In an ideal, fairytale-like world, relationships would always be equal. There would be an equal partnership, an equal split and an equal amount of undying love for one another. Unfortunately, this is real life, and it can suck sometimes.
I've read so many articles and so many different opinions about how bad it is to be the person who loves more in relationship. What nobody ever writes about or even acknowledges, however, is that for anyone with even a shred of a conscience, it sucks just as much to be the one who loves less.
They're two completely different ends of the spectrum, and both of them are absolutely terrible to fall on. When you're the one who loves the most and it doesn't feel reciprocated, it's a huge blow to the ego and does severe damage to your self-confidence. The brain becomes filled with questions like "Am I good enough?" "What am I doing wrong?" and "Is there someone else?"
When you're the one who loves less in a relationship (and you know it), you can become so overwhelmed with guilt that it literally starts to feel like it's draining the life out of you.
If you've never been that person, God bless you. If you've been on the other side of that coin, I sincerely feel for you. If you're like me and have been the one who's loved less, this article is for you. Maybe nobody had the courage to say it before, but I will: It f*cking sucks for us, and we are not happy about it.
We all start out in this bubble, where the relationship seems so perfect and maybe — just maybe — this will be it. I mean, isn't that the whole point of dating? To find somebody who makes us so content and complete that we don't have to f*cking bother with the ordeal of dating anymore? That's how it's supposed to be, at least.
But over time, things can change. Most of the time, it's not for the better.
Then inevitably, one day, it hits you like a ton of bricks. Your partner loves you more than you love your partner, and you don't know if you'll ever be able to love him or her equally.
Shortly after that comes guilt, shame and fear. You have fear of hurting the person you thought could be "the one," and fear of damaging something so fragile. You have guilt about your feelings, and you feel shameful about everything. It's a whirlwind of negative emotions. You know damn well these thoughts are going to not only mess with your head, but they are also going to inflict damage upon every aspect of your relationship.
Many of us are more transparent than we care to believe. Even if we're not, when you've been with someone for awhile, he or she learns to read more into your body language than your words. There is no going back after this realization, and there's no way to keep it from unconsciously seeping into your actions.
You don't want to, but you start to pull away. You do this so your partner will potentially love you less. It doesn't work. Slowly, you're not holding your partner as tight, and you're not saying "I love you" as much. The little things you used to do for your partner become almost nonexistent.
You do all of this, thinking that maybe it's for your partner's own good in the long run, but it's not. Realistically, it's hurting your partner on the inside, and your partner doesn't even know why he or she feels like something is off. Your partner doesn't know why you're acting the way you are. You're not sparing him or her a damn thing; you're being a coward.
There's no good way to tell someone you don't feel the same level of love as he or she does. Even if you don't want to break up — you just want things to slow down, to give yourself time to understand your thoughts — it's going to hurt your partner. But, it's better to hurt your partner now than let it fester. It'll only cause more problems.
If you let it go on for too long, it can cause irreparable damage to someone's self-esteem. I'm ashamed to say I've done that, and I still feel terrible about it to this day.
It will always hurt to be the one who loves someone more than he or she loves you, but it hurts being the one who loves less, too. That's the one reason relationships are so messy.
Whether you're a guy or a woman, don't make the same mistake I did. Don't hurt someone instead of being upfront as soon as it becomes clear to you. There's nothing more honorable than being genuine, even if means telling someone that as much as you'd like to, you just don't share the same feelings.
I guess this is all part of being an adult, huh?