One of the most painful truths about love is that it doesn’t always flow both ways. Just because you love someone well doesn’t mean that they will love you back. Love is a choice, and like all choices it can be made well or poorly. Are your working hard to love someone who doesn’t seem to be invested in loving you in return? Here are three questions to ask yourself:
Why Is This Happening?
Some relationships can be strong for a while and then go through a rough patch. The death of a loved one, stress at work, or physical illness are just a few of the reasons that someone might not show love as well as they have in the past. The person you love may be struggling. They may not be aware of their struggles or how they are affecting you. Sometimes a bit of patience and grace are in order. Open up lines of communication. Tell him how you feel. Don’t belittle and don’t accuse. This may just be a bump in the road. If, however, 8 of the 10 months you have been dating have been bad, it may be time to reassess the relationship.
Why Do I Need Their Love So Much?
It’s never easy to feel alone or unloved. It’s hard when a relationship that seemed promising doesn’t grow to what you hoped it would be. This pain is more difficult, however, if you need someone’s love rather than want it. If you are only fully you when your special someone is treating you well, then you are in trouble. You have to be comfortable with who you are before you can love someone else well. If you need their love and approval to be ok, you are more dependent than relational. If that sort of dependence goes unchecked, things won’t go well in the relationship. If this sounds like you, it’s time to invest in other relationships. Don’t let one relationship gobble up all of your time. Spend time with co-workers, friends from church , and family. Invest in others and let other people care for you. That way if one relationship breaks down, you will still have others to help keep you strong.
Why Am I Still Here?
If you have a friend who consistently treats you poorly, you may need to ask yourself, why am I spending time with this person? If you have been dating someone and waiting for them to change, it’s possible that you want or need to be dating someone else. I’m not advocating getting a divorce or putting your children up for adoption. Jumping out of relationships just because they don’t feel good isn’t healthy, but it’s equally unhealthy to hang on to someone who is toxic and treats you poorly. If you are able to date well, without settling for someone you hope will one day change, you can avoid dealing with tons of relational pain later.
Relationships aren’t easy, but they are worth it. Work through hard things with people you care for. Keep your commitments, but be honest with yourself as well. Some relationships require greater dedication, some need to be ended. Whatever you do, do it with grace, and your relationships will grow stronger and be more satisfying.
Photo Courtesy of Death To Stock Photo