I have been speaking to a lot of you lately who have left long term relationships because your significant other wasn’t giving you what you needed mentally and emotionally.
They weren’t putting in effort, or listening, or paying attention. They were basically just coasting along because they’d already “gotten” you, and for some reason didn’t understand that the same effort would be required to keep you.
Perhaps you can relate to the feeling of being anchored down by someone who isn’t willing to put the same effort into a relationship or themselves as you are. The “ball and chain” feeling of pulling someone along who either flat out refuses to learn and grow, or simply doesn’t have any interest in it – when you do.
If you have felt this, I’m sorry. I’m sorry that you committed your time, energy, and effort to someone who wouldn’t give you the same in return. I’m sorry that you had to learn the hard way that being in the wrong relationship will make you feel more alone than being single does. I’m sorry that you gave that person a piece of your life that you can never get back.
But, don’t get too down on yourself, because in reality you did get something in return. You got perspective. You gained a greater ability to recognize the qualities you do and don’t want in a future teammate. You gained the ability to draw your line and say “I will no longer accept this in my life,” and only the person who didn’t give you what you needed, can provide you with that ability. Silver lining.
Of course nobody is perfect, and we can’t expect anyone to know our wants and needs without us communicating with them, but that’s what relationships are about: Communication. The ability to not only speak, but to listen. To absorb. And most of all – to act on what we have learned.
Even worse than passive apathy, is someone who actually makes you feel badly about yourself. Someone who is insecure in themselves will try to break you down too, so you don’t have the courage to leave them. They will consistently discourage you or point out faults or flaws. This is unacceptable and you need to get away from this person, because they will not change. I understand some of you feel the need to try to “fix” this person and work harder in order to gain their approval so they finally love you for who you are and stop making you feel bad about yourself, but here is the harsh reality: They will not stop.
They will not stop because in reality, these issues have nothing to do with you. It doesn’t matter how much you change or improve to try to please them, because you are not the problem. They are projecting their own insecurities onto you so they don’t have to face it in themselves. They go beyond not appreciating you into actually trying to lower your self-esteem. The moment you feel that you need to prove yourself to the person you’re with, is the moment you need to walk away.
If you are not being appreciated in your relationship, the first step is to ask yourself if you have been honest and open about what you want and need. Some people simply do not have the emotional intelligence to pick up on your non-verbal cues and they need a little more help. Do not condemn them at first, give them a chance to work on their shortcomings.
But if the same problems persist, time after time, promise after promise, and apology after apology – don’t ignore this massive red flag waving in your face. This person is the same one you will find behind their desk working just hard enough to not get fired. When the hammer is about to drop, they will try a little harder to stick around, but those are not the times that you can judge them by. It is everyday life and what they do when they don’t need to, that counts.
You deserve better than the emotional slacker. You deserve better than the person who doesn’t have any interest to connect with you on a deeper level. You deserve better than the person who sent their representative on your first few weeks/months worth of dates until you committed to them, and then showed you their true colors – making you feel trapped.
Your self-worth is not determined by how much someone else does or doesn’t appreciate you – that’s why it’s called self worth, and you need to stay true to it. You need to set your bar at a certain level and not accept anyone into your life who won’t rise up to meet it.
Stay strong, stay positive, and most of all – stay true to yourself. There will be someone who comes along and appreciates you for you.
This post originally appeared on James M. Sama’s website.
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