What Distinguishes A Great Love From The Rest, According To An Attachment Specialist

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Have you ever paused to consider whether your love is truly great? Perhaps in the back of your mind, you reassure yourself that it is. After all, your partner adores you and expresses appreciation almost every single day.

But real love goes beyond being adored or obsessed over. It takes a bit more effort than that.

Attachment therapist Eli Harwood shares the lessons she hopes to instill in her children when it comes to developing great love.



What makes for a 'great' love?

If you want to understand great love, you first need to know what it isn't. "A great love isn't selfish or obsessive," says Harwood. Despite popular belief, it isn't a grand gesture or a honey-filled promise mixed with adoration.

"True great love involves compromise. It involves dedication, time, and effort," says Harwood. It's a daily commitment to be kind, respectful, present, caring, and curious. I know what you're thinking, "Will it always be a struggle?"

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According to therapists Linda and Charlie Bloom, as our relationships evolve, we'll find ourselves needing to put in less effort.

In the beginning, you'll have to work through bumps with your partner. And you'll find yourself wanting to give up and feeling completely frustrated at times.

However, if you're truly committed, those bumps will pay off in due time. Just like learning to drive or paint, love is a skill that needs to be mastered. It takes time to learn about each other's needs. But rest assured it will get easier as your relationship progresses.

Over time, you'll come to view your efforts as an act of love rather than a burden to carry.

Next, Harwood explains that great love takes us deep within ourselves. We discover who we are and there is no suppression of our true selves. You see, great love is not a give or take but a delicate balance, where both parties benefit.

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How do you develop a great love?

So, what's the secret to building a great love? NY Gov shares, “Healthy relationships involve honesty, trust, respect, and open communication between partners, and they take effort and compromise from both people.”

There is no power imbalance in great love. Rather both parties learn to respect each other's independence while making shared decisions.

To create this dynamic it's crucial to form boundaries with your partner. Boundaries are, “The limits and rules we set for ourselves within relationships — determine what we find acceptable and unacceptable regarding how we allow others to treat us,” writes EndCan.

I get that boundaries can feel daunting and intimidating to create. However, healthy boundaries are necessary to allow us to heal and feel safe within our relationships.

According to EndCan, boundaries can also help:

  • Build trust within ourselves and others.
  • Improve our relationships.
  • Affirm our self-worth
  • Protect against re-traumatization.

Next, to establish great love you must have great communication. Both parties should feel safe to express their feelings even if it leads to disagreements.

"While communicating be sure to make eye contact and keep your body language positive," says NY Gov, "Your goal is to give your partner a safe space to vent and feel seen."

Don't forget that during these conversations you're bound to hear things you don't like.

Despite this, you should still listen and keep an open mind.



Finally, use 'I' statements with your partner. Never blame them for your emotional reaction. Instead say, "I have been feeling this way."

Be honest with your partner and do your best to respect their boundary. Keep your promises and be willing to listen to their concerns.

By understanding what makes great love work, you can figure out better ways to build one with your partner.

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Marielisa Reyes is a writer with a bachelor's degree in psychology who covers self-help, relationships, career, and family topics.