We all want love. We all need love. We all long for love. Love is at the core of everything that we do if you come to think of it. We love life, we love our possessions : ), we love our mobile phones, we love our carefully curated social media updates to invoke jealousy in others. But despite being a universally practiced and felt emotion, love has not been talked in the real sense. Save the artificially censored social media updates. What is real love? I am calling this as ‘real’ love because love as emotion itself has been misinterpreted, distorted, sold zillion times.
What is ‘real’ love?
Well, it is an emotion that connects one to another in a one-sided or a mutually fulfilling state. More importantly, since it is a “state”, real love is not a perpetual state. This is one of the profound understandings I have gained in my life of three and a half decades. You can never be in a “permanent” state of love. It is bound to be interspersed with unhealthy states of confusion, mistrust, accusation, conflict, and loneliness. You will begin to doubt if I really love this person? Has love ceased to exist? Am I dragging this relationship?
I have recently gone through this journey right now where the relationship became dead baggage that I waited for long to throw at the right time. Yes, I wanted to exit safely without causing hurt on both sides. Trust me ending a relationship is far more difficult than getting into it. So as someone, who grappled with a dead, abusive relationship, how am I qualified to give advice on love? Because I am learning to “love better”.
It seems such a draconian task. Love is something that happens and continues spontaneously. One ought to not work on love making it sound like that routine office task we do unwillingly to get our salaries? Yes, it is and I agree. But when I say we can “try” to love better, it is possible by making room for mistakes and failings that we all are entitled to do so as humans. Because chaos is the eternal truth. Nothing remains forever in the same shape and form. We age, we grow up, we evolve, than how can we expect a fixed state for love. Love will change, can die, and can resurrect for the same person or a different. Make room for that. It will add less pressure to your pleasure classes on love. Aim to score 65% and not 100%. Sounds easier? 😊
Yes, I am trying to love better and I give myself room for making those inevitable mistakes which are not a mistake but a mark of being human, of being a part of this chaotic nature of life, of existence. The moment, we call ourselves as civilized, we start fighting this very chaos that is the seed of us. How can we fight our seed? How to balance chaos and order? It cannot be. It can only be an alternating state. Allow room for that.
Allow room for chaos!
Coming to loving better! Yes, I have certainly learned the skill of it basis my own retaliations and mishappenings that I faced at the hands of my former partner. It started with identifying that I am in an unhealthy relationship. These are the three signs of an unhealthy relationship and how I have tried to navigate these by making little efforts. Again, a reminder! Using definite verbs creates pressure, avoid that. So replace did by tried. Feeling better : ) Breathe!
It’s Not How A Relationships Starts, It’s How It Evolves
Abusive relationships don’t start out as abusive, in fact, they frequently start as exciting. When it comes to unhealthy relationships, we’re conditioned to look out for outright signs of unhealthy love–like a partner that screams at you or a partner that physically hurts –and we expect these signs will be relatively easy to spot. But unhealthy love rarely starts off that way. It’s important to pay attention to how your relationship evolves. Are you comfortable with the pace of your intimacy? Do you feel like you’re able to have your own life? Are your boundaries respected?
My past relationship started on a great note. We had great sex, great chemistry, common interests. It was much later that I discovered that this man has turned a financial parasite and is deeply patriarchal and misogynistic. I could not yet pinpoint it to be abusive because we would intermittently had sex, makeup fights and it was all confusing. My learning is that always trust your instincts, these will not be loud signals but they will tell you that something is not right!
Isolation creeps in as your partner begins to pull you away from friends– your support system – and tethers you more tightly to them. They plant seeds of doubt that create a gulf between yourself and the people you love. If you’ve started feeling trapped in the relationship this is a red flag.
Jealousy is a normal part of any relationship but in an abusive relationship “there is a threatening and angry edge to it. In extreme jealousy, an unhealthy partner will try to control your behaviour through force and manipulation. Your partner may make unfair demands and frequent accusations of flirting with other people either in real life or online. In my case, my former partner was extremely envious of my accomplishments and always pulled me down in indirect ways. I remember when I returned to Delhi after delivering my TED talk and he came to receive me at the airport. I was happy and eager to share the experience of the talk but was crestfallen to see him in an outright bad mood. He sulked stating he had to miss his sleep.
How has been your experience of an unhealthy relationship, if there was any? Share your experience in comments.