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What is Love, and how do you know when you're 'in love'?


Q. Being only 15 years old, I just wanted to know, what is love? If I asked myself if I was in love with someone, I would have to know what love is in order to answer that question, and truthfully, I have no idea what it is.

A. On the most basic level, Love is simply the care, value and appreciation for another. That person becomes precious to us for whatever reason we feel. Thus Love appears on many levels, but the one you are obviously asking about is emotional/sexual love.

It is difficult to answer any question about romantic love, or even define it, because people have their own individual reactions to it. However, falling in love appears to be triggered by four major factors: attraction (physical, emotional and intellectual), a feeling of comfort (which encourages security, trust and happiness), a feeling of value (that the person respects and cares for you; that you really matter to them) and a feeling of excitement (that triggers the sexual and affection part of a relationship).

It follows that if any of those aspects are missing there really isn't any 'love' per se, it would mainly be just a crush or infatuation - a phase that would soon pass. For example, if you meet someone and there is no feeling of value (perhaps because he/she is mean in appreciating you, or they even abuse you) there is no love there at all. Or if you do not feel completely comfortable and happy in their presence, that's not love either. If you cannot communicate together, or feel any emotional bond, it is really difficult to love in those situations. Furthermore, if you really don't feel any excitement when you think of that person or share their company, it's likely that you would be just platonic friends, not lovers, because the sexual attraction would be missing.

Sexual Love is experienced mainly by adults because, while a youngster is developing, there is a lot to learn, so many things wouldn't really make sense until one has experienced or learnt about them. Someone also has to love her/himself first before she can love another. That takes maturity and understanding which a younger person usually doesn't have. That is why relationships among teenagers rarely last.

Love is always dictated by feelings and emotions. In a nutshell, when we truly love, we really value the presence of that person and they become very significant to our lives.

Is there a difference between Passion and Love?


Many of us, when we speak about Love, treat Passion as an entirely separate thing from it. We often hear about dates 'falling into lust' at the beginning of a relationship when the two people are so into each other, so attracted and mesmerised by one another, they want to spend as much time together as they can and to make love as often as possible. The feelings at such times seem deep, exciting and endless.

On the other hand, there are many couples, especially in long term relationships, who have lost their 'chemistry', and their Passion for each other. They do things mechanically and without motivation as part of their settled routine. Many have not even had sex for years or affirmed each other in any way.

These twin situations have led some people to believe that any intense passionate feelings when two people have just met cannot be relied upon as a good barometer of lasting Love. That because it is tied to 'lust', the 'real Love' comes much later on or not at all. We also talk of having a 'Passion' for something: an interest, hobby or activity that gives us great joy. Thus we can usually tell how meaningful something is to us by how we feel about it; the way it moves us to want to express our feelings for it and be devoted to it to greater levels.

And that's what Passion is, in a nutshell: the intensity of feeling we have for someone or something. It is not a thing in its own right, like Love. It has to be associated with something else to have any value. It gains its existence by demonstrating how much we actually care about something that's important to us. Thus the degree of Passion is the giveaway sign.

Passion is like a marker, a ruler or yardstick, but it is not Love itself. Passion is essentially the intensity of the Love we feel. If we have rapidly lost our Passion for someone it's not because we didn't love them in the first place, or we only felt lust for them. It is more likely because, over time, as the person has revealed him/herself, our Passion has gradually decreased in its level, or increased, and we are feeling differently about them. So lust isn't really separate from Love. Both are the same at the beginning because both can take off or fall flat, depending on the level of Passion we feel for the object of our affection.

It seems that Love has a chance to blossom and reveal its true self when Passion subsides, but not too much. If we use a numerical scale for assigning levels of Passion, say 7, with seven being the greatest level and one being the lowest, lovers who have recently met and are passionate about each other (the 'lust' phase), would be rating a 6 or 7 in their feelings. As the couple settle together, passion will steady itself to a 5 or 6, depending on how much the couple continue to affirm, nurture and validate each other. Those who have started to take each other for granted, but are still in love because the Passion is strong (chemistry) will have a steady rate of 4 or 5. But it seems that, for Love to continue with the couple indefinitely, the level cannot fall below 4. Level 3 in passion becomes highly problematic and levels 1 and 2 mean the relationship is dead or on its way out - unsustainable.

In essence, Love cannot exist without some kind of Passion because Passion is the driving force behind it. Passion allows people to come alive to one another. It gives a kind of adrenalin rush, regularly, but not constantly. It is fired up by interaction of one kind or another. When that does not happen, feelings subside too and inevitably change to something else more detached or negative.

If you are trying to work out how you really feel about someone just now, especially whether you love them or not and should marry or settle together, but you can't feel much Passion or you don't feel rejuvenated, excited or getting that butterfly feeling, please don't go there. Your Passion is at too low a level to start something with a long term commitment. Yes, your feelings of Love might increase, but then the person would feel more like a dear relative to you than a lover simply because Passion is the fire that lights your Love. When that fire goes out, so does the Love, eventually!

Six Tell-Tale Signs of Falling in Love


The tell-tale signs of love, whether for male or female, are not easily missed because they take over one's life for as long as the feeling lasts. They permeate every activity, they define one's actions and appear to take on a vibrant life of their own. There is no greater feeling than being in love because that is strongly connected to one's feeling of self worth and acceptance, which makes it one of the happiest moment's of a person's life.

The tell-tale signs of love in the air are most evident in six major areas of behaviour, listed in order of occurrence:

1. Constant Loving Thoughts

When we are in love, we cannot stop thinking about that person. We spend a lot of time imagining what we did with them (like that first kiss, or the way we met) and that is relived over and over; fantasising about spending time with them, and constantly wondering what they are doing while smiling to ourselves like Cheshire cats who got the cream! It is really difficult not to think about the loved one mainly because they make us feel happy; they make us want to shout out loudly from the rooftops, to tell the world how we feel, and they give us a quiet sense of satisfaction and self reinforcement in being loved, desired and wanted.

2. Increased Communication and Interest

This is a time when the desire to communicate with the loved one is strongest. We tend to become more expressive and open. There will be lots of phone calls, visits and/or texts/emails between the parties. There will be dialogue around the most insignificant things. There will also be playfulness, teasing, expressions of endearment, tons of questions, and plans about the future, especially regarding sharing activities. In fact, it will be non-stop communication around the things that matter, coupled with an insatiable mutual interest in the lives of both parties. Everything, no matter how trivial, will assume importance and significance to maintain that connection and dialogue. This is because the very act of communicating is both enjoyable and self-reinforcing so both parties try to get even more of it.

