Is It Love Or Is It Projection?

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Many of us decide we want to keep a relationship going at any cost. Even when our partner reveals themselves to be someone we didn’t want them to be. Even when our partner does not protect the sacredness of our relationship. Even when someone betrays our trust, repeatedly fails to show up for us, or isn’t investing in the relationship in a real way. We don’t decide this consciously, most of the time. But unconsciously, our fear of being alone, or our fear of being without a relationship keeps us from admitting the truth that our relationship is not meeting our basic needs of emotional safety, respect, trust and mutual investment.

Instead of seeing our partner and our relationship in a true light, we continue to project an image of our partner that keeps us believing we are with someone who loves us and has potential to change. But here’s the thing: you can’t rely on someone’s potential. Most people never tap into their true potential. And in order to do that, it requires rigorous effort, commitment and desire to change. Usually we wait and hope for someone to change who isn’t really invested in changing. See the problem here?

We often continue to project qualities onto our partner that don’t actually exist. He/She LOVES me, we say. But do they? Do they act in loving ways ALL of the time? Do they think of you before they make decisions and before they do something that would hurt or disrespect you? Love is not a feeling, it’s an action. If your partner is not ACTING in love all of the time, you are not with a loving partner.

He/She is working on it, we say. But are they? Are they in therapy really trying to examine their patterns and to heal and grow in ways needed for them to be a healthy and loving partner? If not, they aren’t really working on it. They may be SAYING they want to work on it, but actions speak louder than words. If not action is taken, nothing will change.

Nobody is perfect, we say. And we’re right. We shouldn’t be looking for perfection. But we should be looking for basic qualities that a healthy and loving partner possesses: honesty, respect, empathy, communication, consistency, effort, and an ability to work through conflict when it arises without causing damage to the relationship or shutting us out.

We need to have the courage to admit to ourselves the truths about our relationship and how are partner is or is not showing up for us. Doing so does not mean we have to make any decisions about leaving or staying. But it is a step toward being in alignment with ourselves. When we refuse to see someone clearly and continue in a relationship that does not honor us, we usually begin to take responsibility for things that are not ours: we start to believe that we are too needy, we are unreasonable, we are too demanding, etc. By blaming ourselves, we keep the illusion going that there is real hope for the relationship. If WE change, the relationship will be better. But this causes damage to our self-esteem and our confidence in our feelings, perceptions and intuition. By denying reality and refusing to acknowledge when a partner is disappointing us (and we have no control over that) we hurt ourselves and we come out of alignment with our authentic selves and our truth.

Acknowledging the truth can be hard. But it’s the only way to health and healing. If you are continuing in a relationship with someone who is not meeting our needs or honoring the relationship, begin to get curious about why. What are you afraid of? The answer to your healing and to your freedom lies there.

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