*IMO | Love Evolution
"I am by no means an expert on this subject, but I do have an opinion."
This June 2022 will mark four years of living in Eureka Springs for my husband Jeff and I. Four years already!
This is the part when I usually say something like, "wow, time flies" but that two year worldwide pandemic caused time to creep slowly and when we looked around, nothing was flying.
Throughout our four years in this adorable mountain town of just over 2000, I am in awe of the many flittering relationships here that I've seen bloom and blossom and then very quickly blow up and break apart.
Again, I'm not an expert on this and by no means is any of this information I'm about to share new in any way but it does have value and therefore, in my opinion, it is worth calling it out.
Relationships take work!
(There, I said it.)
Humbly, Jeff and I are constantly receiving wonderful compliments (thank you!) about our loving, long-term relationship. Sometimes when we're talking with one of our local Eurekans, fresh in or fresh out of a relationship, we find ourselves often sounding like a wise'ol'Silver Daddy stating 'what we feel' is the obvious.
As one moves through the throes of love, they cannot always see the clear signs of what is going on around them and inside of them. So it's important to re-learn this information so we can all get better with our relationships.
Relationships require nurturing, love, and appreciation. No one wants to feel they are taken for granted, betrayed, or misunderstood. In fact, feeling that upheaval is exactly what makes people fall out and break apart.
For Jeff and I, we've come to learn that it takes more than the strength of our friendship and the words "I do." Love requires our mutual participation and the consistent, daily presence of trust and respect.
Back in Seattle, WA, 2007, when we first met, we fell fast! There was a lovely period of time that followed that first date when we were deep in woo! That puppy love phase was incredible and thinking about it now still gives me those giddy quivers. For most relationships, that early butterflies in-the-stomach feeling lingers through every interaction between two love birds over the first few months because falling in love is easy to do.
The most difficult part for ANY relationship is remaining in love and committing to the work that it takes to evolve together forever.
As we continue to grow and evolve, we work on these areas with intention and purpose because we both feel that these are the main reasons that people fall in and out of love.
Friends, if you experience any of these, dive deeper and look for yourself in the solution. Then, genuinely connect with your partner and do the work - together.
The ego can be overpowering. There comes a point in every relationship when the egos begin to overpower and dictate the daily cadence of life together. When you allow your ego to overpower you, this is when you stop caring about the other person’s feelings and you want what you want when you want it. Even through arguments, and discussions, no one wants to compromise. No one wants to back down. No one wants the other ego to win. No one wants to apologize. This begins to show the lack of respect and love. Please remember, you cannot love another without give and take and you cannot get back to peace without first coming to compromise.
Keep this in mind (which happens to be my favorite definition of an apology) - "an apology is something you genuinely give someone because you value the relationship over your own ego."
In the middle of a disagreement with your partner, the past always tends to come up. Nothing is more damaging to a relationship than holding on to past resentments and harboring grudges. The quote “forgive and forget” does not play well when we are still reclaiming hurtful situations, bringing them up constantly, and throwing them out there in defense. It’s hard to move on when you are still keeping tabs and reliving the same pain over and over regarding something that happened a while back. Doing this will not allow love to evolve nor will it allow both of you to move forward. For goodness sake, let it go!
3. Prince Not-So-Charming
That famous day in your life when you got married brought about the belief that this person was your prince or your princess. You believed that you had found your "person." your happily-ever-after. Unfortunately, those Prince Charming fairy tales fail to mention that with this union comes the payments on the castle, the tending to the land, and all the other life expectations that evolve in a relationship with someone.
OK, so you met someone and he was exactly who he was. Somewhere along the way, you created an idea of that person, and then after some time you floated down from Cloud 9 and reality set in. Who the hell is this guy?
Essentially, you've figured it out - you're incompatible.
It does happen for some couples, as they begin to know each other better, they realize that they are incompatible. When Jeff and I first met, we called out these Four C's. Having been in long relationships before, we agreed, early on, that these would be the basis for working on us. To this day, in our hearts, we feel that our relationship continues to evolve well because we have our Four C's.
Just as we've experienced, in our own love evolution, there are times we can get off track. When we do find ourselves off track, we share those things with each other and allow ourselves to be individuals.