3. Increased Affection

Nature brings people together through attraction and touch. One of the most significant signs of being in love is the desire to touch the other person. Hugging, holding hands, embracing, kissing and being close together become routine, especially in the early stages of any relationship. When we are attracted to someone we really have the strongest desire to be very intimate with them, especially to make love and to spend as much time with them as possible. This is called mutual 'chemistry', when the attraction is so powerful that the parties constantly want to touch each other and share their space.

4. Desire to Please

Love gives us a strong desire to please. At such times we would go to the ends of the earth for a loved one. Nothing seems too difficult or challenging because we are trying to impress, to be given the seal of approval. In fact, we would even take up hobbies we do not like, if the other person is doing them, just to show how much we care about them and to gain their approval! When we love someone we want to make them notice us and to keep that loving feeling going as long as possible. This is where we are at our most compliant and amenable. It also explains why many people can be taken advantage of during these heady, vulnerable times.

5. Desire to Share

One of the surest tell-tale signs of love is the strong desire to share whatever we have with the loved one: whether it be our encouragement, time, money, knowledge or space. We become unduly generous with what we have when we love someone else because that becomes a key part of proving our love to them. The act of sharing in a relationship brings out the protective and caring instincts. Sharing brings people even closer together because it also leads to a gradual understanding of each other while emphasising the values they both have, which is an important pointer to their future together.

6. Feeling Extra Happy

This is such an obvious sign of love, it can be safely assumed that where there is no feeling of heady happiness there really is no love. If one is feeling unhappy in a relationship that is a sure sign that the love is going because love gives a unique feeling all of its own. We feel almost invincible when we are in love: joyous, contented and reinforced with a new positive perspective on the world. A genuine feeling of happiness goes hand in hand with love which is why relationships that end without mutual agreement is often so painful because the happiness is replaced by pain and loss.

These six signs are pervasive in all feelings of love because at the act of sharing, touching, communicating, pleasing and thinking is simply demonstrating mutual respect for each other. When these elements are reduced, or they disappear, one can safely say that the love has gone and the relationship is over too.

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Is there a difference between Love and Lust?


People like to demarcate between love and lust but they are actually two sides of the same coin. I like to say that my ex husband and I fell into lust. We could not keep our hands off each other and ,even three months before I left the relationship (which lasted nearly 35 years), we would just look at each other and want to hit the sack - and that's in our 50s!

It was a very powerful feeling of attraction and desire, but I felt that too much resentment had crept in, as well as other unacceptable behaviour, and I decided, with much heartache, to leave it. However, I noticed that those strong physical feelings weren't a fluke. They were also present , in varying degrees, with the next two men in my life.

That experience, along with some hot gossip from various friends, has forced me to conclude that lust is the pre-requisite to love. There really is no difference between the two except that, in cases where there is only lust and no development, someone in the partnership is resisting commitment, or doesn't feel as strong. Wherever the feeling is reciprocal, there is real love on the horizon. It is a lack of commitment and a fear of the future that stop lust from developing further, because there is no greater feeling than desiring a person deeply and having that reciprocated.

Many people who are unsure of themselves, insecure in their expectations, narrow in their definition of love and very controlling, prefer to make a distinction between love and lust. They often use value judgements to imply that somehow lust is less worthy of our reaction than love, and one cannot put great faith in it. But any relationship which begins without that spark of lust will not have much to sustain it when the initial attraction wears off. When we lust after someone, we want to share their company in every possible way, and for as often as possible too. Lust precedes love and when they are both allowed to take their course, as I found out on three occasions in my life, it is a simply awesome and overwhelming experience.

When two people meet, if there really isn't that lust there, the physical part soon goes, which eventually takes the relationship with it. Lust prepares us for the long haul in commitment, while love takes over further down the line when we know our partners better. It then strengthens that attraction and settles us down to enjoying mutual trust, great sex and an even more satisfying relationship.

How to tell if a guy is only interested in you for sex and what to do about it


Three clear elements make up romantic attraction: physical, emotional, and intellectual. Finding love depends on all three elements coming together at the same time. A casual sexual relationship tends to be purely physical, it carries little emotional commitment with it, there is seldom time for intellectual pursuits, and it is desired mainly for convenience.

There are five sure signs that a guy is seeking casual sex only.

1. No interest in learning about you.
To any guy who is interested in casual sex, you are secondary to that sex. They are not interested in your life, joys, aches, or pains, and some won't even bother to know your name properly. They might genuinely like your company, and might make small talk about you to gain your attention, and as a prelude to sexual activity, but they won't take too much time to know you really intimately because that is not their objective. As long as the level of attention gets them what they seek, real personal interest tends to go by the wayside.

2. Content of any conversation tends to stress the physical
The initial conversations with you will center around the purely physical aspects of your personality. You are likely to be told how "hot" you are, how "sexy" and how physically appealing. Most things said to you will be related to appreciating and desiring your body, especially if he seems drawn to your boobs than your eyes! It will be very flattering attention, which can be misconstrued for a genuine relationship, but it will be devoid of any emotional emphasis or attachment. Furthermore, later conversations are seldom about the future together. A guy will try to avoid the subject as much as possible. If he does discuss it, he will find lots of excuses why the moment isn't right for such a commitment.

3. Definite pattern in contact
Once you become friendly, there is a definite pattern to personal contacts and visits. Most meetings will be indoors, at his place or yours so that it is very convenient for sex, and will last a set time. He will hardly take you out, perhaps prefering to 'hang out' with you, and, if he does, there is usually sexual activity before or afterward. In between those times, contact will be sparse. There will be few phone calls or other interaction, as there wouldn't be much to talk about except when you will be meeting again. He is likely to stress that you are close 'friends' to prevent you getting ideas of anything emotional, and to prevent him from having to think about any real commitment to you.

4. Little participation in mutual activities
A guy who is seeking casual sex will not be keen to participate in anything else with you. He will regard that with suspicion in case sharing activities changes the nature of the friendship. He might share the odd occasion to please you, but it would also have a sexual activity alongside it too so that you are both getting what you seek at that moment.

5. He leaves as soon as he is satisfied or gets what he wants
One of the biggest tell-tale signs of a purely sexual relationship is what happens after sex. The guy is usually in a hurry to leave, to watch sports, to work or to do some other activity which is of greater interest to him. His main goal in a casual relationship is to satisfy his basic sexual needs. Once that is done he is done too, until the next time.

What to do about it
If you desire something more than just casual sex, then the initiative, the pace, and the signals have to be very clear from the moment you meet. No matter how attracted you feel towards him, the onus is upon you to steer the friendship the way you wish it to go.

