Have you ever noticed how with certain couples love and affection flow so naturally? Indeed, almost effortlessly. There is a good reason for this. These couples have learned to stop trying to control one another—and their relationship—and that leads to greater intimacy and a more vibrant love flow.
Conversely, you may have noticed that when couples press or “search” for love too intensely, they just can’t seem to find it. Indeed, in spite of (and usually because of) their best efforts they often push love away. There is a good reason for this as well: Love control obstructs the romantic flow. It forces the action, rather than allowing the love currents to unfold naturally so that people can relax and just be themselves—and offer their love and kindness without pressure or expectations.
Intimate relations are fertile grounds for controlling actions. Love control runs the gamut from unsolicited advice and opinions, to criticism and judgment, to unreasonable demands and expectations. When we behave in this way with our partners, our actions invariably breed resentment and diminish the love glow. People don’t like being told what to do or how to be in matters of the heart. Control stops the give-and-take of a relationship to unfold in its own time.
Many of us have almost no awareness of how often we control and how many ways we try to do it—particularly in love and romance. Our very intensity and insecurity obscures awareness. For example, we are controlling when we repeat a suggestion or express our views more than once, when we prod and cajole, when we play the victim or martyr, and when we cry to churn a lover’s heart.
Are You a Love Controller?
So, let’s find out if you are a love controller. Ask yourself the following:
*Do I usually feel I know what’s best for my partner?
*Am I often impatient with her?
*Do I try to solve his problems all the time?
*Am I quick to point out my partner’s shortcomings?
“Yes” answers to these questions indicate you are trying to control the relationship.
Losing Love Control
If you wish to improve your love flow, you must be willing to give up trying to control your intimate relationships. Here are three effective decontrol tools that will help you do that.
1. Accept Your Loved One. Letting go love control begins by accepting your partner for whom, what, and how he or she is, rather than trying to “mold” him (or her) to suit your perceived needs. True acceptance removes the need to change or control another. The simple truth of the matter is that you are essentially powerless over changing traits in another that you dislike, and trying to do so only makes things worse. However, this does not mean that you have to like or condone these traits, but simply that you need to accept their “reality”.
Accepting the reality allows you to recognize the choices and options that you do have, even under very trying circumstances. Further, you are much better served by focusing on what you do have control over: yourself and your role in the relationship. For example, you have the power to reduce your expectations of your partner, to improve your own attitude–particularly to be more humble and not always assume your way is the “right” or “only” way—and to improve your own shortcomings. If you do these things, your love bond will improve exponentially.
2. Moderate Your Expectations. Try not to expect too much of or from your partner. High expectations fuel controlling actions and lead to disappointment and resentment by both parties. For example, don’t expect him (or her )to be more affectionate or say “loving” things when he or she is uncomfortable doing so. Similarly, do not expect too much of yourself. When you do, you will likely press to hard to make things “better” and that usually results in unhealthly enabling actions. To reduce love and relationship expectations, it is helpful to ask yourself whether your perceived need or desire is that important in the overall scheme of things. Most of the time it is not.
3. Address Your Love Fears. Fear is the primary catalyst of controlling conduct—and no less so in intimate relationships. It may be fear of not finding (or keeping) someone, not being attractive or “good” enough—or the fear of being alone. Not only is the “real” person covered by this blanket of fear and thus not seen for whom he or she is, but it also induces assertive controlling actions such as pressuring and manipulating, as well as passive ones such as withdrawal and withholding love.
It is thus important that you try to defuse your love fears as much and as soon as you can. In simple terms, this means you need to first identify and be clear about your fears, and then address and process them. For short, I call this process “face and embrace”. For instance, if you constantly get upset (and snippy) at your husband’s (or wife’s) constantly running around until he’s exhausted, examine the reason why. Is it your fear that he will be mean and irritable when he’s tired? If so, then share those concerns with him. If he is not responsive to your concerns, then detach from him at such times by physically removing yourself, even if that means getting out of the house for a while. In other words, focus on taking care of your own needs. Once you realize that you have “options”, your fears will quickly diminish.
Practicing these “de-control” tools will free the love currents in your life. They are not easy, to be sure, but you will find that even a little progress will stimulate the romantic flow!