The “Love Contract” – Spotting Fear’s Hidden Asterisk

Ever heard the phrase Quid pro quo?

The original Latin translation was “this instead of that” but today when we hear this it’s more like; “I’m only doing this for you since you’re promising me something in return”.

It’s funny how both of those translations fit most people’s unspoken understanding of love when we think about it from the you-complete-me world view.

Caveman meet female (Cave…”man”?), Love At First Conk To The Noggin

cartoon-caveman-dragging-cave-woman-260nw-31004170Let’s face facts, before we had the ability to set reminders, complete labor intensive household chores at the push of a button, and get food delivered from any number of apps…

…there was an actual need for a feeling that most of us, as individuals, weren’t “good enough” to survive on our own.

At that time it was essential for the species to give most of our focus to what each person was born gifted with and find someone (or multiple someones) to share the load by identifying and labeling our inadequacies and, in some cases, “playing down” certain aspects to be accepted by a group.

Thus, the idea of You Complete Me and the unspoken (fear-based) love contract was born!

Today, as with other physical relics from our ancestors (e.g. the appendix), we have unnecessary aspects that continue to show up in our children.

So too, this truly useless belief is stuck to our collective psyche like a set of wisdom teeth crowding our mouths.


But unlike wisdom teeth and our appendix, we’re free to live in denial of the fact that it even exists because it doesn’t show up on any sort of scan or x-ray.

[see God Paradox/Love Blindness to go another layer deeper]

The Contract


What this means is that when most of us say “I love you*” it comes with that asterisk that indicates (see the up-to-date contract addenda to assure these words continue to also convey “in love with” you).

To break it down further, this essentially appends words or phrases to “I love you….” like;

  • if you continue to…
  • when you show me you’re…
  • except when you fail to…
  • but not when I’m feeling…., or;
  • for as long as you continue to play the character I need you to play in “my story”

printingIn other words;

I’m in love with you as long as I feel complete (or at least, feeling acceptably okay with my current level of not enough) based on your actions or overall demonstration of character.

The Inherent Issue

[Lessening Our Fears Through Comfort] The reason any of us yearn for this agreement is that we unconsciously (fearfully) seek to have our flaws (or this inherited feeling of inadequacy) supported or diminished by another individual regardless of whether we’re actively working on these aspects currently or not.

The problem arises in that last bit, we might be working on these shortcomings to lessen our fears for our previously singular benefit.

In this case we may eventually feel adequate to reclaim a previously shared portion of the load, secretly moving it back into the my responsibility column.

branchThis eventually leads to a desire to reject one or more obligations we realize we’re carrying on the other person’s behalf.

Side note: Just in case it’s unclear this process is never actually spelled out. It relies fully on some sense of “we’re one person” or mind reading technique, often asserted through such phrases as;

  • “love shouldn’t be this hard”, or;
  • “you used to be able to tell when I am [insert emotion, now felt as a result, that’s blamed on the other person]”
  • “S/he just does’t get me”

child karate removing heart from chest[Comfort Lessening Fear Returning] When this happens the power dynamic shifts and we start feeling all the feelings people talk about when they say;

  • “I just fell out of love” and/or;
  • “I just don’t want to think I’m settling

Love Is Made Known Through Fear, But Once We Know…

Our “wrong” choices grant us the knowledge to discern what we now understand as “right”. Don’t feel “inadequate” or carry shame for gaining wisdom, feel proud!

complete-1To be in a relationship devoid of the ups-and-downs of a fear-avoidance contract is simple enough to layout but may be difficult to follow at first;

  1. Realize it’s not your fault for thinking or acting in accordance with this cycle
    • It’s sort of a prehensile tail most can’t see or are too afraid to remove
  2. Recognize;
    • You’re all you need
    • You were born “complete”
    • In reality there’s only one version of you that exists, period.
      • It’s the “you” who is reading this
      • Thus, you are your perfect self, by default
  3. Embrace the wholeness of this understanding
  4. Reserve the power of the proverbial “in love” feeling for yourself
    • This power is what keeps the fear of any hidden “inadequacies” that pop up from sending us screaming back to the comfort of the cycle… trust me, I know firsthand, they can and will
  5. Seek others who share this insight

I know this post is a long one, so thanks for sticking it out this far….

“It’s Okay” – Talking To The Scared Voice Inside

Vain-woodyParts of the above steps may sound like a recipe for narcissism.

The part of you that’s saying that is attached to the part in all of us that’s deathly afraid of being exposed to the “pain” it associates with being revealed.

Whenever my ego perks up and says scary or mean things such as;

  • “Who do you think you are”
  • “What’s the point?”
  • “You’re a failure, you’ve always been a failure and you’ll always be a failure, stop kidding yourself”
  • “They say only Jesus was perfect, what do you think you’re Jesus or something”

First, I stop and think the part that is thinking this is part of me, so I love it

I do my best not to admonish, try to deny, or turn away from it.

child hidingThen, whenever I have the chance to step away, I picture that part in me as a little kid version of myself, acting big and tough, as if he’s trying to keep the bullies on the playground from seeing him as weak.

As he violently thrashes, kicks, and tries to avoid even the thought of being seen; I calmly picture my adult self picking him up and …

I just sit with him, lovingly holding him.

  • Thanking him for being so brave and strong
  • Thanking him for all he’s done
  • Thanking him for getting me where I am today

But usually, I just keep reiterating…

….”it’s okay”, “We don’t have to “pretend” to be tough anymore, it’s just a dream, just a story grown ups tell so we feel safe”


Fall a little more in love with yourself, everyday 🙂

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