First, be clear about what you are seeking from him from the very beginning and make sure your conversations mention it at every opportunity. For example, you could keep saying, "I am not into casual sex. I am seeking a soul mate or partner." He might not like what he hears, but he cannot say you did not stress it. If he likes you enough, he will probably try harder to win you.

Second, take a real interest in him. Whenever the conversation gets physical, steer it back to him by asking him various questions about his life and work. Guys, like everyone else, love to talk about themselves, especially to impress the gals. If you interest in him as a potential partner, he might begin to see himself in that light, or at least in a different way than he had planned. Soon, he will begin to take an interest in you too, if only to reciprocate the attention and might then find himself becoming attracted to you in a different way.

Third, try to meet on dates without any chance of having sex. Meet in public, meet on neutral grounds, never go where it is too intimate and, even if you do entertain in your respective homes, keep it superficial and friendly without getting intimate. Invite him to diverse events so that he can also get the chance to see you in all kinds of situations and also to feel more comfortable with you. Soon he will begin to see the possibilities of having you as a regular date, or you might both realize that you are not right for each other.

Finally, always try to make suggestions for activities, for dates and how the friendship should progress. If you are proactive in the relationship, then you won't just be reactive to his ideas. You will be guiding the friendship too, the way you desire it, which will make you feel much more comfortable and confident. If you do end up having sex, then make sure it is not a frequent occurrence according to his direction and that you also do other things as well on a regular basis apart from casual sex.

Why Falling in Love is Not So Easy!


We all secretly hope for that moment of ecstasy when we fall in love, the heart races faster just at the thought of that person and we feel we are on cloud nine. Sadly, many people will never experience the bells and whistles attached to falling in love because of four major reasons which lie within them.

What are the ingredients that make the ultimate romantic experience possible? What are some folks missing which prevent them from actually reaching that highly-desired goal at any time in their lives? It seems to be four crucial factors, actually:

1. Self-Love

2. Expressiveness

3. Emotional Openness

4. Faith in the Future

1. Self-Love
The most important factor when we are hoping to fall in love is self-love. If we need someone to 'complete' our life instead of to enhance it, someone to 'make' us happy, instead of sharing our happiness or someone to make us feel good instead of sharing our joy, we have a problem with self-love. In fact, a lack of self-love is the biggest cause of personal problems in our life because too many people suffer from it. They do not like themselves and dislike certain key aspects of their bodies. But then, paradoxically, they expect others to like what they reject! That is not possible. We can only truly love when we ourselves have love because the greatest love is not waiting outside to find us. It actually lies dormant inside of us, yearning to be discovered and nurtured. Everything else is just the icing on the cake, but YOU are that cake! And a delicious one too. When that fact is fully realised, acknowledged and accepted, you are well on the road to giving love and loving another unconditionally. Above all, you will find it really easy to fall in love with all the fanfare and starlight you dream of.

But loving the self is not so easy to do when we have had little reinforcement of our worth since childhood, or we get little affirmation from work, home or loved ones, especially if we are usually taken for granted or ignored. We then tend to feel unwanted, unappreciated and invisible. If we have also been hurt a number of times, it reinforces all those unsavoury experiences. Difficult to love that little self when no one else seems to love it! But self-love is the most important thing we have to work for in our lives, especially if we wish to get rid of unnecessary anxieties, to grow with confidence in who we are, to lead independent lives without clinging to another and to feel worthy of the life we have.

Self-love comes from two things, above all: knowing who you are and knowing what you want, and making sure they stand out clearly to everyone you meet. Those who are seeking what you have to give will be joyful while making you even happier. It also means that you will only attract people who love those traits about you. The others will stay away, which dramatically cuts down the time-wasting in trying to select suitable partners. It makes the chance of you falling in love much higher and you won't ever have to apologise for who you are and wish to be. Moreover, if you do not know what you want in your life, you won't be able to recognise it when you see it. You have to be sure of it to know it!

So, the first lesson in both confidence and setting the scene for falling in love is to BE who you are, LOVE who you are and don't worry about who might not respond positively because those who like what they see will flock to you. When we merely try to please others, we give mixed messages, we go against what we value and end up pleasing no one, least of all ourselves!

2. Expressiveness

Many of us find it difficult to be expressive, to communicate easily, to say how we really feel, to express what might be hurting us or to give life to those cherished dreams. But being expressive is a key part of falling in love. Through communication, your partner knows what you desire, what makes you happy, what you are enjoying about the contact, how you are feeling and what you really like about them too. It cannot be taken for granted or merely implied. Falling in love means you want to shout your feelings from the roof tops and do just that!

A lack of expressiveness comes through low confidence and a desire to please - mainly for approval. We tend to feel we do not merit being heard or that what we have to say is not that important enough for others so we keep it repressed while we miss opportunities for enjoyable activities. If we have been hurt, expression then becomes a form of repressed anger and resentment instead of love. This attitude also tends to carry over into our loving. We become mean with praise and appreciation, and seldom affirm our partners, yet yearn for that reinforcement ourselves, even feeling peeved when we don't get it. For example, how often, as women, do we want to hear that we look great when we are dressed or on a date, yet how regularly do we reciprocate in kind? We are likely to believe that any praise of our partners is not deserved. And why not? Is a relationship for punishment and negativity?

Most people who lack confidence depend on others to validate them, to affirm that they are worthy. They are unlikely to believe it themselves, so they deny expression and key communication in order to either avoid 'saying the wrong thing', or 'upsetting anyone'. They hope that by not saying anything they will win people over and make a better impression, but it often has the opposite effect of robbing that person of credibility and impact. In fact, not expressing our honest thoughts merely confirms perceptions, gives the wrong impressions and creates misunderstandings.

3. Emotional Openness
Having passionate and wonderful love affairs in a heart-stopping way contains deep affection which comes through unconditional expressiveness and emotional openness. Yet, when we are hurt (which is a fact of life, nothing unusual!) we tend to retreat inwards, becoming wary of any future liaison. We lock down the emotional hatches while we grow cold and detached, more vulnerable, victim-like and introspective. We find excuses not to be involved or to fall for someone, yet that is the time to put the experience squarely behind you, learn to from it and move on as quickly as possible. Not to dwell on it in a powerless state of resentment. Otherwise, you will become more angry and develop a scapegoat mentality, one which denies everyone else you meet their individuality as you gradually blame them by proxy.

