Cliche as it is, but you have to love yourself first.
"I truly love her. I just don't understand why we can't make our relationship work!"
To me, as a relationship coach, it is a very common question with many possible answers. Very often, however, the answer lies within the querent himself and his happiness. "I hate my job. But if I were in the relationship, I would be happier." Or "I still need to loose twenty pounds. But if I had a woman who loved me for who I am, I would be happier."
Unfortunately, to all these poor souls seeking solace outside of themselves, I have some bad news: YOU WILL NEVER FIND HAPPINESS IN YOUR RELATIONSHIP UNTIL YOU FIND HAPPINESS IN YOURSELF. Although this sounds quite obvious, I am always surprised at how many people turn to their relationships or seek new ones in order to fix something else that no love interest can fix.
A relationship cannot fix what is troubling you. You need to repair the core of the problem first — you. People that are not content with themselves cannot be happy in a relationship because they look to their partners to fill the void that makes them unhappy. It is a very selfish relationship, where one partner looks to another to be brought out of his misery. No girlfriend or boyfriend, however, can make you content in your choice of work or in your extra weight. You have to do it yourself. It is only then that you can offer a selfless act of love: because you will love to love, not to heal what hurts.
Here are some reasons you should not start a relationship if you are not happy with yourself:
- It is very difficult to love a person who is unhappy with — his career, his weight, his relationship with his family, etc. These issues will almost always take front and center stage in a relationship and will become too old too fast. Instead of focusing on each other, you will be focused on the source of your unhappiness. That, in turn, will make your partner unhappy.
- Instead of a love interest, you will turn your partner into a nurse. When we love someone, our desire is to make his pain go away. So naturally, your partner will be consumed with trying to help you out of your unhappy situation and do what it takes to make you better, in the process becoming less romantic and more methodical.
- Your partner will resent you. It will not take long until your unhappiness will rub off on your partner, who was, up till now, perfectly content in her skin. She will eventually resent you for making her life miserable and concentrating on your issues instead of your love.
- Your partner cannot fix your unhappiness no matter how much she may try. If the issue is your weight, for example, no matter how many times she may tell you she loves you as you are, you have to see the same person she sees. However, if your mirror reflects an overweight monster to you, her words will not turn him into an Adonis.
- Your misery will eventually take its toll on your relationship and may ruin it. Everyone wants to be happy. Everyone wants to be in love. Nonetheless, if, instead of enjoying each other, you are continuously discussing you and your misery, your relationship will be quickly damaged — very often beyond repair.
So why not start your relationship on the right foot? Fix whatever ails you first. It is only then that you can give yourself to a relationship fully completely and selflessly, asking for nothing in return other than the love that you, yourself can give.