Authentic love implies the possibility to fulfill our potential, to "grow", to evolve, while selfish love implies limiting the loved one for fear of losing them, out of the need to make them meet our expectations.
We subordinate our partner to our personal needs, desires and goals and we get upset, we sulk, we use emotional blackmail or manipulation if he/she fails to meet our selfish interests.
We don’t trust our partner, but neither do we trust ourselves, so we do our best to control them, to restrict their freedom, to make them act in such a way as to make us feel "safe".
In fact we don’t feel safe because we have certain unhealed wounds, because we have many needs that we expect our partner to meet, because we are emotionally or financially dependent on him/her and the thought that we might be left on our own scares us, but no one can guarantee our "safety" if we are not "grounded", if we can’t rely on ourselves, if we don’t take responsibility for our own wellbeing and fulfillment.
Our insecurity, our ego’s fragility, the fact that we don’t take responsibility for ourselves, our tendencies to depend on our partner are at the root of our fears that often manifest through jealousy and possessiveness. We are afraid of loneliness, of not losing our emotional investment, we are afraid of change, of the unknown.
Therefore we may end up having real fights with our partner for fear of losing our advantages and because we want to keep away anything that could threaten this illusory certainty.
Our couple relationship is no longer that space where we can "expand" our whole being, where we feel that we are in the same team, but it becomes a fight where no one really wins. Functional and harmonious relationships require both partners to take responsibility for their own lives, to seek to perfect themselves and to offer each other their best.
If we enter into a relationship expecting our partner to save us, to heal our fears and past wounds, we will most likely be prone to a lot of disappointment. No one can save us because no one can make the inner work in our place. It's up to us to be well. Yes, a relationship may help us heal if by interacting with the other person many unconscious aspects or problems come to light but only we are the ones responsible to solve those problems, no one else.
First of all, focus on being ok with yourself and this way you will no longer feel the need to fill certain inner voids with others’ attention, affection or love, to make sacrifices and compromises or to ask others to do the same; to restrict your partner's freedom or to accept your freedom to be restricted, to try to change your partner or to change yourself for fear of losing that relationship.
What would that scenario look like, where you would be with a person that you don't "need", but with whom you would feel the joy of living and being together and whom you would simply love for what he/she is?
Dr. Ursula Sandner