What’s in Your Psychological Love Life?
What’s in your Psychological Love Life? Strange question or the potential answer to why your love life is not where you want it to be? Here’s the thing, your love life is not simply in your relationships with the people you love or want to love. It’s also in your expectations about love relationships. Put another way, your Psychological Love Life is what you expect to experience in your love relationships.
Now believe it or not, what you expect to experience is a very powerful influence in “shaping” the actual experiences you will have. I first became aware of this phenomenon in my clinical work with people who were unhappy about the state of their love lives. For example, I can’t tell you how many people I worked with over the years who recounted a love life made up of repeating replications of their toxic family relationships now in their love life. For example, more than one person has told me she grew up in an abusive home with a violent angry alcoholic father and married two violent angry alcoholic husbands! Unaware that she was (unwittingly) replicating the original hurtful relationship experience she had had in her family over and over again in her love life.
How much of a painful tragedy is that? And abuse is not the only thing being replicated. My current list of unhealthy relationship experiences that get unwittingly replicated in people’s love lives is pretty substantial: abandonment, abuse, over control, dependency, dishonesty, exploitation, mistrust, neglect, rejection, self-centeredness.
Hearing this kind of story over and over again is one of the primary reasons I believe teaching people how to discover what is in their Psychological Love Lives is vitally important. It’s become a mission of mine.
This is what I’ve found out about the Psychological Love Life so far. We all have a Psychological Love Life. It is the mental representation of what you have learned about love relationships in your life starting from the beginning of your life. It’s stored in the “backroom” of your mind. Although, most people are not aware of their Psychological Love Lives unless they have to be. When you become aware of your Psychological Love Life you can change it (Thank God!).
Everybody’s Psychological Love Life consists of: 1. the relationship experiences you’ve had in your life so far; 2. what you’ve learned from those relationship experiences, and; 3. the aftereffects or ways you try to cope with what you’ve learned from those relationship experiences, especially when they were unhealthy.
The good news is, you can figure out what is unhealthy in your Psychological Love Life and replace it with healthier beliefs, behavior, and feelings about love relationships. This dramatically increases the probability you’ll have a healthier love life. Remember, your Psychological Love Life is the product of what you’ve learned about love relationships in your life so far, so that means you can unlearn what is unhealthy.
I developed a method of revising a person’s Psychological Love Life I call The Unlearning Method. My method for unlearning what is unhealthy in your Psychological Love Life involves three simple straightforward steps: Step 1 Identify what you’ve learned about love relationships; Step 2 Challenge what you’ve learned that is unhealthy, and; Step 3 Practice the opposite of what you’ve learned.
If you want more detail about how to apply The Unlearning Method to your particular Psychological Love Life, take a look at my book – Learn to Love: Guide to Healing Your Disappointing Love Life. There’s a lot of detail in the book about how my method can be applied to any one’s Psychological Love Life, and a chapter on how I successfully applied it to my own Psychological Love Life.
Tell me what you think. All comments welcome.
Dr. Thomas Jordan