Friends, I am by no means a relationship expert. If I were, I wouldn’t be sitting where I am today. I am also not perfect, and don’t know everything there is to know about love and relationships. I sincerely have a lot to learn.
I read an article earlier today, which was shared on social media by a friend, and it made me aggravated, to say the least, at our culture’s haphazard view of relationships and commitment. This philosophy of allowing our feelings to be our guide is ruining relationships and deceiving minds and hearts like crazy. Feelings and emotions can often be deceiving. You may disagree with much of what I say, and that is completely your right and freedom. You might be thinking, What does this guy know?, and you would be completely right in asking that question. As one broken person to another, however, I am compelled to expose what may sound like what you would want to hear and make us feel a little unsettled by the blatantly of deception. I am usually not so bold in my posts, so if you are easily offended. This one may not be for you.
Please read the article I am referring to before reading my response. If Your Partner Doesn’t Make You Feel…
And here’s my response:
Dear Elite Daily and Paul Hudson,
I must respectfully disagree with much of what you wrote in your article, If Your Lover Doesn’t Make You Feel These 11 Ways, It Isn’t True Love”. I do read many of your posts and agree with and am amused by many of them. Please don’t take this criticism in the wrong way, but if I were to blog a response to your article, I would Entitle It: “Several Reasons Why I Think Your Article is Utterly BS”. (No offense.)
There is much of what you wrote that, I believe, comes from a genuine place, and I am open minded enough to realize your intent was to help relationships, not to harm them. However, I believe your format and some of the points you make are too close to Hollywood’s fairy tale rendition and not that close to reality. We are each responsible for our own feelings.
It is true that the world is getting smaller and our options only increase every year. It may also be true that finding THE one isn’t easy. This idea about finding THE one tends to mess a lot of folks up when it comes to dating and personal relationships.
While it is true that there should be some feelings associated with love, when one person stops “feeling”, then what happens? Love is a choice, it is a verb. It’s not a fairy tale. When one person stops “feeling” the love, it becomes too easy for them to reject the other person, who may, in fact, feel like they are doing all the work in the relationship. Are you suggesting when the feeling fades during tough times, one should throw commitment to the wind?
I feel that some of your points give people permission to trust their feelings more than anything else, and that could, in turn, hurt their existing and future relationships. This is a dangerous line to encourage people to walk. It is this persuasion of thinking which, I believe, promotes confusion in a person and could be a catalyst for them pointing the finger, before dealing with their own issues. Relationships take work and sometimes the feelings aren’t always there, but they can be cultivated like a well taken care of garden.
The following are my responses to your points.:
- This person should make you happy.
If you are not a happy person, however, and are looking for that someone else to be your source of happiness, you are dooming both parties to fail. This list is a tall order. The notion the “you complete me” from Jerry McGuire is utter nonsense. No one person can complete you. Are we placing too high of expectations on someone else to be the source of our happiness? This would make it too easy to say, “I’m not happy and it’s all your fault!” What happened to personal accountability? If you weren’t a happy person before entering into a committed relationship, you won’t be any happier. If anything, you might end up dampening the other person’s emotions. We live n a society which fails to take responsibility for their own messy lives. We are all a mess. If you need to seek out a therapist, counselor, pastor, or do more yoga, by all means, do it. But, please, don’t throw people away because you assume they are the sole reason for your unhappiness without doing a self evaluation.
- This person should make you excited about life.
Yes, the person you are with should get you excited about life. But what happens when you are depressed in nature and refuse to engage in the activities that make your partner excited? It’s a two way street, people!
- This person should make you feel at peace with yourself.
Once again, this person is not God. If you weren’t at peace with yourself before committing, you’re not going to be at peace. Some believe there is a God-sized hole in each one of us and we keep searching for the wrong things to fill that hole. Whether you believe this, or not, this is all the more reason to try not idolizing your significant other, because you are setting them up for failure. Do what you need to do to be at peace with yourself, the feeling can be contagious. If you’ve had trauma, unresolved issues, or unmet needs before you committed to another person, you may, in fact, unintentionally sabotage your relationship on your own by projecting your troubles onto the other person. I don’t mean to offend, but, for the sake of your current or future relationships, learn to own your own stuff.
