January 29, 2007

Four years ago

Their relationship has all the qualities that people look for in a romantic partnership. It comprises undying devotion, unconditional love, unrelenting compassion, unwavering support, and unselfish acts.

Sounds like paradise and looks like it too (on paper). What fairy tales are made of. The Hallmark card of relationships. But don’t look for it in the Love section of the stationery store. Go to the Dysfunction aisle. One word was omitted from the list above that can no longer be ignored. Unrequited.

Her efforts are not entirely futile and she is not miserable. He does reciprocate some of her feelings, but to a lesser degree. She gathers up and savors every morsel, ignoring the reality that the morsels she is accumulating are the overflowing remnants of her own emotions that his heart couldn’t accommodate. She follows the tiny breadcrumbs, trying to find her way to the ultimate destination…his heart. The journey has been long; she is weary. Sometimes she imagines reaching her resting place. Other times she feels like a mouse in a labyrinth, searching endlessly through the intricate passageways, running into dead ends. That’s when she wants to quit, realizing she will probably never reach the opening in the giant wall he has constructed. That’s when she wants to run away, and turn off her feelings. It’s all or nothing with her.

She will give and give until she is empty. Once empty, she doesn’t have anything left for herself. She’s spent. She wants to withdraw from everything and everyone. She doesn’t ask for help because she can’t remember how, being the helper for so long. This is all she knows. She’s a giver, not a receiver. What she doesn’t realize is that she is more needy than she will admit, even to herself. She gives because she needs to give. If she has no one to give to, she has no purpose.

She hates the word martyr because it makes her sound like a doormat. She hasn’t quite reached doormat status but she knows it is her low sense of self which draws her into these situations. Logically, she should have great self-worth, and be proud of who she is. She should care enough about herself to know that she’s missing out on something amazing, somewhere, with someone. Instead she thinks this is the best life has to offer her so she takes what she gleans from her relationship with him. She thinks he is truly a wonderful person. But isn’t she? Why doesn’t she put more stock in her own merits and realize she deserves to get back more of what she so willingly gives? Or at least give as much to herself as she does to him?

Why is this relationship one-sided? She’s not unlovable. She has lots of friends and people admire her for who she is. She’s attractive, intelligent, and has many other appealing traits. She even has suitors. Familiarly one-sided, these relationships reverse her role to the one being pursued, so she doesn’t know how to be. She thrives on yearning and challenge. She loves to love and needs to be needed. But trying so hard to find love from another, she risks losing the one whose love she needs most…herself.

Originally written by Catheroo on January 30, 2003.

6 people have roominated about “Four years ago”

  • Jenni says:

    She is a very lovable, wonderful person, and I’m glad she has come so far that she believes this about herself. I’m also happy that she has found him – a man who values everything that makes her so special. The word “unrequited” no longer has any power over her.

  • Schnozz says:

    She is also a very good writer, though her commenters occasionally feel odd referring to her as if she’s not here.

  • Alison says:

    I have been there, and it’s all behind me now, too.

    Thanks for sharing.

  • Carmi says:

    God, you write so powerfully. How eloquently you write about a relationship where all is not as it seems to the outside world.

  • Steph says:

    Who can deny her ability – and great courage – to express so deeply? Thanks for the reflection.

    As observed by the wise Charlie Brown: “Nothing takes the taste out of peanut butter quite like unrequited love.”

    I am tickled pink knowing SHE can savor that peanut-buttery sweetness once again.

  • themikestand says:

    I love the way you’ve written this. Really. I know it’s an “old” post for you, but would you consider submitting this to Indie Bloggers? I think it would be a great contribution — that is, of course, when you’re back to blogging. Congrats on the nuptials, btw.

    – Mike, the Indie Bloggers Content Hunter

    (Oh, and if you do, let me know so I can bring it up with the ladies over there so they don’t miss it!)

roominate on this yourself