Valentine’s Day for the Realistic Romantic
Special to the Sun
The promise of romantic love: Finally, the struggle to find peace and happiness is over. I am saved. I am safe. I am lovable. I am desirable. I am acceptable. I am generous. I am so alive. I am awash in bliss. We are a perfect match.
The reality of romantic love: He leaves his wet towel on the bed. She only focuses on the kids. He is always late. She is always working. He drinks too much. Who is this person I thought I knew? She’s changed. He’s different. We are strangers.
“You complete me” spirals down into “You deplete me.”
Annoyingly, romantic love relationships, like every aspect of life, are complicated, continually changing and confusing.
While our fantasy is that the “right” romantic relationship will relieve us of all of our pain and fear and longing, the truth is our romantic relationships stretch us to the limits of our emotions ” from intense pleasure to crushing despair.
One moment we can feel deeply connected to a partner and the next moment feel totally cut off and alone.
This is simply the nature of romantic love relationships.
We cannot avoid the roller coaster of romantic love relationships.
We can use our heads, and stand back and see the whole complex picture of the relationship ” “mostly I feel connected and happy with my partner, sometimes I feel rejected and angry.” Or, “I usually feel frustrated and sad, with occasional happiness.”
We can use our hearts to decide, based on this whole picture ” “overall, am I getting enough of what I honestly want and need in this relationship?”
If we decide the answer is yes, we need to learn to be strong enough to get through the cycles of joy and pain in our relationship. We need to learn to make room for all of it ” the magical pleasure, the drudgery of daily life, the fear and disappointment.
We need to let our hearts grieve for the loss of the “promise” of romantic love, and let our heads be annoyed with the heart’s constant wanting something more and better.
And, as we create this imperfect marriage between fantasy and reality, we become capable of a real romantic relationship, wilted roses and all.
” Danielle B. Klotzkin, licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, provides psychotherapy for clients looking to move forward through relationship issues, problems with alcohol, drugs, eating and body issues, trauma, bipolar disorder and Call her at (530) 470-2233.
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