How To Make Someone Fall In Love With You

Matt Lillywhite

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Sophie, a friend from high school, called me after going through a terrible breakup with her boyfriend of seven years.

“Matt, I loved him so much. But now it’s over, and I don’t know what to do. I’m heartbroken, and I feel like giving up.”

Sophie was upset. She told me how she wanted to have kids and settle down sometime soon. However, he wanted to travel the world and experience everything it has to offer. Sure, they have been ideal for each other when they first began the relationship. But their dreams and aspirations for the future changed over time. Slowly, they grew further and further apart until the chasm between them.

Sophie and her (now ex) boyfriend thought love would be enough to save the relationship. However, it wasn’t. It never is.

According to Psychology Today, “there is often a gap between the love we feel in our heart and the emotional intimacy we experience with someone. The connection we desire may seem so close, so we keep trying, yet it may remain sadly elusive. It’s maddening when you love someone but don’t experience the trust and safety that are necessary for the relationship to thrive. This emotional safety is an essential foundation for an intimate relationship.”

That’s what healthy relationships need: emotional safety. In essence, the chance to be our authentic selves whenever we’re with our partner. The ability to feel safe when discussing our thoughts, opinions, and ideas with someone else. And, of course, emotional safety helps us to feel comfortable during moments of vulnerability, as we know that we won’t be heavily criticized or shamed for how we feel.

That explains, in part, why Sophie grew further and further apart from her ex-boyfriend. She told me how they often didn’t want to be vulnerable with each other. They were continually judging and criticizing each other and rarely took the time to discuss the nuances of their opinions and problems. As a result, the emotional distance between them increased until they could no longer see a future together.

Sure, they loved each other. But unfortunately, that wasn’t enough. Because without emotional safety, we feel emotionally unsafe. And unsurprisingly, that’s terrible for a relationship.

How To Create Emotional Safety In Your Relationship.

1) Assume that your partner has your best interests at heart.

Intent matters. Sure, they might do or say things you dislike. But chances are, it’s not because they’re trying to hurt or demean you. Your partner isn’t perfect. And neither are you. As Lisa Firestone Ph.D. writes in Psychology Today:

“It’s important to accept that we all have separate minds and points of view. Each of us is hurt, defended, flawed, and will inevitably make mistakes. Having this perspective doesn’t mean we should sit back and withstand abuse. However, if we want to enjoy a lasting relationship with someone we value and choose to spend our lives with, we may want to grow our ability to forgive.”

Purposely getting into arguments and holding grudges won’t get you very far in a healthy relationship. Be kind and practice forgiveness at every given opportunity. When you know that you have each other’s best interests at heart, it’s much easier to trust each other.

2) Take responsibility for your own happiness.

Relying on someone else to be happy creates dependence, which is extremely unhealthy in a relationship. Instead, take responsibility for your own happiness and let your partner add to what you already have. I’m going to quote Kirstie Taylor because she said it better than I ever could:

“Your happiness is your responsibility. Within a relationship, you can support your lover, have fun with them, and enjoy the wonders that life has to offer. But you cannot make them happy. Happiness is something entirely internal.”

3) Always tell the truth.

When you’re honest with your partner, they’ll probably try their best to reciprocate. After all, they’ll probably agree that it’s much better to have a relationship built on truth instead of lies.

Stay true to your word and follow through on whatever you promise to do for them. Because even when the truth can be uncomfortable, your partner will (probably) respect you due to a unique ability to remain honest during every situation.

4) Be willing to have difficult conversations.

If something is on your mind, tell your partner. If they’re doing something that annoys you, let them know. Quoting an article published by Harvard Business Review:

“ Lean into the conversation with an open attitude and a genuine desire to learn. Start from a place of curiosity and respect — for both yourself and the other person. Genuine respect and vulnerability typically produce more of the same: mutual respect and shared vulnerability. Even when the subject matter is difficult, conversations can remain mutually supportive. Respect the other person’s point of view, and expect them to respect yours.”

Be willing to have difficult conversations. Unless they know there’s a problem, they won’t take the necessary steps to fix it.

For some reason, many people think that as long as they love their partner, that’s enough. But it’s not. Emotional safety is also a vital element of a healthy relationship. Without it, you probably won’t feel safe communicating how you feel to your partner. You won’t feel like you can voice your opinion without fear of being criticized. Nor will you feel comfortable saying when there’s a problem.

Implementing emotional safety into your relationship isn’t difficult. First, assume that your partner has your best interests at heart. Second, take responsibility for your own happiness. Third, tell the truth. And finally, be willing to have difficult conversations.

I’m going to leave you with a beautiful quote from Christina Enevoldsen, who perfectly sums up what I’m saying:

“In a healthy relationship, vulnerability is wonderful. It leads to increased intimacy and closer bonds. When a healthy person realizes that he or she hurt you, they feel remorse, and they make amends. It’s safe to be honest.”

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