not see that being unfaithful equates to not loving you. But you see it as non-love. You want commitment and faithfulness. He sees he is committed and faithful; he just has a sexual impulse need outside of the relationship. This is a gap in alignment of what love and cheating is and in your partnership with each other.
Pushing your partner to change, to get professional help for the "sex addiction", or sucking it up and living with it are all unhealthy choices for both of you.
To restore alignment and joy for yourself, ask yourself:
- Can I remain in a relationship where my partner needs sexual and non-monogamous stimulation outside of our relationship?
- Can I be okay with the cheating behavior?
- Is this a need my partner has that cannot be changed or stopped? Is this his/her natural way of being? Was he this way before we got together?
- Do I need to walk away from this relationship knowing that cheating is present and is not going to change?
What will you choose?
Jealousy is the green-eyed monster according to William Shakespeare. Jealousy makes for juicy drama, but at what cost?
"My wife is very jealous. She smells my shirts when I get home from work for perfume, checks my phone to see if I am texting other women, and worse, makes a scene when I am speaking to a female co-worker at my company's Christmas party. I don't understand this behavior, I have been nothing but faithful to her and have never cheated in my life on anyone. I have tried everything to make her feel safe and secure. I feel suffocated, have no freedom, and am trapped in a relationship where I just cannot be happy anymore."
Jealousy is all consuming, pushes joy away, and is indicative of what's internal rather than external. Believe it or not, jealousy is about self, and not others…certainly not the people or things we are jealous of, as jealousy is our issue. If someone has something you want, anything you want that you do not have and you do not believe you can have, then jealousy breeds and feeds on your heart, spirit, and soul. Jealousy also is spawned from comparing yourself to others.
Feeling jealous can be a very beautiful message to us if we just pay attention. When jealous feelings show up, it is a gift, an opportunity for us to inquire whether or not we want to do the work to acquire that which we are jealous of. Are we willing to do the work? Are we willing to stop comparing and instead approach that individual in the space of love? Are we willing to ask them to help us acquire and/or do what they did?
Being with a spouse who is intensely jealous is suffocating and more often than not results in the need to escape the relationship, especially if you are faithful, trustworthy, honest, and have nothing to hide. You cannot fix this problem without your partner taking full accountability and working on this with professional guidance. Their past experiences have contributed to who they are being in this relationship with you. You are not their past relationship, yet you are experiencing their pain and acting out based on their previous frame of reference.
Yes, there may be some behaviors that you are exhibiting that contribute to your spouse feeling jealous, like outwardly flirting with others or not calling when you usually do when running late, etc. Those actions are in your sphere of control and you can be personally accountable for your integrity in the relationship.
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