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Everyone wants a wonderful love life. Yes, maybe there are a few out there who honestly don’t want a loving partnership…but those who do want it, want it to be epic. And the fact is, epic Love is ready and waiting for every single one of us…if we are willing to work for it.

I used to think love just happened. I don’t think I gave much thought as to how it happened. I just knew, from a very early age, that I wanted to marry “the man of my dreams”, have two children, and live “happily ever after”.

And, if it were only the end game that counted, I have done just that. However, my life turned out nothing at all like I thought it would…

I did marry the “man of my dreams”. I had two children. I was happy…for a while. But then I began to grow—and I discovered I had been deeply shamed as a child and therefore had constructed a barrier to true intimacy. I healed that shame… and suddenly the man I married was no longer “the man of my dreams”. And when I realized he never would be, I ended the marriage and set off to find the man who was everything I’d hoped for.

If I had only known what creates love, in my early adulthood, I would have likely had my “happily ever after” a few decades sooner than I did.

Learning to love may be the most important thing we come here to learn. And, contrary to popular belief, our love lives are our own creation.

Let that in… No one is doing it to you. He’s not a lying cheat. She’s not a crazy bitch. YOU are creating it all—including your mate, or lack thereof.

Oh, I know, the entire concept rubs many people the wrong way. It’s easier (and much more convenient) to play the blame game. But that doesn’t get us anywhere— except creating more people we feel we need to blame.

Yes, eventually I did create the (next) man of my dreams…but it took a lot of years and a lot of men before I got it right–and even then, it didn’t last (read more about my divorce).

The most important thing is, I have learned some important lessons along the way. These lessons help me to create love, and (by remembering them) they help me keep the love going strong. And if you can learn from my mistakes you can step into your epic Love life sooner rather than later.

But let me warn you, this is not an article to read and forget about. This works. You can have any kind of love life you want, my friend—IF you do the work.

10 Tips to Create a Love Life to Die Live for:

1. Forget the fairytales

I am amazed (and saddened) at how many people have a fantasy about finding their “soul mate” and living happily ever after.

And when they either:

a. Don’t find their soul mate or
b. Do find their soul mate, but everything’s not coming up roses…

Then they blame themselves or their mate, or God, or someone else in the drama.

You don’t find love my friends. You create love. The idea of finding the perfect man or woman for you is, however appealing, just not true. The entire concept leaves you constantly wondering, “is this the one?” instead of enjoying the relationship and creating it into something sensational.

And forget the 21st century fairy tales too. The one that says, “Our blended families will be perfect.” And the one that says, “I must love everyone in my mate’s life.” And certainly forget the one that says, “We must agree on everything and all of our interests must be common interests.”

This is a tough one for many. We have these preconceived notions in our minds about how the relationship “should” be.

But the truth is, once you let go of control and just enjoy and be grateful for what you have, you’ll find yourself much happier. Decide early on what is and what isn’t important in your relationship. (Hint: what is important is the love you share with your partner.)

2. Bless the toads

They say you have to kiss a lot of toads before you find your prince (or princess). I say it’s another one of those fairy tales. Every single person on your path is there for a reason. There are no mistakes.

And the more you want to pretend they didn’t exist, the more likely you are to create another person just like them. I know, I wanted to forget every former love, as a way to wipe them out of my life for good. I looked at each of them as my “failures”. But that attitude only served to think of myself as a failure in love.

How did I remedy that? I bought a beautiful journal with a gorgeous picture of a couple kissing on the cover. And I wrote down the name of every man I’d ever kissed, and listed what was good about each one.

As I focused on the gifts they had each brought me, I realized that I hadn’t created “failure” in my past relationships; I had created (at least some) joy and many lessons—and each man had brought me one step closer to the love I sought. This exercise freed me to forgive myself (and sometimes them) and move on to create my epic Love.

