You’re falling in love.
There’s a new charge to your life. You feel energized, excited, alive. The chemistry the two of you have is unmistakable.
If this is how most of us start out, then why do so many relationships turn ugly after a while?
Some people say it’s because we get used to each other.
We get bored. The excitement wears off. We play less or care less.
But I believe those are just the symptoms of something deeper.
The real reason relationships fade is because we don’t know how to love each other.
Do You Know What Love Is?
Love is a universal concept but a personal experience.
We think we agree on what love is, because we watch the same movies and listen to the same songs, but the way we experience love is unique to us.
We all come with our own unique story about what love is and how it feels. Based on that story, we bring our view and perceptions of love into our relationships.
The trouble starts when we don’t make that view of love explicit. We don’t talk about what it means to us personally to love and be loved. We expect our partners to understand what we need and how we feel.
That’s when relationships start to crumble.
What triggers you makes no sense to your partner. Your partner withdraws and you panic. You don’t feel seen. Your partner doesn’t understand what makes you sad. You don’t get why your partner gets so upset at something so trivial.
And so it goes…
Here’s an experiment:
Go out and ask 10 people what makes them feel loved. Find out what needs to happen specifically for them to feel loved.
You’ll get a variety of answers.
Why He Can’t Receive the Love You’re Giving
Love feels different to everyone.
When we don’t understand this, we assume that our partners must experience love the same way we do. We give them the love we want to experience. We never ask how they want to be loved.
We’re coming from a good place, but unfortunately that’s not enough.
We are not giving or receiving love in a way that will help our relationships deepen and reach their highest potential.
Instead, we end up pushing each other away.
We don’t know what’s wrong; we just know we’re not getting the love we expected to get. Something feels off. We know conceptually that our partner loves us, but the experience of being loved by him is not what we thought it would be. It’s not even close.
And our partner feels the same way.
He doesn’t feel loved by us in the way he expected. He may never say so explicitly, but we feel it. We end up feeling like we’re not enough for him. No matter what we do, he’s still not happy or satisfied.
It’s hard to understand why. In our minds, we’re giving him everything we have!
But if someone gives you everything of something you don’t really want…
How happy are you going to be in the long term?
How to Love Him Like He Needs to Be Loved
The solution is simple:
Instead of loving your partner like you want to be loved, love him like he wants to be loved.
How do you know how he wants to be loved?
Plan a date night. Dress up, go out, have a nice meal, and ask each other the following questions:
- When do you feel the most loved?
- Why does it make you feel loved?
- How can I love you better?
- Is there anything I do that make you feel less loved?
- What can I do instead?
When it’s your turn to ask him, sit back and listen closely. Ask follow-up questions to really understand your partner and go deeper.
Pay attention to the specific words, compliments, acts, gestures, or a certain touch that makes your partner feel loved, seen and appreciated.
Then, armed with your new knowledge, start actively giving love to your partner the way he longs for it.
This isn’t an easy conversation to have. It requires both of you to be vulnerable. You have to open up and share your deepest desires.
You might worry: what if you open up and he thinks you’re asking for too much? What if he thinks you’re weird? What if he sees you as needy? Or less sexy? Or unreasonable?
There are a lot of reasons not to have that conversation. You might even tell yourself, “I should be happy for what I have.” No need to rock the boat.
Push through the fear and discomfort. Make the jump!
If you never find out the answers, you’ll never learn how to have the love you’ve always wanted.