Healthy Relationship 101: Finding vs. Maintaining

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Holding hands

We all dream of finding love. The word ‘love’ in itself is often spoken with a warm smile and batting eyelashes, followed by many fantasies of finding “the one.” We swiftly become encompassed with our daydreams, envisioning heaven itself resting in his palm. The excitement is hard to resist.

I can’t wait to find him. We will be so happy!

And, eventually, our searches cease: we’ve found someone. We experience the rush of falling in love, and the relaxing sense of security of the budding relationship. We spend time building the foundation of a relationship that is meant to last forever. But often, part-way through the construction, we realize we’ve gone wrong somewhere. It dawns on us that we never actually learned the skills of building a healthy relationship. We spent so much time thinking of finding him that we forgot to think of what to do after.

Why is it that most of us, especially those actively looking for love, only think of just that: the act of finding? Why don’t we think of the more important acts of keeping and maintaining?

I’ve found love. I’ve lost love. I’ve been hurt by love. I’ve been confused by it, and I’ve certainly been educated and aged by it. I’ve been moved by love, emotionally distraught and physically ill from love, corrupted by love, persuaded by love, and elated by love. But I’ve never, ever kept love.

I’ve been practically everything by love, but I’ve never actually learned the keys to keeping it around, and maintaining it as a healthy relationship. I know many individuals who are in the same position, who are much older, who are ready to marry or who have been married several times, and have absolutely no idea how to keep love, what to do differently in the next relationship, or why they lost the last.

So the questions remain: What do we do once we’ve found love, how do we establish a healthy relationship?

Some people believe that love is simply not meant to last a lifetime, that it is inhumane to be with one partner for your entire existence, and that it’s only natural to jump from partner to partner. But no matter how hard I try to grasp this extremely saddening concept, I simply can’t; perhaps the hopeless romantic in me won’t allow me to go to that extent of jadedness. I believe in monogamy, in love, and in marriage. I believe it is a blessing to have the privilege of growing old with one person, of having a companion to get to know on a deep level, and of falling in love with that same person more than once. I believe in so much more than the typical single hurdle relationship. Perhaps it’s unrealistic of me, but I do believe in lasting love.

But having been raised in a society that proves difficult for lasting love – with many marriages crumbling under the slightest amount of pressure – the majority of us have been persuaded away from our optimism, and have been ingrained with the expectation for our own relationships to crumble as well. So how can we remain steadfast in our optimistic romantic beliefs?

Without having discovered, been told, or taught how to actually orchestrate our relationships with the intention of keeping them around, how can we save our own relationships from the falling rubble of the crumbling relationships around us?

Having finally established a healthy relationship myself, I look forward to sharing my insightful discoveries with you over the next several weeks. But for starters, don’t be caught up in the negative; remain optimistic, and live your romance based on what you believe, as opposed to what you’ve been wrongly accustomed to.

Stick with the hopeless, or better yet, the hopeful romantic.

Read more Alexa at www.lovealexa.ca

Photo Credit: Ally Matos

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Alexa Suter 

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