3. Find your own happiness (independent of your love life)

Finding a partner will not make you happy. Similarly, if you have a partner, trying to change them will not make you happy.

There is only one person in this world who can make you happy—you. And sooner or later, one lifetime or another, you are going to have to take responsibly for your own happiness. Why not now?

The added bonus to your living an exquisitely joyous life is that the happier you become the easier it will be to create someone to share that joy. And the better you will be able to love and be loved.

4. Know what you (really) want

Whether or not you have a mate currently, if you want an epic Love life you need to know what it is you want. The universe can only deliver what you order, so it will pay to get clear on what that is.

Many people answer this question with a laundry list of what their love should “look like” or “does for a living”. But if you don’t feel loved, what’s the use of a handsome guy or a beautiful girl on your arm even if they make a lot of money?

If you really want to be happy in love, give some deep thought to how you want to feel in the relationship. Ultimately, it’s the feelings that create the relationship, so addressing those from the start will create the person who makes you feel that way.

What feelings might be included in your dream? Consider these intentions:

I intend to create a relationship that fills me with love, joy and feelings of safety, security, commitment and value.
I intend to create a relationship in which I feel valued, respected, honored and unconditionally loved.
I intend to create a relationship filled with fun, vulnerability, trust and ease.

Beyond knowing how you want to feel, know what your bottom line nonnegotiable deal-breakers are. This is a line that you feel so strongly about not crossing, that you would choose being alone rather than be with who did not have these qualities.

Not only will getting clear on these qualities help to create your partner, once you have a partner, focusing on these essences will help your love life grow, richen and deepen. An added bonus: as you remember the foundation on which the relationship was formed, you have an easier time looking beyond any temporary glitches in the union.

What might a list of non-negotiables look like? Here are mine:

He must be kind.
He must be faithful.
He must genuinely love me and desire to grow that love.
He and I must have similar values (i.e. truth, honesty, integrity, etc.)

No, the list is not long. But it is important. These are the cornerstones for my version of a wonderful relationship—and all of the other delightful traits that came with my husband are icing on the cake!

Know what you want, and know what your non-negotiables are. But please remember, you are living on earth. So whomever you create will be human— and not perfect (and so are you.)

5. Let go of what it “should” look like

We all tend to have fantasies of what our ideal relationship looks like. But oftentimes it’s our adolescent self who is dreaming up those pictures. And the more we can let those go and instead trust the universe to deliver the perfect love life, the better off we’ll be.

Because the fact is, usually we can’t imagine exactly how the best possible mate will manifest or what our life will look like when it’s complete. And if we have only one idea of how it can turn out, we tend to close off opportunities that could blossom into real dreams come true.

Courtney’s first marriage was “picture-perfect”. They were both attractive— she the gracious hostess and he the ideal husband—combined with their two beautiful children all snuggled into a gorgeous cape cod house—it seemed like the quintessential flawless family. The problem was it was all on the surface—there was little intimacy or vulnerability, and only a shallow pool of love.

When Courtney married for the second time, it wasn’t for looks or outside appearances. It was for a profound depth of love. One insensitive friend mentioned her new husband and she were a remake of the beauty and the beast. To the outside world, the union didn’t make sense. But Courtney didn’t care. She was exquisitely happy and so was her husband.

We all have some preconceived ideas of what our ideal mate will be like, but the more you can let those pictures go and instead, dream the essence, the happier you’ll be.

6. Scour your subconscious

It was my fifth birthday. I was excited about bringing chocolate cupcakes to my kindergarten class to celebrate. I knew there would be little Dixie cups of ice cream with little flat wooden “spoons” and miniature containers of milk to go with the cupcakes. This was the best day ever!

And then it happened. A little boy shyly came up to me and kissed me on the cheek, whispering, “Happy birthday, Boni.” He managed to shove a present into my hands before I could turn and run.