If you feel vulnerable and powerless after any hurt, resist it. Vulnerability comes through fear - a fear of the future, the inability to accept the uniqueness of others and letting them prove themselves to us. And wherever there is undue fear there is enforced coldness, detachment and a lack of enjoyment. Yet, falling in love has warmth and love at its core. We cannot fall in love without emotions, and open ones too. We have to be prepared to GIVE unconditionally in order to feel those wonderful vibes. Anything else will be luke-warm.

If we are grudging in our emotions, the communication will falter or be superficial, and we really won't get what we seek. Any fear means we cannot be expressive, we are not able to trust, we cannot let go and we cannot enjoy because we are concentrating so much upon avoiding the possible hurt, we completely miss the pleasure that comes BEFORE any hurt, while turning our fears into self-fulfilling prophecies! In the end, you might not get hurt, as you jealously guard that vulnerability, but you will not have much pleasure either and remain fossilised in the same spot, going nowhere, doing nothing new while becoming increasingly unattractive in the process.

4. Faith in the Future
Faith in the future is crucial for new relationships. We have to resist controlling every movement in order to be surprised by what life might have in store for us. People who feel 'vulnerable', who feel powerless, who are always worrying about what they might 'lose' and how they might be viewed and treated, find it hard to be expressive, trusting and passionate because they have to control everything to feel good. They tend to resist the future, immediate and long-term, in case they are hurt again. Having little faith in their future, or themselves, they tend to take more than they give, to be cynical of the motives of others. They are also likely to fear commitment and so will seldom experience the joy of falling in love through their inability to let go and live their life spontaneously. Being so busy trying to control its direction, they simply rob their life of its emotion, joy and spontaneity.

The best way to approach any relationship is to be prepared for both pleasure and pain. The two are crucial sides of the same coin and you cannot have one without the other. By being prepared for both, you immediately lessen their effect. People who fear pain live in an unrealistic world of feckless emptiness and fear, seeking only pleasure without the costs or consequences. But there is ALWAYS a price to pay in life for whatever we have, whether good or bad, that's Nature's way of establishing balance, and the more we accept that death is as much an integral part of life as rebirth, the more happiness we will find. There is always great enjoyment when you simply accept the moment AS IT IS, no matter how long it lasts. There is ALWAYS a better moment round the corner, believe me, so it is useless fretting over this one. For many women (and a lot of men too) it is insecurity and a lack of self-love which prevent them from really enjoying their lives, so they burden every new partner and date with their unrealistic anxieties and expectations in their search for perfection. They carry around their baggage of hurt expecting to be hurt again and, surprise, surprise, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

There is nothing to fear in life except fear itself, especially if we accept people as they are and stop seeking perfection. Simply love yourself and be warm, kind and compassionate to the next person you meet. It really pays dividends. Express yourself freely and affirm others at every opportunity. Be open with your emotions and less controlling of yourself and others. That allows for some great surprises. Be easier on yourself by reducing your fears and welcoming love into your life. Falling in love will not only be easy, it will also be a real cinch because you would have already laid the crucial groundwork for attracting that ideal partner!

How would you describe the feeling of love?


Q. How would you describe your feelings when you tell someone you love thim? I cannot find words that I feel are strong enough to describe the feelings I have. I tell my husband 'I love you' and he says 'Prove it!'. How do you prove it?

A. The feeling of love is always difficult to describe but it is an overwhelming one. You think about the person a lot, you want to be with them as often as possible, you tend to think only pleasant things about them, you feel both passion and fulfilment when you are in their presence and you feel absolutely joyful most of the time. You just want to smile when you are in their presence or when you think of them. That's how love makes us feel, totally light headed and very happy. If you don't feel happy when you think of that person, you are not in love with them. You might love them like a relative etc., without much passion, but being in love is a different happy feeling.

As to your husband telling you to 'prove it', that's a different matter. Love is totally unconditional. It does not depend on anything whatever to prove itself. It does not needs to be proved in any shape or form nor does it need to be validated by anything else. True love stands on its own, always. We either feel it or we don't. We might do little things to express it openly, but they are not necessary. They are just forms of expression. For example, when we love our children, they do not have to be good to get that love, neither do we have to prove it to them that we love them. That love simply stands on its own. It just is.

Your husband wants proof because he feels very insecure in himself, for whatever reasons. Love is probably something he doesn't quite understand or appreciate, which perhaps make him feel uncomfortable. Depending on his upbringing, he probably knows how to care for you and value you as his partner, but to 'love' you might be another matter. He might not have been loved in that demonstrative way before and does not know how to deal with it, or he doubts his own love for you so puts his guilt on to you. Again, he may not think the way you normally treat him shows that love.

One way of dealing with that is this: when he asks you to 'prove it' next time, ask him if he really loves you. If he says yes, then ask him how he proves it to you? What does love mean for him? You could both be interpreting 'love' differently. You will then get a measure of how he sees love and what he expects from someone who loves him. People are obviously, different so perhaps you have to learn about each other before you can fully understand and appreciate each other.

What happens when we love someone more than they love us?


Q. If you love a person to the extreme, and he or she doesn't love you, do you have the right to still love that particular person?

A. Everyone has the right to love whomever, and at whatever time, in their life. But love doesn't start with someone else. It starts inside of us, loving ourselves. If you love someone 'to the extreme', you are actually wanting their love to compensate for the lack of love you feel for yourself and they would find it off-putting.

When we truly love and appreciate who we are, we do not love anyone else more than we love ourselves. We meet them half way. By loving someone too much, it carries the essage that their love is more important than yours and you have to hang on to it at all costs. Furthermore, the less you love yourself and love someone too much, the less attractive and appealing you will be because that person will eventually feel claustrophobic with your constant attentions. It also carries the risk that when that person stops loving you, your world will fall apart because you have depended on them so much for their presence and affection, it will be difficult to let go. You would have done nothing to provide a strong emotional base for yourself as a fall back position, should the relationship fail, which makes any break down unbearable.

Everything in life which is most enjoyable and affirming is done in moderation. The best way to love and be loved is to begin by learning to love, appreciate and to value yourself. You would then be strong and confident enough to leave or take someone else's attention. Their love will enhance yours, not be a substitute for it. You won't need their approval or love to feel great because you are already great without them. You will be able to reinforce yourself when things don't work out.

If someone doesn't love you or want you, they are giving you a powerful message of choice and you should respect that. To still want to 'love' that person is to imply that you are not good enough for anyone else and you only belittle yourself in the process because you will continually feel inadequate and unhappy. You also stop yourself from meeting someone else by hanging back in the past feeling rejected, which makes you even less attractive. That's no way to live.

