LGBTQ+ Marriage Relationship Relationship Coaching
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I had a very toxic idea of what love is. I was not abusive, but I sure as hell was toxic. My definition of love was filled with countless red flags- chasing them after they said NO, begging them to love me back, thinking that giving space would take them away from me, self-sabotaging to please them- you name it. My idea of love was nothing but emotions borne out of sheer insecurity. I was a lover who knew nothing about secure love.

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After a couple of failed relationships, countless hours with my therapist, and self-reflection allowed me to peep into what true love is and is not. What I thought was love was merely my neediness and insecurity in my romantic relationships.

Now, as a relationship coach, I have a sound idea of what true love is. Let’s read on:

What is love?

1. Conscious and Equal Effort:

Mohit finds his wife, Laima, cleaning the kitchen countertop, their twin toddlers clinging to their mother’s legs and crying. He quickly pecks his wife’s cheek and carries the children, settles them on the couch, peels baby carrots and cucumbers, and feeds them. In about 10 minutes, Laima carries two plates and Mohit’s favourite chicken pasta to the trio. The four enjoy their meal in a warm, happy setting.

This is love. Love is putting in conscious effort when you can see your partner needing one. This doesn’t mean you will never have to ask for what you want. Your partner can’t read your mind. If you want something to happen, you ask them. Although in the example, the husband didn’t have to ask his wife if she needed help. He could see it. And he acted consciously. He jumped into action because he knew his wife was tired from all day’s housework. Similarly, the wife cooked him his favourite dish after a hard workday.

True love is not in fancy dishes or extravagant acts- it’s in simple things like managing households together, showing up, counting on one another, and putting in conscious effort.

2. Taking responsibility:

Sandra and Ariana argued at a dinner party with close friends. They had contradicting views about a certain topic, and the discussion became heated. Sandra slipped out some personal retorts in front of friends that hurt Ariana. She never expected it from Sandra and told her the same after the party. Later that evening, in bed, Sandra sheepishly looked at her wife and said, “I am sorry for speaking those things at the party. I realised how much my words hurt you and never should have done it. I am sorry.”

Ariana looked at her for a moment and smiled sweetly. They slept in each other’s arms peacefully.

Love is taking responsibility for your actions and words. How our words and behaviours affect our partner is totally on us. Dismissing or brushing the matter under the rug may settle things temporarily, but it will rear its head in a much more dreadful way, wreaking havoc on the relationship.

In love, fights and arguments will happen, and mistakes will be committed. But important is taking responsibility for your actions. However, this doesn’t excuse abuse and pain inflicted deliberately.

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3. Growth and Development:

Conscious love encourages personal growth and development for both partners. It recognises that individuals change and evolve; the relationship should adapt and support this growth.

Gautam and Akshara support, motivate, and appreciate each other through personal goals. They empathise when one undergoes some hard times and are consciously present. From exploring new hobbies and interests together to encouraging each other to learn from their past behaviours and patterns, they communicate with the intent to connect.

4. Respect and Empathy:

True love is built on respect for each other’s autonomy, individuality, and boundaries. Empathy is crucial in understanding and supporting each other through life’s challenges. Both partners genuinely respect each other’s individuality, feelings, boundaries, and autonomy.

True love involves being attuned to each other’s emotions and trying to understand what the other person is going through. It’s about being there for one another during happy moments and difficult times. Partners validate each other’s feelings and experiences, even if they don’t share the same emotions. They avoid dismissing or trivialising each other’s concerns.

Empathy goes beyond sympathy. It requires seeing things from the other person’s perspective, recognising their joys, fears, and challenges, and responding with compassion.

What is NOT true love?

Certain statements may appear to be expressions of love on the surface but are signifiers of unhealthy dynamics. These statements can be manipulative, controlling, or emotionally damaging. Here are some examples:

1. “If you loved me, you would…”:

This statement is manipulative and often used to guilt-trip the other person into doing something they might not be comfortable with. It suggests that their love is conditional on fulfilling certain demands.

2. “You’re nothing without me”:

This statement aims to diminish the other person’s self-worth and independence, making them believe they depend on the toxic partner for their identity and happiness.

3. “I can’t live without you”:

While it might seem like a romantic expression, in a toxic context, it can be used to create a sense of fear or obligation in the other person, making them feel trapped in the relationship.

4. “You’re too sensitive”:

This statement dismisses the other person’s emotions and feelings, invalidating their experiences and emotions and blaming them for reacting to hurtful behaviour.

5. “I know you better than you know yourself”:

This statement can be used to undermine the other person’s self-trust and decision-making, leading to increased control and manipulation.

6. “I did it because I love you”:

Used as an excuse for harmful or abusive behaviour, this statement shifts the blame onto the idea of love, making the recipient question their boundaries and accept mistreatment.

7. “You’re lucky to have me”:

This statement attempts to exert power and control, suggesting that the other person should be grateful for being in the toxic partner’s presence.

8. “You’re making a big deal out of nothing”:

This dismissive statement belittles the other person’s concerns and feelings, minimizing their experiences and emotions as unimportant.

9. “No one else will ever love you as I do”:

This isolates the other person and fosters a fear of being alone, making them believe they have no other options for love or support.

10. “You’re too needy/clingy”:

This statement makes the other person feel insecure about their attachment needs, preventing them from seeking the emotional support they require.

11.”You’re lucky I put up with you”:

This statement belittles the other person and suggests that they should be grateful for being tolerated by the toxic partner.

12. “I’m the only one who truly understands you”:

This isolates the other person from their support network, making them dependent on the toxic partner for validation and emotional connection.

13. “You’re too [negative, sensitive, etc.]”:

Toxic partners often use this statement to criticise and shame the other person’s personality traits or emotions.

14. “I’ll hurt myself if you leave me”:

This manipulative statement instills guilt and fear in the other person, making them feel responsible for the toxic partner’s well-being.

15. “I love you more than anyone else ever could”:

This statement can be used to create a sense of dependency and insecurity, making the other person feel like they need the toxic partner’s love to be complete.

16. “You’re the reason for my problems”:

Blaming the other person for the toxic partner’s issues shifts responsibility and guilt, making them feel at fault for the partner’s shortcomings.

17. “I’ll change for you”:

Toxic partners may use this promise of change as a manipulation tactic to keep the other person in the relationship, but rarely follow through with meaningful changes.

18. “You’re so lucky I’m attracted to you”:

This statement objectifies the other person and reduces the relationship to mere physical attraction.

19. “If you really cared, you would sacrifice [something important]”:

This statement coerces the other person into making significant sacrifices to prove their love, often leading to an unbalanced and unhealthy relationship.

The journey to cultivating conscious love and healthy relationships begins with self-awareness and a desire to communicate effectively and establish firm boundaries. If you seek to enhance your communication skills, foster healthier connections, and build self-awareness, I invite you to take a step towards personal growth.

Book a Discovery Call

Embark on a transformative journey of self-discovery and relationship empowerment by booking a complimentary discovery call with me. Together, we will navigate the intricacies of effective communication, setting healthy boundaries, and fostering self-awareness, paving the way for nurturing and fulfilling connections. Don’t wait to embark on this rewarding path; book your discovery call today!

Remember, true love is built on understanding, compassion, and respect. Let us embrace the power of conscious love and embark on a journey towards more fulfilling and meaningful relationships.

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