This week's question comes from Roma:
“Dear Orna and Matthew,
What does real love feel like? I don’t know if I’ve really been in love with someone. I just turned 33 and I want a family and I know I don’t want to settle for just anyone. My parents had a terrible relationship and I don’t want to repeat their mistakes.
I’m very cautious about getting into a committed relationship. I’ve dated quite a few guys but most of them didn’t really excite me or give me the feelings of love that other people talk about.
The couple of times I thought it was true love, it ended horribly. I guess I don’t trust myself to pick a good match.
I’m not sure I even know what love is supposed to feel like. How will I know? What does real love feel like?
Thanks for reaching out to us and we can hear the combination of frustration and desire in your question. You’re not the first person to ask us, “What does real love feel like?” Many people struggle with love because either they’re like you and don’t know if they’ve felt real love, or they’ve experienced lots of heartbreak when they thought it was real love.
Many People Think That When It Comes To Love That Their Picker Is Broken
We want you to know that you are not broken. You grew up in a situation where healthy love was not modeled for you, so you don’t have a guidance system inside of you to show you how to create what you desire.
Your GPS for love was created at a very young age in your family of origin and unless you’ve done a lot of therapy and personal growth to change it, it is still running the show and determines who is highlighted out in the world.
We call this internal guidance system, Your Love Imprint® and it includes your limiting beliefs, your mental-emotional patterns, and your behavioral strategies around giving and receiving love. This system is running in your subconscious and determines who you find attractive.
Unfortunately, the subconscious mind only highlights what is familiar to you so if you’ve never had the experience of the kind of love you desire your internal guidance system is off.
In essence, your childhood wounds from your family of origin are driving your choices in love. So it’s not the adult woman who is selecting a partner, but rather that little girl part of you who is deciding what feels familiar and creates a charge that is mistaken for attraction.
Let’s start answering the question, “What does real love feel like?” by looking at your past attractions.
How Does Love Feel To You?
We know that you are confused about how love is supposed to feel, but we want you to imagine those relationships where you thought it was real love. Think about what it was like when you were falling in love with those men.
How did you know that you were falling in love? What did it feel like in your body? Did it affect your ability to focus or concentrate on your daily tasks? Did you find yourself obsessively thinking about him?
Love should feel good, not overwhelming or obsessive. If love feels all-consuming or feels like you’re off balance, then this is a love imprint match. A love imprint match occurs when the person you’re attracted to is an energetic match to your childhood wounds.
Rather than being the relationship you’ve been waiting for, a love imprint match plays out the familiar dynamic you experienced as a child. For example, if you didn’t feel seen or heard, or that your needs didn’t matter, that is what you will experience in the relationship. (Insert your particular wounding from your family of origin.)
What Does Real Love Feel Like?
So if that obsessive and overwhelming feeling isn’t love what is it?
Can you describe how you would like to feel with your soulmate?
Most people who struggle to find lasting love are clear on what they do not want. The trouble is that what you desire isn’t the opposite of what you want to avoid. You can’t create the opposite of what you do not want because you cannot manifest from lack.
Getting clear on what your heart desires will clear the path for you to be able to create it. And to do this, you first want to do the work of healing and forgiving the past. Start with forgiving yourself for any mistakes you made in your past relationships. Then do the work to forgive the men who have hurt you.
Finally, you’ll want to forgive your parents for their limitations that left you feeling unloved. This is where the real work is. As a little girl, you took full responsibility for your parents' behavior (or whoever raised you).
Every child does this as we do not have the capacity to say, “Gee mom, this is bad parenting… what I really need right now is for you to give me a hug and tell me everything is going to be all right.”
Being a parent is the toughest job there is, so we don’t want you to think that this is all on them. What happened is that you made decisions about yourself and the world based on your parents' behavior.
So your strategies for giving and receiving love are based upon those decisions that you made as a little girl who didn’t know how the world works yet and before your sense of self was fully formed.
Forgiving your parents (or whoever raised you) allows you to begin the process of healing these wounds.
Once you clear out the negative emotions associated with love from the past, you can begin to ask yourself how you want your soulmate relationship to function. Without inserting a particular person, no face, no details of the person, focus on the kind of relationship that would make your heart sing.
Everyone has their unique idea of how their ideal relationship should function, but there are some popular qualities when it comes to love.
