4. Trustable Agreements
Both fantasy lovers and authentic lovers sincerely promise their good intentions at the beginning of the relationship.
Those with preconceived fantasies have more difficulty keeping their agreements as the relationship plays out. They made promises based on certain expectations of behaviors. When things turn out differently than expected, they feel trapped by agreements they no longer want.
The other partner hasn’t “memorized the expected script,” and innocently behaves differently. Now the once-sincere partners are likely to feel duped and disappointed. Believing that their trust has been broken, they justify withdrawing from their commitment, and often blame the other for the failure.
Authentic love plays out very differently.
These honest intimate partners express their love with courage and authenticity, and expect to adjust and redefine their initial promises as they get to know each other better. They are open to altering both behaviors and responses as conditions change, and continue to want the best for each other, whatever the outcome.
Authentic love is made stronger by challenge.
The lovers talk over their desires and disappointments from the beginning of the relationship and look for innovative ways to stay connected with genuine and innovative options.
5. Social Circles
Fantasy love survives well when it is exposed to established social circles that support its expectations. If friends who hang out together watch the same TV programs, search out the same information sites on the media, and reinforce one another’s expectations, they may inadvertently continue to encourage unrealistic beliefs.
Authentic love can uproot those expectations and may threaten existing social circles.
When lovers are willing to explore new possibilities because of their relationship’s unique potential, they become more open to unfamiliar experiences that an existing social circle may find uncomfortable. They see each other as though the other were a new culture to explore, welcoming each other’s differences. They are open to having their separate, preexisting worldviews challenged, and to break through any limitations of outdated thoughts or principles.
People who love each other authentically will continue to learn from their past mistakes.
In the process of relationship transformation, they can end up threatening the comfort of their current social circles. Friends and family who helped spawn and maintain the original existing order can then put pressure on a new relationship when it doesn’t fit the old mold.
Authentic lovers who may experience criticism from their friends or families can either try to change the mores of their current social circles, or realize they might need a new and different support group.
Those challenges only serve to make them more determined to live in the present and to leave old relationships behind.
Authentic love creates opportunities for adventures that have not existed before.
Its partners are totally committed to love in a courageous and genuine way. They have entered that new relationship with the full commitment to explore and learn, and are open to whatever comes.
Transparency is the willingness and commitment to be deeply known and to want to know the other in the same way.
Transparency and true intimacy are inextricably intertwined and nourish each other’s existence. Authentic love depends upon each partner’s courage to be fully open and honest with another, whatever the outcome. They would rather know the depths of exactly who each other is at his or her core than pretend anything other than that reality.
Authentic lovers delve deeply into each other’s expectations, desires, and fears early on in the relationship. They try early on to separate out what is possible from what is not, and to decide together how to invest in what works for both of them.
Fantasy love is based upon untested, often inaccurate expectations that a new partner will feel and act as the fantasy dictates. Because of childhood programming, many people do not realize that its automatic practice defies the possibility of success.
People continue to enter new relationships with these internalized fantasies, searching for the security and comfort of familiarity. They are counting on a “just” world: If they do what is expected of them, the other will certainly behave as expected. When their relationships end in failure, they naturally assume that they didn’t pick the right partners.
People who instead seek authentic love know that successful relationships can never be based upon fantasy expectations.
What is possible changes with each new relationship, as the partners within it create what can only happen uniquely between them in those special moments in time.
Though they know that the honesty and courage inherent in genuine communication requires them to take on a continuous challenge, they would not have it any other way.
Related Video: 6 Things That Love Isn’t and 5 Things Love Is
Written By: Randi Gunther Ph.D.
Originally appeared in PsychologyToday
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