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What is love really like?

This may be the wrong place to wonder about this. What is love really like? I’ve never been in love. People say it is like war. How is it like war? Why is falling in love hard, exactly? Is someone in the relationship really the “loser”? Is there a “loser” and a “winner”? How does that happen? I mean, besides someone lying about their feelings for you and using you. Do the pros outweigh the cons?
People my age, in high school, date but it never seems serious. Even when I liked someone, I never went after them. Deep down, I know I’m not ready for that. I can’t quite understand how you can give yourself over to someone. People say your needs are still first priority, but is it really like that?

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Hi Bvb, no problem. You are actually not the first person to ask this here.

I’ve never actually heard this saying, so I can’t say for sure. I’ve heard, “All is fair in love and war.” but that is another thing entirely.

I admittedly haven’t had a lot of relationships. I had two boyfriends (one of them was on and off for years) and one girlfriend before I met my husband. All of these relationships taught me something. One taught me that I don’t deserve to give less to myself to be in a relationship, another taught me that sometimes we think we want something/someone in life when really we might be scared and settling. My ex girlfriend taught me to take initiative in relationships and that sometimes people just aren’t ready. Then there’s my husband, but I feel like I’ll go more into my marriage more over the rest of your questions.

I wouldn’t say falling in love is hard, that will happen naturally over time. What has the potential to be hard is taking the time to compromise with your partner, being there to support them when they are having a bad day/week/phase or when they are sick, or remembering that they have the same needs as you and so you can’t be selfish. I mean, of course you will still have ‘me’ time. But you will also need to consider your partner when you do things.

This is a tough one. In a perfect world, No, there is no loser. In a human world where things aren’t perfect, it can be hard to find someone who will give the same amount as you do to a relationship. I think this is an important lesson to learn while dating. Inevitably it seems, in early relationships, you’re still trying to figure out the whole, “do life with somebody” concept, and this can result in either party giving more to the relationship than the other. I think this is pretty common and it’s necessary to understand how giving more or less to a relationship ends up affecting it. In this case, the person putting more into the relationship is often the ‘loser’ because in time they learn that they were not treated as an equal. That being said, both parties should always learn something from any relationship. And obviously in abusive relationships there are losers but that’s obvious so I won’t go there for now.

The pros absolutely outweigh the cons, at least for me.

Before I met my husband the only person I felt I could trust was my brother (I have a long history of being abused.). I had been through a hard decade long rut when I met him and I often doubted myself and my decisions that led me to the place where I met him. That was when I really started finding myself as a person and I became more confident. He has been more than I could ever dream a partner could be. He doesn’t judge me. He encourages me to continue working on my mental health journey. He puts my wants and needs before his own (quick note about this - relationships are very give and take. I’ve found in ours that we both have an attitude where our partners/each other are the most important things in our lives and so we put each other’s needs before our own.) I can’t say if this is the right way to do things, but it works for us. Our relationship has had many dips and sways where, for example, I hated my career path so he took up extra hours so I could go back to school. At one point a few years before that we moved across the state and I was the only one with a job for a few months. Another time, I got pregnant and got very sick and couldn’t work for a month before I miscarried. Things will be hard sometimes, but the right person will be there to support and encourage you, even in the worst of times. They will help you want to strive for better, to treat yourself better and to be better. And if you’re a good partner, you will do the same. You will support them through good and bad times and help them be better, but it is important to not expect or force them to change. Go into a relationship expecting what you see, not what you want them to be.

Yea, that’s because you’re not experienced yet. You’re still learning what you want out of a relationship and what it means to be with someone. You’re bound to be bad at it at first, everyone is. You’ll learn in time, as you practice and mature, what it means to love someone truly and what you deserve in a relationship.

I never did either until I asked my girlfriend out. Before that I would always expect people to ask me out because I was scared of rejection. The first person in my life that I thought was worth pushing beyond that potential rejection for a possible relationship was with my girlfriend, and as it turned out, she had been wanting to date me for years at that point and she immediately said she would go out with me. That relationship ended for many reasons, but I learned a very powerful lesson, and we are still friends. But I guess where I’m going with this is, I asked my husband out on a date. I made the initiative to meet him (I knew his roommate so I asked his roommate to introduce us.) and I asked him out. The rest is history. Who knows what would’ve happened if I had just waited. We probably never would have met.

This is part of the learning process. It is important to keep your values and do things in a manner if time that is comfortable for you. You shod never feel forced into something and rushed. If you feel that you are not yet capable of ‘giving yourself over to someone’, although I find this to me a strange way of wording it as you’re not giving yourself away, rather you are allowing yourself to be vulnerable and open and supportive without judgement while still remaining true to yourself… But anyway if you’re not ready, you’re not ready. That’s perfectly ok, and it’s good that you are aware of that.

Yes, it’s really like that. I am a big believer that you must love and respect yourself before you can truly know how to love and respect someone else properly. And when you DO find the right person, they will WANT you to take care of yourself and will not see it as selfishness. Because they should want that for you, and you should also want that for them, but you both should also be patient and understand that just because you are always working on keeping yourself balanced, it doesn’t mean you are giving any less to the relationship, it means that you are keeping yourself in a mindset that allows you to be a good partner.

In the end, it’s really all about balance. Finding someone who compliments you as a person. You need to learn to find the balance between self-care and selflessness, alone time and and togetherness. You need to find someone who you can give your all to and trust that they will be there to give you their all and so you keep keep each other going. You shouldn’t be giving 50/50, you should be giving 100/100.

I’m sorry if this was a long winded response. I think the hard part about relationships is finding your true equal (as in, the one who will give 100% and love you unconditionally while you do the same). If you’re able to do that, it shouldn’t really be hard. I’ve been married for 7.5 years. We don’t fight. And it’s been easy. My husband would tell you the same thing - in fact he has told me that ours is the easiest relationship he’s ever been in. The thing is, you can’t get hung up on little quirks or stupid things because everyone is an imperfect person and therefore will make mistakes, there will be misunderstandings. You just need to be able to constructively communicate through those things.

But all of that will come in time. I always like to tell people that it is possible to have a happy ending. It is possible to be happy in a relationship and it doesn’t have to be hard. It’s what you make it. This is kind of a broad topic so feel free to ask me anything and I’ll answer. I hope this helped.

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