I want to write about money-lenders of relationships. No, I am not talking about dollars and cents here-yes, I am talking ,again, about love.

Remember that universal story about the money lender that loaned money to people in need under the highest percentage? And then he collected, sometimes with brutal force; and afterward-he hoarded it. He never shared. Not for a moment this man could imagine giving away any of his precious gold coins. He never bought anything for himself, never took care of anyone.. He died alone, desperate for human care, surrounded by bags of useless money.

Now picture a relationship. You meet someone, you fall in love, you say “I love you”, and the person says, “I cant’ say it back. I am not mushy that way”. And he/she doesn’t. Ever. Or , may be , on special occasions , once every 10 years. Like that money lender, he/she collects from you, without giving anything back. Those are usually unequal, cold relationships. They leave the other person feeling insecure, off balance, starved for affection. Of course, after along time it is possible to learn to live with it-humans, we are adoptable creatures, but it’s not really fun.

Do these relationships last? Rarely.. Eventually the starved party meets someone else who recognizes the glimmer of emotional hunger in them, says the magic words, and he/she bolts out.

The money lender gets left , bewildered, saying something like, ” But she/he knew I loved him/her, why ?!”

When I work with money lenders , this is the moment when I ask them, “How? How did she/he know about your love if you didn’t say it? Through ESP? Really?” The response I get usually involves words “should, actions, I am that way”.

That way does not work.

These people behave like there is, somewhere, a giant bank, where the ” I love yous” are stored. And all of us have accounts, with a limited amount on them. And once we spend/say “I love you”, the accounts will be empty. So they dole it out, rationing, like there will be a word famine on love at any moment. So sad. Such an inept way to live life. Lonely in death.

Am I dramatizing? A little. I like to exaggerate to drive a point home.And, just in case-I am not one of them Marin county “love saves everything ” therapist either=).

I am a therapist that believes that ,like everything else worthwhile, relationships need to be cared for and maintained. Saying ” I love you”, as much as you can, is a part of that maintenance. That’s how your loved one knows-for sure.

Have you said your I love you today?=)

Lubov V. Smith



Relationships-we all have them: with our family, friends, at work, with the One..We are surrounded by them daily. All of us relate. Yet, most of us have no clue how.

Take a long term marriage ,for example. How many of us said at least once, “It’s bad, because we have been married for a long time”? Huh? So long time equals poor results? Imagine saying that about your career, ” I suck at my job because I have been doing it for a years”. Why is it, that in everything else ,with time invested, we excel, yet, in love, we usually get worse with time?

Yes, I just brought up the “L” word!… Love. ” I love you”, the most important, profound and misused expression in ,at least, English language. Ideally, in the beginning, we use it to let the One know ,”You are the most important, wonderful, exceptional person I have ever met”. Later on, it’s used to say/mean, ” I am tired”, or “Leave me alone”, or ” You are annoying”, and two of my all time favorites: “Shut up” and “God, I hate your guts , but I am too chicken to tell you about it”. What a change!

Where did that wonderful thing go?!

I get to wonder about things like that every day, for a living. For every person who comes to my office I get to translate: what does their “I love you” mean? Together we look for what happened, is the situation solvable, is it worth solving-some relationships are DOA-dead on arrival; how to solve it. It is always fascinating to me: we all look for love, we all want it, yet, we pay so little attention to it when we get it! What if we did it to our favorite car? Or a child? Why do we expect love to last without any efforts?

“All you need is love”, as the song goes..Right!..getting love is easy..Keeping it-in any relationship, that’s the challenge.Is it doable? Yes. Is it easy? No. Keep in mind: everything we know about intimate relationships we learn from our primary caretakers- they don’t have to be our parents, by the age of five. And it’s not a conscious learning process, it’s more like an imprint on a brain. Sometimes takes a life time to unlearn.Or, a really good therapist=).

So, until next time: start small-just begin paying attention: what does your “I love you mean?’

Lubov V. Smith (www.nobhilltherapy.com)

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