Friends and Lovers

Ask almost anyone what the ingredients for a happy enduring relationship are and they will put romantic love at the top of the list.  Along with it will come a laundry list of cultural expectations; constraints that distract from perceiving what love is and how to be it.

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love - friendshipAwareness and realistic expectations

Relationships are mutual giving to get agreements and love is an action word. No one else is on this planet to make you happy and you are not here to make them happy. Happiness comes from within.

“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” —Mahatma Gandhi

Respect, Trust and Open Communication

Respect and trust are fundamental to commitment and without communication there can be no relationship. Without the ability to trust your partner you won’t be able to treat them with respect and equality and  be a supportive friend.

Trust provides a basis for communication, cooperation and the confidence to disagree without becoming disagreeable.  Open communication means you feel safe enough to say openly and honestly exactly what you think and feel. It also means listening to your partner without judgment.

Trust means a healthy disagreement is an opportunity to share your ideas and feelings and look for a decision you’re both happy with. Trust binds and respectful decision-making can bring you closer together.

love - friends
Support and Understanding

Like life itself, relationships are dynamic because we are ever changing. Provided open communication, support and understanding are the status quo, two people with different personalities and interests can be in a deeply loving and fulfilling relationship  Sometimes change can be painful but resilient couples learn to accept, to adapt and to support each other through rough transitions.

Freedom

When you love yourself you can enjoy being with another person for the joy they bring to your life, not because you feel you need them to survive or you think you are incomplete without them. In a balanced relationship of equals you grant your partner the freedom to be themselves, to stretch and grow or to wither and stagnate and they do the same in return because that is the ultimate result of love–unconditional love. The stronger you are as a friend the stronger,  more equal and enduring your relationship will be.

Affection

It’s romantic to talk about love and realistic to acknowledge that romantic feelings are emotions that wax and wane in intensity. Touching is a vital human need. Every couple’s sex life may have dry period but our need for physical affection never changes. When affection is mutual, it endures. If you are best friends who enjoy being together and share the same dreams then love won’t be far away.

zero-to-hero-badge Related posts:
Relationships: Little things mean lots
Love the one you’re with
Lifelong Commitment Contracts
Earthlings seek loving compatible partners
These are the hands
Relationships: Transformation and Commitment
Eight Suggestions for Improving Your Relationships

27 thoughts on “Friends and Lovers

  1. Beautiful post! :)
    Agree with that! :D

    And the first quote: “Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” —Mahatma Gandhi
    …. just amazing! :D

  2. Stumbled upon you and wanted to say after 30 years with the love of my life I can say with hand on heart the romantic love is all fine and dandy but we have always based our relationship and marriage upon 4 other principals ahead of romantic love…… LOYALTY, TRUST, RESPECT, HONESTY, LOVE and LAUGHTER. He is my best friend, my rock, my beginning middle and end but it didn’t come easy. We worked hard, learned the meaning of compromise and here we are 30 years on still a team ;) x

      1. Just wanted to say Hi! and put in my 2 bits: since 2010 I have a happy relationship with a man who is almost my “twin” but also my opposite. We don’t live together because I lack the energy (due to chronic pain) for full-time companionship. Which is exactly how he likes it too. We are buddies, we positively reinforce each other, and are there for “us” whenever we need to. Most importantly to me: he respects me. Which in previous relationships was totally lacking. I’m now 62 and not willing to spend the last part of my life losing myself again in a relationship (which I tended to do in the past). We are happy with us, and that’s all that counts. Other people don’t understand, but that’s OK.
        Wishing you all the best and thank you for these gems of wisdom!!
        Marga, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

        1. Dear Marga,
          I am honored that you shared your story here. I also suffer from chronic pain and can identify with how much energy it takes to keep my health, home and relationship in balance. I do understand how and why a relationship like yours can be a perfect fit for you and your partner. It does not matter that others don’t understand why you are happy not living together. Where deep affection exists, it endures. My very best wishes to you and your best friend.

  3. I am not married and neither in a relationship yet. But I can relate :)
    Among all of these things you’ve mentioned i think ‘resilience’ is the most important thing. I have seen couples and friends their hearts are just loaded with each others’ love but they just can’t get along really well after an episode of unpleasant conditions.
    I appreciate your post and the effort you’ve put in.

    1. It`s ones character that is revealed during hard times. Personal responsibility and cooperative attitudes are the factors no one wants to discuss when it comes to romance. They are critical to being able to support each other during bad times and though it`s not something that`s acknowledged there will be bad times.

    1. Hi Steven
      Thank you so much for sharing a link to your post. One partner being chronically ill is a stress on any relationship. Without respect and trust we are unable to be truly authentic and it’s only through self-awareness and open and honest communication that we can make any deep bond with another. I’m a highly sensitive person and I find that continual reality checks and maintaining an attitude of gratitude gets me through most of the rough spots. Could I live my life as a drug-free depressive without a partner? The answer is “yes” but I don’t want to and I’m so glad I don’t need to. Best wishes to you and your partner.

  4. The neuro-chemicals of lust are good for about 18 – 24 months. If you don’t have a friendship built on trust, honor and respect as a foundation, what ‘cha gonna do when the oxytocin levels drop?

    1. Hi Victoria,
      I’m so glad you agreed with what I published. That’s not to say I’m not pleased by those who have different opinions but it’s always good to hear positive feedback.

    1. Good morning,
      I had a painful first love experience that featured abuse and ended up in terrible trauma and injury but I’m a quick learner. People treat us exactly the way we allow them to treat us. That is an important life lesson that children ought to be taught but aren’t. By learning that life lesson before I was 20 years old I changed my future. Since then I have been fortunate when it comes to long term commitment relationships. That was a turning point in my life. Thereafter, I made new friends who became life-long friends. I married my very best friend and we have a great marriage. We are free to grow exactly as we desire to in this relationship and we support each other in whatever the other takes on. We defied inculcated cultural and societal mandates. No one expects me to be a flower on his lapel and his escort at every activity he attends and that’s a good thing because, without doubt, I’m a thorny rose.

      1. HaHa!! Love it and I agree! You can’t expect anyone to be anything other than themselves and at the end of the day, one must live one’s own life. I find many things nicer and more fun with two though! :-)

    1. Dear Melanie,
      You make references to music I know very well and I think we must both be baby boomers from similar art and music sub-culture groups. JM was a legend here too and his words resonate with many of us, like me. This quote of yours resonates as I live in a forest.

      I think that friendship can also look like an evergreen, a fir tree or pine tree – straight, strong, resisting and surviving at high altitude in the worst weather conditions, always standing up until the end of time…

      Have a wonderful weekend.

      1. Dearest Lady, I have NO problem with my age: I’m gonna be 58 these days, but nobody believes me! :-) even though I’m completely “natural”: no facelift, no nose job, no botox, no silicone – quelle horreur! :D my “secret”: no tobacco, no hard alcohols, 1 glass of red Bordeaux wine per day(with cheese!), jogging and/or cycling twice/week and… love, of course! :-)
        * * *
        Mille merci for reading me and for your kindness… have a peaceful weekend and heartfelt feelings…<3

  5. Phenomenal post, tt, and I love the Gandhi quote as well. I especially enjoyed the parts on Respect, Trust, and Open Communication. Thanks for sharing …

    1. Hi there,
      I think those three are the foundation for any healthy relationship. I am sad when my hubby and I meet couples who have had multiple marriages and still haven’t got that foundation for the relationship they are currently in. I am so touched when I read how you are supporting Brenda through her cancer recovery. Bless you both.

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