At Mars Venus Coaching we use words like: love tank and love heater. Regardless of the terminology we use, when it comes to relationships we are all looking for the same thing: love. We want our partner to love us for who we are with our limitations, after all we’re not perfect. But can we really love our partner for who they are after we’ve experienced their daily limitations and imperfections? If we feel any blame toward our partner, it makes it even more difficult to accept, understand, and forgive our partners limitations. Learning to love them when times are difficult is when our love actually grows. Having an open heart, rather than a closed one is how to make unconditional love automatic.
Our hearts close up when we don’t work to address past feelings that threaten our current relationships. If we weren’t told as children it was okay to have some of these feelings, and that we would still be loved; then it is something we need to do for ourselves as adults so we can grow, mature, and have healthy adult relationships. We tend to repeat patterns, until we learn a new way to break them, and move on. Beneath each of the ways we stop loving our partners there is a solution for how to overcome these tendencies. Generally speaking women relate more to some of the tendencies and men to others, but we experience all of them to some degree. The six ways in which we stop loving our partners when we cave in to re-experiencing past feelings are:
1. Loss of Trust. Suddenly you may find yourself wondering and trusting if your partner is doing his or her best or that they care. You question and doubt their best intentions.
Even though he or she would risk their life to save yours, you begin judging them as if they do not care about you.
For Women: Re-parent by slowly opening up and care for yourself. Temporarily stop depending on your partner, and nurture your female side.
2. Loss of Caring. You stop caring about your partner’s needs and feelings. You justify this by the mistreatment you’ve suffered at their hands. We said we would risk our lives to save them, and suddenly we don’t care about them.
For Men: Trust yourself to be successful in the future. Stop depending on your partner’s trust in you to feel successful. Nurture your male side.
3. Loss of Appreciation. Sometimes overnight you begin to feel as if this relationship gives you nothing, whereas other times you had been so grateful and happy. It feels like you are doing everything, while they do nothing. Having this sudden memory lapse, you are now feeling deprived and totally no appreciation for your partner.
For Women: Re-parent yourself by respecting and supporting yourself and nurture your female side.
4. Loss of Respect. Suddenly you feel like withholding love and punishing your partner when just a while ago you wanted only to love and support your partner. Even though you genuinely feel like making your partner happy, now your main focus is caring about yourself.
For Men: Re-parent yourself by appreciating yourself for all you do, suspend needing your partner’s acknowledgement and appreciation temporarily. Nurture your male side. Do not feel like you have to surrender your sense of self in order to please your partner.
5. Loss of Acceptance. All at once you begin noticing everything your partner does wrong or needs to change. This is the same person you felt was perfect and perfect for you, and now out of nowhere you have a compulsion to change, improve, or rehabilitate them.
For Women: To re-parent, slowly open up and take time to understand and experience your feelings and validate your own needs. Release the need to change him.
6. Loss of Understanding. Suddenly while our partners are saying something, we become critical or judgmental of their feelings and reactions. We do this by minimizing their pain as if it doesn’t really matter. However, if they were physically wounded, we would still risk our lives to save them. Even though this is the most important person in our life—we quickly become disinterested and impatient with them. When they are sharing their feelings, we become defensive and feel as if we’re being attacked.
For Men: To re-parent slowly open up and appreciate yourself for all that you do, even if your partner is not doing this. Graciously excuse yourself, go into your cave, and do something that nurtures your male side. Take the time to consider what her feelings are without feeling pressure to immediately respond and say something.
If we find our hearts closed or closing down, it is our responsibility to open them back up. We are no longer children, and as an adult in an adult relationship, we have to take responsibility for our actions. By taking responsibility even if you still feel defensive, you’ll release yourself from negativity, and be able think logically about what was being said. By nurturing your female side if you’re a woman and your male side if you’re a man, you bring value back to yourself, while working through the feelings.
Childhood feelings threaten our responsibility if we find ourselves feeling it is the other person’s fault for not doing x, y, or z or doing a, b, c, to us. It is by acknowledging you feel blame, and then deciding for ourselves that we are committed to forgiveness, that we’re able to come back to our adult selves and release our immature feelings. Next time we’ll talk about how to nurture your male/female sides.