“Dear Mr. Man of My Dreams, let’s fall in love forever.” (Psssst… it’s not quite that simple, but Annie Lalla makes it pretty damn close.)
Want to be in love forever?
If so, you first need to know how to recognize the real thing, since often, it’s the woman who sees it before the man.
As a relationship expert and love coach, I’ve found the primary indicator of real love is when your body, your heart & your mind all converge on the same undeniable truth: this man was made for you. There’s also an unflinching awareness that you were made for him. Basically, if you would bet your life (and his) that no other woman could ever love him better than you, then you’ve found the One.
But, let me warn you…Love is not easy. Once the starry-eyed phase has progressed into the inevitable power-struggle, that’s when the real work begins. But it’s good work, and it provides the most direct access to intimacy. Relationships are the most intense personal growth workshops that exist. They’re the places you dive deep into your darkest shadow work. Love is not for the faint-hearted; it’s a gladiator sport. And that’s why I’m such champion for the highest, most resilient form possible, True Love.
You need a relentless, unshakable force strong enough to keep you doing the intense self-inquiry required to make a partnership effective, long term. Your partner, if right, becomes a mirror for your magnificence and your myopias. A long-term relationship demands that you die into a more expansive version of you, and it can be terrifying (to your status-quo self). Only True Love is strong enough to withstand the uncontrollable urge to run, to leave when it gets too hard.
And that is the point. Love is a sacred crucible for self-actualization. I believe it’s our fastest access to transformation. This game is about rolling up your sleeves and getting down to those wounded areas in the basement of your psyche that you’ve been avoiding your whole life.
Here are some common reasons why you may not have found lasting love or marriage…yet. Listen for which statement(s) might apply to you:
- You treat men as if they’re more important or less important than you (both are equally dangerous & produce the same result, ie: he doesn’t feel met).
- You believe someone should love you “just the way you are” instead of seeking a partner who will stand for your greatest self.
- You want to be rescued—physically, financially, emotionally, intellectually.
- You’re riddled by shame, fear and hopelessness; you think true love is a fantasy that doesn’t exist.
- You’re desperately attached to being married with kids by a certain date, and looking for a good enough husband. Being in love is less important that being married.
- You’re unwilling to look at your own patterns that interfere with true intimacy.
- You’re ashamed of sexuality and have loads of unexplored guilt around it.
- You’re disconnected from your feelings & don’t share them openly with yourself or partner.
- You’re addicted to control and secretly want to have more power than he does.
- You’ve forgotten you’re a goddess, a creatrix and a high priestess deserving of love. If you don’t know you’re a Queen, you’ll never find your King.
These are the unproductive beliefs I had once, and often find in my female clients. If any of these statements resonated for you, pay close attention to the rest of this article. If you don’t get these identified and handled, you may keep doing the same things over and over and never find your life partner, or worse…you’ll find a good enough guy, but you won’t be “in love” and the romance will eventually dissolve leaving you feeling alone & disillusioned.
If you want to have your dream guy fall in love and stay with you forever, he has to experience the following five things first…
1) You as THE safest place for him to go on the planet.
Your arms, your eyes, your lap, those have to be a refuge for him. It can be a scary world to your partner’s inner child. If he doesn’t feel safe in your presence, he will not choose to build a life there, you can never be “home.” However, if you become the safest place on the planet for his heart’s secret needs; he will never leave. You’ll continue to win over every other woman. Wherever his novelty-seeking eyes wander, he’ll always be called back to you.
This requires you to surrender to his strengths, wherever they are. Men want to feel trusted by their woman, that’s what they interpret as love. This means you must learn to lean into his unique wisdom, his power and his support. Trust is not earned, it can only be granted. Believe in his desire to serve you, nourish you and push you toward your wants. Look for the hero in your partner, acknowledge, revere & appreciate that aspect. Men fall in love with the woman who lets him be her hero.
3) He wants to feel praised, not put down.
With your partner, reward good behavior and ignore bad behavior. What you put your attention on grows—it doesn’t matter if it’s positive or negative attention. Do not use leverage, criticism or manipulation to get what you want; rather, invite a new behavior by making requests laced with trust and desire. This is the feminine way to influence, seduce rather than coerce. Men hunger to be acknowledged for specific things… and in public, if possible. Also notice how your ego may hold you back from sharing empowering, affirming feedback with your man, as an attempt to maintain leverage and power. Power is not the currency of true love, open-hearted transparency is.
4) He wants to have a great sex life.
Keep developing yourself and your sexuality so you can share a non-shameful, exciting sex life. The litmus test of a relationship working long-term is their sex life. Sex makes or breaks relationships. Like food, it’s not a luxury, it’s a staple and must be made a priority. If you want a guy to choose you to sleep with for the rest of his life, you have to learn to enjoy sex, share your needs, wants and fantasies, and be open to hearing his. Constantly re-invent your sexuality together. Until these primal issues around sex and shame are explored openly with surgical sensitivity, they will haunt and undermine your relationship.
5) He wants to hear your truth.
Share your fears, pain, desires and dreams with him; in particular show him your humanity. He’s looking for a place where all his emotions are safe to land. If you cannot own and express your own emotions, you definitely won’t be able to help him with his. For any relationship to really work, you have to get good at ‘feeling’ (not thinking what you feel, but actually feeling sensations in your body, in your somatic space). Many men don’t know how to feel their feelings and they’re unconsciously looking to their woman to teach them. A man falls in love with the woman he feels most alive around. A woman creates a field of aliveness when she’s experiencing and expressing her emotion, without justification. Learn to identify, map and name your emotional states, then practice sharing them. This can be scary, but it’s a crucial skill if you want to connect with your partner’s heart.
Now that we’ve explored the main experiences needed for a partner to surrender, we shall invoke the last requirement of a love that lasts forever…Faith.
Faith is the umbilical cord that connects you and your lover to each other and romantic success. Faith has no reasons, proofs or justifications…it’s a blind resolve based on nothing but the unwavering belief in something you find true, good and beautiful. Faith requires an unreasonable audacity. It is something you create in yourself, by yourself.
When you forget all the reasons for your love, or cannot feel the encouraging emotions in your body, faith is the only thing that keeps you going when the situation seems dark and hopeless. Cultivating faith is a muscle and it must be practiced individually and privately when doubt tries to creep in.
As a woman, you are the emotional leader in your relationship, which is why it’s important to master these skills if you’re committed to a love that lasts. Some things cannot be learned, except through creation. I invite you to take on becoming a creator of love, even in the face of fear. True Love requires only one thing: that you believe in it. I know somewhere deep inside you is an ember that burns with the knowing that true love exists; let’s blow on that ember & make a fire that fuels your own private fairytale. You can never have what you don’t believe in. So believe.
This article was originally published on Annie’s site, AnnieLalla.com; republished with the kindest permission.