I think most women run into issues and confusion in their love lives because they don’t know what a truly healthy relationship looks like, and is supposed to feel like. And it’s not surprising given the very unrealistic portrayals of love in movies, TV, and music. There is this idea that we have one soul mate and that real love stories are supposed to be filled with obstacles and drama. While this makes for good entertainment, it isn’t real life.
Most of the love stories we see in pop culture are rooted in infatuation…not real love. Some degree of infatuation is fine, but a relationship entirely rooted in infatuation is usually doomed. It’s usually based on an obsession, or idealization, more than a genuine appreciation and acceptance of who the other person is.
There is a tremendous difference between real, true love and unhealthy obsession or fixation… but it doesn’t always feel like that.
What do I mean by love and fixation?
Well, when you love someone, it is pretty effortless. It is true and pure – you don’t need them to be any certain way. Heck, you don’t even need them to be your boyfriend or lover. You just simply enjoy them as a person and you’re happy with them just being who they are. You don’t need to possess them. You don’t need a title from them. You just love having them in your life and they love being in yours, whether it’s as friends, as lovers, or as life partners.
Again, I have to emphasize that it’s effortless and characterized by you just simply enjoying each other. You really “get” each other. You laugh together. You don’t need them, but rather, you just enjoy them.
That’s love. That’s compatibility.
Fixation, on the other hand, does not feel pleasant. It does not feel good, but it does feel very urgent, very important, and very stressful.
When you’re fixated on someone, it feels more like you’re suffocating. It feels like you need them… like you must have them treat you a certain way, give you a certain relationship title, or somehow prove their commitment to you. You feel like until you have this, you are not OK and will not be OK.
When you’re fixated on someone, your relationship ceases to be about enjoyment and effortlessness. Instead, it is more like you are gasping for air, desperately hoping they’ll give you whatever it is you think you need from them.
Granted, even good relationships have a little bit of fixation mixed in with them (I must emphasize a little bit), but it is only during very occasional occurrences like arguments or when one or both partners are stressed. In general, though, compatible people have very little, if any, fixation in their relationships…
People who have good relationships observe how they themselves feel in a relationship with another person (whether it’s a lover, a friend or a co-worker). They observe if their connection to the other person feels like love (good) or obsession (bad).
If it feels like obsession, they drop it like it’s hot.
Unfortunately, though, the majority of people don’t do that. I blame music and Hollywood for propagating this mindset, but for whatever reason, people today have the idea that relationships are supposed to be hard.
This simply is not true. If a relationship with someone makes you feel bad, that is your mind screaming, “This person is incompatible with you! Get away and stay away!”
If a relationship feels like suffocation, that’s a huge clue that you’re not in a relationship with someone who’s compatible with you.
Good relationships are effortless.
I can’t stress this point enough. In a good relationships, everything just unfolds effortlessly (well, 99% of the time within a good relationship is effortless with the occasional 1% of the time where you have to put in effort to make sure things stay in a good place). You don’t feel like you’re walking on eggshells, worrying that you might screw something up. You don’t feel like you have to make it work. You don’t feel like you’re suffocating, wishing and hoping to finally get some sweet relief and get to breathe. You aren’t afraid to lose them. In fact, you never even think about possibly losing them because you don’t feel you need to possess them in order to experience the love you have for them.
Love is not meant to be a struggle. Yes, popular songs it sound like it’s supposed to be. Yes, movies make it seem like it’s supposed to be. But movies and music are wrong, love is meant to be effortless and easy. When it’s not, you’re doing it wrong!
Why is breaking your fixation essential to having success in your love life?
OK, so I talked earlier about what fixation feels like and how it’s the biggest warning sign that you’re trying to have a relationship with a bad match (that is, a match that isn’t going to work out in the long term and will drain your life, heart and soul until there’s nothing left…).
However, I didn’t explain the incredibly damaging toll this takes on the relationship having a chance.
What is a relationship, anyway?
Let’s talk about what a relationship actually is, since the majority of people blindly want, crave and chase the idea of having a relationship and yet, very few actually understand some essential points about what a relationship is…
A relationship is not a possession, like a stone or a purse or a car. A relationship is not a thing at all. A relationship is simply the interaction you’re having with that person as it’s happening and the general, overall tone of your interactions.
A relationship simply is.
Society doesn’t see relationships this way, for the most part. Our society tries to make relationships into a thing – a thing that can be worked on, fixed or broken. Lost or gained. Had or not had.
Relationships are living and experienced in-the-moment, like music.
A song is a song as it’s playing. If it’s sitting on your MP3 player and you’re not playing it, then it is simply data. You can say you have the song or own it, but saying you have a song on your iPod has nothing to do with your experience of the song as it’s playing.
I don’t care if you have a million songs on your iPod. If you’re not listening to the music, you’re not experiencing music.
Yes, I realize I’m speaking in metaphors, so let me tie this up: I don’t care if you have a relationship. I don’t care if you have a title like “boyfriend” or “husband” for your guy. The title is not the relationship. Your having of them is not your relationship – it is simply a thought in your head, completely irrelevant to the on-going music of your relationship.
So if the “music” of your relationship is a bitter, hateful ballad of pain and inner suffering… you need to change your tune, so to speak.