The boy’s name was Scott. I didn’t like Scott. I was embarrassed and humiliated. I wanted to die. And part of me did—the “carefree, open and vulnerable with boys” part died. And some new beliefs were born:

Men are threatening.
I attract men whom I dislike.
I am powerless when it comes to men.

Yes, beliefs are born that easily—at five years old and even younger. And not only do they stay with us our entire lives (until we change them)…they alter the very fabric of our reality.

In my years preparing to create an epic Love, I have changed hundreds of beliefs about reality, men, love, women, my spouse and myself. And every single time, my world changed.

Here are just a few of the beliefs I changed around relationships:

I do not make good choices in relationships.
Men and their needs are more important than women and theirs.
Men always betray me.
I am not worthy of being loved.
I cannot trust men.
Relationships grow weary and boring after a long period of time.
Intimate relationships are hard work.
When I’m in a significant other relationship I lose myself.
I attract men who are emotionally immature.
I attract men who are in shame.
Relationships mean servitude.
I cannot be fully myself and be accepted.
I need to earn love.
I need to sacrifice my own needs in a relationship.
My significant other needs to be perfect.
Everything is an illusion but men.
Men are more powerful than me.
Love hurts.
I can’t have lasting love.
If things go too smoothly in my relationship I get nervous and create a
problem.
It is not safe to allow people to support me.

You can tell, just by looking at my former beliefs, what my love life used to look like. It was no wonder I spent years dating the wrong people and so much frustration and unhappiness ensued.

But when I began to discover the power of beliefs, little by little my romantic world began to change.

Not only did I attract the man who would become my husband, but these very same tools allowed me to enable that relationship to become epic!

7. Learn how to Love

Everyone thinks they know how to love. I know I did. Boy was I surprised when I discovered I didn’t know the first thing about it.

My mother taught me some of what I did know. She loved by giving, giving and giving some more. She loved by obsessively worrying. She loved by attempting to control others to “keep them safe”.

What she didn’t know was that her martyrdom was punishing those she loved. Her worrying was not helping, but in fact hurting, by sending the universe the message: “This person is unable to take care of herself and is in constant danger!” And her control—obviously—didn’t serve anyone.

My father taught me about love too. His way of loving was to “fix” what was wrong. Flat tire? Broke before Friday? Math problem to solve? No worries, my dad was there to “love” me.

The big issue with my dad’s love was that in order to receive it I had to keep creating problems. Ouch.

Not that my parents didn’t truly love as well. They did. But the love became twisted and distorted. And before I could really learn to love, I had to recognize what I had been taught and let that go.

Love, pure Love, does not control, does not martyr and is not codependent. Real Love is unconditional. Unconditional Love is never affected by what someone does or says.

Real Love does, however, have boundaries. And it makes sense that it should, when you think about it. You can only love someone else to the extent you can love yourself, and if you love yourself, you set healthy boundaries for yourself. Similarly, loving others involves setting boundaries for them, as well, and they for you.

What might a boundary be? Well, one of mine is, when we are spending time together, be it meals, conversation, or a movie, cell phones are not invited. A simple boundary, but to me, an important one. I feel it is a matter of respect for the person you are with, and for the relationship, to be present for that person without interruption.

Are there exceptions to boundaries? Yes, there are. Few boundaries are absolute. With my husband and I, there are times when we need to accept an important call, and for that, an exception is made, but generally, we honor this boundary.

And, there is always the choice, without judgment, for my husband to spend an hour or an evening on the phone—and I will cheerfully find something else to do with my time.

8. Love yourself first

This means love yourself before you even go looking for a mate, and it means love yourself first every day of your life. It does not necessarily mean, “put yourself first”. Sometimes it is appropriate to put yourself first and sometimes it is not.

But loving yourself first ensures you will come to the relationship (not to mention the rest of your life) with your proverbial cup full. If you have taken care of your own needs, you are much better able to help another person take care of theirs.

And if you feel fully loved, by yourself and your unseen friends, you are not desperately seeking a mate to “complete” you, or trying to control a current mate into “loving you better”. Needy is never attractive.

