Broad Generalization of Love

is not a good idea.

“brown wooden crate with black background” by dimas aditya on Unsplash

Wait a minute….I need my soapbox for this one. (Slides box over and stands upon it, clearing throat)

I read and article today that sent my blood boiling. One of those articles that make you say things out loud like, “No they did not just say…” and “Come on!” Then there is the “Seriously? Really?”

Yeah it was like that…if you want to read it I will link to it in a second, I think it might be one of those fake news outlets. That fact makes me see a deeper shade of red. People, smart people, search the internet for personal relationship advice and find misinformation like this and believe it as truth. (My inner reference librarian is screaming right now. UGH!)

There are 5 stages of love that “all” couples go through.

If you want to go read the article, I’ll wait right here…come back please when you are finished…For those of you who do not want to read it, I will keep going. Here’s the gist of it…all couples MUST go through these stages.

  1. Passion and Fun: Honeymoon phase that ends rather quickly.
  2. Getting Serious: Commit to each other, butterflies are gone.
  3. Disillusionment: Gasp! Your partner has flaws and is human.
  4. Deeper Understanding: They had needs too.
  5. Moving Forward: Hey, your partner is not perfect.

The titles are self-explanatory and to an extent, yes all couples go through some of these stages. To say that all couples go through all of these stages in this exact order is crap. To say “For your relationship to be meaningful, deep, and long-lasting, you need to reach all of them.” is double crap.

Love does not work that way.

Some couples never become disillusioned. Some, a lot I would hope, do not lose the passion and fun in their lives. Others, never get serious, they are content not being monogamous. To say that you can’t gather a deeper understanding of your partner without first being disillusioned by them is insulting to couples who have, from the beginning of the relationship, made an effort to understand their partner.

Love is not the cause of disillusion. Disillusion is not a natural progression of love. Disillusion between couples comes from disrespecting your partner and taking your partner for granted. No, that does not always happen and no it isn’t a required “stage” of a relationship.

Love does not hurt, it is the rejection that hurts.

Think about every time you were hurt by your partner. Were you ignored? Were you snapped at? Did they choose to spend time doing something else over spending time with you?

See? Those are all forms of rejection. If you ever feel that “constant quarrels have taken the place of romance”, let me tell you what the problem is, it isn’t that you are in some necessary stage, news flash… are in the wrong relationship.

To simplify a love relationship to general stages is ridiculous. Every relationship is different. Every relationship hits different milestones at different times. Not all couples do things like everyone else.

For what it is worth…..

I can tell you that my husband and I do not argue. We talk to each other when we disagree. Disagreements are rare. We find a solution, right then. We do not let anything sit and fester.

We do not take each other for granted, even in the smallest things. For example, he most always cooks dinner, however, I do not take for granted that he will have dinner waiting when I get home from work. What if he had a bad day? I am always thankful when he does cook and have a Plan B when he is not able to. We tell each other thank you for doing what most couples think of as expected domestic duties. We do not assume or expect it. There is no division of labor, we help each other.

We respect each other. We talk to each other with reverence and admiration, we give each other space and privacy we need. We attempt to anticipate the other’s needs. We are kindly not brutally honest with each other.

We set aside time for each other every day. Not some days, every day. We protect that time and make it a priority.

We make us a priority.

We know that each other is not perfect. We do not let the flaws of the other annoy us. We communicate.

We took the time to get to know what makes each other tick. We found out what our partner wants and needs. Remember Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, it is a really good guide, to begin with because people need things to survive. For example, my husband and I need physical affection. We touch almost constantly when we are in the same room. Right now as I type this we are sitting at a table with the corner of the table between us and his foot is on my foot.

Getting to know your person, respecting them, not taking them for granted and communicating honestly is a sure fire way not to be disillusioned.

If you want real relationship advice seek out a good relationship counselor. Talk to an elderly couple who have been married for fifty plus years. I bet they have advice that sticks. If you can’t do those two things, read a legitimate book about relationships like The Love Dare or The 5 Love Languages. (My two favorites, says the librarian in me a bit calmer now.)

Please for the love of your life, do not seek advice on fake news sites. You don’t even have to take my relationship advice in this rant. I am no expert on relationships. I do know how not to be married and what does work, for me and my other half. I also know that love, true love is worth everything you have to do to keep it.

(Sighing she steps off the box)

Believe in putting in the work for love.

~Lori O’Gara

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