I told Jeff this long ago, when we were in puppy love, and I still mean it to this day, "I want a forever love that allows me to still experience my own individuality in life. I refuse to lose myself in a relationship again." We allow ourselves to have separate interests, separate friends, and separate hobbies. This is really a huge part of love evolution.
Co-dependency is never a reason to remain in a relationship.
April Masini, the relationship author of Romantic Date Ideas, says:
“Over time, people can change — or more often, they become who they really are. Someone who loved his steady business career may suddenly realize he always wanted to be a stand-up comedian and throw caution to the wind to chase his dreams. The kind of change that leads to love lost is always about a buried desire to be someone that’s repressed inside. It’s important to really know your partner to avoid this lost-love syndrome.”
Be open and accept your partner’s choices in what makes him or her happy.
Changes are supposed to happen in relationships. I truly believe, in my heart, that my role in Jeff's life is simply to enrich it for him, and his role is that for me.
There comes a time, in any long-term relationship, when couples begin to take each other for granted. This feeling of just merely existing inside the relationship starts to take over and things begin to drift off in different directions because each knows the other is "going nowhere."
The biggest drifts tend to happen in the bedroom. Making love becomes the thing of the past. You stop touching and complimenting each other. You stop looking at one another. In fact, you might even begin to act like roommates rather than lovers.
Love can grow cold and stay cold if you allow it to be so. This is all too common and without even realizing it people fall in a rut and can’t get out of it. Strong couples work at keeping the spark alive. They do not stop going out on date nights or doing special things for each other. Attraction can be reignited through appreciation and compassion.
Find the time and the space to recognize how important your partner really is to you and to your life together. Take a moment and allow yourself to retrace what made you sparkle in the first place.
This is the crux of it all, kiddos.
At the start any new relationship there is an abundance of sharing. Couples have long talks intending to learn anything and everything about each other early on. With each new discovery, they fall in love with those parts that relate. Unfortunately, as time goes on, communication withers away. For over 40 years Psychologist Professor John Gottman has been analyzing relationships. He says that there are four main ways that communication is affected in a relationship:
contempt (sarcasm and name-calling)
stonewalling (the silent treatment which is caused by the other three)
In the comfort of knowing your partner, there is the discomfort of not wanting to ask again, or say the same thing again, as not to upset them. Because these four ways break down communication, things begin to wither and shut down because there is no longer an effective way to sit and discuss issues in a healthy manner.
Take the time and find the space to sit and discuss issues in a healthy manner.
When the butterflies and giddies vanish, the truth of who we are inside starts to want to feel all those feelings again like we used to in the very beginning. His insecurities are passed on to you. Her own issues began to play a huge role in how he reacts. It becomes a constant battle of self worth and acceptance. The best way to move past this is to, once again, sit and discuss the issues in a healthy manner without blame or criticism.
Cheating and other secrets destroy relationships. And it’s not just infidelity that destroys trust, it’s the things that are purposely withheld. Is your partner is keeping another bank account separate from the one you both agreed to having, is she doing drugs, or has he actually lost his job. Not sharing important information like this is considered lying-by-omission. It diminishes all credibility and it can be hard to come back from.
Communication, with the intent to seek understanding is an effective approach forward.
7. True love?
Nah. It's lust! It happens more than we realize, but what we thought was passion and true acceptance were the effects of lust. If a relationship started out from a steamy affair, or someone is out on the rebound, you are more likely to mistake the desires and wants for true love.
Love is timeless. Lust diminishes when all the responsibility starts to take over.
All relationships go through rough stages and parenthood can really test any relationship. Sprinkle in the speed of life as people go through difficult life changes: illnesses, financial strains, and other alterations that come with life and this is where all the work becomes necessary.
Amidst the many changes that happen in life, when you are in a loving relationship there is a commitment and a choice “for better or for worse.” It's easy to fall in love but it takes a good deal of work to mutually evolve together, growing in love, until death do you part.❤️
*IMO is a blog-series where I, John-Michael Scurio, am able to express my own personal opinion about some subject or situation in particular. "But what about the opinions of others?" they wonder. "Yeah, that," I reply . . . "well, this specific series isn't about those opinions - just mine. If I opened it all up to all those opinions, I'd need to change the acronym to something else and it probably wouldn't feel as cool, but, hey, that's just my opinion."
*IMO = in my opinion.
Do you want me to have an opinion about something? Tell me about it: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please take a moment to check out the different posts in this particular blog series on www.iloveureka.com