Lovestyles

By

Lovestyles
Dr. Romance writes about love as a force for change in your life.

Whether you love or not is subject only to your own opinion, no one else’s. The proper answer to the age-old demand, “If you love me, you’ll_____” is: “Wrong. I do love you, but I’m not going to do that,” or, “I’ll do that, but it’s not a test of my love.”

 

Frequently in counseling I’ve seen people let themselves be talked right out of loving each other, like this: When person A says, “If you loved me, you’d…” most often he or she is feeling insecure and asking for reassurance, but asking ineffectively, because it sounds like a demand. When B is also insecure, and if he or she is unwilling to do whatever is being demanded, B then tends to doubt his or her own loving: “Gee, maybe I don’t love you enough. I’m not willing to do that.” When A gets this doubtful response on top of his or her initially insecure feelings, A panics: “Oh no! B doesn’t really love me!” At this point, both A and B are convinced that it’s not working, and everything can go downhill from there, because of simple misunderstanding.

While love is not a behavior but a feeling, accurate and effective communication of feelings is important. It can be very frustrating to love and be unable to communicate that love. We all know the experience of loving someone very much and having them perceive our love as something else. Marsha: “I loved him so much; I never wanted to be away from him for a minute.” Bill: “She smothered me! She had no regard for my feelings! I hated it!” Behavior contributes to accurate expression and is therefore important. It does you no good to love if your behavior is consistently interpreted as unloving.

 

As in any art, it’s necessary to know what you want to express in order to express it effectively. Your personal way of expressing and receiving love is your lovestyle.

© 2011 Tina B. Tessina adapted from: Lovestyles: How to Celebrate Your Differences

This article was originally published at Tina B. Tessina. Reprinted with permission.
Article contributed by
Advanced Member

Dr. Tina Tessina

Author

Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D.
http://www.tinatessina.com
tina@tinatessina.com
562-438-8077
Dr. Romance Blog: http://drromance.typepad.com/dr_romance_blog/
http://www.twitter.com/tinatessina
http://www.facebook.com/#!/DrRomanceBlog
Amazon author page http://amzn.to/rar7RC
 

Location: Long Beach, CA
Credentials: LMFT, MFT, PhD
Other Articles/News by Dr. Tina Tessina:

Mirrors and Teachers

By

There are people I love who are easy to be around, and others I love who are more difficult for me. It’s not that they’re bad people, others get along with them fine, and, actually, so do I. It’s just that I have to work a little bit more to understand what they mean, to not take what they say the wrong way, or use a little more patience ... Read more

Dear Dr. Romance: I Would Like To Get Out Of This Anxiety

By

Dear Dr. Romance: I'm a 70-year-old man who has been married more than 40 years.  I read your article "Autonomy and Dependency" I feel like I've been in a codependency relationship the last fifteen years and have developed anxiety & depression. My wife is a strong person and I'm a 'pleaser.' I've been on ... Read more

Live Outside The Box

By

I was speaking with a client today about how he is burn-out in his career. This is a man who's been very successful, earned a lot of money, and worked hard for a big, national corporation. I told him he was burned-out, and on strike, because he had put himself in a box about work. The box consisted of four walls: Wall #1: I have to make $$$$ amount ... Read more

See More

Ask The Experts

Have a dating or relationship question?
Visit Ask YourTango and let our experts and community answer.