The Problem With Having a Love of Your Life

love of my lifeYears ago, I heard comedian Steve Harvey talking about how women often use the phrase “love of my life” to refer to men who in no way deserve the title. I completely agree, so much so that his words stuck with me all these years and inspired this post. In general, there is nothing wrong with having a “love of your life,” but you have to be careful with whom you allow to fill that space.

“But you can’t choose the love of your life. It just happens.” That’s what you were thinking, weren’t you? This is how we’ve been conditioned, to be passive participants in our heart’s affairs, to be mere spectators that can only watch, not do. It is true that you can feel more connected to one person than you do others, but that isn’t a good enough reason for you to stay connected to a man who doesn’t deserve you. “Love of my life” is a term we choose to apply to someone.  And too often, we choose to apply it to those with whom we have had the most turbulent and unhealthy relationships.

“Girl, I know he’s no good for me, but he’s the love of my life… I always go back.”

“I would leave, but he’s the love of my life. You know how that goes…”

“This is crazy! I can’t get over him! He’s the love of my life.”

You’ve probably heard (or spoken) these phrases before. It seems “love of my life” has become synonymous with “the person I allow to continually hurt me.” It doesn’t matter how many years you have invested, how intertwined you feel your hearts have become, or how drop-dead gorgeous he may be. If he has proven, time and time again, that he is NOT able to treat you how you want to be treated and NOT able to provide you with the mental and emotional stimulation you need, he has no business being called the love of your life (or any other term of endearment you can think of). It really is that simple.

We make it complicated when we listen to the damaged parts of ourselves that have somehow become addicted to the diseased dynamics of these relationships. “Yes, he cheats on me, but we have such a strong connection.” “True, he’s not really what I want in a husband, but it’s been 5 years and I really love him.” In the words of Tina Turner, what’s love got to do with it? We have an obligation to ourselves to be the best person possible and to surround ourselves with others who will help us in that pursuit. A good man will do that.

Unfortunately, a lot of the men we call the “loves of our lives” aren’t doing that. In fact, they’re doing the exact opposite. They sidetrack and discourage us from reaching our better selves by occupying our time and thoughts with all sorts of *pauses to think of a fitting word* foolishness.

The love of your life should be the person who has had the best affect on you, the person that helped you reach a new level of understanding and happiness, the person   who has been a true asset in your life. Don’t use the term as an excuse to go back to a loser. Don’t let it be the nail in the coffin that seals your fate as an unhappy woman.

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