Good relationships don’t happen by “accident.” They’re not just based on chemical attraction, projection, and mutual intoxication that just happens to last for years and years.
Good relationships require something more: they require fundamentally good and decent people. When two people have first addressed what’s worst and weakest in themselves, then they stand ready to share what’s best in themselves with another. They’re ready for a relationship.
When one or both persons haven’t first addressed their own immaturities and dependencies and pathologies, then it saddles the relationship—no matter how promising and exhilarating the relationship may start off being—with an inescapable and onerous burden. The greater the unaddressed pathologies and immaturities and dependencies, the exponentially greater the burden.
When what’s best in us has become active and has grown strong enough to be able to deal with what’s worst and weakest in ourselves, then we’re truly ready for a truly loving relationship with another person.
Until then, we’ll be a burden on any relationship we’re in, no matter how promising and “loving” it may feel at the start.
Love is what’s left in a relationship after all the selfishness has been removed. – Cullen Hightower
The work of Love, then, is the work of dealing with our own immaturities and unhealthy and counterproductive selfishnesses and dependencies and pathologies. If we lie easily, if we’re routinely deceptive, if we stress out and spin out often, if we haven’t learned yet to regulate ourselves emotionally, if we’re still disintegrated and unorganized, if we’re not yet dedicated to reality, then we’re not ready or healthy for a relationship. We’re immature at best and toxic at worst.
When it comes to being relationship ready, having a good heart, a good set of morals that we actually live by (and don’t just give lip service to), and being able to manage our emotions and our reactions well are not optional qualities—they are essential to being a good person in general and being the right type of person for a relationship—an asset to a relationship—instead of a liability or a drain on it.
To genuinely love another requires nothing less than the consistent gift of our best self to the other and to the relationship. If we can do that and deliver on it—if we’ve addressed our lazy, immature, dis-integrated, discursive, reactive tendencies and we’ve learned how to consistently do our best—or at least try our very best and fight for that out of ourselves—then we’re ready for a relationship.