Myth #4 -We fall in and out of love. To watch movies or read romance novels, one would believe that love is something that happens to us, not something we engage in. In film, love strikes you and leaves you powerless, lovelorn, and driven by a power outside your control. Classic fairy tales teach women to wait and man will come and sweep her off her feet. These myths prevent people from accepting personal responsibility for what they decide and do when they feel the initial infatuation. The truth is that love is something that people create and grow. During the initial attraction, or deceivingly put “falling in love”, our brains produce chemicals that feel good and make us want to continue to get to know our new love interest. But after that initial phase of infatuation, the chemicals stop and to love becomes a choice and requires effort. This is where we choose to grow with our partner and develop a love together. If love dies, it is because of neglect or failure to take care of the love. If we are passive and believe that love is something that happens to us or that we fall into, not that we create and maintain, love will surely die. Love is something we choose to share, and choose to receive, and choose to maintain.
Myth # 5-Love is Exclusive. Some people believe that there is only so much room in their heart for a limited supply of love. Some people believe that you can only love one person, and that there is only one person in the world for them. That is not the case. Love is expansive; it grows and replenishes itself as it is given. When we are open to loving others, we can love our partner even more deeply. To be clear, while Eros (romantic love) is usually between two people, Philia (friendship and community love) is healthy while feeling romantically in love. (for more on types of love, see our blog http://www.imaginehopecounseling.com/wmblog/?m=201202&paged=2). We can love our friends and community members and not take away from the love we have for our romantic partners.
Sometimes when two people are in love, one partner wants the other to only be with him or her. S/he becomes jealous when his/her partner has friends or especially friends of the opposite sex. The partner may wonder why the other has to have other friends that they are not giving enough. But humans are creatures of community and are able to love others and still have enough romantic love left for a partner. Jealousy is not love- it is fear. On the other side, lack of jealousy is not indifference. Giving of Philia love does not take away from Eros love. There is room in our hearts for lots of love!
Please follow along the rest of the week as Natalie and Joleen debunk more myths about love. As always, thanks for stopping by!
*Source: “I Never Knew I Had A Choice” by Gerald Corey
Written by Alexa Griffith, LMHC, LCAC, NCC, RPT
Alexa Griffith, LMHC, LCAC, NCC, RPT is a licensed therapist and Registered Play Therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Alexa enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, couples and relationship counseling. Alexa also does play therapy, family counseling, child counseling, and adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area, including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Zionsville, and Westfield