I've argued the case against letting other people tell you what or how you're feeling, and I stand by those arguments. But today I'm going to present the flip side of that coin.
While I would never presume to tell you what you're feeling about a situation, I can observe your actions. If you say, "You don't understand the way I conduct relationships," you may indeed be right. But when what I observe is that you give no value to the opinions or feelings of your partners, you act to protect your own interests at the expense of others, you tell other people what they can and cannot do in the relationships with people other than yourself, or you hold your partners to a different standard from which you hold yourself, I'm going to think that you are behaving badly, not simply loving differently.
It's time to stop making excuses for this bad behavior. "He does the same thing to me." "You just don't understand us." "I've always done this, and it's always worked fine for me." "If you don't like it, leave." "She finds it cute when I get jealous."
It can be hard to sympathize with those whose feelings you are totally failing to consider. You think, "Well, I would be okay if someone did this to me," and that makes it okay in your eyes. But if it's clearly not okay with your partner, you're not seeing the situation properly.
Here's an example: let's say there is a couple, Jenna and Alice. Jenna grew up in an abusive home, and Alice knows this. Jenna has been conditioned to do whatever someone says anytime they raise their voice, because consequences for disobedience when she was a child were severe. Alice had no such upbringing, and frequently yells during arguments. She's never upset if Jenna yells back, and she feels that yelling "lets off steam" and helps resolve conflict, because the argument always dies down immediately after the shouting starts. Jenna, meanwhile, feels manipulated and controlled, because Alice constantly gets her way by yelling whenever the two of them disagree.
This may be an extreme example, but it gets to the heart of the matter: just because shouting doesn't bother Alice, that doesn't make it okay. Alice knows that Jenna is sensitive to shouting, yet she does it anyway because it gets her what she wants.
Loving behavior would look like this: when Alice and Jenna disagree, Alice takes extra care to maintain a quiet, calm discussion, even when things get emotional. When she feels herself becoming angry and fighting the urge to shout, she asks for a break from the conversation so she can regain her composure. During times when no conflict is occurring, Alice makes sure Jenna knows that she may sometimes have to put arguments on hold in order to keep things calm, and if this happens it's because she wants to be sure everyone's voice gets heard.
Which of these two situations sounds more like your current relationships? Do you and your partner(s) take extra care to consider each other's needs and feelings, or do you insist on having your way regardless of the consequences? During arguments, do you try to force your partner to see it your way, or do you try to work towards a solution that satisfies you both?
Think for a moment about how you conduct yourself in your relationships, and examine whether you are behaving in a way that shows love. How might you make more effort to ensure your partners' needs are met and their voices are heard?