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Should We Teach Our Partners How to Love Us?

Being the frequent Twitter scroller that I am, I often find inspiration for my blog posts from there. But this time I got it from a different place. The inspiration for this blog came from an ancient thing called cable TV. I just so happen to be watching an episode of Iyanla: Fix My Life. Now I know she is controversial, and she has a weird way of counseling people but she said something that has stuck with me.

She was talking to a young woman about relationships and decided to use her own as an example. She disclosed that she ended a 14-year long relationship because her partner could not love her the way she wanted to be loved. Watch the clip below:

While what she said was interesting and probably has truth to it, it goes against everything I've ever learned about love and relationships. From my experience and observation, I have always thought that it was most important to communicate with your partner about your expectations and your standards, then they would hopefully do the same in return. If your partner fails to meet those expectations and standards, there was a misunderstanding in the communication. After communicating multiple times your needs and wants, if they still fail, compromise comes into the picture.

Iyanla offered a different perspective.

Often times you will hear people go against the notion of "I just am the way I am". Tweet something like that, and everyone will say "grow up" or "you're childish". But essentially, Iyanla is saying to accept people the way they are, and if they're not what you want, find someone who is.

I can't lie, I would hate for someone to end a relationship with me without giving me the chance to do better. So is there a fine line?

I think so. I don't think Iyanla is saying to give up when your partner annoys you or does something you don't like but I also don't think she is saying to stay in a relationship just because you simply can't give up. Loving your partner does not mean you do so in the absence of loving yourself. I don't think we have to "teach" our partners how to love us, because in some ways, our partners are going to love us in the best way they can (hopefully). Sometimes, it will not meet our expectations or standards. I think the key is to find a partner that wants to love you the way you want to be loved. The rest will hopefully fall in place.

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