Real Love Has Staying Power
When you think about your ideal relationship and how it functions, it’s important to also think of how you would feel over time with an ideal partner.
Even Creating Love On Purpose® will have the rush of excitement and thrill that goes with the feeling of falling in love. It will feel different than other experiences you’ve had. You’ll likely be more clear-headed and the feelings you have will not be so all-consuming.
The infatuation that comes with first meeting, dating, and getting to know someone is the gas that goes into your relationship tank. This experience is there so that the human species continues to procreate and exist.
Remember sex is instinctual, however, long-term monogamous relationships are not. Marriage is a social construct that many people feel is unnecessary. Whether a marriage is part of your goals or not, learning to create a lasting, loving partnership is one way to thrive in life.
There’s no point in calling in someone if it doesn’t last, so the idea of a love that is fleeting is not ideal.
Loving someone certainly means that you enjoy spending time with them, but it’s much more because love means that you can overlook temporary frustrations for the longer-term benefits of being with a life partner.
We use the term soulmate to describe the kind of true spiritual partnership that is long-lasting and satisfying. This is the very definition of what real love is.
What does real love feel like? It feels like it will last a lifetime.
Love Feels Like Freedom
One of the contradictions of making a commitment to one person is that it gives you so much freedom in your life. By taking away all of the worry and angst of the search for love, it frees you up to focus on other areas of your life.
Love and freedom are also part of any successful relationship. By promising to love and cherish your partner no matter what, you give him the freedom to be himself. Love doesn’t ask for the other person to change. It accepts someone for who they really are, warts and all.
When you’re in it to win it with an ideal partner you can give him the benefit of the doubt. We all have good days and bad days, and your soulmate will be a human being who will make mistakes.
What does real love feel like? It feels like the freedom to be yourself and to accept your partner as is.
Love Is Risky
Another contradiction built into real love is its inherent riskiness. Even though the two of you made a commitment to each other, it can still feel risky to keep your heart open with your partner.
Taking the risk to choose love daily means that your relationship will never get stale. You will never drift apart. Instead, you will lean into your differences and your conflicts allowing the love between the two of you to grow more deeply.
There is a comfort that comes with choosing the same person to love over and over again despite the temporary circumstances that show up as tiny annoyances.
What does real love feel like? It feels like taking a risk every day to keep your heart open and loving.
Love Is Patient And Kind
Part of being human is to feel the full range of human emotions. Certainly, you will have moments with your beloved of being impatient or even unkind. It is part of being human to accept that you are imperfect.
Still, love is patient and kind despite your impatience and frustration. Choosing to love someone means that you take responsibility for your outbursts and cleaning them up rather then letting them fester.
Choosing to love another person means you will make the choice to be more patient and kind with your partner and also with yourself.
What does real love feel like? It feels like the patience and kindness to love each other anyway, even when life gets the best of you.
Love Is Trusting
Real love means that you’ve taken the time to get to know the person you’ve committed to and that person has earned the benefit of the doubt. Trust is not something that you give to a stranger you’ve just met.
Many people make the mistake of giving the benefit of the doubt to someone they’ve just met because they feel all of these good feelings. Just because someone makes you feel good doesn’t mean that they’ve earned your trust.
Trust is earned over time as your partner proves that his intentions and desires with you are trustworthy. Once proven, that trust is given freely.
What does real love feel like? It feels like being able to trust the person sitting across from you, and knowing you can trust in his good intentions.
Ultimately, Love Gives You Roots And Wings
Real love is grounding, and it is also expansive. It gives you deep roots to bring you the feeling that you are on solid ground. You can stand tall and confident with the support of your soulmate.
A the same time love gives you wings to feel like you could fly to the moon.
What does real love feel like? It is the feeling of being grounded and present here on planet earth combined with the feeling that you could fly among the stars.
Are you curious about how you can create your own roots and wings? In our Facebook Group “Common Sense About Love” we share our most effective tools for creating long-lasting, soul-satisfying love. In this group, we host special events and you’ll receive exclusive access to us and a supportive community, all devoted to the idea of creating lasting love. You can join our group here.
Orna and Matthew Walters are TV’s favorite dating and relationship experts. They uncover subconscious blocks to love so that you can select an ideal partner to share your life with. Follow them on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.