Entitled Love - Taking Your Relationship for
When you commit to your partner or husband, your love is on loan. This means your partner’s love wasn’t permanently and irrevocably gifted to you. What many couples often take for granted, whether they are married or in committed relationships, is that it’s the effort and the swooning that took place at the beginning of the relationship that will carry you to forever. If you stop putting in the effort, making conscious decisions to connect in meaningful ways and making your partner a priority, then the relationship will eventually die. It’s that simple.
As smart, successful and strong women, let me speak the language that may resonate more closely with you. Imagine you aced your interview or series of interviews to finally land your dream job, after more than 15 years of trying. You start your first day with gratitude and enthusiasm. You show up before and leave after your boss, expressing that you’re a hard worker. You spend enough quality time with the right influencers to make sure you are seen and heard. You take on projects you don’t love because you want to show that you’re team player. You stay late and work over the weekends when you’re on deadline. Then one day, you decide you have put in enough. You’ve paid your dues. You stop coming in early. You barely have good ideas to share at team meetings. You’ve checked out and have stopped spending quality time with your colleagues, boss or the people that report to you. Essentially, you are communicating to your team that you’re entitled, meaning you can coast and that they are lucky to employ you. How fast do you think you’d get promoted in this scenario? How much respect would you garner from your team and colleagues? Do you think your newfound attitude would take you the distance?
Entitlement is a real issue in the work place and also at home. It means that you don’t have to do anything to receive the kind of love that you think you deserve. Perhaps your parents showered you with whatever you wanted as a child and said you could do no wrong, inadvertently teaching you that you don’t need to put in any effort to receive love. Your parents may have intended well but frankly they did you a disservice.
When you stop appreciating your partner for all that he is, taking for granted his love and thinking he will always stick around, think again.
You have to get comfortable with discomfort. In intimate relationships you have to keep showing up every day even when you don’t want to. When you are exhausted from a hard day’s work and the last thing you want to do is listen to your partner, listen patiently. Your relationship is not a competition of whose day was worse, by the way. Showing up also means staying vulnerable. You have to take risks – emotional risks.
Yes, it takes continual effort to sustain a loving and fulfilling relationship.
Somehow, along the way, we learned that once we find our dream man (or women) and settle down, everything stops. By that I mean, we think our lives will become “perfect” and that we no longer have to keep working at it. Or, that we can put our relationship on the back burner and now focus on our career, health, friends, hobbies…anything but.
When you make a commitment, you no longer have the option to call it quits or walk away if you get into a fight. Trust me, if you have been in a meaningful, committed relationship for a long time (a long time does not mean a few years, by the way), inevitably you will get to a point when you wake up next to this person with whom you chose to spend your life and think, “Who is this stranger next to me? I can’t stand him. Everything about him annoys me to no end.” This sounds harsh but that is reality. When you’ve been together for seven, 10 or 15+ years, you will come across this phase, maybe more than once. Know now that this is normal; realistic expectations are key. Also know that you can work through it if you choose to do so.
The success of your relationship does not depend on what happens during the “good times” but how you respond during the “bad times,” which will also reveal your true character.
If you have a shared vision, mutual respect and genuine love, this difficult phase too shall pass. The point is not to spend your life with the wrong person. The point is that even with the best person, you will come across bumps along the way. You are not granted a love that is “easy.” You are not granted a love period, outside of your parents. Being born isn’t enough to sustain a relationship. You have to show up even when you don’t want to do so.
The best way to protect, build and strengthen your bond while it’s good so you can weather the tough times, since they will come, is to get comfortable with discomfort. Get comfortable stretching, learning, growing, feeling pain, healing, showing vulnerability, being honest, even when it’s easier to lie, having uncomfortable conversations, making your partner’s needs equal to yours. As long as you have the mindset of, “We’re in this together” and “We have no choice but to figure it out,” you will.
Fairy tales are imaginary even for royal families (think Princess Diana). You can have an extraordinary life with an extraordinary partner if you shift your perspective from “what can I get” to “this relationship is here to help me grow.” The right partner will support your growth and help bring out your best (most of the time). The right partner will help you heal your childhood wounds by working through your issues, together. No one is perfect. That includes you.
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