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What Makes Love Last?

Rinatta Paries

When singles dream about being in a relationship, they seldom dream of getting together with a partner for a few months or years, only to break up and go on to find another partner. Most singles dream of meeting the one person with whom they can be in a relationship for a lifetime.

Those of us in relationships, even in relationships that may be experiencing turbulence, hope we can be in our relationship for a lifetime as well. We hope we can find a way to work out our difficulties and make our love last.

People want and crave lifetime partnerships, but with one caveat -- they want to be happy with the relationship.

Yet many of us have the same images stuck in our heads of what lifetime relationships are really like -- distant, passionless couples who live separate lives under the same roof.

These two images are at odds -- what we think we can get and yet what we hope for when we embark on the journey of love. Could there be a way to have what we want, a lifetime of love?

I believe there is a way to have love and passion that lasts a lifetime, but the road there is not easy and requires courage and perseverance. Actually, the road to a lifetime of love requires many things and many ways of being that are extraordinary. Let me tell you about them.

In Order to Have Lasting Love You Must...

1. Reframe how you look at relationships
Most of us think a relationship is ok when it is working and we are happy. Once the relationship encounters difficulties, however, we think we are in the wrong relationship. The truth is that sometimes insurmountable difficulties do mean we are in the wrong relationship. But relationship difficulties are a normal part of being in a relationship. In fact, when you begin to have a hard time some of the time, you know your relationship is reaching a deeper level.

2. Learn to speak up
We are not trained to speak up when our feelings are hurt, when we are angry or when we don't like what's going on. We are trained to look the other way, to suppress our feelings, to let the situation blow over. Yet if we don't speak up when our feelings arise, the feelings will fester inside and cause resentments. These resentments in turn will cause us to distance and shut out our partner. There is no way around this -- you must deal with your feelings, no matter how subtle, or they will eat away at the relationship.

3. Learn to be your own person
Many people surrender who they are when they enter a relationship. They surrender their hobbies, friends, wants, needs, sometimes thoughts, likes, and dislikes. The idea is that the more like their partner they become, the more harmony there will be in the relationship and this will make love last. Nothing can be further from the truth. Either you maintain and enhance who you are, or the relationship will get stale, boring, and angry.

4. Learn to grow and develop willingly, even eagerly
A relationship must be a dynamic entity in order to stay viable. This means the two partners need to grow and develop, growing their capacity to deal with more emotions, to deal with deeper conversations, to look inside themselves more effectively, etc. This is the one key behavior, or set of behaviors, that will absolutely keep your relationship alive and happy.

5. Learn how to create good feelings
We often think that good feelings in the relationship are something that happens naturally if the relationship is working. This is true some of the time. At other times, the way to deal with relationship difficulties is to bring generosity, love, compassion, trust, and understanding to bare on what's happening between the two people. This is not the same as swallowing your feelings or pretending they are not there. The process is one of feeling your feelings, then rising up above them to also feel for your partner. This creates a connection instead of distance and keeps the relationship growing, rather than falling apart.

6. Learn how to maintain and deepen passion
Passion is both a reflection of how well the relationship is doing, as well as the glue that keeps the two people together. Without passion, a relationship is guaranteed to disintegrate. How do you deepen passion? Keeping things lively and interesting, innovation is certainly one way. Romance is another. Generosity toward your partner in all aspects of life is yet another. One important way to keep passion alive is to reveal rather than hide what is inside of you to your partner, both in and out of the bedroom.

7. Learn to take care of your own needs
There will be times in any relationship when your partner will either be unwilling or unable to take care of your needs -- emotional, physical, etc. Your choices will be:
* To suffer about it and make your partner suffer for that later
* To get your needs met in a way that causes damage to your relationship, such as an affair
* To find a way to temporarily take care of your wants or needs, and/or
* To ask others to help with your needs in a healthy way

I am sure you can tell which of the choices above will promote the health and well being of your relationship, and which choices will help it disintegrate.

8. Learn to deal with emotional pain and discomfort
Emotional pain and discomfort is par for the course of a relationship. To identify whether the pain is good and productive, simply ask yourself if it's a part of your growth. For example, the pain felt from having to confront a part of yourself you don't like is good. Pain from being beaten up by your partner is bad. The first must be embraced and experienced. The second must be handled and the situation remedied immediately.

9. Learn to share what's inside of you
Many of us hide what's inside of us for fear of becoming vulnerable. But this is exactly the way to make love last -- to become increasingly vulnerable with our partners, increasingly seen by our partners. Isn't that what you really want -- to be seen, truly seen and loved? This is not possible unless you reveal yourself.

Even if you are not completely embraced and loved for what you reveal, it is better to keep delving deeply into yourself and to be known as much as possible. Depth guarantees connection and longevity of the relationship.

10. Learn to be courageous
It takes courage to speak your mind. It takes courage to keep revealing yourself. It takes courage to take risks and explore new parts of yourself, not knowing how your partner will react. It takes courage to keep looking inside and growing. It takes courage to do every single thing listed above. These maybe the most courageous acts you will be asked to take in your lifetime. Yet each one is necessary if you are to have the love you desire.

Your Relationship Coach,
Rinatta Paries

(c) Rinatta Paries, 1998-2005.

Forget everything you know about love, dating, and relationships. Get inside advice and tips for finding true love, falling in love the right way and staying together happily. Read Love Coach Rinatta Paries' www.LoveCoachBlog.com to learn how to get and keep true love in.

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