In light of Valentine’s Day being tomorrow, I just wanted to reflect briefly on my identity as a lover and how it’s changed over the past few years. If you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend the Thought Catalog article When You’re The One Who Loves Less. I can relate so closely with the author, it’s almost terrifying.
When you’re the one who loves less, you take the other person for granted. They try so hard to make you happy, to make you feel complete, to prove that they deserve your love – as if it’s a privilege that must constantly be earned. But no matter how much time or effort they put into making the relationship work, the inevitable truth is that you can’t give them what they want or need. But why do you stay? Because it’s comforting, convenient, and familiar. Because you’re afraid to be alone. Because you have this hole inside your heart that you’re trying so desperately to fill with the first person who is willing to devote themselves completely to you.
And when you finally have the courage to leave them, you ruin their lives. Not forever, but long enough. You think about single instances where you could have been more considerate, more affectionate, a better human being to them. You feel selfish. You ask yourself if you’re even capable of commitment anymore, even though it’s the only thing you’ve ever truly wanted. Months go by and you wonder if you had made the right decision. What if you had taken the risk, packed your bags, invested yourself fully in that person, and never looked back? Regret starts to sink in.
But then it suddenly hits you: This isn’t the first time you’ve been here. You scrutinize every relationship you’ve ever been in, regardless of how serious, and realize that you were always the one who loved less – and it’s shameful. So when someone new walks into your life, no matter how wonderful they may be, you’re perpetually second-guessing yourself. Wondering if you’ll get it right this time. Hoping that one day you’ll finally become the one who loves equally.
Until one night, as if reading your mind, they tell you what it’s like to be the one who always loved more. How they were left feeling insufficient, abandoned, and so easily replaceable in past relationships. And when they confide in you the single most intimate and devastating moment in their life, it dawns on you that this is it. This is the most vulnerable part of them, and they were entrusting you with it. As if to hand you their still-beating heart and tell you, “Do whatever you want with it.” And it hurts so much that you’re guilty of being the villain in a tragedy too similar. But there’s just something so sincere about this kind of intimacy that you have no time to think, just feel. And for the first time in too long, you’re optimistic.
Nico Lang couldn’t have worded it better:
“Love doesn’t happen all at once; love grows inside of you; love is built through trust, communication and respect and that takes time and openness. If you want to be the one who loves, you need to stop focusing so much on the end goal and enjoy where you are at now, and if you can’t, that’s when you get out. Because you might wake up one day and discover that the life you have now — that life of shared dishes and Christmas stockings with their name on it — is love. You might not be able to call it that yet, but it’s there waiting for you — whenever you’re ready for it. ”
I can now recognize that my major flaw was being impatient – wanting life to breeze by too quickly, and fast forward to the “good parts.” But I’ve learned that it doesn’t work like that. Expecting too much too soon will inevitably lead to disappointment and frustration when things don’t go the way you planned. It’s the journey to the final destination that makes it more meaningful and worthwhile, after all. I admit that I’ve made mistakes in the past, but I also think I’ve developed into someone who can now appreciate relationships for what they are instead of what I can get out of them. With that said.. I am truly grateful to be able to say that I couldn’t be happier with who I’m with right now, and I look forward to spending a fulfilling future with them.