top of page
Search
  • Writer's pictureCynthia Way

Is Love Enough?

Updated: Jan 26


But is love enough for a long-lasting relationship?


Most of you would likely, but reluctantly, agree that the answer is No. Yet when faced with that reality, it is a hard pill to swallow.


I've written recently about heartbreak. It's so tempting to want to demonize the other person, tell our friends of all the things that they did wrong, or the current trend--to label your ex as a narcissist. If everyone was actually a narcissist as accused by our ex's, the pool of non-narcissists would be quite slim!


The woman whom I regarded as my soulmate is actually a beautiful human being. I had and continue to have the utmost respect for her. And at the same time, I am dealing with the strong emotions of grief, anger, pain, a sense of betrayal, that come from not wanting to accept her decision to end the relationship.


I've come to realize that my experience of the relationship was/is very different than hers. We both agree on a lot of things: there was magic, there was passion, there was spiritual connection, there was lifestyle compatibility. What happened then? Bottom line, we had different tolerances for conflict. And a lot of that was related to imago dynamics whereby one person's emotional triggers act as alarms for the corresponding triggers in the other person, all related to unmet childhood needs.


However, I saw conflict as a small part of our relationship, overshadowed by the joy and magic and everything else that made it amazing. Conflict felt like an opportunity, and it felt exciting to work through it, to learn skills on how to move through conflict in newer, healthier ways, to reveal and address the underlying issues of unhealed trauma.


However, she experienced it very differently. To her, the conflict overshadowed the joy and magic. As described by her, the conflict felt excessive and overwhelming and she didn't have the resiliency for that. She felt it belied underlying issues that she didn't see as resolvable. It impacted her nervous system in a negative way and contributed to her experiencing an unsafe relational space.


The same relationship. Two very different experiences. Neither one of us is wrong. How could we be? Our experience is our experience. We had and will no doubt always have deep love for one another, alongside other emotions as well.


But back to my conclusion: love isn't enough. The truth is both much simpler and, at the same time, much more complex.


[Side Note: This newsletter was coordinated with my ex to accurately reflect her perspective]


 

Here are my top 7 reasons why simply love, no matter how strong, isn't enough:

  1. Unhealed Childhood Trauma. This is the number one reason in my experience, research and opinion. We often underestimate the limitations that our unhealed trauma plays on our ability to achieve healthy, passionate, long-lasting relationships. Therapists are becoming more versed in trauma healing these days, and so many books are written about it.

  2. Limited Ability to Create and Sustain Emotional Safety in the Relational Space. This is key. There is a lot of scientific research on this. If we don't feel safe, our nervous systems are not calm. According to the Gottman Institute, a 6:1 positive to negative ratio in our communication is key to sustaining longterm relationships. What is your ratio? There are many more factors that also contribute to emotional safety.

  3. Limited Ability to Stay Centered. So many of us have little tolerance for holding space when our partner is triggered. Instead, we get triggered, and then things spiral out of control.

  4. Mismatched Tolerance for Conflict. We are comfortable with what's familiar. Some people are conflict avoidant, and have low tolerance for dealing with any kind of conflict, no matter how skillfully it's expressed. Others have a high tolerance, even for conflict expressed unskillfully. And everything in between!

  5. Lack of Communication Skills or Limited Ability to Use Them (see #1). Listening is the most underrated skill in relationships. Not just hearing, but really getting in there, understanding where the other person is coming from, even if you don't agree with them or have a different experience. Instead, we want our view to be heard. Point/counterpoint, which gets us nowhere.

  6. Mismatched Goals or Values. We think we're on the same page, but then find out we have different ideas about what is ethical, courteous or respectful, or what we want out of the relationship.

  7. Lack of Transparency/Vulnerability. None of us are mind readers. We can guess what is going on, but we don't know. If someone is bothered by something, but the other party doesn't know, it usually leaks out at an inopportune time, rather than being dealt with in a healthier, more sustainable, way. This often involves a willingness to be vulnerable, to own our feelings and experience, and present it in such a way that doesn't get the other person on the defensive. Sappho, the famous ancient Greek poet from Lesvos, said "That which cannot be said, will be wept." Vulnerability takes tremendous courage.

There are more contributing factors for why relationships don't work, such as one person having an anxious attachment style and the other an avoidant--and this dynamic tends to exacerbate those extremes. Not something that can't be overcome, but things like this do add another level of complexity. It takes both partners exercising self-awareness and a commitment to making changes in their default tendencies. Sometimes having different love languages can present more of a challenge, but again, with self-awareness and flexibility and open communication, this is not insurmountable.



 

And here are my 7 remedies for love and heartache:


  • Love ourselves more. When we increase our ability for self love, we increase our ability to love others and our ability to have healthy relationships. We become less dependent on others to meet our own needs and have more clarity for what we're willing to accept.

  • Hold love in our hearts for others. Whenever I find myself starting to ruminate over my lost love, I redirect my thoughts to hold her in Love & Light, something I was reminded of recently when watching Eat, Love, Pray. This actually helps! Yes, I may have other feelings as well, and those can co-exist. All I know is when I hold her in Love & Light, it calms my nervous system. And what an act of courage it feels like to send someone who I loved so fully EVEN MORE LOVE, even in the face of heartbreak. 

  • Find a good therapist who specializes in trauma healing. Psychology Today is a great place to find therapists in the U.S.

  • Read books related to trauma healing ❤️‍🩹 & relationships.  Here are a few: And don't just read them, stop and do the exercises. Join or create a book club and study together. You learn so much more that way!


  • Enroll in my FREE Self Love & Compassion Masterclass. Self Love is foundational! We had the first class this past Wed, but the good news is that it is recorded, so you can catch up and still come to the next one. Or you can choose to do the entire thing on your own schedule if you prefer, although it's great to meet other beings who are on the same journey as you are!

  • Enroll in the Year-Long Love Essentials Program.  If you're really serious about taking your relationship skills to the next level, join me in an upgraded version of the year long Love Essentials program. It is an intimate experience of being on the journey of creating soul-fulfilling relationships with other beings who are on the same journey as you. You will be part of a tight knit community. You will get to know each other through the weekly reflection partners. Did you know that going through a training in community typically accelerates one's learning? You will learn a lot of communication skills, how to rewire your brain, how to set healthy boundaries, how to deal with conflict in a healthy way, how to skillfully apologize and own your stuff, how to let go of the past and create the life you want to be living.

  • Put yourself out there!  When you are ready, start putting yourself out there! You don't have to be 100% healed or perfect. Is there such a thing? Join the monthly virtual Lez Luv Singles Salons where you will meet other like-minded beings like you! Even if you don't meet someone, we discuss related topics with each other, such as our ideal first date, what we're looking for in a partner, how to say no to someone who's interested in you but the feeling is not mutual.

In joy and learning,

Cynthia





At Lez Luv, we believe that:


  • Creating a community of like-minded beings is key.  One that feels safe and one that encourages you to be all of who you can be.

  • Everyone can learn how to find, create and maintain deeply satisfying, healthy, loving relationships.

  • It all starts with self-awareness and self-love, a foundation to our LOVE ESSENTIALS program.

  • Personal commitment and the support of other amazing beings accelerates your growth and development.

  • We're all in this together!

5 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Comments


bottom of page