4 Lessons in Love

Jun 26, 2023
Lessons in Love

Lesson in Love No 1.

Admire and respect your partner. 


When you realise that admiration has gone, it’s hard to get it back.   It’s important that the foundation of a relationship is full of admiration and respect.    You respect their decisions, you trust their decisions, you believe in them.   You admire certain qualities, or the way they speak about things they are interested in and you respect their values.   The thing is, people change, situations change and with that perhaps your fondness, your respect, your admiration has over time become less and less.   


For example - when you met your partner, they were hard working & ambitious which was something you really admired.   Then ten years later, they no longer are interested in being ambitious, they are more interested in feeling free and spending time with friends.   They may even have a total career change and work part-time.   This makes you unsure of who they are and what they want to achieve.  However, can your admiration for them change in a positive way?   Can you admire the fact that they want to spend more time with people, that they want to feel more connected, that they are brave enough to go against the grain and have a different life?   Admiration can pivot.   A new version of the relationship can develop.   But we have to fundamentally have a good level of respect, fondness and even feel inspired by our partner for things to feel good and healthy within a relationship. 


Something to note - you have to also admire and respect yourself in order to be able to truly admire and respect your partner.   If you judge yourself a lot, if your inner critic is running wild a lot of the time, if your mental health is suffering, if you are always down on yourself for not being good enough, if you self-esteem is low, if you are not feeling confident… then the likelihood is, this is the energy you will be projecting onto your partner.   To work on a relationship is to work on your own personal growth.   


As Mark Manson writes: “As well as respecting your partner, you must also respect yourself (just as your partner must also respect themselves). Because without that self-respect, you will not feel worthy of the respect afforded by your partner—you will be unwilling to accept it and you will find ways to undermine it. You will constantly feel the need to compensate and prove yourself worthy of love, which can only backfire.” 


Lesson in Love No 2.

Communicate to your partner, not behind their back. 


One thing that I believe is really important within a relationship is that you openly tell your partner what’s bothering you, do not do it behind their back.   It’s incredible really how many people will complain about their partners to other people without actually confronting the issue at home.   To do this takes a significant level of vulnerability.   To be able to share and express feelings, to be courageous enough to have difficult conversations, to be open enough to receive feedback that might be hard to hear, to feel the fear of being rejected and speaking up anyway.   


Communication takes a lot of work. When you communicate to your partner, even though at first it may not be well received, you are building trust and intimacy.   Yes you may feel guilty that your partner is upset with your truth, but in the long run, it’s going to create a safe space for both of you.   You are not responsible for your partner’s reactions.   You are responsible for how you show up.   So show up with integrity, express you true feelings with love and compassion and don’t speak badly about your partner behind their back. (Of course, it’s ok to speak to a great trustworthy friend, or a therapist, or coach about what’s going on… but don’t be speaking willy nilly to every man and his dog about how useless your partner is, even if it feels like a throwaway comment, it disrespects the relationship.)


Lessons in Love


Lesson in Love No 3.



Of course it’s important to spend quality time together but it’s also so important to create space within a relationship.   We have to have our own interests, hobbies & friends to create separation.   When we are enmeshed within a relationship, we can become too dependent and loose our own sense of identity and worth.   We want to make sure that we aren’t relying on someone else to validate us and make us feel worthy.   


We have to allow our partner freedom and space not only to do the things they want to do separately from us, but also to do things their own way.   When we try to control how our partner loads the dishwasher, or how our partner drives, or how our partner books a holiday… we create codependency which is no good for anyone.   Trust me, I have been there, trying to control way too much!   We have to give our partner a sense of autonomy in order for them to feel worthy and loved.   When we are trying to control, it’s often a sign that we are lacking in our own self-worth. “Generally, the more uncomfortable we are with our own worthiness in the relationship, the more we will try to control our partner’s behaviour.” - Mark Manson 


Lesson in Love No 4.



Esther Perel says that one of the most important things for desire within a long term relationship is space.   If we are on top of one another all the time, or micromanaging things for one another… we will not find our partner attractive.   We will not have the physical or psychological distance that is required for mystery, curiosity, interest, admiration, intrigue and excitement.   


We also can’t have all our needs met by our partner - our partner cannot be your lover, your confidante, your soul mate, your financial advisor, your friend, your personal assistant and all the people!   We have to remember to go to different people in our lives, seek out a therapist or coach and we also have to learn to rely on ourselves.


One of the best ways to create desire in a long term relationship is to be focusing on what brings you a sense of feeling alive - what sets your soul on fire?  What do you do for the pure joy of doing it?  The energy we can cultivate inside ourselves is what helps bring desire into a relationship.


“If you ask yourself, you may answer that what turns you on is doing the stuff that gives you pleasure. It’s doing things that keep you alive and vibrant. It’s what keeps you feeling good about yourself and gives you confidence. You feel you’re in your element, and you’re willing to take risks. That’s seductive and desirable. … You’re not being needy because desire is not about that. It’s about wanting. That’s contrary to what love is, which is about needing someone else. Though love can lead to the powerful experience of caretaking, it can be a very powerful anti-aphrodisiac, too.” – Esther Perel


Lessons in Love


 Journaling Questions


How do you maintain respect in your relationship? How would you like to respect a partner if you currently don’t have one? 

What scares you about communicating openly and honestly?

How can you learn to speak up in your relationships?  (If you are not good at being honest with your partner it’s likely you have other relationships where you are afraid to speak up.)

Are you good at creating space in your relationships? Is this something you aim to do when you are in a relationship?

How do you maintain desire in your relationship?

What do you do in your life to keep you feeling alive, excited & adventurous?


Need Help With Communicating in your Relationships?


Learning to consciously communicate with your partner can take time and effort.  Conscious communication is not something most of us were taught at school.  Here are three suggestions to help you work on this:


1. Click here for my podcast with Jillian Lavender.

2. Click here for a podcast with Ester Perel.

3. Click here for my blog on Manifesting a Better Relationship.

4. Click here for my workshop "The Lover's Guide To Conflict."


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Written By Sophie Dear


In 2015 I was signed off work due to insomnia and anxiety. I was incredibly stressed both physically & mentally and as a result I suffered from numerous health problems. I trained as a yoga teacher & began to heal myself through meditation & movement. However I soon burnt out for a second time 2 years into my teaching journey. Becoming a yoga teacher hadn’t magically transformed me - I realised I needed to do the deeper work!

Want to listen to my full story? Check out some of the podcast episodes I've been featured on.

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