Is It Love, Lust or Wishful Thinking?
Five Steps To Unconditional Love And Acceptance
“In love the other is important; in lust you are important” Osho
That’s usually the second question I’m asked by a clinic client who is looking for love. The first is, how come I always chose losers? But that’s another story.
So how can you tell between love, lust and wishful thinking? Firstly, as always there is a meeting of life values — and that goes for all relationships. But after that?
“Time” is my usual answer. Most lover relationships go through various stages before the complete unconditional love and acceptance we all wish for.
Stage one is that of the magnetic pull. Desire that feeds our mind, body and soul. We think about the other person a great deal of the time. We anticipate with excitement our time together and we meld at an energetic and cellular level when having sex. The other occupies us, sometimes to the detriment of our life relationships and patterns. We may give ourselves over completely, at this stage, to this newly discovered relationship. The feelings are euphoric and all encompassing.
Stage two I call the uh-oh stage, when behaviors and mismatch start to show up. This can be within a month or two of the euphoria or even up to twelve months if it’s a long distance relationship… certainly not much longer than that — if you are living your values. You find the way he eats irritating, or the way she is so indecisive about the simplest of decisions. His need to dominate conversations with your friends, or her need to change everything on the menu when you eat out. You notice he can get irritable if something doesn’t go the way he expected, or she has to phone her mother/sister/girlfriend every day and report in. Cracks form in the bliss of togetherness. And sex isn’t what it was. You try to ignore these irritations and hope the relationship will work. It’s still fun, and you’re getting comfortable.
Stage three you realize that your once beloved isn’t like you or what you really want in a partner. You focus on what’s wrong, and maybe talk to others about your misgivings, and how he, or she is selfish, unbending and all the other adjectives that don’t fit your idea of perfection for you. You get angry or sad and wonder why you always choose the wrong person to love. The relationship becomes a chore, something you have to decide about. To continue or not.
Stage four you decide whether they are a good person, whether you like them or not. Do they share the same values and the overarching view of life that you do? Do you laugh together? Is he/she kind? Do they listen if you need to be heard? How important, really, are the irritations? You ask if these irritations interfere with your life and who you are as a person? Do you want this relationship to flourish? Are you prepared to invest in it? You make the decision.
Stage five is complete unconditional love and acceptance. You understand that they are entitled to be who they are with all their quirks and foibles, the same way you are entitled to have your quirks and foibles. Some quirks are more lovable than others — and that’s OK. You laugh together at inside jokes, you start building a library of life memories — good and not so good, but always supportive. On the same team. Secure in the knowledge that she or he will always have your back.
A relationship like this fulfills most of our human needs of certainty, contribution, growth, significance and connection. You+him/her=relationship. A powerful Third Circle contract to be celebrated. Now you know the difference — go for it!
’til soon. Georgina