Love isn’t enough when you’re overinvesting in someone who doesn’t care

Loving someone is not a good enough reason to stay in a relationship. Dorothy Black explains.

this is not how a relationship should have you feeling

I love when ‘hopeless romantics’ try to impress me with their dedication to emotional self-harm. Not to impress me as the object of their affection, of course. Nobody is that cooked in the head.

No, I get the emo full Monty when they’re outlining their dedication to the ‘love of their life’ and everything they would do for this person. They go full Bruno Mars on the situation: ‘catch a grenade’ this, ‘throw hands on blades’ that … and, of course, lover wants nothing to do with them.

are you eric draven come back from the dead to avenge your true love’s rape and murder? no? then snap. the. fuck. out. of. it.

Hence the reason for the plaintive ‘what do I do to get him/her back’ question, which is something that kicked off this column for me.

I got this guy calling in: He loves her so much etc, she’s the love of his life blah blah … but she needs a break, some space and she’s moving on. Of course, he wants her back and so he told her that he would keep fighting for their love and that he would always be there for her.

Wait. What? Why?

You’re not being a hopeless romantic, you’re just being hopeless.

Why would you offer this level of investment to someone who’s already sold up and left the building? Why would you keep chasing someone who left the race two laps in?

Actually, don’t answer that because if any of this is ringing true for you I know what you’re going to say. And it’s going to be something like: ‘Yes, but I love him/her’.

Well, weebooweeboo. Not everything you love is good for you.

I loved smoking. I gave it my time, money, health, and energy. In return? It gave me phlegm, a bad chest, and smelly clothes. No amount of loving smoking was going to change that fact.

‘Loving someone’ is not a good enough reason to stay in – or pursue – a relationship with an emotionally unavailable person. It’s not a good enough reason to keep giving more than your share. Because you can’t love for both of you. You’ll just end up emotionally, mentally and physically depleted.

People talk about ‘emotional vampires’, but who’s the one baring the neck each time?

The more you have to give to balance out the love scale, the more unbalanced it is.

A healthy relationship happens between people who are equally emotionally committed. That means, you both want in, you’re both emotionally and physically available, and you both share your vulnerabilities. The minute this stops being the case – whether it’s a month or 10 years into your relationship – you need to reassess what your situation is.

If you’re giving your love, and all the iterations of care this comes in, to someone who is not returning the favour, you’re not being a romantic hero, you’re being a fool. The more you have to give to balance out the love scale, the more unbalanced it is.

You’re not being a hopeless romantic, you’re just being hopeless.

And that might be your vibe. After all, who doesn’t like an occasional pity party? But a 24/7 event where you’re the only guest and have Bruno and Adele on repeat? Nah thanks. I’d rather have a smoke.

This column was first published on w24.co.za