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Love Cannot be Forced

by Jessenia Nozzolillo

I know it sounds like a “duh” concept when it’s put like that. But all too many times, I have clients come to me with:

“If I give them an ultimatum...”

“They cheated, but…”

“If they did what I wanted them to do, then maybe...”

“I will feel better when…”

“Maybe I will love them when…”

These are common ways we try to force something that isn’t there. We are essentially trying to convince ourselves that if the person changes and does things differently, we will learn to love them in time. If we give enough, sacrifice enough, forgive enough, they may learn to love us back.

But the other comments people don’t recognize as forced love sometimes look like this:

“You need to call me twice a day...”

“I expect a response…”

“You should feel bad…”

“You owe me…”

It is true that when we deeply love someone, we may naturally do things like change our ways, heal old wounds, make changes in our day to day life, text more often, respond faster, feel pain when they feel pain, give as much as we can knowing it fills our heart to see them happy. These are all very useful and beautiful concepts of a loving dynamic. But so many people are trying to bypass the “shopping process” where we should be taking the time to understand our love language and meet someone who speaks that language by instead attempting to train people to respond the way we expect/demand.

That is not love. You are programming them to fit into a mold of expectations, and it will never work because these emotions didn’t surface authentically. They were forced.

So if you want love, pay attention to how people treat you. If you don’t like the way you are being treated, know it’s ok to move on. We cannot program it. We cannot train it. We cannot force it.

And even when it happens authentically, it doesn’t mean it doesn’t require maintenance! All relationships require care, attention, and maintenance FROM BOTH SIDES. If one person continues the maintenance and the other doesn’t, love may naturally die out! Unconditional love is something we need in life from our creator and even our partners. We can have compassion and love for their experiences while also knowing that this partnership isn’t a unified front. It doesn’t take away from the unconditional love you feel for their journey. It simply means you are no longer traveling the same road on this journey, and that’s perfectly fine.

We haven’t been taught many of these concepts here. We frequently repeat toxic relationship structures built on the abusive ideology that:

“Blood is thicker than water.”

“Loyalty is love.”

“Sacrifice is love.”

“Parents must always sacrifice for their kids.”

“Kids must always be there for and love their parents.”

“Don’t fail your marriage.”

“Nothing is worse than being a single parent.”

“No one wants a single parent.”

“You aren’t trying hard enough to make it work.”

“That’s your family!”

The truth is that all these things are not aspects of healthy relationships, and we need to cut all these belief systems out so we can have powerful relationships grounded in healthy bonds.

It is only when we stop holding space for those who aren’t right for us —despite blood, relation, law, marriage, DNA, etc., — that we actually see and find those who authentically love and appreciate us. So if and when you find yourself forcing something, bullying people to accept you, feeling lost or denied, remember, they aren’t for you, and that’s ok. Remember, you deserve a healthy relationship where people choose to give you their time. Then, you will make space for the many people who show you they care daily.

Copyright ©️ Protected Jessenia Nozzolillo 2022

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