For most of my 20’s and 30’s, I had a perfect fairy-tale ideal of what romantic love was, probably because I was an actress and loved drama back then.
It took years for me to realize a relationship is not a romance movie.
For some reason, I always thought my romantic relationships were less if I did not experience this kind of fairy-tale relationship. Maybe this was why in my 20’s and 30’s I kept meeting frogs.
I bought into the belief that if I had a relationship with the perfect prince, then all would be well in my life. I thought, Now, I will be safe forever…
At some point, I grew up and learned how to find true love happiness.
Yes, I was disappointed to realize that the knight riding through the night to save the damsel in distress is a fallacy.
It’s a bummer.
Love stories like Romeo and Juliet and Titanic make our hearts sing because the love is unrequited. Unavailability fuels the romantic expression.
This kind of romantic story can only work when there is an absence of the lover. Sometimes, they have to die in the end, in order for their love to fit into our romantic view. Or we eat handfuls of popcorn, waiting to see if they live happily ever after, and we rarely find out if they do.
The romantic love fantasy is really a substitute for intimacy—real, connected, vulnerable intimacy.
Here are 10 ways to create true intimacy and be truly happy in your relationship:
1. Use relationships to teach you how to be whole within.
Relationships aren’t about having another person complete us, but rather coming to the relationship whole and sharing our lives interdependently.
By letting go of the romantic ideal of merging and becoming “one,” we learn, as Rainer Maria Rilke says, to love the distances in relationship as much as the togetherness.
2. See your partner for who he or she really is.
The romantic tragedy occurs when we view the person we are in love with as a symbol of what they have come to represent—the idea of them.
It’s important to continue to discover who they are and how they constantly change and evolve, just like us.
3. Be willing to learn from each other.
The key is to see the other as a mirror and learn from the reflection how we can be a better person.
When we feel upset, rather than blame our partner and point fingers, our opportunity is to remain awake to what has yet to be healed in us.
4. Get comfortable being alone.
In order to accept that love can’t rescue us from being alone, we have to learn to love spending time with ourselves.
By feeling safe and secure on our own, even within the framework of a relationship, we will feel more complete, happy, and whole.
5. Look closely at why a fight may begin.
Some couples create separateness by fighting and then making up, over and over again. This perpetuates the romantic trance, creating drama and avoiding real intimacy.
Becoming aware of what we fear about intimacy will help us have a better sense of why we’re fighting—and we will likely fight far less.
6. Own who you are.
We generally grasp at romantic love because we’re yearning for something that is out of reach, something in another person that we don’t think we possess in ourselves.
We can only get from another person what we’re willing to give ourselves.
7. Embrace ordinariness.
After the fairy-dust start of a relationship ends, we discover ordinariness, and we often do everything we can to avoid it.
The trick is to see that ordinariness can become the real “juice” of intimacy. The day-to-day loveliness of sharing life with a partner can, and does, become extraordinary.
8. Expand your heart.
One thing that unites us is that we all long to be happy. This happiness usually includes the desire to be close to someone in a loving way.
To create real intimacy, get in touch with the spaciousness of your heart and bring awareness to what is good within you. It’s easier to recognize the good in your partner when you’re connected to the good in yourself.
9. Focus on giving love.
Genuine happiness is not about feeling good about ourselves because other people love us; it’s about how well we love others and ourselves.
The inevitable outcome of loving others more deeply is that we are loved by others more deeply.
10. Let go of expectations.
We may look to things, such as romance and constant togetherness, to fill a void in ourselves.
Draw upon your own inner-resources to offer love, attention, and nurturance to yourself when you need it. Then love will magnetize itself.
Wishing us all true love!