Love is something we have to give every moment of the day, every day of our lives. It is not restricted to one person or situation. However, it starts inside us through self love, confidence and self value. Once we have that fully developed within us, our capacity to love others is abundant, while at the same time keeping our distance from being too possessive or clingy. In fact, we will then have the assurance to pick and choose our mates and to readily say, 'NEXT!' when it doesn't work out as expected.

Do you think true love exists or just in fairy tales and in movies?


Personally, I believe true love exists but it is often prevented by fear, expectations of perfection and a lack of faith and mutual trust.

First, love between two people depends on expressiveness, first of all. The ability to say what we mean at any time without it being misinterpreted or thrown back at us, for whatever reason. But many couples fear expressing their true feelings because they fear the consequences of admitting those feelings. They fear that the other party might not like them any more after that, they might want to take things too fast, or they might feel uncomfortable because of it. So, instead of being themselves, they behave according to how they think the other person wants them to act and true love is repressed for that reason. Furthermore, true love means exposing one's self to the potential of being hurt later on and many people fear such vulnerability. Instead they prefer to hide their emotions to keep from getting hurt. But that's a false premise because life is about pain as well as pleasure. They BOTH come together. We cannot choose one and leave the other.

Secondly, often we fall in love with someone but they might not return that love because we are not their 'ideal'. They mistakenly believe that there is always someone 'better' around the corner, so they withhold that feeling of love in an artificial way and kill the possibility of true romance. This desire for perfection means we tend to go by superficial looks, we are never satisfied with others and have expectations of love based purely on fulfilling it with an ideal fantasy person, not a real human being. Hence why many people never fall in love at all because the moment is never right, the time is never right and, worst of all, the person is never right until they meet the perfect Mr/Ms Right.

Finally, it takes blind faith to meet a stranger, to get to know them and to allow one's self to fall in love with them. Many people are very suspicious when they meet potential partners. They do not trust others enough to allow things to unfold. They hold their feelings back fearfully, and suspiciously, until they are 'sure' what's happening. But one can never be sure about life because one cannot control life. One could be dead the next moment! Only time reveals what's in store for us. One always has to have faith and trust that the other person is being sincere and leave it in the lap of the gods. Without that trust, nothing will develop otherwise it will be dominated by suspicions and anxieties.

I have fallen in love three times in my life and they were awesome moments. The love still exists between myself and the parties, despite our disagreements. So true love does exist, if we really are prepared to let life take its course, to allow ourselves to feel vulnerable, to put our trust in another human being and to allow life to give us some surprises. Many people don't believe in true love and where there is no belief there is no fulfilment either because the quality of our existence depends mainly on our thoughts and expectations.

But true love is there for anyone to have. It's whether they are really prepared to let it happen to them, to allow love into their life, or to be ruled by fear instead.

Does age really matter when you're in love?


I was told off soundly by a young man of 35 last year who was trying to chat me up. I did not feel comfortable about it, being 24 years older than he was, and told him so. He was quite annoyed about my reaction, accused me of being 'ageist', and, even worse, that I was trying to tell him whom he should date. I patiently explained that I was not ageist, as such, and I certainly didn't have the right to tell him his preferences. But I too had the right to my choices and the only age preference I had was for someone over 40 simply because my son was 36.

Many people, especially men, prefer younger partners. I do not care what age my lover or partner is, except that they must be older than my children. Do age gaps really matter? Was I really being ageist?

And does age matter to you in matters of love?

The Essence of Love:
How to test your compatibility with someone


Some people might wonder why, no matter what they do, their relationships do not work, and they seem to be at odds with partners or dates. It could have a lot to do with the perception of love between the couple and the expectations of it.

Some people are simply in love with the 'idea' of love, the heart stopping, bell ringing, excited, physical part, but shy away from the 'responsibility' of love - the mundane, routine, demonstrations required. The two aspects are not the same. The love ideal is just that - a perfect ideal which has lust at its core. Nothing else seems to matter except being with that person, shagging them silly and being physically close. That will feel fantastic for a short while but, if the responsibility of love isn't there (what many men shy away from), that relationship or dating experience is doomed from the start.

The responsibility of love contains four elements: Affection, Caring, Sharing and Commitment, which can come in any order for an individual, depending on their personal needs and priority. This order is very important for matching couples. For example, for me, Sharing comes first, every time, then Affection, Caring and then Commitment. I used to think that ideal love (Affection) mattered to me the most, until a boyfriend showed me otherwise. He showered me with physical love, non-stop daily, which felt fabulous at first, especially when one is wanted and loved in such an intense manner. His commitment was also very high because he wanted me to be his wife to fulfil HIS needs. But the genuine caring and sharing were markedly absent.

He really didn't care about me, as a person, and was too self-absorbed to really share anything with me, so the differences began to irritate a few weeks later. One could say that his love satisfaction level depended on having this order in his life: Affection, Commitment, Caring and Sharing (ACoCS) whereas mine was Sharing, Affection, Caring and Commitment (CASCo). Not much of a priority match there. In fact, we were almost diametrically opposed, which was masked by the high priority we both placed on Affection. Small wonder problems developed within the second month of the relationship.

The Responsibility of LoveAFFECTION: This contains all the physical love element, being tactile, sexual, endearing, passionate and close, and very few relationships can survive without it. However, what breaks many relationships is a mismatch of this element. Some people might wish for Commitment first and do not care too much about the physicality because they value companionship more. Setting up home with someone who puts Affection first would thus be near torture for them, which is partly why there are a lot of unhappy older people currently in dry, loveless relationships!

CARING: This element contains valuing the partner highly, automatic respect, genuine concern for their welfare and health and wanting the best for them. It also includes looking after that person's interest, valuing what they do and encouraging them in their endeavours. This part represents the emotional connection between the couple, a necessary element if the physical part is to work. People low in esteem and confidence tend to lack this element as the main focus is always on them, what they lack and what they need.

SHARING: This includes a desire to share everything in the relationship as much as possible: leisure, household tasks, money, care of children and other important aspects of the home or union. A desire to be completely unselfish and inclusive with your partner. For example, where is the sharing element if your partner leaves you to do ALL the household chores, even though you both work? A lack of sharing comes through insensitivity and fear, especially from those who lack self love and find it hard to give.

COMMITMENT: At the heart of love is Commitment, even for a day. When we love, we commit immediately to progressing the relationship and building on it. If we fear Commitment there is no genuine love, merely using that person for our own ends. Real love suggests "I value you enough to see the potential of this relationship in whatever way required". If it doesn't work, so be it, but if it has no Commitment in the first place, through fear or negativity, that's a short relationship for both parties. Do notice that, ideally, Commitment comes last in the love quartet. If you have genuine affection, caring and sharing, the commitment will certainly follow, instead of expecting commitment first when the other elements are not fully in place.

