Let’s kick off this article by emphasizing that a relationship differs significantly from the romantic portrayals we often encounter in movies, television, and novels. At some juncture in our lives, it’s quite common for us to entertain the idea that love should mirror the romantic ideal we witness in these forms of media.
Perhaps, this is why we sometimes found ourselves encountering less-than-ideal partners! Occasionally, we subscribed to the notion that a relationship with a flawless prince charming would be the panacea for all our life’s woes. We thought, “Now, we’ll be eternally secure!”
However, in reality, many of us did enter into relationships with individuals who, while wonderful, are still human and possess their own imperfections and challenges. Eventually, we matured and let go of the unrealistic metaphor of romantic love in pursuit of genuine happiness.
However, let’s consider it from a different perspective: We’ve all been captivated by movies like ‘Romeo and Juliet’ and ‘Titanic’. What resonates with us in these narratives is the element of unrequited love. The unattainability of love intensifies its romantic allure. Such romantic tales tend to thrive when the lover is absent.
In some instances, the lovers must meet tragic ends for their love to conform to this romantic archetype. Alternatively, we sit on the edge of our seats, popcorn in hand, eagerly anticipating whether they will indeed live happily ever after, often left in suspense about the outcome.
The idealized fantasy of romantic love essentially serves as a surrogate for true intimacy—authentic, profound, and vulnerable intimacy.
So, how can we foster lasting, fulfilling relationships? It starts with comprehending the essence of pure love and then redefining and modernizing the romantic fairy tale into a healthier form of love.
Here are ten approaches to nurture genuine intimacy, uncover pure love, and find authentic happiness in your relationship:
01. Utilize relationships as a means to discover inner completeness
Relationships should not be seen as a means for someone else to fill a void within you; instead, they thrive when both partners come into the relationship as whole individuals, sharing their lives interdependently. As Rainer Maria Rilke suggests, relinquishing the romantic notion of merging into a single entity allows you to appreciate the spaces within the relationship as much as the togetherness.
02. Perceive your partner for who they truly are
The tragic aspect of romance emerges when you begin to regard the person you love as a symbol of what they represent or as an idealized concept. Recognizing that, more often than not, you don’t fully understand your partner encourages you to explore their authentic self and how they evolve and grow.
03. Embrace the opportunity to learn from one another
The key is to regard your partner as a mirror, using the reflection to uncover how you can become a better individual. When you experience distress, instead of assigning blame and pointing fingers at your partner, remain mindful of what aspects within yourself still require healing.
04. Find comfort in solitude
To understand that love cannot rescue you from solitude, it’s essential to become comfortable spending time alone. By feeling safe and secure in your own company within the context of a relationship, you will experience a greater sense of fulfillment, happiness, and wholeness.
05. Examine the root causes of conflicts
Some couples inadvertently create distance by engaging in repetitive cycles of arguments and reconciliations. This pattern sustains the romantic illusion, generating drama and sidestepping genuine intimacy. Identifying your fears regarding intimacy will provide insight into the underlying reasons for your conflicts, potentially reducing their frequency.
06. Embrace your authentic self
Often, we seek romantic love because we yearn for something we believe is lacking within us and can only be found in another person. Regrettably, when we attain love, we may realize that it doesn’t fulfill the void we sensed. Genuine love begins with self-love; you can only receive from others what you are willing to give yourself.
07. Welcome the beauty of the ordinary
Following the enchanting beginning of a relationship, the allure of the ordinary emerges, and many strive to evade it. The key is recognizing that the everyday aspects of sharing life with a partner can transform into something extraordinary. These everyday moments can become the true essence of intimacy.
08. Expand the capacity of your heart
A universal desire we all share is the pursuit of happiness, often involving a yearning for a loving connection with another person. To foster genuine intimacy, connect with the expansiveness of your heart and cultivate an awareness of your inner goodness.
Recognizing the positive aspects within yourself makes it easier to appreciate the virtues in your partner.
09. Prioritize giving love
Authentic happiness is not contingent on external validation or the love others shower upon us; it primarily hinges on the depth of our love for both ourselves and others. A natural byproduct of loving others more profoundly is that we, in turn, receive deeper love.
10. Release preconceived expectations
Sometimes, we seek things like romance and constant togetherness to fill a void within ourselves, leading to immediate suffering. When you unconsciously expect love to manifest in specific ways, as a means to avoid self-love, you inadvertently place your emotional security in someone else’s hands.
Tap into your inner reservoirs to offer yourself love, attention, and nurturing when needed. By doing so, you open the door for love to flow towards you naturally, without rigid expectations dictating its form.
These are just a few methods to explore authentic intimacy. Do these resonate with how you cultivate a loving connection in your relationship? If not, perhaps this article can serve as a guide towards fostering a stronger bond.