We all want love. We all long for love. Love is at the core of everything we do if we think
about it. But despite being a universally practiced and felt emotion, love has not been talked
about in the real sense. Barring the artificially curated social media posts and what we see
on TV, what is real love? I am calling this ‘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 ever-evolving, real love is not one single state of being.
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 have doubts. Are you really love this person? Has love ceased to exist? Are you
dragging this relationship? This is normal.
I have gone through a journey where the relationship became a piece of dead baggage that I
waited too long to throw away. I wanted to exit safely without causing hurt on both sides.
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 like such a draconian task. Love is something that happens and continues
spontaneously. A lot of people see the idea of working on their love lives as another boring
task that they are forced to do. When I say we can “try” to love better, we are making room
for mistakes and failures, and actively learning from them. Because chaos is the eternal
truth. Nothing remains forever in the same shape and form. When we continue to age, grow,
and evolve, how can we expect to be in a fixed state for love? Love will change, die, and
resurrect for the same or a different person. Make room for that. It will add less pressure to
your pleasure of life and love. Aim to score 65% and not 100%. Doesn't that sound easier?
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 my relationships by making a little effort. Again, a reminder that using definite
verbs creates pressure so avoids that.
It’s Not About How A Relationships Starts, It’s How It Evolves
Abusive relationships don’t start out as abusive, in fact, they frequently start as exciting.
Usually, we know to look out for outright signs of unhealthy love. For example, a partner that
screams at you or physically hurts you. These are signs that are quite 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 can 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 person was a financial disaster, and
was deeply patriarchal and misogynistic. Whenever the discrepancies between who they
were and my view of them showed up, I would shove those thoughts deep into my mind,
refusing to acknowledge them. My learning from this experience is that you always trust your
instincts. There might not be loud signals, but your instincts will tell you that something is not
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, the abusive partner will try to control
your behavior 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. He never appreciated my work and would always actively try to degrade my
Have you noticed any of these behaviors from your partner? Please feel free to respond in
the comment section if you want to share your experience! It will help you and others like