Relationship or enmeshment?

As you scroll through the litany of photos on the latest dating app, one picture instantly captivates you. You swipe left and muster up a dosage of courage to test the water to see if there is any mutual interest. There is. Inquisitive and euphoric texting shortly ensues leading to a phone call. One phone call leads into days and weeks of intense flirtation and an intoxicating showering of affection. The first date did not disappoint, and neither did the ones to follow. As a result, the following reluctant thought begins to take up residence in your mind which carries a similar emotion that one possessing a potentially winning lottery ticket might have.

“Could this be the one?”

Everything in you says yes. A succession of dates and encounters follow, and all your hopes and dreams seem to be coming true. Every moment spent with your new muse leaves you feeling heard, validated and desired. Every moment spent apart from them leaves your soul feeling like an empty cavern void of all life, reducing your existence to simply counting down the days and hours until you can rendezvous with paradise again.

Have you been here before? Believe it or not, most relationships begin this way in some form. Once commitment occurs, however, the focus of one or both parties often begins to unconsciously shift. Inevitably, a time eventually comes where we don’t feel quite as seen and cherished by the other as we once did. This shift can happen abruptly in some relationships or subtly over time in many others.

For many of us, our significant relationships straddle the fence between leaving us feeling either very loved and accepted or misunderstood and rejected in our search for love. Here is something to keep in mind, however. Love is not something you can search for and find ‘out there.’ Looking for love in another person ultimately leads to relational drama because as the relationship progresses and either our focus or our partner’s shifts, it feels like the very satisfaction we thought we initially found in them has been lost and we want it back. Much of this struggle is not consciously understood, but unconsciously felt. As a result, one or both parties will try to become what they believe their partner wants them to be so that the love and acceptance they once experienced will return. Let me be clear, this is an enmeshment, not a relationship.

The truth is, most of what we refer to as ‘relationships’ are really just enmeshments fraught with drama because we are “looking for love.” Looking for love is like trying to find water in one of those pesky mirages we have all seen in the far away distance on a hot dusty highway during a summer road trip. No matter how compelling it may look, as soon as you ‘get there,’ the water is always just ahead of you out of reach.

No, contrary to popular belief, love is not something that is missing or that you can lose. Love is actually who you are and is always an inner experience. If you’re looking for love, it’s simply because you are not experiencing the truth of who you are. If you feel rejected and unloved, it’s simply your traumatized psychological structure being mirrored back to you.

Through my own healing journey and in my work helping others heal, I have discovered that love is actually our very nature and essence. Love is not out there somewhere, rather love is in here. Love is not wrapped up in someone else, but when we learn to live in a state of love, our love certainly will have the capacity to fully contain the other.

Understanding that love in an internal state of being is the key to stability in life and is also the key to creating real, sustainable relationships. Failure to understand this, however, will ultimately lead to the addiction of enmeshment.

Drug addicts use drugs like enmeshment addicts use people. When the drug wears off, you get a new stronger drug. Love is something vastly different, however. When you learn to see and experience your most loved self, love will become an effortless state of being, because it’s always effortless to be you.

About Jamal Jivanjee
Jamal Jivanjee is an Amazon best-selling author, a podcaster, and a full-time life coach with over twenty years of experience. Learn more about Jamal, and his latest book “Living for a Living,” by visiting