How To Love And Find Love That Is Healthy
By: Danni Peck
Updated October 11, 2021
Medically Reviewed By: Laura Angers
If you have had even one failed relationship, it is normal to wonder what you might have done wrong. While in some relationships there is only one person to blame, such as someone cheated, often breakups are the result of mutual issues. You don’t want to repeat past mistakes, so you wonder what you could do differently next time.
Many people wonder if the love they had was healthy, or if they loved properly. After all, if you don’t give someone enough love, they aren’t going to stay with you. If you had a lot of pain with the relationship, you could wonder if you were doing something wrong, or if it was unhealthy.
Love is not something that is taught in schools. Often the only education you have on how to love comes from watching the couples you grow up with such as your parents or grandparents. If you don’t have good healthy role models in this respect, it can be possible to grow up not knowing how to love healthily.
This can prevent you from having healthy and fulfilling relationships. When you better understand how to love and how you should be loved in return, you will be able to form healthy and lasting relationships that are rewarding for both you and your potential partner.
How To Love
The first thing you must understand to have a healthy relationship is how to love someone and show love in healthy ways. Loving someone does not mean that you take over their lives in every way. They should not be the complete focus of everything that you do. On the other hand, you should be making them a priority and loving them through all their faults.
Toddler Brain VS Adult Brain
Many studies have shown that we love with the toddler part of our brains. As you grow up, you still keep parts of your toddler self. The toddler’s brain is the one that loves unconditionally. It is the one that is obsessive about your love interest and gets the emotional high from falling in love. Everyone falls in love using the toddler’s brain.
The toddler’s brain is impulsive, obsessive, and overly emotional. When you love the toddler’s brain, it is very intense and a great emotional ride. Unfortunately, the toddler’s brain is also fickle. This intense love can only last for a few months at most before the obsession, and high emotions begin to fizzle out.
At this point, you have to love from the adult brain, specifically the prefrontal cortex. This is the part of the brain that helps you to stay in love. Human beings have a great contradiction, which they crave autonomy but also a deeper connection with others. The toddler brain cannot balance those two contradictions. Instead, the adult brain is needed to be employed to remain independent while still giving yourself over to your partner.
It is normal to lapse into toddler’s brain when you are in love. Even when you begin to use your adult brain to love someone, you will still have moments when the toddler’s brain takes over. The important thing is to remember to employ the adult brain when conflicts arise consciously, or you discover something about your partner that you don’t like. This way you will be able to maintain the relationship.
Love With Your All
Many people only give love to their partner when they are getting something in return. Often this leads to a calculations way of looking at love. You find yourself constantly doing the math to see who has done more in the relationship. Then, when you feel slighted, you withhold love.
Love is not a math competition. When you truly love someone, you love them with everything you have, all of the time. When you give love freely, you will find that it is given to you freely in return. When you stop trying to tally up who has done more for each other, you will find that you and your partner are much happier.
On the same token, you must love unselfishly. Do not love someone for what they can give you in return. To truly love someone, you have to love them for who they are. This means loving them even though they have faults and make mistakes.
Many people find themselves in relationships where they love someone or think they love someone because they are being lavished with gifts and money. Your partner is not your ATM. Instead of thinking about what your partner can give you, think about who they are as a person. Love them for who they are, rather than what they can provide.
Love That Is Healthy
Finding a healthy love can be difficult in today’s society. Many people have very wrong misconceptions about love and what a partnership should be. Many people who think they have a healthy love are actually in a toxic love situation that could easily lead to heartbreak or even abuse.
Healthy love is a two-way street, where each partner has something to offer the other. This type of love is also one that recognizes that you are two individuals and not just a couple. When love is healthy the individual, and a certain level of independence are maintained, even though you spend time together and support one another at all times.
Quality Time Over Quantity
Many couples make the mistake of thinking that they must spend all of their time together. They believe that if they are not spending as much time together as possible, they are not in a healthy love relationship. The opposite is true.
It is important to recognize that a loving couple is made up of two individuals, and those individuals have different needs. For example, you will both likely have separate jobs that you need to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Beyond this, there may be times that you have different interests and do not necessarily want to go to the same events.
As well it is important that each of you spends time with your friends separate from each other. You should have mutual friends that you can hang out with from time to time, but the friends you had before the relationship started are still important. Spending time with those friends away from your partner is very healthy.
Instead of focusing on the amount of time you spend with your partner, focus on the quality of time you are spending with them. When you are spending time with your partner, focus your attention on them and what you are doing. Do things that interest you both, or simply spend quality time talking about anything or nothing at all. The quality of the time that you spend with your partner is what is important, not the quantity.
Faith And Faithfulness
Healthy love is built on a foundation of trust. You must have faith in your partner that they will love you in return and do the right thing, even when you are apart. Jealousy, obsession, and constantly checking in are signs of a toxic love situation. Instead, you should trust your partner to come home to you, integrity intact.
On the same token, you have to be trustworthy. You must be faithful to your partner. This doesn’t just mean that you don’t go out and cheat. It also means that you tell the truth, always. You keep no secrets, and you always seek to communicate when things seem to be going wrong. You don’t flirt, and you don’t entertain the idea of spending time with others in the same way that you would your partner.
Love Of Self
One of the biggest things about healthy love that is often missed is the love of self. Self-love and self-care are vitally important to have a healthy love relationship. You must take care of yourself and make sure that all of your needs are met.
You should not be relying on your partner to meet any of your basic needs. You should be able to take care of yourself completely on your own without assistance. Your partner is there for support and communication, but ultimately you must do things for yourself. If you are not capable of taking care of yourself, you will not be capable of taking care of them, and that makes for a very one-sided relationship.
Self-love is also important because if you do not have self-love and independence, you are relying on the relationship to work to fulfill your own needs. When this happens, you end up in a codependent relationship, which is one of the unhealthiest types of relationships to be in. You need to make sure that you are taking care of yourself and not relying on your partner.
Support And Growth
When you have a healthy love, you support each other and encourage each other to independent growth. Whether that growth is as a person or in a career or toward a specific goal, you should be supporting each other in all of your endeavors. When you offer each other support and help each other to grow as individuals, your relationship will be stronger.
As each person in a relationship becomes stronger and grows independently, the relationship itself can continue to grow and mature. When you each have your independence but lean on each other for support, you are not relying on the relationship to meet your needs. You both know that you are in the relationship because you want to be, not because you need to be. The support factor means that you always have someone helping you to better yourself, which is the ultimate tool in self-growth.
Learning How To Love And Find Healthy Love
Learning how to love and find healthy love can be difficult, especially if you have had a series of bad relationships. You may be questioning your ability to love someone, or you may be wondering what it is that you need to do to attract a healthy relationship instead of the train wrecks you have dealt with in the past. A good way to get a baseline on what you should be looking for in a relationship is to meet with a therapist. They can help you examine your past relationships and teach you what it means to love and be loved healthily.
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