Standing Up For Yourself In Love

You don’t need a set of brass balls to set a limit on someone you love. Just a clear understanding that if you let him or her take advantage of you, your love relationship will be damaged by your avoidance or neglect. Standing up for yourself is an essential part of any relationship and even more so in a love relationship. Let’s find out why.

A love relationship is a place where two people give what the person they love needs. It is also a place where two people get the love they feel they need. Let’s focus on the second one. If your love-life ‘needs’ have been frustrated or neglected in the past, you might try to get more than you should out of your current adult love relationship. This is where the ‘taking advantage of your lover’ comes into it. It is very common to try to get from our current adult love relationships what we didn’t get in our past love relationships starting from when we were children. It’s understandable why this would happen, however, it never succeeds.

For one thing, chronological childhood and adolescence happen only once. You can still ‘feel’ like a child when you are 40 but the reality is you are 40. Your child feelings will get you into trouble if they are acted out in your adult love relationships. Unfortunately, this happens quite a bit. What makes it harder is that most people are unaware that they are trying to do this. So when you point it out they’re shocked, or simply refuse to believe you. The point is, it happens. The good news is, we can accept the loss of what was not given earlier in life and grow into the idea that we have to take good care of ourselves and live with the limited but enjoyable love that a mature equal loving partner can provide.

So when does the standing up for yourself part happen? It happens when a lover, unawares, believes you can do more for him or her than you can or should as an adult lover. Helping your lover see the reality or limits of what is happening can be difficult at first. It’s kind of like ‘waking somebody up.’ People can somethings get a little foggy about who it is they are dealing with. They can misinterpret who you are, treat you like you’re a younger or dumber version of yourself. If you don’t wake them up, they stay foggy and you get resentful and feel chronically misunderstood. How long do you think that can go on before you’re really unhappy and the relationship is irreparably damaged?

Setting a limit or standing up for yourself, whether it’s stopping someone else from doing something damaging or expressing what you need, is a necessary part of an evolving love relationship. Two people in love need to figure out how to respect and treat each other. At first they may step on each other’s toes in one way or another. Letting the people you love know what you think and feel is a vital part of being in love whether we are talking about romance, friendship, or family love relationships. What usually stops a person from doing this kind of thing is the fear and worry that the person loved will be hurt.

First and foremost, they are adults and if your intentions are sincere they will heal. Secondly, you can’t take responsibility for someone else’s emotions without stifling your own in an unhealthy way. Thirdly, how do you expect the two of you to solve love-life problems together unless you take the risk to speak frankly and honestly about what you feel and need. Who said being in love was going to be a full-time joy ride anyway? There is work to do every once in a while. It usually involves speaking up and saying things that are going to be hard to say and hear but are needed to correct and repair your love relationship. If you convince yourself that doing this is necessary, it gets easier and it takes less time. Two people who are used to working together on their relationship and repairing the damage their personalities create in their relationship learn how to repair the damage efficiently in less time. Dr. T. Jordan




Dr. Jordan

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

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