“Put on your oxygen mask on first” – partial quote from the airline industry
A Wellness of Love
Some people feel the need to totally sacrifice themselves on the alter of love so that they can feel worthy of being loved back. Got some bad news for those people… people tend to love museums of masterpieces more than graveyards of broken left-overs.
As harsh as that is, peel back the wording, think about it. When one is at their best, people tend to like them more. When people are at their worst, they tend to push away more people than they attract.
That said, in order to keep the well of love filled, there are a few considerations to make.
Balance is key
There is no set steady state of balance in life. There is a constant tug of war going on between building up and tearing down. Early years of life, building up wins by a landslide. End of life, tearing down wins by a landslide. The middle is where the appearance of balance is struck. Taking this imagery a bit further, same goes for love… only in love the early and ending days require more love and the middle is about sharing the love instead of just taking it.
There are three simplistic models for this blog post
A giver in a relationship with a taker is a setup for failure
Sadly, many relationships have bad mixes of personalities. There is one who loves to take and usually finds one who loves to give. They first appear to be a match made in heaven. The taker is getting their needs met and the giver is feeling wonderful about filling the needs of another.
But in time, that wears thin and tiresome. One can only provide but so much care, love, affection, and house-chore-handling before fatigue starts to kick in. That’s when trouble starts.
The taker wants to keep getting and will put pressure (both subtle and overt) on the giver to get more. That’s what takers do. They take. And the giver never gets enough time to recharge. Why? Because they’re never given(enough).
Even in raising a family, the parents give and give, but at some point, that child has to grow up and give back or ship out. No one is expecting a grown child to not participate in the upkeep of their living environment. Those grown children who do suck their parents dry because they’ve gamed their system… they have Karma to think about.
Not going to play the stereotype card here, as everyone knows of someone who has been the giver who has been drained of all their love by being with the wrong person.
The taker in a relationship with another taker dries up fast
When two experts at taking are now in a relationship, sparks are sure to fly very fast. The lack of attention to needs becomes very evident very quickly. Sure, some of them work that out by living single in that relationship to keep things moving a while, but eventually, the day arises when both want something at the same time. Who flinches first?
The problem with two takers in a relationship is not that they can’t make it work, but that the relationship usually pays the price for them.
Before anyone asks what is being talked about, let’s finish this thought, then explain further. In love, people need to receive affection, attention, love, care, and support to blossom. That’s the nature of being social beings. If both parties always want, who does the replenishing and giving?
note… it is possible for two takers to make a relationship work. Same for a giver and a taker. Not implying it can’t be done. Just emphasizing that is harder to do than when you have two givers in a relationship
When there are two givers in a relationship.
One would imagine it is pure bliss. Both parties working hard to make sure the other’s needs are being met. And sometimes that is the case.
The key to making a relationship between two givers work, is knowing when to take. Giving is fun. Having someone accept the gift graciously is the foundation of the fun in giving. If the intended recipient of the gift is always refusing, ducking, throwing back, awkwardly taking, and just not plain good at receiving, it can rob the giver of the joy of giving.
The reality is such that on the surface, two givers make things work with much greater ease. To be fair, there are instances where two givers can be a serious problem.
When it comes to giving to the point of forgetting your own identity… giving becomes problematic. Many people wrap up their identities in their mate, their relationship, their feelings. Giving to the point of forgetting yourself is not good.
So, what model does work?
Glad you asked. The balance in keeping a well of love filled is striking the balance between taking and giving. Not the keeping score variety, but the generous giving and gracious accepting of love.
Let’s try a different model to explain this.
There are three parties in every single relationship one can imagine. (yes… three… hang in there a second). First and foremost, as well as very obvious, there is you. Yes, you. You’re one part of the relationship, of course. Second, there is the person with whom you’re having the relationship. The third, is the relationship.
Yes… the relationship. The union of the two of you. The results of the sum of you two… which interestingly is greater than the sum of the parts. Simply put, the relationship is the manifestation of the inputs and influences on the both of you being together. It’s the blended cultural mix of the both of you and all the legacy you bring into the relationship.
Example, some relationships give off toxic vibes even though the two people separately do not give off that vibe. Some relationship make others feel uplifted and happy even though any one of the members of that relationship does not evoke that same vibe. Some people are talkative outside their relationship but totally quiet inside their relationship. Etc.
Therefore, each part of the trio that makes the love nest what it is… has it’s own needs. The two partners have their needs, the relationship has needs of it’s own.
The key is to invest in all three parts. One has to invest in themselves, their partner, and the relationship. Bare in mind, by investing in the both of you, you’re investing in the relationship as well. Teasing it apart is more complicated sounding than living it day to day.