It may be in a house, a restaurant, a coffee shop or a bar (I think maybe even a few women's bathrooms), but I have had the conversation many times in my life with many friends. Usually in tears, always in pain, they look at me and say the words that I am waiting to hear: "I know, Kira... But I love them." For a long time, I would just look at them, helpless. Offering a hug and ear if they wanted it. Not knowing what I could say because we were talking about love.
Love. This elusive emotion that can make us feel like we are flying and on top on the world when we have found it, yet devastated, hurt and confused when it is not returned to us. When it comes to love, it can feel like we are on this treasure hunt, blindfolded without a treasure map. We spend so many days just walking through life, trying to figure out what love is, where to find it and then by all means how to keep it when we do.
All of my friends that I described above, have, at some point, felt what they know of love and are hooked on the feeling. Even when the relationship didn't have anything that resembled love. Cheating, lack of communication, put-downs in public and private always leaving them feeling crappy, hurt and more lonely than if they were single.
But they love them, right? How could they even think about leaving? For some reason we have let that emotion/word excuse bad behavior across the nation. We believe that love will conquer all. That if we try hard enough and love passionately enough if will all work out. We can fix anything with love. Right?
Here is something you should know about me as a person and as a dating coach. I am not some Judgey McJudgerson who sits on her computer and tells you how to feel, whom to love and gives you a bunch of rules to follow. As a coach, I want to help you step outside of yourself (and get out of that head) to see things from different perspectives and make decisions based on your head and your heart. Here is my perspective for the day.
When you are in the "but I love them" space and are excusing behavior that is making you feel awful, you are only using your emotions. The funny thing is the main emotion you are using is not actually love but fear. Fear of being alone. Fear of walking away from something you worked so hard on. Fear of having to try to find love again and not finding it. Fear of leaving a comfort zone, even if it is a comfort zone that feels like crap. Fear of being unlovable.
Because if it was really love, where is the love for yourself and what you deserve? Where is the love for a fellow human, knowing that you, by allowing this unhealthy behavior, are creating a pattern that lets your significant other think that what they are doing is okay? Where is the love for a healthy and balanced relationship that are you are not letting happen by tolerating this behavior? Where is the love for that amazing man or woman who wants to treat you well and is out there looking for you, but can't find you because you are in this dysfunctional relationship? As the Black Eyed Peas asked, "Where is the love?"
You have to step outside of your relationship and make sure that there is just as much love available for you, as for them. By the way, that should be a two-way street with love coming from them and from you. A mutual admiration society. Because without it, you will never have a healthy and balanced relationship. You will always be left sitting there, waiting for someone else to deem you lovable. If you don't have that love and respect for yourself, it will be hard to get it from someone else. You are going to be waiting a long, long time.
Your Dating Makeover Challenge: When you are in that "sick to your stomach" unhappy feeling (in any kind of relationship), I want you to ask yourself if you are sticking around because of love or fear and what you can do to start changing that. Today.