Many people confuse feelings of attraction with feelings of love. Attraction is the first part of growing to love someone. The attraction phase often ends after about two years. Although attraction is important to a relationship, it is just a beginning and cannot hold a relationship together for many years. With attraction comes the adrenaline rush many confuse with love. That adrenaline rush can be addictive. A lasting relationship cannot be based on physical attraction or addiction to an adrenaline rush.
Relationship addiction can easily be confused with love. A person can be addicted to another without knowing it. If a person lacks self-awareness and self-understanding they may deny their thoughts, feeling and behaviors. This can be misleading and confusing for everyone.
Dependence can also be confused with love. When an individual believes that he/she cannot make it in the world without another person they increase their dependence. A dependent person usually has low self-esteem and feels insecure.
Genuine love involves two reasonably healthy independent people who appreciate the attraction they have for one another; know that physical attraction will fade; and are willing and able to do the personal work they need to do to nurture their attraction into a lasting love. This takes reasonable psychological health, self-awareness, and the ability make personal changes. Love is a verb and involves work that we choose to do every day.
Life often puts us in a position of having to make difficult choices. In one situation the couple was in an accident that left the man crippled. They faced the problem of whether they could live with this together. In another situation the man eventually realized his wife was an alcoholic. He faced a painful choice and made the decision to take their child and leave. Sometimes people need to choose to leave a relationship to protect themselves and others. Love cannot conquer all.
It is the healthy love of self that motivates an individual to make the changes he/she needs to make to have a better life. When an individual is self-aware and working on personal growth, he/she attracts others who are also working on themselves. Two people who are working on self-awareness and maturing as individuals, will be able to make healthy decisions concerning the development and continuation of a relationship.
Things change. We are taught “carpe diem”, to seize the day. This has always been wonderful advice and is best when we approach life with healthy self-love and awareness.