By January 9, 2008 Read More →

Tough love: how being strong in a relationship can be romantic

Everyone has heard of “tough love,” or a relationship in which one partner has to make difficult decisions for the good of the other partner. Tough love is more often associated with platonic love or parenting, but romantic relationships can also occasionally benefit from practicing a little tough love.

Tough love in a romantic relationship doesn’t necessarily mean being forceful with your significant other, although it could include that if your lover is practicing self-destructive acts that are a threat to themselves or your relationship.  Instead, tough love usually involves being strong enough to make your romantic relationship the number one priority in your life and defend it against outside threats that could harm it.

Make no mistake about it: having the strength to face threats to your romance is an important aspect of building a romantic relationship, and tough love is sometimes a necessity. While things between you and your lover may be just peachy, outside threats, such as your career, family members or other stresses, could combine to sabotage an otherwise successful relationship.  In these situations, tough love is in order to defend your relationship.

But don’t confuse tough love with being rude, unreasonable or pushy in your relationship!  Tough love can be practiced in a measured fashion, and just because you perceive a threat to your relationship doesn’t mean that you should get overly protective or issue threats in return.  Simply remaining strong, supporting your sweetheart, and letting others know in no uncertain terms that your relationship is your number one priority is usually all the tough love that is required.

And as for practicing tough love when it comes to protecting your romantic partner from threats to themselves and your relationship, remember to approach the situation with plenty of objectivity and understanding.  Rather than being judgmental and condescending, use a more gentle form of tough love by starting a conversation with your lover about the mistakes you think they are making.  Calmly tell them why you think these things are threatening, how you want to help them, and ask for their thoughts and ideas as well.  You don’t have to be controlling or pushy to practice tough love with your partner.

Remember, just because you’ve decided to start using tough love to improve your relationship doesn’t necessarily mean you have to get tough.  Simply be strong, practice understanding, and make your romance your number one priority, and you’ll be using all the tough love you need to!

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