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Love Might Not Be Forever: Embracing Reality and Cherishing Connection

Forever Love

“Goodbyes are only for those who love with their eyes. Because for those who love with heart and soul, there is no such thing as separation.” — Rumi

As I read this quote, I imagine Rumi sitting on the banks of the Black Sea, the golden sunlight casting a gentle glow on the water's surface. He sits quietly, lost in memories of his beloved Layla. He recalls her laughter, a pure and joyous sound that could brighten the darkest days. He remembers how her presence filled a room with warmth and the delicate fragrance that lingered long after she left. Rumi believed in the forever of love, even in death. He knew that the connection of heart and soul transcended the physical realm, making separation an illusion.

This belief resonates deeply with me. When I marry couples, I enjoy witnessing their burning desire most as they vow, "Forever till death do us part." We all want it; we all promise it.

But as a therapist who witnesses these marriages, I also witness heartbreak and breakup. I am a witness to the many Forever Stories that end. Therefore, my reality and belief are that although we all want it and promise it, very few will achieve it.

The Older Generation's Perspective

It's common to hear older generations criticise younger ones for their high breakup and divorce rates. They are often accused of being quitters, unable to endure tough times. There is some truth to this observation. The younger generation does indeed struggle with the concept of enduring hardship; they prefer fast and easy solutions and are quick to move on when things get tough.

The Search for Authentic Connection

However, there's another perspective worth considering. While the younger generation might seem like quitters, they are also pioneers in the search for authentic connections. They are less willing to stay in unfulfilling jobs, places, or relationships out of loyalty. Instead, they remind us of our deep longing to feel alive and connected. Their higher breakup and divorce rates could be attributed to their unwillingness to settle for superficial connections or lack of depth in their relationships.

Breakups, then, are not about giving up but about seeking more meaningful connections. This realisation leads us to the thought that being a "forever couple" who looks for authentic connection needs to be actively cultivated.

Cultivating the Forever Couple

Being the "Forever Couple" means recognising that lasting love requires ongoing effort and commitment. Here are some critical factors for cultivating a relationship that can stand the test of time:

1. Promising Forever Isn’t Enough

A promise to love someone forever must be backed by skills, behaviours, and a way of living that supports this commitment. Forever isn't guaranteed; it’s cultivated through continuous effort.

2. Mutual Accountability

Both partners must be accountable, self-reflective, and committed to personal and relational growth. If only one partner is committed, the relationship can become abusive or toxic.

3. Creating Safety

A "forever couple" needs a safe environment. Infidelity, physical or emotional abuse, addiction, and constant exit threats undermine this safety, leading to emotional and psychological instability and, eventually, the breakdown of the relationship.

4. Evolving Together

Couples must keep reconnecting with each evolving version of themselves. Falling in love at every new stage of life is crucial. Otherwise, individuals change and struggle to reconnect with each other.

A Story of Evolving Needs

Consider this story: two people meet in a post-rehab setting, finding acceptance in each other after being rejected by the world. They grow older and have kids, and one partner starts studying, working, and achieving while the other remains stuck. As the working partner reconnects with their sense of personal competency and self-worth, they need their partner to see them in their new competency, dream new dreams of success, happiness, and possibility, and join them in this journey. Meanwhile, the other partner, still stuck in feelings of worthlessness and past trauma, looks to their partner for rescue, affirmation, and support in their helplessness. For them, the relationship is about being rescued. At this point, the first marriage is effectively over, as their agendas and needs have drastically changed. The question then becomes: can they 'rechoose', redesign, or fall in love again to become the "forever couple"?

This story highlights the importance of evolving together and continually reconnecting with each other’s changing needs and desires.

No Judgement, Just Inspiration

We should refrain from judging couples who realise that their love might not be forever. Instead, we should inspire them to understand that being a "forever couple" is not a given but something that needs to be actively cultivated. Love is fragile and requires our best intentions and efforts. Our partners do not belong to us forever; the fact that they chose us at a certain time is a gift that should be cherished.

Final Thoughts

Love is a beautiful, complex, and sometimes fragile bond. While I hope that love can be forever, it’s essential to recognise that it might not be for everyone. By understanding this, we can approach our relationships with a deeper sense of gratitude and commitment, always striving to nurture and cherish the love we have.

Cultivate connection for forever love

Looking for a way to ease into the habit of cultivating your connection? I have created an online course 'The Art of Loving' specifically for this purpose - a couples resource packed with video sessions, practical exercises and guidelines to help you cultivate your connection, TOGETHER. One of the traits of great relationships is continuously learning. Have a look, follow this link, book a 'learning date' with your partner to start your first session today.

The Art of Loving

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