So what is your relationship like, and what could be the mismatch? There is an easy numerical way to find out.

Check your own relationship here.

Practical Ways to find Love


This thing we call Love, which is often misunderstood, is most likely to emerge from a common connection between two strangers. It then blossoms out of mutual interest, mutual respect, mutual aims and a close friendship. An intentional strategy for selecting our partners can increase the odds of it happening in a three-step approach:

* establishing our own search criteria

* taking appropriate action 

* allowing nature to take its course

However, the step that seems to thwart most inexperienced people is the first one. We often do not give enough time and preparation to the type of person we are seeking.

For example, someone might decide she wants to marry a man who was handsome and had considerable money; one who was older and of the same religion. To that end she would date only the men she found most appealing, after she checked their family's standing in Who's Who? or the Times Rich List and assessed their age and personal beliefs. Then she would hang out at their likely locations. That approach might appear clinical, shallow and mercenary. But such a process would increase her chances dramatically of getting the right kind of person for her. She knows what she wants, and by surrounding herself with only rich, attractive men of a certain age, and with similar spiritual values, she would have many potential husbands from which to choose, once nature stepped in.

One could say that, like building a house, she sorted out the crucial foundation while chance, or nature, finished off the actual structure. Everything else in our life has a strategy, so why not our love life?

Doing the Necessary Research
Think of the process we go through in selecting our dream car. First we spot one we are looking for: whether BMW, Chevrolet, Mercedes Benz, Porsche, etc, having established a price range. Next we choose a colour and style, or model, with the help of literature, adverts or word of mouth. Then off we go to the dealer to try out our choice. But it would have taken some planning, not just turning up to get the car. All along the way we collected information and narrowed our selection until we had almost exactly what we dreamed of, and at a price we could afford; one which reflects the function it will serve and/or the level of success we have achieved. One with which we felt comfortable.

It is no different when it comes to making other important choices, especially the most important choice of our lives, except that with people there has to be a simultaneous match, while for a vehicle the choice is rather one-sided. Despite this potential hurdle, in the majority of cases, we tend to be attracted only to those who reinforce that attraction. Developing a selection plan with which we are comfortable increases our likelihood of success and takes much of the chance element out of our search.

But not only that, the selection plan, which shouldn't be too prescriptive, reflects who we are, what we actually want and where we're hoping to go with it. If we don't even know who we are and what would make us happy, how can another person recognise us or fulfil our expectations?

Long-Distance Love - Can It Work?


Yes, it can, and does work, but there are many factors which can mitigate against it. Not everyone can find the love of their life on their doorstep. Falling in love can strike us when we least expect it, anywhere in time, especially with the global nature of our world now where technology makes it possible to meet people anywhere online.

Some years ago a close friend went to visit her sister in Canada for a few weeks. Her sister wanted her to meet a friend who had been recently divorced. For some inexplicable reason my friend refused to meet him, without really knowing why. But the night he came to visit, she told me how their eyes literally met across the room and they fell instantly in love. It was an eerie sensation to her, wanting to be with someone and to share their company when she hardly knew him. They fought against it for a few days, neither believing that it was real love so quickly, but then decided to let fate do its job.

For the next six years, because she had no wish to leave Britain, and he didn't want to leave Canada, they communicated through letters and phone calls (there was no Internet or emails then!) in a very intense emotionally charged connection, until she felt it really wasn't going to lead anywhere, as neither of them was prepared to relocate. He was beginning to feel frustrated with the distance too and they called a halt. But it would have been far more successful if they were prepared to compromise because it went on for such a long time.

Naturally, any long distance relationship needs regular contact to sustain it. There has to be lots of emails and calls and occasional meetings to keep the sparks flying. The great thing about such relationships is that absence tends to make the heart grow fonder so, when the couple actually meet, the desire and passion are likely to go off the scale! Absence tends to keep desire alight and there is no time to take one another for granted because the couple are not together long enough to get tired of each other.

The downside is that there is a lot of yearning and wasted time in not being able to see each other. However, so long as the relationship has some chance of developing closer to home, and both parties really love each other a lot, a long distant relationship can always work. It just needs the love, attention and commitment to keep it sustained.

What is the biggest barrier to people finding real love?


Simple, naked FEAR: fear of failure, fear of difference, of love, of hurt, fear of the consequences and even life itself, in the futile search for perfection. People get stuck in the same behaviour patterns, being fearful, fossilised and boring, getting the same joyless results, while becoming increasingly unhappy and unattractive in the process. They take their fearful behaviour to every situation and keep getting the same outcomes. Like a vicious cycle, fear gives them only the negatives, or no partners at all, which then reinforce their perceived unworthiness and cements the rejection even more.

Fear comes through either shyness, inexperience of appropriate behaviour, lack of confidence and self-esteem, a reluctance to deal with the unknown or, the most common reason, the wish to avoid being hurt, especially if one has been hurt before. But pain is the other side of pleasure and one cannot have pleasure without that pain. Moreover, pleasure always comes before pain in any new relationship, so when we avoid pain, we get no pleasure either, which then keeps us isolated, lonely and unhappy. Everything which happens in our life is meant to develop us to heights of excellence, to hone our coping and survival skills to perfection. When we rob ourself of the opportunity to sharpen our resilience and determination and to give us more experience, we remain weak, inadequate beings, dominated by fear, achieving very little and living only half the life we are capable of.

With fear being a debilitating and paralysing force, it tends to keep people with the same habits as they take refuge in behaviour which makes them feel comfortable. It won't yield them anything much, but at least it makes them feel 'safe' and secure. As it is habits that decide our future, such behaviour merely gives more of the same and keeps the person in a rut of negativity. Of course, there is only a 6 foot different between a rut and a grave! When we are fearful we prefer to hang back, to find numerous excuses as to why our actions won't yield anything of substance and why someone isn't good for us. Our search for the perfect mate makes 99.9% of people we meet highly unsuitable. We gradually convince ourself of the negatives while the positives seldom get the chance to affect us. That's why some people remain single for years, their dating skills gradually being eroded until they feel totally inadequate to deal with a potential date.

Anything we do, or any decision we make, is merely a RESULT. We can change the result every time we wish by just changing our expectations and approach, by doing something in a different way and having an open mind about the possibilities. If you have been living the same way for a while, making the same kind of decisions and getting the same results, get out of that comfort zone and ditch the fear today. TRY SOMETHING NEW! The least you will get is another result. It could be one amazing, unexpected surprise to change your life for good.

