Sadly, the models we have for romantic partnerships, in most cultures, involve demonstrating a form of control and domination as “love”.
Some of you may read this title and think, “Yeah, I should be able to be free to do anything I want, and to not be controlled or dominated. She’s right!”
For those of you thinking this, I want you to begin to address your own issues around domination and control.
As, for many of us, we learn that to “be in love” means to keep the partners attention upon us, and to make sure they do what we need in order to feel secure, good, and even blissful. We learn that if we feel good in the relationship and are getting what we want from the other, this is a sign we are in love. We learn that if we have enough in common, we are in love.
What if I told you that many of the above “love” scenarios are actually more about control and power/domination?
As, if we are the type that obsessively pursues, or the type that withdraws, this is the act of attempting to have control over the other, and in a way is an act of domination?
And, if we aim to get what we want from the other through coaching them, criticizing them, giving “constructive feedback”, and we aim to feel as though we couldn’t want for more, and that this is what will make us happy, that perhaps this is also about control, rather than love?
And also, if we are on an endless pursuit of someone who is extremely similar to us, and thus we can be in “love” through this “compatibility”, perhaps this is another form of control?
You may be asking yourself, how any of what I have mentioned is NOT love, and how any relationship could exist without any elements of domination and control.
Most relationships exist with some form of domination or control that occurs when partners feel most stressed, insecure, or triggered. However, when a relationship’s foundation is based on the above behaviors and values being normalized, it is important to understand that your relationship is likely not based around love, but instead domination and/or control.
This makes sense, as many of us learned that the vulnerability it requires to actually be in deep intimacy and love with someone, is too scary or shameful, and thus spend most of our time trying to guard against feeling this way, through instead being in control of the self, the environment, the relationship, and/or the other. In this vein, we create the semblance of a relationship that will keep the other at just the right distance and position, as a method to avoid our own issues, fear, and shame, and thus perpetuate the desire and action of domination and/or control.
What allows for true love to be expressed is forming a relationship where there is consent, accountability, authenticity, mutual acknowledgment of each person’s dependence and autonomy, respect for each person’s differences, the ability to have and acknowledge conflict, while being respectful and empathetic through the resolution process, and the ability to face the unknown in one’s own life and within the relationship together (without creating a a false structure to avoid the unknown, or without manipulating the relationship or the other to create an outcome that helps one avoid the unknown).
So, ask yourself if you have ever allowed true intimacy to be created through a mutually authentic, accountable, and dynamic relationship, that might actually create and sustain love. And if you haven’t done this, perhaps ask yourself why you need so dominate or control your self or the other.
To see a video I made sharing a quick dating tip that will help you weed out toxic people, go to the link below: