We can’t ignore the fact that we live in a ‘no gain no pain’ society and this has influenced many aspects of our ordinary lives. So it is not surprising that the same rule applies to love. We often get persuaded into believing that in order to access true love, there needs to be torment and tears.
Think of films and books, where the most mind-blowing and captivating love stories are the ones where at least one of them suffers and chases; or when the partners are so ‘passionately’ in love that they fight and make up (insert your imagination here) all the time.
But what happened to that kind of love that makes one feel safe and nurtured? That kind of love that makes one thrive and develop as a deserving human being? Of course, to maintain love we have to work hard and commit ourselves, but this does not mean that we have to sweat and cry blood; or plague ourselves at night, tossing and turning in nightmarish scenarios of abandonment and despair.
At a societal level, we know that we get affected by media and mainstream narratives, but I think that we need to pay closer attention to the personal level as well. Usually, people who subconsciously look for difficult relationships are the same ones who have barely ever experienced safe and unconditional love. Maybe their first relationships with friends and partners were very turbulent and chaotic. Or they witnessed their parents fight and argue, or they had to chase their own parents or caregivers in order to get their needs of safety and nurturing met.
Can we change things? Can we actually review our love imprinting and build relationships, be they romantic or platonic, based on mutual respect and encouragement to become better people? I believe we can. Sometimes realising that we fall into the same patterns (for example, becoming infatuated with someone who is emotionally unavailable) can be a good enough realisation that helps us to stay clear from similar occurrences. Some other times, we might need profound, repairing and healing therapeutic work in order to challenge deeply rooted beliefs that suggest that we are unlovable or not deserving space in people’s lives and minds.
So I believe that love does NOT have to be tormented. A loving relationship is an essential space for us to grow, heal and thrive. If we feel stuck, drained, fatigued and distraught when we are around specific people, we ought to review our position and take ourselves out of these difficult scenarios. It is an arduous task, but it is nothing less important than eating the right food or getting good quality sleep. It is about self-care and survival.