Am I Psychologically Prepared To Have a Healthy Love Relationship?
The idea that not everyone of age is psychologically ready to have a healthy love relationship is for some people unacceptable. It is common to think that just because you are an adult, you are ready to form a healthy love relationship. The alternative is that most of us should consider working on our love lives just enough to insure that we are ready. The chances of forming and sustaining a healthy love relationship are considerably greater when that happens.
For the purpose of illustration in this article, I will describe two very common and disappointing states of mind that indicate a person is not psychologically ready for a healthy love relationship. They are commonly found in the love life world and are frequency cited as the reason why a love relationship fails. The first is emotional insecurity and the second is the avoidance of intimacy. As you might imagine, these two love life problems are on opposite ends of the continuum of problems that can predispose an individual to chronic love life disappointment. Let’s talk about each of these difficulties in more depth.
Emotional insecurity basically means that you are fundamentally uncomfortable with the experience of “being in love.” It’s not an emotional state that inspires relaxation and spontaneity. Instead an insecure person will tend to want to control the person that they love in any way possible. The rationale for this defensive activity is to minimize the discomfort that is felt. The objective being, if you can control the person you love, you’ll feel better able to tolerate the state of being in love. Problem is, control, or more precisely excessive control, is a love relationship killer. Love simply does not thrive in an environment of excessive control. Furthermore, there are many different types of control that can be used to “self-medicate” emotional insecurity in your love life.
A common form of excessive control in a love relationship involves prohibiting one’s partner from contacts with friends, family or other people beyond the love relationship. Other people are a potential source of further insecurity for the emotionally insecure person in love. They might influence the person loved against the emotionally insecure partner, for example, calling into question the negative effects of excessive control. Unfortunately, excessive control when not effective in reducing the insecure person’s discomfort can morph into various forms of abuse (i.e. verbal, emotional, physical, financial, sexual). Simply put, the objective now is to increase the intensity of the insecure person’s effort to reduce their discomfort in love by excessive control of the person they are in love with.
The second state of mind with destructive potential when it comes to having a healthy love life is the avoidance of intimacy. Intimacy as a vulnerable emotional state can also be avoided in many different ways for a host of different reasons. One of the more common reasons is unresolved hurt from past disappointments in love starting from the beginning of life. I say from the beginning of life because early experiences of abandonment, abuse or neglect, for example, can create a lingering mistrust of the necessary openness required in the adult state of being in love. Simply put, you can’t be in love closed and defensively protecting yourself from hurt. Intimacy, defined as the open mutual connection between two people, is required to form and sustain a healthy love relationship.
People who are consciously or unconsciously avoiding intimacy are usually focused on being in love safely. What that means is, protecting oneself against hurt at the same time as you are being love. What they don’t understand is that this juggling act is not really possible. Since love as an emotional state requires an intimate relationship to thrive, the absence of intimacy either destroys love over time or transforms it into something else. A good example of the latter is couples that remain together after love had died only because of obligation, familiarity or simply fear of the unknown.
The understanding that we are left with is that not everyone is psychologically prepared for the experience of being in love. Repeating disappointments in one’s love life makes the case for a particular person’s lack of preparation. This should compel a person to think about working on their love life to halt repeating love life disappointments and move one’s love life in a healthier direction. The good news is, if more people work on their love lives more people will be psychologically prepared for a healthy love relationship.
Comments are welcome. Tell me about your love life disappointments.
Dr. Thomas Jordan, Clinical Psychologist/Psychoanalyst, founder of LoveLifeLearningCenter.com, author of the award winning book Learn to Love: Guide to Healing Your Disappointing Love Life and Love Life Consultant