“Love comes when manipulation stops; when you think more about the other person than about his or her reactions to you.” ~ Dr. Joyce Brothers
Sometimes in love relationships a comment is made that begins with, “If you really loved me you would….”. When I work with couples I suggest that they remove that phrase from their relationship vocabulary because it creates nothing but trouble.
The phrase is manipulative, whether intended to be so or not. The recipient is immediately put into a bind: either do what the person wants even if you do not want to, or be accused of not loving the partner.
Common sense tells us that we can really love someone and not want to do something they want. It is also possible for someone to do what we want and not truly love us. So there is no consistent correlation between loving someone and doing what they want.
Generally one who uses the “if you loved me” phrase believes it is the partner’s job to keep him or her happy. If the partner pleases me, then I feel loved. If not, then I do not feel loved. This is a tremendous responsibility to put on another. Usually low self-esteem is at the bottom of this, so the individual constantly needs “proof” of being loved.
This leads to controlling behavior—controlling through guilt. The irony is that this control may result in getting the behaviors we want, but they are coming through coercion, not from love.
It is okay to ask for what you want. It is also okay to express disappointment when you do not get what you hoped for. For a healthy relationship and clear communication, just keep the faulty “if you really loved me” equation out of it. (For information on obtaining my Relationship Healing CD, see below.)
Copyright © Gwen Randall-Young, All Rights Reserved. Contact us if you would like permission to reprint.
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