I had an epiphany today.
I realized that I'm not afraid of being in love. But, I'm very afraid of being the one who loves more.
It's been my observation that there is often one partner who loves more in the beginning, and that love wins the other over and perhaps then the other partner's love feels stronger for a while, energized by the other's actions, and it goes back and forth with a bit of ebb and flow on each partner's side, rather than a steady constant level.
I see you and raise you: I don't want to miss the dance. After everything I've gone through (put myself through?) post-divorce, I think I have healed from that mindset. I'm finally letting down the drawbridge and sending the moat monsters on a long vacay. This time, I'm going to live like someone left the gate open. Life's too short not to love. And who's to say who loves more? What are the criteria? All lives ebb and flow.
That is part of the discussion of "are you a reacher or taker" or who is higher on the attractiveness scale, or in intelligence, or has more of the qualities wanted. All things will never be equal because we're all individuals. You have to find someone who loves you enough that you love enough and your demons play well together and make the committment.
I've lived long enough (and loved often enough) to know that, in any relationship, there's ALWAYS one person who loves more than the other. Sometimes, that dynamic shifts and reverses. Love evolves. The tricky thing is to keep going once you get past the "I lust after you and can't wait one more minute to get you into bed" part and move into real day-to-day life.
Hmmm... This topic has really got me thinking introspectively about my last relationship. Perhaps an epiphany for me as well!
I see that I actually do suffer from this desire not to be the one who loves more... at least within my last relationship. I got burned early on, and so I now realize how my decision not to be the one who loved more allowed me to quasi enjoy the last 7 years of an 8 year relationship that had it good and bad points. My conscious decision not to be the one who loved more (after a heartbreak a year into it) was my defense mechanism to enjoy the practicalities of the relationship without investing emotionally as much as I did at first. No regrets though, and I fully believe that in a different situation, I would allow myself to love fully.
I think @Julie808 said it best. Because of our individuality and experience with love there might be one person who is able to love more, or harder or more easily. But that love is what will turn the head of another less trusting person. We all need to believe in this.We need to leap.
I do not like a clinging woman, I need my space; similarly, I cannot cling. I need my wife, considering my health. However, if she ask for a divorce, I believe I would sign, and hope to remain friends. I love her totally, and I'm satisfied that she loves me. A man may be head over heals in love, but not clingy. A man may give his life for mate, but should keep his self respect.
That is also my fear, as it has been the reality all too often, even in friendships. I've found that over time most of my friends lose their love for me yet I love them more than they ever loved me. And I'm always finding myself in relationships like that as well. There is little pain quite as excruciating as loving someone who doesn't love you as much.
The first 'order of business' in learning why and how former attachments failed to meet expectations is to own our part in it.
I truly believe that no person can be more than half culpable for failure in a process wherein both parties voluntarily participate. Until or unless honest self-examination is done, responsibility is accepted and forgiveness of both self and the other happen, most people will continue to fail, blame other people's flaws and repeat the process.
Some hallmark errors are being distracted by what we perceive to be beautiful and desirable (the storybook falling in love) to the extend that beautiful, unrealistic fantasies are fabricated - both ways. We fixate on this early paclaging and shut-out conflicting perceptions with the erronious notion that the 'love' is stronger and little things can be tolerayed or overcome. Later, as the fantasies beging also 'falling' we find another wrong notion to 'save' what was thoight to be so wonderful called 'working on the relationship'.
I liken it to proverbial 'hanging of wall paper with one arm' in a room with two different sets of wall sizes. Relationsjips, as they ate called, like this are never more importamt than the people comprising them.
Genuine bonds can be formed if the work is done on the front end, patiently, with love of self and the other and two sets of eyes wide open . No substitute for time exists for some processes. Ask any good cook.