Love is not constant. It waxes and wanes like the moon. Having an argument or feeling bugged by your partner’s demands or desires doesn’t mean that your relationship needs to be put in the recycle bin. It means that you have to understand and talk about the natural course of feelings that ebb and flow throughout emotional connections.
Some people have trouble knowing whether they are feeling love or not. This is much different from the heady “in love” emotions that I think are temporary insanity. It is more a sense of knowing that you are with someone who’s got your back and won’t turn his or hers on you.
When you are with someone who embodies the qualities and values that you admire, and you think that maybe you could love this person but can’t seem to bring yourself to say the words or really allow yourself to feel it, there could be deeper issues going on.
The fear of rejection, the memories of a previous abusive relationship, or even a need for independence can make you want to keep a fire escape in your heart. Problem is that by having an exit plan, you never really get to experience the fulfillment of taking the risk of letting someone in.
Truth is that once you do, your life is changed forever. That person is now imprinted on your psyche, and the picture in your mind won’t go away until you can fill the void with something better. We’ve all had love and lost it or suffered from a broken heart. And that’s why some of us recoil at the thought of entering into a loving relationship.
You’ve been told that it isn’t wise to put all your eggs in one basket. But if you try to play Easter Bunny and hide a few for later, you’re not going to get the true benefits of what love really is. So let yourself love and be loved. The trick is to be very careful with the basket. Don’t hedge your feelings when it comes to love, because you won’t get out of it what you want.
Some people hold back because they don’t think they can return the love or that they won’t know how to help love thrive. There is no one answer. You have to keep trying different things, get into deep conversations (and learn to like them), and commit to yourself and your partner that you will love him or her unconditionally. I also suggest recommitting on a daily basis in your own head and heart and sharing those feelings with your partner. The couples I know who do this have stronger connections.
Holding back is a means of self-protection, and sometimes that’s understandable. I know it’s scary to love like you’re not going to get hurt, but it’s the only way to get the goodies from the most wonderful of emotions.