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Love Lesson: What’s Your Love Attitude?

When it comes to love, dating and relationships there is no such thing as too much information. Well, let’s be clear. We need more helpful information on having healthy, mutually-loving relationships, healing our own insecurities and keeping it fun and passionate.

Every once in a while, in the sea of relationship books, we find one with a groundbreaking new theory. For example, “The Five Love Languages” by Gary D. Chapman changed the way we think about relationships by proposing that each and every one of us has a way we receive and give love, and that we need to speak the same love lingo with our partners to be aligned. “Why Love Succeeds or Fails” by Wendy Brown is another groundbreaking book on the keeping your love life alive.

The book declares that the most important question we can ask is, “What do you think love is?” It’s such a simple question, but one that we rarely ask upfront. It’s usually not until a relationship doesn’t work out that we realize that we had different ideas from our sweetie about what love is – or isn’t. Wendy’s research found that most people just assume that the way they see love is the only way to see love and that’s obviously not the case.

Wendy Brown is an individual and couples psychotherapist who has been in practice for about thirty years. As you can imagine, she’s seen practically everything when it comes to making up, breaking up and keeping it sexy. Wendy is in private practice in Toronto and Ontario, Canada and she wrote “Why Love Succeeds or Fails” as a love life reference book.

Wendy found that there are four different attitudes or general definitions of love that we each have. Knowing yours and your partners can save your relationship.

Wendy, although it’s a short read, your book is for the person who wants deep answers and meaningful relationship solutions. What are the four attitudes to love?

I have the unique opportunity to ask many people what they think love is. What I found is that love isn’t just one thing to everybody. I found that I needed four pieces of paper to write down different definitions of love.

  • The first one I found is that love is a gripping drama to some people. For them, they’re very serious and love needs to have ups and downs; it can even be a bit wild. That’s what it is for them; very intense and serious.
  • Then I found for other people love is a passionate adventure. It’s something that makes them feel strong and they have a lot of dignity and self-respect.
  • For others love is a sensible compromise. This is the type of love that makes you feel like you’re sitting in front of a fireplace with a cup of hot cocoa. It’s warm and supportive.
  • Lastly, love is a joyful diversion. These are people who get really happy and thrilled that they’re in love. They feel young, like life is spring-time all the time.

Ok, so love is either a passionate adventure, gripping drama, joyful diversion or sensible compromise. Interesting. How do we use this information?

Recognizing that it’s actually the different attitudes to love kind of takes the pressure off of the couple because they’re not thinking that they’re having conflict as much as they’re realizing that they just have different viewpoints.

What I recommend very strongly to people – and I can’t stress this enough – is be smart about your love relationships. People tend to make the assumption that love is forever. If it’s true love, it will be forever. If it’s not true love, then there’s something wrong and they should just let it go or let it be a problem or try to work at it but it’s going to be really hard. Then take a look at where you have differences and try to bridge them. One of the things you want to avoid is getting into conflicts that make you feel detached and that you have to defend yourself.

What I see in couples that are in trouble is that they stay the same that it’s remarkable. They’re sitting there having a conflict and each one of them will say the exact same thing in the same words over and over again – louder, quieter, etc. Try not to do that. Try to look at it as a difference that can be resolved.

What love attitudes just clash?

What I find is that they can all work together or they cannot work together, depending on how much love the two people have. What is remarkable is that if people love each other a lot, they can have differences and they will find a way to make it work.

For example, if you have two gripping dramatists these are people who are so intense. They are going through all kinds of angst – not feeling lovable and being afraid of being degraded and worrying ahead of time that something is going to go wrong. You can have these two and everything is a problem. But you can also have it where it’s just lovely. They look at each other and understand that they experience the same thing. There’s a lot of mirroring going on. Even though on paper it looks like it’s going to be quite volatile and upsetting, it can have a flow to it.

I find that the two ingredients that are necessary are how much love you have and then how wise and careful you are in dealing with the relationship as it goes forward. I believe any relationship can work.

My main thing is that I don’t think it’s helpful for people to think of love as magic or something that only certain people have. I think that if you take a look in your world, you’re going to find that there are people that you have some chemistry for. You select a desirable person and then think to yourself: how can you proceed in this relationship in a way that you’re at peace with so that no matter what happens, you’re good and you’re giving it the best chance to go forward. I really encourage people to think and try to be wise about love.

Catch up on Abiola’s Love Class

 Passionate Living Coach Abiola Abrams gives extraordinary women inspiring advice on healthy relationships, self-esteem and getting the love we deserve. You’ve seen her love interventions in magazines from Essence to JET and on shows from MTV’s “Made” to the CW Network’s “Bill Cunningham Show.” Find love class worksheets, advice videos, coaching, and more at Abiola’s Love University. Her upcoming advice guide is named “The Official Bombshell Handbook of Self-Love.” Abiola is also the creator of the “Love Body Spirit Detox” Program. Tweet @abiolaTV or #loveclass.

Abiola’s Love School is a weekly empowered Love Lesson, inspirational class and juicy conversation about love, relationships, dating, sex, commitment and self-worth. Let’s move beyond the surface to experience the true love and intimacy we deserve.

Your Attitude: Why Love Succeeds Or Fails

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