The mantra to maintaining a healthy relationship, otherwise a very very strenuous exercise, is to understand the development of one's own love history.
According to Dr. Mark Beitel, a licensed clinical psychologist and psychotherapist at Greenwich Hospital's Center for Integrative Medicine in Cos Cob, CT, the only way to overcome experiencing the same negative romantic outcome is to break the pattern.
"Certain conditions for loving, and being loved, are created and then maintained across a person's lifespan," Beitel explained.
"Negative life experiences can damage the developing capacity for love. People get stuck because the conditions that they have set up for loving tend to operate just outside of awareness," he said.
We all yearn for the kind of love that works. In fact, the very experience of loving is good for your health.
Beitel explains that brain chemicals like oxytocin and endorphins are released during the experience of love. These substances are associated with pleasure and well-being.
There are simple ways to put yourself on the path for a healthy happy love life. It starts by taking better care of yourself.
"It is much easier to develop the capacity to love yourself and others when your biology is in balance," Beitel, who works with patients on their mental health while encouraging them to seek help with nutrition and exercise as well, said.
One way to iron out the developmental wrinkles in the capacity for love is simply to be more present, or mindful, in everyday life.
"The practice of mindfulness can also help us to see our loved ones as they are rather than as we want them to be," he said.
"Negative expectations run outside of awareness, so increasing mindfulness gives them less room to operate.
"Seeing others clearly reduces the confusion, biases, and inappropriate expectations that prevent us from connecting authentically," Beitel explained.
Psychotherapy is designed to help a person become aware of repeating negative expectations about love and to correct them so that a more enjoyable love life can be pursued.