You wouldn’t believe how many times over the years people have contacted me to tell me that I am asking too much, that I don’t deserve the love I want, and that I’d better just settle.
These are people who read my writing, not people I know, just to be clear. I hope I’d never stay friends with someone who told me something that ridiculous and hurtful. People who want to get a rise out of me or make me feel bad, or perhaps people who feel like they didn’t get the love they wanted so no one should. I don’t really know. All I know is that everyone deserves love, and everyone deserves to have standards and boundaries regarding love.
We live in a world where we are told to accept what we get and shut up when it comes to relationships – and many other areas. “Life isn’t like the movies” – well, no, that’s not realistic love, but I deserve a good, solid realistic relationship. “You’re never going to be satisfied” – maybe not, but if I have to compromise myself to be, then it’s not worth it. I’m not asking for that much. Does it ever occur to anyone that we don’t need to make ourselves small to fit the ways that people don’t show up for us, but maybe just clear the space for people who do?
It’s scary to release those we care for, even when they don’t meet our needs. If you are in a pattern of settling, you’re not alone. When you have the same experiences over and over again, it does start to feel like there’s nothing else out there. The solution isn’t in staying in a relationship that doesn’t fulfill you – it’s in looking at how you’re getting to that place and shifting your approach.
I’ll use myself as an example, because it’s the experience I know. It takes me a long time to meet someone who seems compatible, but then I tend to idealize them and jump into emotional attachment very quickly, before I really know them. When they don’t turn out to be how I imagined, I become disappointed, but I’m already in too deep with my feelings to easily let go. Once I’m in the relationship, I’m afraid of losing the person, so I hide my true self and make myself fit what they need so they’ll stay. I focus only on the good and ignore the ways that my needs are not actually met. I’m also unwittingly drawn to emotionally unavailable people because of my childhood trauma and past relationship history. Even when I think someone is different, they eventually reveal the very same issues. This leads to me ending up in relationships where we love each other but neither of us is entirely happy because we didn’t take the time necessary at the beginning to voice what we need and then determine whether we can actually meet each other’s needs effectively.
So, as you can see, much of my pain is actually unintentionally self-inflicted. I never knew any better – these are all recent realizations that came from doing a lot of therapy and inner work. It hasn’t been easy to see all the ways in which I am responsible for what leads to my own unhappiness, no matter how well-intentioned and hopeful I am. On the other hand, there’s a lot of power in taking back your decision of choice! You do not have to view love as something you wait for, someone choosing you. You are the one who gets to decide – does this person meet my needs? Will this work for me? Of course, they have that power themselves. When the two of you both feel the same, that’s when you can begin a relationship from a healthy base.
You do deserve the love you want. You deserve to feel wanted, cherished, adored and accepted for exactly who you are. In order to get that love, you might need to look inwards and see where you can shift for the better and stop blocking yourself from finding it. Also remember that it’s a two-way street, and if you want a great relationship, your partner deserves the same from you.
Become the person you want to be with. Work on yourself first, and find someone else who is not only doing their work, but who is willing to do that same work on the relationship with you. You are so very worthy of the love you want, sweet human. Don’t you doubt that. You got this, you matter, and I love you. You deserve everything.