A very key and important question I like to ask anyone who sits in front of me newly in a relationship “What does love look like to you?”
Why is this such an important question you might wonder, well to put it quite simply I like to figure this out because normally the idea of what love is to someone will look and sound totally different in the head of their partner. So if the two of you have different ideas of what love is, how will you know once you’re actually in it? (and by it obviously I mean love)
Even if you’re not with someone right now, it’s still an important question to wrap your head around, because your idea of love that you have in your head might actually look totally different to what you find yourself in in real life.
In your head love could look like grand romantic gestures, passion in abundance and endless amounts of affection. When in reality, the relationship you’ve found yourself in is actually representing love in a calm, supportive and romance in every day small actions kind of vibe ….. so naturally when your built up idea isn’t matching the reality, it will be hard for you to accept that this is in fact love.
If you’re anything like me you grew up idolising your parents relationship, you looked at them and the unit they’d created as if that’s the only version of love you ever want to experience. But then …. well, we grow up. We start noticing that maybe this relationship we idolised isn’t actually as prefect as we first thought. It doesn’t mean there aren’t aspects we still adore about it, but what we can realise is that we probably won’t want to duplicate that kind of love. I like to refer to this as our rose tinted glasses falling off.
As we grow up and start experiencing our own relationships and our own heartbreak, our vision of love will begin to morph into what we know we want our “forever love” to feel or look like, it’s very rare for someone to view love in the same way consistently throughout their lives, I’ve never heard someone say they see love in the same way they did as a teenager vs when they hit their 30’s, unless of course, they haven’t taken any lessons from their relationship experiences!
While searching for lessons in break ups has always tended to be known as a more feminine trait to help us process the heart break, I think it’s very important for anyone going through a break up to sit back and take some time to understand what that relationship has taught them about love so they can take something with them going forward.
When I look back on who I was at the age of 21 and what I wanted from a relationship I can see how much I’ve grown as a person and to me that’s a great sign that I’m moving in the right direction. While at 21 I wanted to be in a relationship consumed by chemistry and a level of sexual attraction that drives two people to act in crazy ways, I’ve actually come to realise that actually what I crave in a relationship above anything else, is a sense of calm. I love knowing that I have someone who will be in my corner no matter what and always be on my side in times of external conflict, but to me that shows I’m ready for a relationship that has longevity rather than short term satisfaction.
So here’s the questions I want you to sit back and ask yourself now:
- What does love look like to me in my head?
- Do I really really think that idea is something sustainable in a real life relationship?
- Have I ever experienced a different kind of love to the one I thought I wanted in my head and how did it make me feel?
- What are the core values I bring to a relationship to make sure I give and receive the kind of love I want?
- How has my perception of love changed in the last 10 years?