There is an epidemic that goes on silently in the dating and relationship world. It is one of loving people who do not love back.
I receive so many emails and work with so many men and women who are in relationships where on an average day they fluctuate between should I stay or should I go, should I fight for him/her or should I quit. One day they write me telling me they do not think the relationship is going any where, they are not happy, they do not feel loved by this person and can not get him or her to open up.. They are ready to quit because they believe they deserve better – deserve to be loved.
The next day I receive yet another email saying they love this person so much and think things will work out. They tell me he/she is trying and they know (in their own way) he/she loves them. They want to give the relationship another chance. But two days later, I get yet another email saying “it’s over. I can’t take this anymore”. The email is this long and very emotional. It all about how angry they are with the other person for “leading” them on or how angry they are with themselves for loving someone who obviously does not love them back. Some of them go as far as saying the person they are with is not capable of love because he/she is selfish, emotionally detached, has serious “issues” from childhood, is insecure, is a womanizer, is inadequate in bed, in not intelligent and all that stuff…
By now you know the drill, one week later they are so much in love and want to fight for the person they love…
What makes people do this to themselves?
Emotional emptiness is like a drug and the person who has an emotional need for love and acceptance is like an addict. They often struggle with feelings of powerlessness, hurt, fear, and anger. And while they are fully aware of it, they refuse to take action on it. Their ultimate fear is being rejected or abandoned – being all alone.
Like an addict, no one intends to be in a relationship where ‘begging” to be loved is an emotional high – a fix. Most people who get into these relationships and stay in them are individuals who as children never experienced and therefore never learned what’s like to be in a healthy relationship where love is in abundant supply and acceptance is not something one has to work hard or manipulate others to get.
If a parent or parents tended to withhold love, judge your behaviors, be controlling or emotionally demanding this is your experience of attachment and as an adult is the experience you feel familiar with and even is conformable to you. It is therefore not by pure “accident” that you attract and are attracted to people who have not learned to value their own feelings and self-perceptions. It’s not by accident that you are in a relationship where you are loving the other person more than he/she is loving you. It’s not by accident that you believe that no one else will want you (or that you’ll never love anyone else like the way you love this person or he/she loves you). It’s not by accident that you somehow operate your life as if love is in very limited supply and if you don’t try and hold on (control and manipulate, beg and kiss ass) when you think there might be a little of it somewhere, you many never get it ever again.
If you are in a relationship where you like him/her in spite of your better judgment you are not doing yourself any good. The truth of the matter is that you are abusing yourself. You like this person because he/she treats you as you expect to be treated. You feel no sense of self-worth, trust in your own perceptions and self-concept and feel contempt for yourself or think very little of yourself and pick people who reflect how you feel about yourself back to you. Subconsciously you feel so unlovable it is difficult or impossible for you to believe that anyone can really love you.
Your trying so hard to “make” someone love you is your way of trying to gain back control over your feelings of unworthiness and negative self-concept. When this does not work you judge others harshly, become contemptuous and even gossipy. This is because you feel powerless. Your feelings of powerlessness makes you lash out, blame and say demeaning things about others because they are not giving you what you want most – acceptance and love.
In the few moments when your thinking clearly (“sober” ) you to try change things. This is when you are ready to quit, when you tell yourself you deserve better and want better. But no sooner have you said “I quit” than your fear of rejection, abandonment and being alone comes crashing in like a drug craving. You turn to the only person you think you can make love you and try to squeeze the love out of him/her. But when that does not work… should I go on?
The worst part of it is like a drug addiction, you can’t just pull yourself up by your own bootstraps and quit. You could decide to dump that person but walk right into another relationship just like it. Or decide that relationships are too much trouble and a waste of time, that all men and all women are the same and you are better off being alone than being in a relationship. It doesn’t change the fact that you will still feel powerless, hurt, angry and all alone.
Or you could decide to take action and change the reality you create.
Christine Akiteng is an internationally renowned Sexual Confidence/Dating Coach and author of e-Books: The Art Of Seducing Out Of Fullness, Breaking A Bad Relationships Pattern, and Playing Hard-To-Get The Love Way.
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