Is love a many splendored thing? It is if it’s the most fulfilling kind of love – “boomerang love,” as I call it. Read on for what this is and how to recognize it in your own relationship…
Love! Just the sound of that word increases my heart rate, floods my mind with peaceful thoughts and brings a smile to my face. It’s a word that evokes great emotion and great expectation.
Love is a feeling and a state of being that we humans cherish dearly and seek relentlessly. When love between two people is shared in its healthiest form, it is a deeply wondrous experience that enhances your life, expands your universe and opens you up to a new way of living.
However, when love is one-sided or based on weakness or pathology, it wields a lethal blow to one’s sense of self-esteem, personal dignity and ability to enjoy life. I’d like to talk about the healthiest kind of love, which I affectionately refer to as “boomerang love.”
The Opposite of Love
Let me explain where this concept of boomerang love came from. I was having a chat with a female friend the other day that turned into a rather deep and emotional conversation. My friend is divorced, and her ex-husband was a very cruel, abusive man. She endured years of personal attacks, humiliation and verbal terrorism that left her feeling frightened, emotionally wounded, unloved and lost.
(There may be many of you reading this who painfully identify with this woman’s plight. If so, I urge you to reach out to someone for help today.)
My friend told me about a book that she had been reading, one of those frothy, escapist paperbacks about the lives of beautiful people. However, this particular book, Summer of Roses by Luanne Rice, examined the emotional fallout of a battered woman. Since my friend had been a battered woman, she identified with the lead character. One passage, in particular, stopped her in her tracks:
It wasn’t real love. I didn’t know that for a long time. Real love is a boomerang − it comes back to you. With Edward, love was a sinkhole. It nearly consumed me, taking every single thing I had, and then some − until I, and everything surrounding me, collapsed.
After reading me that passage, she, as if confessing to a crime, softly said, “That was me.” That was quite a powerful moment for her!
I began to think deeper about those poignant words from that book: What a powerful description and perfect way to look at love.
Healthy love between two humans should be like a boomerang − it ought to always come back to you. A loving relationship should not and cannot be a one-way street.
What Boomerang Love Looks Like
Boomerang love relationships are a joyful give and take. A love based on mutual respect, common goals and honesty is the relationship brass ring. Being the partner who’s always giving will leave you feeling lost and emotionally exhausted. A boomerang love, on the other hand, is like a wonderful wellness inoculation for your soul. It will put a spring in your step and a sparkle in your eye like nothing else on this planet.
This topic reminds me of that famous song “Love Is A Many Splendored Thing,” particularly the first lines (feel free to sing along):
Love is a many splendored thing.
It’s the April rose that only grows in the early spring.
What a rich image of love that song provides. I bet if you did just sing it, you smiled a little. Healthy love creates a reaction in one’s heart, much like sunlight breathing life into that April rose. Love and sunlight have a life-enhancing effect on those they touch. Boomerang love is the pinnacle of this idea – the kind of love in which people bloom.
Seek Out Role Models
When I think of boomerang love, an elderly couple that I love and respect comes immediately to mind. The gentleman is a boyish 82 years old; his wife of nearly six decades is a beautiful and energetic 81. Every time I’m in their company, I’m moved by their deep connection to one another. The give and take, shared responsibilities and honest respect and concern for each other are an honor to witness. If all relationships were like theirs, the world would be a kinder and gentler place indeed!
Now think about the people in your life. Can you identify any relationships among your circle of friends and family that seem like boomerang love? One of the best ways to coax this kind of love into your life is to have good role models to observe and interact with; you’ll increase your potential for finding boomerang love. It’s amazing how important the company you keep is in determining the type of relationship you develop.
Real Love or an Imposter?
Unfortunately, many people start out believing that they’ve chosen the right person, only to find themselves in a relationship full of disappointment, disrespect and heartache. I’m reminded of a female patient I once had who was going through her fifth divorce.
One of the first things she asked me was, “Why do I always end up with men like this?” She was miles away from the kind of love that she dreamed about, consistently choosing men who didn’t return her love. This left her feeling hurt, disillusioned and unloved because she was constantly fighting for attention and respect.
Here’s a definition of relationship abuse from Stanford University: “A pattern of physically, sexually, and/or emotionally abusive behaviors used by one individual to maintain power over or control a partner in the context of an intimate or family relationship.”
I bet you know at least one person who seems to consistently gravitate toward these types of unhealthy relationships… or is in one currently. Unfortunately, people involved in negative relationships pay a high personal price. Disrespectful or abusive love tends to suck the very life out of you. The offending partner is constantly making withdrawals from your emotional account, leaving you painfully overdrawn. A boomerang love is inclusive, respectful and satisfying because you get a very important return on your investment.
Nobody should allow themselves to be treated with cruelty and disrespect. Life is simply too short and too precious to spend in a relationship full of fear and emotional pain.
So with that, I ask you to take some time today and think about the state of your marriage or your current love relationship. Are you in a boomerang love relationship? Or do you always find yourself doing all the giving while getting very little or nothing in return?
If you find yourself among those blessed with a boomerang love, enjoy the ride − you are very fortunate indeed. If, on the other hand, you continue to choose the wrong partners or want your relationship to improve, please don’t give up hope. Take action by investing time in counseling and learn how to make healthier life choices. My heartfelt desire is that each one of you gets to experience the wonder and contentment found in a boomerang love!