I made a mistake a long time ago, one that I believe is common for many people: I fell in love. Although falling in love is great in concept, it means something that I don’t think many people give a lot of thought. When you are falling in love, that suggests a dependency on the other person. Your love for that person is so strong that it makes you fall to the ground. You need that person to hold you up and bolster you.
Being in love does not mean that you need to fall for another person. You do not need your partner to hold you up and support you. You can be in love with someone, while simultaneously being smart for yourself and maintaining your independence. There is a Jamaican saying: “I Stand In Love,” which has become my new mantra for how I believe someone should be in love.
Standing in love is a choice to be smart about love.
The notion of “standing in love” resonates with me so profoundly. Standing in love is not motivated by physical attraction, rather, it is motivated by choice. Standing in love means that you cherish, value, and respect one another. Rather than being a byproduct of feelings, standing in love means that you willfully acknowledge and accept love. When you stand in love, you are still smart about love. You don’t take it for granted that the person you love so deeply will always be there to support you. You need to be capable and prepared to support yourself.
Your partner may not always be there to help support you financially, so you better have money set aside so that you can support yourself financially if need be. Also, your partner may not always be available to support you emotionally. So, you need to be able to rely on friends, family, or a therapist for that emotional support when you need it. Furthermore, your partner may not always be available to support you in your caregiving responsibilities. Therefore, it is imperative that you find other people who can assist you when you need a much deserved break from your children and domestic duties. You shouldn’t rely on any one person to meet all of your needs because s/he will inevitably fall short of your expectations.
Beware of becoming too dependent in your relationships.
I became too dependent in my relationship with my spouse. I wanted my husband to meet my needs across all domains and became disappointed when he fell short of my expectations. But, those expectations are the pillars of the kind of support you would long for in a dependent relationship. And don’t get me wrong, in many ways, our relationship was co-dependent. But, that’s not healthy either. We need to stop fostering co-dependence and falling in love with each other. Rather, we should start standing in love so that we maintain our individuality and our identity in the course of our relationships. Therefore,
I no longer fall in love. I stand in love.