Dr. Romance on Love Styles: How to Celebrate Your Differences
By Tina B. Tessina on June 02, 2014
Since then, we’ve been conscious about style. We have developed a hot-tub style, a summer barbecue style, a traveling style, an evening-out style, a work style, and a hanging-out style. Actually, these styles are largely what we’d have done anyway. It’s the understanding and awareness of the style that makes the difference.
Clarity about style also makes it easy to change and communicate new ideas to each other. It’s also easy to manage help when we have it, because we both know what needs to be done. Developing new styles becomes a challenge and a delightful pastime.
After seeing the impact style-consciousness made on my home life, I began to consider its implications in more profound ways. I began discussing it with friends and clients and suggesting uses of style for clients in their problem- solving processes. Everyone found it a simple and effective idea.
After getting similar positive responses in lectures and workshops, this book was conceived, in three parts: (1) a philosophical discussion of the importance of style in matters of love; (2) a series of exercises designed to help you discover your own and others’ styles; and (3) a brief discussion of how individual styles can mesh with the larger social environment.
I hope this easy- to- grasp idea of styles is as profound and effective in your life as it has been in mine.
There’s a pervasive myth in our society that there is a right and a wrong way to love. However, there’s not much clarity about what is the right way. We all have difficulty with relationships, difficulty with love; therefore, we’re liable to draw the uncomfortable conclusion: “Everyone knows how to love correctly except me.” At times, when frustrated by a lover, you may indeed believe that everyone knows how to love except your partner!
This attitude leads to blaming, defensiveness, accusing and a general shutdown of any loving feelings. You may feel helpless, betrayed, incompetent, angry and lost. If you become defensive and withdraw from your beloved, things get worse.
There are as many ways of loving as there are people—and none of them is wrong. Some ways of loving do work better than others, but there are an infinite number of ways that work extremely well. This is good news, for it ends forever the fear that love can become boring, or that you can become bored with it. When looked at from this perspective, the object of relationships becomes to discover each other’s way of loving (lovestyle), to learn the style of loving your partner uses and to teach him or her the joys of your own style. In this way, each relationship adds to your options for love. Each couple synthesizes a new lovestyle out of the two they bring together; which is uniquely theirs and which can be restructured as their lifestyles change and grow.
I can't really define what love is for anyone else, because each of you has your own unique experience with love. But I can separate it from several things it is not, and list some very general attributes of it.
We experience love on many ways: romantic, practical, spiritual, familial, unconditional, passionate, selfish, and so on. In this book, I’m talking about love at the practical level, as in our day-to-day relationships.
As we experience it in primary relationships, love is one person's positive experience of another.
Love tends to bring separate people together.
* Love is sharing and caring.
* Love unites us.
* Love is your willingness to share yourself.
Love is a state of being, a feeling, not an action. It is warmth, connectedness, and a desire to be closer. It’s my concern for your well-being as well as my own. Love is someone's recognition in the other of the things he or she likes most about self. Love is not critical or separating; it is accepting and supportive.
We hear much, especially in popular songs, movies, etc., about how painful love is. I disagree. Love doesn’t hurt; whatever hurts in a relationship is not love. Love isn’t limiting, it’s freeing.
Love is how you feel; not what you do. The expression of love is one degree removed from the feeling itself. How you behave is not necessarily an accurate barometer of how you love—that depends on your understanding of love and your ability to express yourself effectively. Love is a feeling; the expression of love is an art. As with any art, there can be a wide gap between what is expressed and what is felt. The difference between expression and feeling has several contributing factors: self-awareness, honesty, safety, intent and fantasy. As with art, practice and knowledge of technique are helpful.
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