Do A ‘Love-Life Review’

If you want to increase the chances of finding and sustaining a healthy love relationship, I strongly recommend you review your love-life. I’m calling this exercise a Love-Life Review.

By doing a Love-Life Review you’re acknowledging to yourself, first and foremost, that a healthy love relationship isn’t just about finding the right person, at the right place, at the right time. Yes this helps of course, but there’s more to it. A Love-Life Review will help you determine how ‘healthy’ the love relationship you have is going to be.

A Love-Life Review helps you think about your love-life. More precisely, what you’ve learned about love so far in your life. Does what you’ve learned help or hurt your chances of having a healthy love relationship right now? A Love-Life Review will tell you whether or not you are prepared for love and give you the information you’ll need to prepare yourself if you’re not.

Categories of a Love-Life Review:

1. Your ability to give love.

There is a good chance that you did not get the love you needed growing up. If you did, you’ll have fewer difficulties in this category. If you didn’t get the love you needed from people who were supposed to love you, expect that these earlier love-life experiences are affecting your current love-life. First step is to admit to yourself that you didn’t get the love you needed. This allows you to figure out, without getting defensive, what kind of after-effects are going on.

Think in terms of ‘repeating patterns.’ This is the way the heart and mind function. If something happens to us that is unresolved it tends to repeat itself until you become aware of that repetition. Your awareness helps you stop the repetition, while you get a chance to do something different. You have to get yourself out from under the control of what happen to you earlier in your life.

Remember, you have love to give inside of you no matter what happened in your life. It’s just the way we’re built. Nobody can take that away from you. Once you know it’s in there (inside of you), you feel it, and get to decide who you’re going to give it to.

2. Your ability to receive love.

Your ability to receive love is as important as your ability to give love. To receive love you have to think of yourself as ‘lovable.’ Lovable simply means, that you think of yourself as worth loving. One easy way to get a reading of how lovable you are is to think in terms of ‘self-esteem.’ If your self-esteem is high your more lovable. If your self-esteem is low you are less lovable. It all depends upon how you feel about yourself.

The good news is, this is something psychological and can be changed. You can work on your self-esteem and make it better. The simplest way to start doing that is to make a plan to take better care of yourself. Like a project to fix something in your workshop, think in terms of doing what you need to do to make yourself a better person, more lovable. It’s kind of magnetic. The better you feel about you, the more love is offered to you.

3. The love-life task you are currently trying to accomplish.  

There are several love-life tasks: preparing for love, finding love, sustaining love, committing to love, leaving an expired love, and living alone. The average person will be trying to accomplish most of these ‘tasks’ at different points in their adult life. Usually you have to master one before you can move onto another and they don’t necessarily occur in the order I’ve presented them. Oh by the way, living alone comfortably is a love-life task because ‘self-love’ is essential to tolerate and progress when you’re alone.

Once you’ve figured out which love-life task you are currently dealing with, you can focus a little more on what you need to do to successfully complete the task. Rule of thumb: when you know what your dealing with it’s always easier to focus and concentrate yourself on succeeding at it. Get the information you need to do so.

4. Your real expectations of a lover.

I’m not talking about what you tell yourself or other people about what you want in a lover. I’m talking about your ‘real’ expectations of a lover. The problem is, you might not even know yourself. If that’s the case then you have to find out by doing this Love-Life Review.

If you don’t know what your heart is really looking for, you’ll be like a ship in a fog without radar. Guided by forces you know nothing about and have little or no control over. Now the hard part is finding out what your real expectations are. Unfortunately, we humans often conceal things even from ourselves. Here are a few clues that might help you:

a. What kind of treatment have you received in previous love relationships? Were you mistreated in any way that you can remember? Do you see any patterns that reoccurred in each relationship or most of them? Your expectations are in the recurring ways your lovers treated you.

b. How did you treat your lovers in past love relationships? Did you mistreat them in any way that you can remember? Do you see any patterns that reoccurred in each relationship or most of them? Your expectations about love are also in the recurring ways you treated your lovers.

c. What is the most difficult or disappointing experience you’ve had with love since you were born? Think about how you felt after the experience and how it might have influenced your love-life from then on. We often expect the past to repeat itself. Think about what kind of expectations your disappointed love-life experiences created in you? 

Congratulations for having the courage to review your love-life. This exercise will provide you with the information you’ll need to begin improving your love-life. Comments? Love to hear from you. Dr. T. Jordan




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Dr. Jordan

Dr. Thomas Jordan is a clinical psychologist, certified interpersonal psychoanalyst, author, professor, and love life researcher.

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