- This person should make you feel secure.
This is another two way street. We all have insecurities we need to deal with. While I agree, that the one you are with should not create a hostile environment where you feel insecure, you still need to look inside yourself first and find out where this insecurity comes from. Did you have this insecurity before you were in this relationship? Are you allowing yourself to be vulnerable and invite the person you are with to walk with you through those places of insecurity? Or do you, in fact, put up road blocks where there ought to be bridges in your relationship?
- This person should give you hope.
I mostly agree with this. However, if someone is a hopeless person and doesn’t do anything to inspire hope in the other, they can’t blame the other person for feeling hopeless. Seek counseling. Sort out what is making you feel hopeless, and this is not a time to push the other person away.
- This person should give you courage.
I think this might be mostly accurate. As before mentioned, however, your readers must understand that this is two sided. Before cutting ties impulsively, one should be willing to do what they can to fight to make the relationship work. If you had all of these feelings in the beginning of the relationship, but they are now gone, remember they are feelings. Scratch his back, run your fingers through her hair. Even if you don’t feel like it in the moment, sometimes you have to cultivate it. This whole idea of falling in love is utterly ridiculous. If you can fall into love, you can fall out of it. It takes work. It worked in the beginning because something about you wanted to make it work. Figure out how to go back to that place. Don’t always wait and expect to be the receiver of the words of affirmation and other acts of affection. It’s not a game of who goes first. You might even be tired of the feeling you are alone and doing all the work, but try and not be resentful and push through and do it anyway, even if you know it may not be reciprocated. But if it’s not, be courageous enough to voice your pain in a loving way. If your partner needs to vent, please don’t run away or blow up. This might make it more difficult for them to be more honest in the future. You could demolish their courage by being in constant fight or flight mode.
- This person should spark your curiosity.
Once again, this is not all one partner’s responsibility. Do what you need to do to spark the other’s curiosity. This might require listening to them to see what they might like, even if it’s not exactly what you are into. If she wants to start a hobby, be the first member of her fan club, even if you think it’s ridiculous. If he wants to make a fool of himself on the dance floor, don’t mock, but join in. If he wants to hangout with his friends, let him do it or ask to come along. But, for heaven’s sake, don’t play manipulative mind games. If you want someone who is going to peak your curiosity all the time, but you make little to no effort to do the same, you are hurting yourself.
- This person should make you feel comfortable in your own skin.
This person should make you feel comfortable in your own skin. You should be able to stand naked before your spouse and feel no shame. If you don’t feel comfortable in your own skin, evaluate your own feelings first before projecting them onto the other person. If you feel the problem is, in fact, them, learn how to communicate about these things instead of masking and playing the silent treatment. Be willing to talk your stuff out. If you need professional help, there is no shame in that either.
- This person should make you feel lucky.
Agreed. Both individuals should feel like they are the lucky ones. But we all need to be careful that our feelings don’t deceive us. The moment your winning lottery ticket gets a little rough around the edges, it’s no time to throw them away. You still won their heart, no matter the condition they are in today. Your relationship is not as dispensable as a lottery ticket, no matter how much the ticket is worth.
- This person should make you feel worried.
One hundred percent agree.
- This person should sometimes make you feel sad.
This point should’ve been at the very top of the list. I worry that some will read the first few headings of the points without reading the entire article. By only reading the first several points, you may have just given someone significant room to doubt their own relationship. I fear how many have already started packing their bags after only reading the first couple paragraphs.
I think I understand where you were trying to go with this article, and I agree with a lot of it. If I were to summarize my constructive criticism it would be this:
The points you make at the very end about no one person being perfect and flawless, needs to be at the very beginning of the article. Most people skim articles to tell them what they want to hear and ignore the rest. Many will skim this and begin tearing apart their relationship without sifting out what’s true for their actual relationship.
You should emphasize the value that we all know to be true, but often forget, that it takes two to make any good relationship work. While it shouldn’t always be work, it is a team effort.
Lastly, couples should be encouraged to seek out professional help for their own issues first to find some of the source of their personal unrest, before deciding it is the other person’s fault the relationship is struggling. People need to take responsibility for their own failures and recognize that while it takes two to make a good relationship work, they can share in the responsibility of it’s demise.