We've all heard it: When you're in love with someone, you should go in for the kill. You need to fight for it with all you have, and put unconditional passion into your efforts in order to finally be with the person you want. You're supposed to try relentlessly and stop at nothing.
We've read these kinds of blogs and articles time and time again. They say engaging in this type of behavior makes you a more open, accepting and, ultimately, happy and loving person.
The implication here is this: By being this way, your efforts will be realized. Eventually, fate will have someone return the love and those feelings toward you.
Just a few weeks ago, I got into it with a friend regarding this very topic. She's a hopeless romantic, and has always been one to throw herself at someone when she falls for him.
She will meet a guy she likes, and will keep trying to pursue something with him, even if there isn't much effort coming from his end. She always tries to see the “good” – as she says – in all of these guys, despite the fact that they don't treat her right.
She believes that eventually, it will all pan out. Someone will see her value and return her love.
As touching as this sounds, what if there's a loophole to this theory? What if this isn't how it actually works? What if giving it your all unconditionally and throwing yourself at someone is actually damaging to everyone involved?
While you definitely should express your interest in someone you want to date – as well as put effort into any new relationship in order to grow and sustain it – you need to also watch just how much, and to what degree, you're doing this. Here are four reasons why:
1. You forget who you are and what you believe in.
When you fall too hard and too fast for someone, you start making a lot of sacrifices. This may mean that you give up on many of the things that used to make you happy.
You start getting so used to this new person giving you emotional pleasure that you start substituting him or her in place of both other people and the self-actualizing things that usually make you happy. You may give up going to the gym, or you may ditch girls' night in order to hang out with your SO instead.
But if you make these decisions, three things happen:
- You start letting go of the hobbies and interests that make you unique and self-sufficient.
- You start becoming clingy, as you realize your sole source of happiness is coming from one person.
- Your love interest gets wind of this and ends up withdrawing from you because he or she finds it overwhelming and borderline creepy.
Well, guess what? Now, you're lower than ever. You don't have your love interest providing you happiness, nor can you quickly start generating it on your own like you used to.
You let this become a downward spiral. It becomes a chain reaction of depression, low self-worth and bad decisions to come.
What you need to realize is, you caught your love interest's attention by being the unique person you are in the first place. You didn't get it by being self-sacrificial and overly available to them.
Never overdo it to the point where you forget who you are.
2. You may be scaring off the other person.
The biggest misconception many people have is the idea that when you throw yourself at someone and shower them with endless love and affection, they will go skipping back to their room in sheer joy. You believe this person will start contemplating how amazing and selfless you are, and how he or she ought to return the favor.
This why most people walk away heartbroken and puzzled when they realize they've invested all this time and passion into someone they cared about, only to see that the person they loved has run away.
"I just gave this person my heart, and they stepped all over it. What the actual f*ck?"
Here's the thing: Relentless effort is amazing and cherished when someone expects it and wants it from you. But when you give it to someone in an unsolicited manner – or even too early – they don't appreciate it. Instead, they're freaked out and overwhelmed by it: by you.
This person starts feeling like they need to return the favor. The thing is, they aren't exactly sure that's possible at that very moment. This causes a huge burden in this person's heart because it's a debt they aren't able to repay.
So, how does your love remove that burden? By distancing themselves from you.
3. People start staying with you for the wrong reasons.
You might find yourself in an alternative situation where things are still going, even though they're not going that great. You still see each other, and this person is still in your life. But you can tell he or she isn't all that hyped up about it.
The thing is, they might just be staying with you out of guilt, pity because they don't want to hurt you or even convenience if they're selfish. You're a sure thing. That is, until they find what they're really looking for.
They just choose to go along with the relationship as long as they can because this person doesn't want to be branded as the assh*le by bringing the issue to light, making things awkward and causing friction. Or maybe they're just using you until something better comes along because you show no signs of backing down any time soon.
How can you be sure, though? How can you tell whether this person is truly reciprocating your feelings, or if they're just staying with you out of guilt, pity or convenience?
Although there is no way to be completely sure, there are quite a few indicators of this fact. Are you always the one taking initiative about doing things together? Do you notice them reluctantly agreeing to do stuff with you, or saying “I'll let you know,” as if it's something they'll only do as a last resort?
These might be passive indicators that the person you're with isn't feeling as strongly about you as you're feeling about them (if at all). You need to realize that when you ease up on how much effort you put into being with your love interest, you actually get genuine reactions.
The ones who actually like you will meet you halfway (if not all the way). You also filter out the ones who don't give a sh*t because you'll see that these people aren't going to even bother doing anything with you unless you do all the work.
4. You'll end up becoming resentful and bitter.
After so much heartbreak, you'll start blaming the world. You'll hold fate, God, life and other people accountable for being cruel to you and treating you unfairly.
You'll start getting these delusional thoughts that you're the only nice person out there, and that the rest of the world is out to get you. As a result of this, you might start doing one of three things:
- You might end up going into deep depression, which will lead you to a cycle of bad decisions. It will make you even more miserable.
- You'll start rolling your eyes at every happy thing that goes on around you. You'll just become a dark person no one wants to be around because you seem like a hater. But in reality, you're just upset the happy things aren't happening to you.
- You'll start becoming judgmental and branding everyone as a horrible person who can't be trusted. This path of negativity will destroy you.
Guys and girls, please. Do you realize this can all be avoided if you just take it easy? Take a look at yourselves for once.
The problem might be with you, your style and how strongly you come on to someone.
Are you acting like you're entitled to someone's companionship before you've even earned it? Are you smothering the life out of your love interest because he or she is the first catch you've had in a while, or because you're worried there won't be anyone else out there?
But you can fix this by being a little more sharp and observant, and as a result, save yourself from a lifetime of pain, anger and heartbreak.
Now, hear me out: Being there for someone, supporting them and caring for them isn't a bad thing. I'm not telling any of you to start being selfish assh*les. Obviously, some level of effort is necessary in order to build a rapport with any person.
But love isn't like studying for a test or developing a hobby you love. The results you reap aren't directly linked to the effort you put in. Because let's face it: Human relationships are complicated.
You need to constantly monitor your effort and make sure you both are on the same page when it comes to your feelings and intensity levels. Never overdo it or assume someone will eventually return the same feelings. (For the record, movies exaggerate.)
Be attentive, develop an understanding of your love interest's pace and try to sync up with it. Also, if you follow these steps and the fish still doesn't bite, let it go. There are plenty more in this big sea.