(This is part 2, please click here for Part 1)
Real relationships compete unsuccessfully with the illusion that affair relationships deliver – the anticipation that one’s deep longings for contact, wholeness, completeness and soulfulness are met.
The affair promises to transcend and annihilate the mundane status quo of so many of our marital arrangements. Nothing could be further from the truth. First, however, you must distinguish between the fantasy of an affair versus the potential intimacy in a committed relationship.
Here’s the straight truth: an affair is a bastardization of every one of those needs. It exploits the normal and natural right to human intimacy by selling a cheap version of temporary escape. It is a shallow relief that barely scratches the surface of authentic love, a commitment to a life partner who knows and loves you despite disappointments. Real relationships have a way of rubbing our noses in the slime of life. It is within the alchemy of that authenticity that true love can be encountered.
Affair love is an illusion, based on a lie, fueled by fantasy, protected by self-justification, insecurity and ego. It NEVER delivers on any expectations. Is it any wonder why real relationships, based on an affair, fail at a rate twice that of divorce?
Authentic love embraces contradiction that affair love cannot. The “contradiction” I speak of here is you.
You are a contradiction. As a human being in a relationship, you are going to be inconsistent, hypocritical, have bad days and good, be at your best and often at your worst, and have phases of life where there may be little lovable about you. Authentic love, of which I was surprised by, is a quality and intensity of love sustainable and real because it is NOT contingent upon the emotions or circumstances to be just right.
Contrast that with Affair love, where you are on a perpetual honeymoon and the emotional tone is always courtship behavior. You are insulated from reality because an affair never touches the light of day since it requires deception to sustain it. You always look good, sound good, smell good and think you’re good – just like reality… right? It’s a house of cards waiting to implode.
True love exists but not for the faint of heart or narcissistically challenged. Success has requirements. So does real love. It requires you to know yourself intimately, all of you – how you’ve been wounded by life and how to evolve as a person capable of loving another. It requires you to be transparent, authentically asking for what you want and being willing to enthusiastically give back.
It requires you to grow up. Groveling when things go wrong is out. Keeping your integrity and standing firm on your commitment is in. It requires you to stand for what you know is possible, despite terrible circumstances, and demonstrate the courage of a warrior, even when you don’t feel like it, even when you’ve lost that loving feeling, even when you aren’t getting your needs met on a regular basis.
IF you dare to step into that space, if you have the willingness, guts, persistence and commitment both to developing yourself and investing in another human being in this thing called a “Real Relationship”, then, and only then, do you have the right to expect “true love.”