Is Love Really Worth The Heartache?


Q. Everyone has heard the old saying, "It is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all," but has anyone thought of the other side of it: all the pain and heartbreak you would save yourself if you never got attached to someone? Most normal, healthy, functioning adults require some kind of companionship that could very easily lead to love. But is it really worth it?

A. Everything we do in our lives is 'worth it', simply because life is a journey and we start off very green, very inexperienced and rather ignorant of it then finish up very wise, resilient and much stronger for what we have to endure. Everything we experience along the way is designed to toughen us up. We cannot avoid pain and hurt no more than we can avoid pleasure because they are two sides of the same coin. Nature is about balance. If we only had pleasure, we would not be able to deal with the crises in our lives and if we had only pain, we would be very weak in health and fortitude. Everything we go through also teaches us something.

The reason why some people suffer more pain from their relationships than others is because they tend to blame their partners for any disappointments and repeat the negative patterns in their behaviour with others down the line instead of reviewing what went wrong, learning the lessons from it and being an even better person for the next connection. Many people don't really know what they want and often settle for second best until they get burnt later on. Others prefer to live in denial about their lives and so tend to keep getting what they've always got. It is better to love than not at all because pleasure always comes first in the relationship. One has to go through pleasure to get to that pain. Not loving might keep away the pain, but that is not living either, as there would be no pleasure too, just a fossilised human being wallowing in their fear without any real life or joy.

Every experience in life has a purpose - to help us to be the best we can all round. When we deliberately resist experiences and fear to take risks we remain stunted in our growth without exposure to the new challenges in life which are essential for our development and evolution. It doesn't take much to be an onlooker in life and do nothing. But the person who does nothing is usually nothing too, in fact rather insignificant and very bland, in the eyes of others.

Is it Better to Have Loved Than Not at All?


My best friend, Gwenllian, in Wales, once asked me whether there was any truth in Tennyson's famous quote, "It is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all." I didn't even have to think about that one because the answer was crystal clear: Love conquers all. It's at the heart of our existence, so how can we live without loving? For me, there is no doubt that Love is the only influence on our life which makes it worth living.

Improved choices, in the quality and standard of living, have freed the modern generation of women from having to depend on their male counterparts. People who are hurt, particularly men, also become fearful of new relationships. Put the two together and you have an awful lot of people who prefer to boast about the benefits of the single life, while dying with loneliness inside, instead of actively encouraging potential partners for mutual enjoyment. They fear 'getting hurt' so much, they avoid one another like the plague, becoming hardened, loveless, unattractive people in the process.

Yet life consists of both pain and love, manifested through death and rebirth, being two sides of the same coin. We cannot have one without the other other. The love is there to nourish and sustain us while the pain helps us to develop our experiences and to face our challenges with greater strength, resilience and new knowledge. Take both of those opportunities away and we are like fossilised beings in a deepening rut, not getting hurt, but not being loved either, cynical in our expectation of the world while judging every one with our own negativity.

However, the results of a survey carried out in Denmark some time ago should be a little worrying for single people. It examined hundreds of heart disease patients and came to the sorry conclusion that people living on their own were twice as likely to have serious heart disease. Doctors found the risk was even higher among older, single people over 50. In fact, among the single men in the study, two-thirds of them had some kind of heart disease compared to only one-third of women and those in relationships. The message was clear and unequivocal: any kind of relationship and connection with someone is good for us. According to the research leader, "Age is of course a risk factor, and when you combine that with living alone you have a group in the population at a very high risk."

Emotional Attachment

Human beings are not meant to be on their own. We realise our existence, identity, usefulness, worth, significance and purpose through others. Left on our own without any other life form for very long periods we would go mad. Our emotional health is the most important to a long, satisfying, healthy life, and the love and affection from others is crucial in that respect. What keeps people from committing to relationships is their fear of being hurt again, their need for perfection in potential partners (disregarding their own imperfections!) and a desire to control their relationship by burdening it with expectations of long term bliss. Yet the potential soulmate is probably there temporarily to guide them through a rocky path (one of the four reasons for our soulmates) and not for any permanent reason.

We get disappointed when the relationship doesn't work out and, instead of allowing ourself to be surprised and just enjoying what is unfolding with us, we lock ourselves down and keep out another person afterwards who might truly care for us and be quite different. Yet we should be seeing every relationship as an opportunity to learn and to take our development one step closer to the ideal, because we will soon gradually understand what we have to do for our own happiness through the lessons learnt from those short-lived liaisons.

In 2002, soon after I left my marriage, though I was in the worst hurtful period, I unexpectedly fell in love with someone else, chalk and cheese we were. It wasn't meant to happen, as he was in transition too living apart from his wife, but we did. For two glorious years we had the most amazing time together. Two books have been dedicated to him. I have not, before or since, met anyone remotely like this loving, caring, but fiercely independent man. However, we affected each other so positively, he decided to return home when he realised that I wasn't ready to settle down again with anyone so soon, and his own fears kept him from considering other options. We were both terribly pained by the parting. But you know what? When I think of him now it is so wonderful because all I can think of is not the hurt which followed, but the incredible time we had.

Temporary Hurt
Many people, after any hurt, just sit and brood on that hurt, cutting off all communication through guilt or pain, instead of giving thanks for the pleasurable time they had, for someone coming into their life to cherish them and keeping the channels open. They vilify ex-partners instead of accepting that the person actually changed them for the better by sending them on their way more experienced and more competent to cope with their life. Any hurt is only ever temporary. As the saying goes, 'Don't cry because it is over. Smile because it happened'.

For me, Tennyson was absolutely right. It IS better to have loved and lost because I will take all those wonderful memories to my grave, of the tremendous love between that guy and me, whom I fondly call the 'love of my life'. I will also take memories of my marriage and the other three men who have been significant in my life so far. If I had sat there judging men for a lot of things, while I searched for my perfect man, I would have missed out on some fantastic love, the inspiration to write two books and the positive self-development which has rapidly followed because I am an entirely different - more loving - person in the process.

I give thanks with much grace for the experience.

Does True Love Last Forever?


Yes, it can, but it is unlikely to do so for two key reasons: our own emotional evolution and a lack of reciprocity.

First, as adults, we evolve through life as we age, and our needs are constantly changing to match our maturity. By the time we are 40, for example, we are naturally a different person from the one we were at 25. Our aspirations, needs and desires, and especially how we perceive ourself, would have changed, some in subtle gradual ways, others more dramatically. It means that the love we feel for someone at 25, based on who we were then, will not necessarily last until 40 or beyond, unless that partner has evolved in the same direction with us and we have the same feelings, or more, of appreciation and value towards them.

