If you’re dealing with this … RUN.
If you think love is just a feeling, honey, have I got news for you! It’s a behavior. It’s an ACTION. It’s something that supports the goal of a mutually satisfying relationship or marriage.
If a person is unwilling to put their feelings of love into behaviors and actions that nurture their relationship, then it’s time to question the nature of their feelings. Is it a convenient attraction, lust, or genuine love that is sustainable?
Here’s a quick check-in you can use to decide if what you’re feeling is actually love ... or something else. If you're in love, you DON'T:
1. Knowingly put yourself in a compromising situation.
It’s not uncommon for men and women who work together to find themselves in social situations either after work or while traveling for work. Putting yourself in a one-on-one late night situation with a co-worker that may find you attractive through the cloudy lens of alcohol is simply unwise. Good intentions are subject to serious compromise under the influence of alcohol.
If you’re truly in love, your commitment to your relationship must take priority over questionable and quite possibly tempting social interactions. So, don’t put yourself in the position to start with.
2. Keep secrets from them.
Of course, we’re not talking about keeping birthday surprises and other special occasion secrets. Surprises are GOOD ... secrets are BAD. Keeping important information from your partner is dangerous behavior that can only lead to a breakdown of trust when discovered.
When you’re in love you must trust each other with the good news and the bad news about anything that could affect your perception of one another. No, you don’t need to disclose every gritty detail of a previous relationship ... but hiding its existence isn’t wise.
3. Share their secrets.
Your partner is in an intimate relationship with you because he feels safe with you. When someone shares their deepest thoughts, feelings and secrets with you, they trust you to keep them to yourself. If you're even tempted to divulge their personal, private information, then ask yourself what’s really going on.
If you truly love them, this will NEVER happen. This goes for after the breakup as well — persons with integrity don’t share personal secrets.
4. Blatantly disrespect them.
Yes, everyone gets cranky from time to time and we all slip up and take it out on the people we love most. However, treating your partner with disrespect is ALWAYS unacceptable.
Shouting, cursing and putting them down is a sure sign of emotional immaturity and an indicator that you don’t love and respect them the way you should. Love and respect are inseparable in an intimate relationship.
5. Neglect or ignore them.
Neglecting your partner is a BIG clue that love is either non-existent, or rapidly fading. The opposite of love is not hate — its indifference.
If you no longer care what your mate thinks, feels or needs — your love relationship is in trouble. It’s time to re-evaluate your true feelings. Maybe your relationship is in a temporary slump that can be revived or jump-started with careful attention. Perhaps not. Sustainable love requires care and nurturing.
6. Deny their requests for attention or affection.
In a recent poolside chat with a woman I’d just met, she shared her experience of being denied affection from her husband — now her EX-husband. When she said she just needed a hug, he shrugged and said he was too busy, and promptly left for the gym.
When your spouse can’t spare a few seconds for a hug – this is a big time problem. If a person can walk away from a request for attention or affection that takes less than a minute or two it’s time to question your commitment to them. What’s the real issue here?
7. Disrespect their family.
Is there a family member that drives you crazy? Loving our partner's family isn’t always easy and sometimes it challenges us in unexpected ways. I know this one from personal, painful experience. You signed up to love him, not his less than charming family, right?
Yes, loving them can be a stretch, but disrespecting them is NOT acceptable. He loves them so it’s time to put on your big girl panties, smile, and treat them with respect. Remember, doing otherwise hurts him too.
8. Refuse to talk about important issues.
Shutting down instead of talking about issues is a good recipe for relationship failure. If you truly love him, you’ll find the courage to talk your issues through.
In my experience, lack of conflict resolution skills is a top reason couples separate. It may sound cliché, but the truth is that good communication skills are non-negotiable for couples truly in love. As Susan Elliott says in Psychology Today, “Healthy relationships are about forthright and honest communication.”
If you love him, you’ll be willing to talk through what’s important, even when it’s potentially difficult. Take a deep breath and just do it!
9. You let them do all the work.
I frequently use the word "partnership" when referring to relationships and marriage. If one person is doing all the work to support a couple’s daily life together — this isn’t a partnership. Modern marriage is about true partnership — a mutual sharing of life’s responsibilities ... not just the fun times.
10. Set up win/lose situations between you.
Winning and losing are terms best kept to games and sporting activities. Couples are a partnership — a team event in which your team is always the winner. Keeping score sets up unnecessary competition between partners that most often leads to resentment.
He’s on your team and you’re on his, so be sure to cheer each other on. Be each other’s biggest fans.
Gayla Wick, The Denver Love Coach and author of The Art of Attracting Authentic Love (A Transformational Four-Step Process) gives women the tools to move from frustrated and disappointed to dating with confidence and clarity. Connect with her and get her free Top Ten Reasons Women are Still Single at GaylaWick.com.