Growing up, love was something I only experienced when I did what my family wanted me to do. If I didn’t, even if what they were asking was completely unrealistic, they were quick to start questioning whether I loved them at all. They would feel rejected, which always resulted in a huge argument that left me feeling rejected too.
I felt that I had to “prove” my love for people. I never felt like I was enough. I thought I had to do everything I could and go above and beyond for everyone to be loved. This view of love had a major impact on my life, especially in my relationships with men.
I felt like in order for my boyfriend to think I liked or loved him I had to do everything he wanted me to do, even at my own expense: like saying “I love you” before I meant it or going farther physically than I was comfortable with.
From the very first time we hung out together by ourselves, I could see that there was only one thing on his mind. When he started pressuring me, I instantly felt a tug-of-war inside me. It was ingrained in me that in order to prove your love for someone you must give them what they want. and all I wanted was to feel accepted and loved by this boy who I had had a crush on for so long and who suddenly wanted to date me!
I went along with it, even though I didn’t really want to. It never occurred to me that you can care about someone and not have to do, or feel pressured to do, everything that they ask of you. As you can imagine, this toxic relationship ended quickly and it ended badly. The worst part was, this was not my last abusive relationships.
It wasn’t until I met my husband that I started to really see what love is really like. He never pressured me to do anything for him. I knew that if I told him I did not want to do anything physically with him he would respect me and my decision. I didn’t ever feel like I had to prove my love or care for him. I was enough. That’s something I knew from day one.
I learned from him that how much you love someone should never be based on what you do for them. Of course, there is some obligation in every relationship. But you should do things out of love for the person, not because you have to prove your love.
I don’t always do what my husband wants or expects, but I don’t fear losing his love because of it. Through it all my husband knows I love him more than anyone else on this earth, and I know he loves me.
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