MORE: 5 Signs He’s Not the One
Back to my point about fixation…
When you fixate on a relationship, you are choking the joy out of your own experience and that negative vibe transmits into your relationship and very quickly poisons it, fatally.
Instead of your guy feeling relaxed around you, he feels pressure (like he’s afraid to offend you or upset you). Instead of you being his sanctuary and escape, you become a person (or vibe) that he wants to escape from. Instead of him feeling like your presence fills him with joy and peace, he will feel like your presence drains him of joy and peace.
This is a bad thing…
I don’t point this out to blame you or make you feel bad. Just the opposite in fact. This is good news because I’m telling you: This is 100% under your control.
So what’s the root cause of this destructive force of fixation? How can you completely banish it from your love life, so love has a chance to flourish and grow?
The cause and solution are both simple. Simple, however, does not always translate to easy.
The root cause of fixation comes from you perceiving that the present relationship situation could somehow lead you to lack or loss in some way. And, as a response, you feel a fear of loss. So, in short, the root cause is your perspective and the fear of loss you feel as a consequence.
This fear of loss is entirely based on how you’re looking at the situation.
Similar to a good, loving relationship, a healthy perspective feels effortless and feels good. When you are living within an unhealthy perspective, your thoughts on that subject will feel bad.
It’s really that simple. One thing that took me nearly 20 years to fully grasp is this simple truth: If the way you’re thinking about things makes you feel bad, you’re on the wrong track.
If there’s any area of life that feels the impact of your beliefs the most, it’s relationships.
You can get by financially, physically, and even socially with negative, self-defeating beliefs haunting you every step of the way.
But love… love dredges up all that is unloved within ourselves. If you have a negative perspective or negative beliefs haunting you, your love life will drag all of these issues to the surface and force you to deal with them, head on.
Most people in our society are not educated in inner or outer love. And what’s worse is that magazines and books are often designed to make you buy more solutions (be it make-up, hair products, clothing, liposuction, etc.) so that you’d somehow be good enough for a relationship or love. So a lot of so-called resources end up leading the thirsty further into the desert.
The truth is, the path out of self-sabotaging habits in your love life is simple. All you have to do is remember this: When you feel bad or disturbed about something, that is your mind’s way of letting you know your perspective is off track and will not lead you to a good place.
When you think about something in your love life and you feel good (or, more accurately, you feel at peace and undisturbed) with your thoughts, then you know you’re on the right track.
One of the biggest areas where this is apparent is: The major difference between not caring and stressing over your love life.
In order to get to a place where your relationships work for you (instead of work against you), you need to arrive at a point where you stop caring.
I want to make clear what I mean there when I say, “Stop caring”…
What I really mean is: Stop stressing over it.
Caring Vs. Stressing
Most people confuse caring with stressing about things. I care very much about my parents, extended family and siblings. But I don’t stress about them.
When I am looking at things in a way where I perceive that I could lose something, then I feel that fear of loss feeling and I start to stress over it. That stress feeling can end up turning something small that would normally have me feeling only slightly bothered, to instead experience full-blown, long-lasting depression and anxiety.
Like I’ve been saying,it’s all under your control. It all roots back to the perspective you take on things. If you look at things in a way where you believe you could lose something and you’re afraid of losing it, you will always experience a fear of loss and, as a result, you will invariably end up creating a self-fulfilling prophecy (that is, your negative emotions and mindset will have you behave or make decisions in such a way that bring about exactly what you don’t want)…
One of the biggest differences between people who are successful in an area of life and those who aren’t is that the unsuccessful people take on a perspective that causes them to stress over that area of life, whereas the successful people don’t take on a perspective that stresses them out.
I understand you might say, “But Eric, how can I not stress out over my situation? It’s not like taking on a different perspective would make my current situation any less real or true.”
Well, OK, but you would have to agree with me that setbacks in your life take much less of a toll on you when you’re in a good mood than when you’re in a bad mood, right? Your mood is the most important factor in how life feels and how prone you are to stress over things.
In that way, it’s essential you learn to protect your mood and do everything in your power to live your life in a way where you’re in a good mood as often as possible.
When I adopted this line of thinking, my life (and love life) improved tremendously. If something makes you feel bad, it’s OK to drop it.
I’m not necessarily saying to drop people if you feel bad around them (though sometimes this is a great move), but I am saying that there are many things you can give yourself permission to drop.
-You don’t need to win an argument. It’s OK to drop it.
-You don’t need a certain person to see you a certain way. You can drop that desire (or, in some cases, drop the person).
-You don’t need to live your life in a certain way to make others happy or to be worthy/good by someone else’s standards. You can drop those beliefs and do what makes you happy.
Do what makes you happy.
That’s what I’m getting at with all this.
This is why, over and over and over again, you see Sabrina and me advising you to live a life that makes you happy. A life where you feel good, inspired, engaged, full, and happy. It is essential and if you are not there, then the best (and most important) thing to do is get to a place where your life is happy and full. That is the best thing for your love life.
Stop worrying about being dumped. Instead, occupy your time with dumping negative ideas, negative thoughts and negative influences. Dump everything that makes you feel bad. Dump all that drains the color and joy from your life and fill that space with everything you love, regardless of what anyone else thinks.
That, in essence, is what loving yourself looks like. And that’s what you need right now – that is all you need.
You need to take