The second major reason for love failing to stay the course is a lack of give and take - reciprocity - in the relationship. Like anything else, love has to be nurtured and sustained. However, within a few years of the partnership, it is likely that the couple will begin to get very comfortable with one another and start taking each other for granted. In short, they stop making the effort to affirm and reinforce each other in loving ways. The love between them either becomes static or goes altogether because of increasing resentment and failed expectations.

Every person who meets someone on a date and falls in love with them has the potential of enjoying everlasting love if the following are in place:
a. If they love unconditionally;
b. If they affirm their partner regularly;
c. If they demonstrate that love at every opportunity;
d. If they have the confidence to know what they both want in the relationship and mutually agree to it.

However, all those things seldom happen in most relationships because of our emotional evolution which changes the way we view life. It means that the person we have expressed undying love for at 25, when we are inexperienced and just finding our way, is seldom likely to be the one we find attractive when we have reached a more experienced 45 years, when our expectations are different, our experience has taught us otherwise and our values and attitude to life have changed remarkably.

In the end it is our basic need for change as we develop that prevents us loving anyone forever. No matter how wonderful the person, after a good while with them, we really just want to try something new - a natural thing to do in order to encourage our need for ongoing stimulation

Three special words, I LOVE YOU, but when should we say them?


The most beautiful words we can say to anyone we care about are, "I love you". They are the greatest form of affirmation we have in our language, and the most enriching endearment to someone we care about. Yet, because of many needless fears around their effect, both for sayer and recipient, many people are scared to use them.

To many insecure people who fear commitment, "I love you" betrays deeply held emotions, often changes expectations and lifts the lid on the desire to be expressive without painful consequences. Many people hold back, often waiting for the other person to 'say it first'. He/She doesn't oblige, because they too do not wish to be first to commit themself in this passionate, vulnerable way, to reveal their innermost thoughts. And so the two people play a continued game of guesswork between them, while giving false messages of their love and robbing themselves of the affirmation and reinforcement they both seek.

"I love you" carries a powerful meaning of value with it and many people believe that, unless the love lasts forever, they shouldn't say them. Yet feelings should not be stifled because they represent how we feel AT THAT TIME. Not tomorrow, or the day after that. Moreover, once we proclaim our love, we allow many other positive things to happen. First, we express a natural joy which is good for both parties, we reveal the value of the other person to us and our desire for them, we commit ourself to them for as long as that love lasts, we make the other person feel significant, we feel fantastic for it and we are likely to elicit a reciprocal reply from the one we love. We also engender a greater feeling of security as those words remove the element of doubt and place the relationship on a surer footing. Most important, we allow love into our life and the opportunity for an entirely different experience.

Many people also erroneously believe that they have to reach a certain point in their relationship before they tell their partners, "I love you". That approach merely seeks to control life, not to let it unfold in its own way and surprise them. You should not be hesitant to say those beautiful words because they are likely to attract even more love to you, especially if your date or partner is in a receptive mode for it. Most important, you should say them when you FEEL like it. The moment your emotions tell you that you really love and care for someone, tell them "I love you" and mean it. The reaction could be amazing. By practising those words freely, you soon learn when they feel right for the moment.

So what if your partner does not reciprocate at all? That's for another article. But, briefly, it means they may not be right for you or are very insecure themselves and perhaps need more time. However, once they hear those words, they are free to react how they wish, as long as you accept that they might be rejected. But it is not about the other person. It is about YOU and your emotions, so do not stifle your honest feelings. Otherwise you will gradually kill your love, while you live in denial, which gets you nowhere and keeps you feeling insecure.

Don't hesitate in expressing your emotions. You do not know what remarkable effect a few simple, meaningful words could have on someone else and their sense of worth. After all, it's not the words "I love you" which cause problems between couples. It's something else entirely that happens after they are uttered and which changes the dynamics between the couple forever. But I will reveal that later!

Is Love Ever Enough?


We tend to have a rosy vision of love coupled with unrealistic expectations of the relationship which it creates. Some of us believe that love is enough to see us through the bad times and that, if people love us, they'll do anything to make us happy. Others subscribe to the notion that as long as they do their 'little bit' in the partnership, everything will be fine. Finally, everyone likes to believe that their partners will change to suit them. But, boy, are we all in for a surprise?

Taking each of these beliefs in turn, love is certainly not enough on any level. It isn't enough to hold two people together, because they need to be able to communicate with, and understand, each other and also solve problems together. The very next day after their honeymoon, they will have to find out how to share the same house, the same room, the same bed, the same money and the same ideals.

In addition, they now have new friends and relatives to contend with. It's no longer the carefree dating scene the two parties enjoyed before their wedding. They don't go to their respective homes at the end of the day, or at the weekends. They are at home together, for keeps. There is no escaping that fact if they are truly committed to the relationship. Those charming characteristics they like about their partners, and the irritating ones they loathe, are now with them all the time. There will even be times when they forget that they love their partner! But, that's the situation any new relationship creates and its success depends on how it is dealt with.

The Need to Adapt and Change
Closeness with someone else might bring intimacy, but it also brings the need to adapt and change. However, we can tolerate only so much change without being affected or feeling resentful, especially when we are happy with ourselves and enjoy doing our own thing. Getting married or going into a relationship is thus a major change in our life. The rules of behaviour are different and, unlike being at home with parents, we can no longer insulate ourselves from any ensuing problems. However, we can prevent their damage by creating safer, more uplifting environments because we are now in charge of our life.

The next fallacy is that if someone loves you they should fulfil everything you desire. Such a statement not only makes your love conditional upon the other person doing what you ask as 'proof' of their love, but it is always a warning sign for the dynamics of the partnership as it does say a lot about the person making it. What you are actually saying is, I don't trust your love, so you need to prove it to me in tangible ways, or Your feelings, wants and needs do not count. Mine have priority. It reflects an unreasonable expectation usually motivated by a lack of care for the partner or, more likely, a lack of self-esteem. It is not unreasonable to have expectations of your partner, but what they are and how you voice them are very important. Unfulfilled expectations are the biggest killers in relationships. Inclusive statements which refer to both parties are the best.

For example, something like, If our love is to remain strong, we have to learn to respect each other's viewpoint. This statement shows that you are actually owning your share of the relationship. You are not just focusing on the other person's behaviour. The 'we' word is used far more than 'me', 'myself' and 'I'. In this way couples create the opportunity to learn and grow. Mutual expectations and boundaries, which are consistent with shared values and beliefs, are essential to a healthy relationship.