Unhealthy Love

Some people grow up in situations that change their outlook on life. If you grow up seeing a behavior you are likely to repeat it or at least consider it normal. If your family always communicated with sarcasm, you are likely to use it to communicate also. If your siblings had a tendency of starting yelling matches to get a point across, it is likely you are also going to consider that a normal way of expressing your feelings. On the other side of the spectrum if you never experienced physical affection from your family, you are likely to not be used to someone hugging you or touching you.

So what is considered normal? When should the line be drawn between healthy and unhealthy love?

I think it is fundamental to a good relationship to find out how your partner receives affection. Some people feel good when someone else remembers a special date or detail that you two shared. Some enjoy that public display of affection that shows everyone that you are with them. Some enjoy someone that would listen and some someone that can talk. In the end I think everyone requires love in some form.

So what is the difference between tough love and abuse?

I have come to realize that very seldom do I have an answer that will work for everyone. It is even tougher when I realize that sometimes the answer I had for me needs to change. The good thing is that as humans we are adaptable and capable of change.

If your partner does not appreciate the sarcasm about the way they look, you need to stop it even if that is the way you saw your parents communicate. If you find yourself having arguments just like you saw growing up, it is also necessary to break that cycle because we should be able to say things without raising our voice. I know those are some of the things that work for me.

Also a simple way to make others feel loved is to smile. No matter what, try to smile. I know even when I am stressed or just tired and I try to smile, it makes me feel a little bit better.


It is actually kind of funny that someone might think there is trouble in paradise and think this has anything to do with the relationship with my wife. The funny part is that when I was in an unhealthy relationship I would never feel like I could post my thoughts here freely because anything that I would say would be used against me. I use this blog because it is cheaper than therapy.

My wife and I actually connect in many levels and can show each other love in many of the ways that Barry posted about in the comments. I actually have it a lot easier because my wife accepts love in every single way that that books lists (which btw Barry, I have heard about in the past.) So I am off to have some banana bread that my wife made this week, man is it good :)

7 comments on “Unhealthy Love

  1. “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman is a great book that illustrates this perfectly. It talks about the five main ways we express love, and want it to be expressed to us – and how to recognize your partner’s languages. Once both partners recognize the others’ “love language” and try to speak that language, they will get along better.

    The five languages are Physical Touch, Quality Time, Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts, and Words of Affirmation. If my partner’s language, the one they relate most to, is Physical Touch – I can tell her I love her all the time but if I don’t touch her (not just sex, but any kind of touch – kiss, hug, arms around, hand-holding, etc etc etc) enough, she’ll have trouble believing me. Similarly if her language is Quality Time, if I don’t spend enough time with her one-on-one (date nights, quiet time in front of the fire or the TV, walks around the neighborhood, chats on the phone at work) I can love her with all my heart but she may have trouble relating to me. So it’s good to learn what the partner perceives as a practical demonstration of that love.

    Anyway, it’s a great book and I really recommend it.

  2. Compromises are always necessary, but that goes both ways. If your “partner” (that’s code for “gay lover,” right?) has trouble with your tendency for sarcasm, then toning it down is probably a good idea. On the other hand, if your partner is most comfortable communicating their needs and opinions through sarcasm, you need to let him do so from time to time. Creating a situation in which one or both people cannot communicate in the way that comes naturally is no good.

    To quote the illustrious Professor Higgins: “Let a woman in your life and your serenity is through, she’ll redecorate your home, from the cellar to the dome, and then go on to the enthralling fun of overhauling you.”

    p.s. – if you know where that quote’s from, you should already know how I know you’re gay. :)

  3. First of all, I think Logtar and for sure myself meant partner to mean “significant other” – i.e. whoever your lover is: male, female, collie, whatever. You can’t say spouse because they may not be married, and other nouns tend to be relationship-specific or gender-specific (boyfriend/girlfriend). So partner doesn’t mean “gay lover”. Sheesh.

    Secondly, I have a good secondary hobby/career as a Musical Director in theatre and actor. I majored in Drama in college and have worked fairly steadily here in town for around 10 years in many roles. I know the quote and the source from “My Fair Lady” (we’re doing that this summer as a matter of fact), and FYI have been married for 15 years and have 2 kids. So much for stereotyping.

  4. Easy Barry LOL Burro is not stereotyping at all he is just poking fun at me because I know him trough my good friend Daniel and we have kept the “you know how I know your gay” joke from the 40 year old movie going back and forth… he was just being the Burro he is.

  5. I guess two references to homosexuality kinda spiked the perceived tone of my previous comment a bit. Very short version: If your significant other is too fragile to handle your personality, either both of you are going to have to make some concessions, or you should both seek other people to be with.

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