I was once in a very toxic relationship, not because of my partner, but because of me. I was the toxic and dangerous one, constantly polluting and poisoning all that was good between us. I was a control freak, always paranoid that he was not loyal and I had to have the last say in everything, be it an argument or a random philosophical discussion.
Obviously things ended, as he could no longer take my selfishness. When I look back on things, he must have really loved me to put up with my crap for so long. He was right in leaving, as no person should have to subject themselves to the hurt and pain inflicted on them by their partner.
His leaving sliced my heart in two, and it took me the longest time to understand why he left. At first, I blamed him for not being strong enough, then one day I had an epiphany and realized that it was I who was not strong enough to be a good person.
The lesson I took away from that tumultuous relationship was that I had to love more and hurt less. Things had to stop being all about me because in the end, a relationship is about two people being happy together.
[Read: 12 clear signs you’re the selfish one in the relationship]
How to love more and hurt less in love
At the end of the day, loving more and hurting less entails you being less selfish and apathetic when it comes to your partner’s feelings. Always remember that it takes two to clap and neither of you will ever be happy if you keep taking and not giving in return.
Your partner will be drained from all the one-sided effort being put into making the relationship work, so do not be surprised if you find yourself alone one day.
The more effort you put into making your partner happy without compromising the two of you, the more likely your partner will do the same in return. This will lead to a happier and more beneficial relationship for both of you. The key is to embracing the philosophy that calls for loving more and hurting less. Here are some things that you can embrace and practice once you decide to make a change for the better. [Read: How to prove that you truly love someone the right way]
#1 Give up control. In your attempt to make your relationship work, you may cling to your spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend without even realizing it. The need to control your loved one is a natural response when trying to steer the relationship somewhere you want it to go. Whether it is making it through a difficult financial period together, or learning to forgive each other for the all the nasty fights in the past, trying to control a relationship is normal.
You may have the best intentions in mind, but you have to remember that your attempts to control your loved one is hurting them more than anything else. Love cannot be possessed and it is ridiculous to think that you can own someone’s love. Stop trying to hurt your partner by controlling the flow of the relationship. [Read: 18 relationship turn offs that can ruin your romance!]
#2 Be mindful. You have to always be mindful of your partner’s feelings. You may think that after years together you know how your spouse behaves, but always remember that he or she is a separate being with personal thoughts and feelings. They are not a reflection of you.
Do not assume that you know what your partner wants just because you have been together for a long time. Your loved one is entitled to his or her own opinions, so please be mindful of the things you say and the decisions you make. [Read: 30 naughty questions for couples to keep the spark alive in the relationship]
#3 Have an open mind. If you want someone who thinks and behaves exactly as you do, you might as well date yourself. The whole purpose of being in a serious relationship with someone is to fill in the missing pieces and complete yourself. Although there is a high probability that your loved one shares the same goals and outlook on life as you, he or she should also have the freedom to have different opinions, beliefs and viewpoints.
Stop trying to change who they are and accept that they may think differently than you. Whether it is something major like a religious belief, or something small like wanting the living room to be painted eggshell yellow instead of beige, have an open mind and respect your differences, not attack them.
#4 Offer support. Whether it is something life changing like your husband wanting to give up his high powered banking position to be a scuba diving instructor, or something small like accompanying your wife to run errands after work even though both of you are exhausted, offering your partner support is one of the greatest ways of loving more and hurting less.
When you can selflessly prove that you care about someone else’s happiness and peace of mind more than your own, you will find that good things will come back to you and you will be happy.
#5 Say or do something nice daily. You should make an effort to say something nice and appreciative to your partner every day. Even better, couple your sweet words with actions. Whether it is sincerely telling your husband that you love him and appreciate all that he does for the family, or surprising your wife with a homemade chicken pot pie, saying something nice and proving that you mean it is the perfect way of loving more and hurting less.
Always remember that if you can appreciate the gesture, your partner probably will do too. Besides, who can ever get mad at you for serving them breakfast in bed or making an effort to change the sheets without being asked to? [Read: 25 of the sweetest romantic gestures to prove your love]
#6 Listen, don’t act. Sometimes, all it takes to love more is to listen and not react negatively. Instead of throwing a tantrum and blaming your girlfriend for screwing up the dinner reservations, just accept that a mistake was made and get over it. Also, instead of hunting down the colleague who backstabbed your husband at work, just listen to what your husband has to say and offer him moral support in whatever he decides to do next.
You have to give your spouse the freedom to make their own decisions and fix their own mistakes. Be as understanding as you can be by offering them a shoulder to cry on and two ears to listen. Sometimes, the best thing that you can do is to not do anything at all.
#7 Make room for change. Do not be afraid of change. As time goes by, we all grow in ways that we never imagined. The discovery of new experiences is a normal part of being human. Never blame your partner for wanting to do something different. Sure, it may be difficult to adjust to a new routine, but sometimes, change may be just what the doctor ordered. At the very least, you can say that you supported your partner’s decision.
However, only make positive changes. For example, it is fine if your spouse wants a fresh career start and is thinking about moving to a new city. There is nothing wrong with supporting each other in that sense. However, think twice about giving in to your partner if they want to practice an open relationship and sleep around. Think about whether it is something that you can stomach in the long term, if not, sit your partner down and calmly talk about it. [Read: 25 conversations all happy couples talk about to understand each other better]
#8 Be vulnerable. Get off your high horse and stop the incessant need to be right all the time. There is a reason why some couples just cannot make things work. It is because both parties refuse to give in as they think it is a sign of weakness.
Sometimes, you just have to be the bigger person in an argument. There is nothing wrong with showing your vulnerability and admitting that you are wrong. It proves that you are human and contrary to what you may believe, your partner will love you more than ever before. [Read: 17 aww-so-sweet ways to genuinely say you’re sorry]
#9 Share more. Another way to love more and hurt less is to communicate freely. Do not keep things from your partner. Rather, share your hopes, dreams and faults with them, no matter how unbelievable it may seem. When you open up the channels of communication, you will encourage your partner to do the same. This will result in an open and honest relationship, unmarred by lies and exaggerations. Just be the best version of yourself and everything will fall into place.
#10 Forgive. People make mistakes and your partner is no exception. You have to learn to let go of pent up anger and forgive your spouse. Whether it is something silly like not giving him hell for forgetting to pick up eggs on his way home, or something more serious like learning to forgive her for sleeping with her ex, forgiveness is the key to a happy relationship.
If you find that you cannot forgive your partner for wronging you, then you have to make the decision to leave because at the end of the day, you will both be unhappy. However, do not let your unhappiness stop you from trying as hard as you can to make things right. [Read: 8 pillow talk conversations that’ll definitely bring both of you much closer!]
Being in a relationship is a learning experience and if you have the misfortune of not being able to make it work, look at it as a lesson learned. In the end, loving more and hurting less is not that difficult to do.
Always remember to put your loved one first, and to only get upset after you have put yourself in their shoes. Sometimes, things just happen for no reason and you have to rise above it all to maintain a happy and healthy relationship.
[Read: The 12 real signs of true love in a relationship]
Learning to love more and hurt less in love isn’t about keeping count of who’s winning or who’s at a bigger advantage, it’s about learning to see your relationship from your lover’s eyes, and letting them know that you still care.
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