By Patricia: Probably the most common question I am asked during a reading is “Does she/he love me?” Often, if you pay attention to what is happening between you, the answer becomes obvious. The truth is, love is far more than a feeling or an emotion. It is also a set of behaviors. Love that is not expressed in the behavior of your partner is not love at all. Love comes through in your behaviors, your expressions, and your words. If your behaviors do not match your words, it is the behaviors that tell the truth.
If you are not sure if someone in your life loves you, watch what they do. Do they do the little things that are important to you? This will be different for every couple. Some people like to hear the loving words. For others, loving actions might be more important. Does your loved one tell you they love you? Do they hug or kiss you when they leave or come home, or cuddle while you watch TV together? Do they make small gestures like bringing you a small gift for no reason, or do a load of dishes when you don’t feel well, or keep you company while you work on the car? These are all the things that can show you are loved.
Having said that, if those things are not important to you, then the absence of those behaviors means absolutely nothing. What you are looking for are behaviors that are important to you, and that might mean you are looking for something more like whether they take you fishing or camping or if they will go rock climbing with you. If you have told your loved one that something is important to you, does it become more important to them than it was before? Do they take your opinions and feelings into account when they make decisions that affect both of you? Do they treat you the way you want to be treated?
This does not mean they have to become a mirror to all your needs and opinions, just that they pay attention. You can’t expect them to change who they are and become a slave to your wants and needs. If they have to change who they are for you, then you don’t love them, you are in love with an image you are trying to change them into. If you need a person who often tells you what they are feeling or who will say they love you frequently, and your partner is one who has a great deal of difficulty saying, “I love you”, then you may have to take a close look at your own feelings and needs. Sometimes we convince ourselves we are in love with someone who really doesn’t meet our needs, and then try to change them into the person we want them to be. That is not love. That is manipulation. When they can’t or won’t be the person you want them to be, rather than the person they really are, you will both be very unhappy and will be arguing or disappointed most of the time. My stepfather used to say, “We make people up to be who we want them to be, then get angry when it turns out they are not that person.”
When people don’t live up to the image we have built in our minds, we ask if they love us. Sometimes the correct question is “Do I really love them?”
That brings us back to the original question. What is love? Love is seeing the other person for who they really are and loving that person. It means looking past the expectations we have for that person, looking past the image we have built in our minds about who we want them to be, and seeing the real person, warts and all. Seeing the good, seeing the bad, seeing the irritating habits and their weaknesses and loving all of that. Accepting the weaknesses and irritating habits and not trying to get them to change them (unless they say they want to change them). Not asking “Why do they do that?” when they are doing what they normally do. They do it because that is who they are. If what they do is unacceptable, then take an honest look at your own feelings and expectations.
You may find your love an image, not a person. If that is the case, you may have to re-evaluate your relationship and if that relationship is what you really want. When you see someone for who they really are and love that person, you will know why they do that – they do it because that is who they are. Accept that, and you both will be much happier and much more likely to have a long and loving relationship.
Love and Light,