Make your growth your first priority—everything else is created from there.

9. Stay in your adult

We have many aspects to who we are. Our soul and our higher self are more evolved aspects of us. We also have less evolved aspects of who we are, and those are our younger selves—the people we were as a child, adolescent or young adult.

And these aspects can “come out” in us, and sabotage our relationships and our lives.

A man I know becomes defensive and flustered every time he senses his wife is the least bit upset with him. Like a little boy caught with his hand in the cookie jar, he is filled with guilt and shame even if he has done nothing wrong. His wife senses his guilt and assumes he has something to feel guilty about and the situation spirals downward from there.

A woman I know finds herself desperately trying to control her significant other whenever she feels afraid she will be hurt. Another woman I know finds herself in a pattern of creating men who disappoint her then leaving them as quickly as she found them. Still another lashes out with criticism and judgment, shaming her mate, as a way to alleviate the pain she feels when he inadvertently hurts her. These characteristics are all traits of the “child” these adults once were.

When we are afraid, panicked or in chaos, we tend to slip into old behavior patterns we learned as a child or adolescent. We lose the ability to detach as the spiritual adult, and instead become the reactive child or the drama-queen adolescent—seeing the world in black and white and judging others as good or bad.

If I had a dime for every time I’ve been in my “child” or “adolescent” self in my relationships over the years, I could probably buy a new car. It took me decades to recognize when I was regressing into these old and familiar energies.

However, it is vital to heal that child and adolescent within—to make it easier for to stay firmly in your wise adult—and create loving, adult relationships.

10. Focus on the positive

Once you are established in a relationship, the very traits you so admired in your mate initially can drive you up a wall a few months or years in. And once you have a few fights under your belt (and you should have fights— otherwise someone isn’t being emotionally honest) it can get tempting to focus on what you don’t like about him/her.

But what you focus on expands. So if you want more dissension, keep focusing on the problems.

A woman I knew was at her wit’s end because she thought her husband was selfish and unloving. The kicker for her was that he would get up in the morning, and make only his half of the bed.

While inwardly I smiled at this rather interesting creation. I suggested she look at it differently. Some men would never think to make any of the bed. She had a mate who did help out, after all. “Focus on what he does right,” I offered.

Sure enough, the following week when I saw my friend she couldn’t wait to tell me how her relationship had shifted. He was kinder, happier, and yes, he was making the entire bed.

If you expect your relationship to be problematic, it will be. If you expect that the love will carry you through, it can.

Keep dreaming & keep creating

There is never a time to stop and say, “I’m done creating this relationship.” Of course, there are times to coast a bit, enjoy the ride and take a break from dreaming the next step.

But many relationships wither and die slow, suffocating deaths, due to the fact that neither partner keeps dreaming. They settle into complacency and mediocrity and stop moving forward. This is the time of the seven-year itch or the mid-life crisis for some. But it needn’t be.

You don’t need a new relationship to keep the spark alive and the love growing. In fact, the deepest and richest love can come after time and experiences have bound you to each other.

But you do have to create that deepening and richening of the love.

Imagine it. Set an intention for it. Feel how you will feel, 20 years from now, when you are more madly in love with your spouse than you had ever imagined. THAT is the energy that will create your epic Love!

Wishing you epic love,

P.S. – Get 45 bits of inspiration with Love Creation Cards as you create loving relationships in your world.

This article was originally published in  Law of Attraction Magazine

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1 comment to " The 10 “Love Lessons” I’ve Learned – And Still Use – To Create An Epic Love Life! "

  • Moonsparkle

    Great article, Boni. Thank you! :) The part that stuck out for me was No 6. Scour your subconscious. I’ve discovered limiting beliefs I have about men and relationships and just myself in general but I think there’s more to find because I’m still experiencing some blocks.

    I also like No 8. Love yourself first. :)

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