Love is an action, it isn’t a feeling tucked away that isn’t ever expressed. In order to feel loved you need to be shown love. Love shouldn’t be defined by grand gestures (although occasionally they are a great way to celebrate love) but it is all the consistent small acts that allow love to grow and allow the bonds between two people to strengthen.
No one is saying love is always easy, or that you will never come across challenges and have to make compromises. This is all part of the journey of love. Love itself should not be difficult, love should allow you to grow and still be in touch with yourself.
Here is my list of when “love” isn’t loving and in both the long and short-term can leave you with devastating effects and in some cases can take away the best bits of you.
It isn’t love when..
1. You are doing it all by yourself.
Love should never be about one person doing everything they can to make the relationship work.
If you are making all the plans, if you are organising all the dates, if you are doing all the housework and paying all the bills, if you are always making all the compromises, if you are giving your all and have nothing left to give but in return are getting nothing back. That is not love.
There will never be an equal balance of effort, however both parties need to invest time into getting to know what the each needs in order to feel loved.
Simple things can be so powerful. Doing the dishes for someone that hates doing them. Running a bath for them if they’ve had a bad day. Ordering in some food if a mum has had a tough day. Listening to someones worries. A bar of chocolate can do magical things too. Whatever it is, it is team work.
2. You feel alone.
Being in a relationship with someone and feeling lonely or alone can be devastating and is a sign that things need to change in some way.
Sharing a life with someone should be just that. You should be there for each other and be able to a source of comfort and support through the good and bad times. there will always be ups and downs and bad patches, but these need to be worked on together.
3. When love itself becomes a compromise.
You will always have to make compromises in all relationships, but you should never have to compromise your morals, values or who you are as a person.
Love itself should not be the compromise and what I mean by this is if you do everything to appease someone else and cater to their every need and want without putting yourself first, you are compromising yourself.
Compromises should consist of letting someone else choose what restaurant you go to, what movie you watch, compromise with a night in instead a night out, celebrate with his parents first this special occasion because last year you were at your parents etc.
4. It gives you anxiety and fear.
If love is causing you anxiety and fear, fear of someone else’s reactions, anxiety about asking for something, worrying if communicating your feelings will result in yet another outburst, then this my darling is not love. It is the opposite.
Control and manipulation is the opposite of love and no one should have this kind of power over your emotions or make you feel worried or anxious. Ever. Period.
You should never worry about how to explain why you might be running late, make excuses for being somewhere, not be able to go out with friends or see family. Healthy love not only allows for you to do what you need but caters for it with understanding an kindness.
5. Your successes and achievements aren’t celebrated but a cause for conflict.
If getting a new job, a promotion, great grades even meeting a new friend is something you have to hide or dull down because someone else will make it about themselves, that is not ok.
If someone is going through a tough time, hasn’t found their break yet or have had to repeat a year at school, remember that’s not on you.
You shouldn’t feel bad if your hard work pays off. They should still want the best for you and should support you in all your endeavours and dreams.
6. There is no emotional intimacy.
For me this is such a crucial element of healthy relationships.
Being able to talk through all your fears, worries, stresses, joys and achievements with someone you feel close enough to show your vulnerabilities safely to, is such a beautiful thing.
If your thoughts are dismissed and shrugged aside it can make you close off from someone and the hurt it causes starts building up walls.
When you love someone you should be able to offer comfort and empathy through their difficult emotions and indulge in there excitement and happiness with equal joy.
Open conversations about difficult situations doesn’t mean you always have to agree with each other but that you are willing to listen with understanding.
7. There is no physical intimacy.
Physical intimacy is more than sex. It is the little touches, the cuddles and holding hands, it is being close enough to feel connected.
If it is just about sex and thats the only time you experience physical touch it can really be confusing and damaging especially if there is a lack of emotional intimacy as well.
This is something that needs to be communicated and addressed so that you understand the cause of it rather than jumping to conclusions or making yourself sick with worries.
8. You constantly feel let down.
No one is perfect but actions speak volumes when it comes to love. If someone offers you the world through their words they should be working consistently towards making those dreams a reality as best as they can.
If they tell you they will be somewhere. They should be there (unless it is a one off, and only a rare emergency). If they say they will call you back they should. If they planned to take you out on a date they should be there.
No excuses. No forgetting. No something came up.
Your expectations and tolerance should be made very clear and if someone is consistently letting you down even after you have explained how it makes you feel and that its not ok, then that is not love. It is a relationship based on convenience.
9. You argue more than you have fun.
Constant arguments can be draining and exhausting. It creates a toxic environment which leads to love becoming a compromise, hiding how you really feel, pretending, turning a blind eye which all results in feeling alone and disconnected.
There will always be disagreements when two different people come together, with different upbringings, ideals, thought processes and communication styles. However, when it is an environment based on conflict rather than resolution then that’s when it becomes a problem.
10. You don’t know who you are anymore.
No love, relationship, job or situation is worth loosing yourself for. Not knowing who you are anymore can be one of the hardest things to come to terms with.
Not knowing what you want in life anymore, not recognising who you are, not being able to plan for the future, no longer having dreams and aspirations because you live to get through one day after the other is when making sacrifices for ‘love’ is not worth it. It isn’t love and you deserve better.
11.You stop loving yourself.
Not knowing who you are anymore results in you not loving yourself because you haven’t put yourself first. You cater to someone else without asking yourself what you need.
You eat to fuel your body, you sleep because you’re tired and it all becomes one consistent familiar yet unhealthy routine. Healthy love should allow you to shine, highlight your best bits and let them flourish, giving you the space to love yourself.
12. You feel like you are not enough.
When love violates the bonds of trust it can result in you internalising it. You blame yourself because you give “love” excuses and so it must be your fault in some way.
Maybe you let yourself go? Maybe you’re not beautiful enough, smart enough, strong enough, funny enough, happy enough, playful enough? When you feel like this it affects your self esteem and that is never okay and that is not love.
Love can be beautiful and it adds to your life rather than taking away from it. It is so important that before you embark on loving others or allowing them to love you, you work on loving yourself.
This will allow you to identify and address red flags with confidence, you will be able to set clear boundaries and whatever happens you know that you always have yourself.
Love is safety. It is happiness and support. It is friendship and strength. It allows you to be you at every stage of your life but it also allows you to grow.
Love is kind and understanding. it is giving an thoughtful. Love is considerate and healthy. it is challenging and insightful. But it is not a source of unhappiness nor a way to imprison you within yourself.
You deserve the kind of love that makes you feel loved, but you owe it to your heart and soul to love yourself first, so no matter what you always have you (and you always have us too!)
respect. love. heal always
Brown Girl N