Imagine: you’re with a great guy, you’re totally in love, but you feel a little anxious about the relationship and are wondering how to fix it.
He’s so attentive, communicates with you every day, has a solid career, gets along well with your family and friends, and there’s fantastic sexual chemistry.
But sometimes he gets angry over inconsequential stuff (like you talking to your male coworker after work), isn’t always a very good listener, and has made a couple comments that make you think he doesn’t really respect your career.
It’s easy to feel confused in a relationship like this when there are SO MANY positives. You tell yourself the negatives aren’t that bad and that “no relationship is perfect.” So it makes sense that you want to try to work on it.
But overall, you just love being around him and enjoy each his company so much that you don’t want to give up on this love. You truly just want the relationship to be happy and peaceful.
You have talked to him about your concerns, and he agrees to work on them. He says he’ll try to be a better listener and interrupt you less, and will work on his anger. Some days, it’s better, but there are definitely still a lot of times when you feel unsatisfied.
When I have a client who struggles with these issues, I think it’s helpful to ask her about the most special things he’s ever done for her.
Why? Because many of my clients operate in a state of love poverty and don’t know it. (More on this in a moment.)
Do You Deserve Better?
Their answers to my question are usually… “Let me think…” “He made me a lovely dinner on our anniversary…” “He bought me a nice necklace for my birthday…” or something similar to these answers. They look stricken when I tell them that these things don’t count. While nice, they’re not “special.” They’re not above-and-beyond. They’re just expected good-boyfriend behaviors.
When you’re in love poverty, you tend to highlight the good and minimize the bad in your relationship. You tell yourself that the nice things he’s done for you are SO AMAZING. Ultimately, you don’t believe that you deserve better. That’s love poverty. As a result of this belief system, you end up in relationships where you feel confused and anxious, walk on eggshells, and are always wondering how to improve things.
I’ve been there too. And I can show you how to get out of love poverty.
Therapy helps you not only understand how you came to operate from love poverty, but how to make changes. It involves rewriting your love programming for a better outcome – a healthier, more fulfilling relationship.