What happens when you and the one you love need different things?
The other day, I had a conversation with a friend about his relationship. He and his partner are at a fundamental crossroads. Something that he considers to be a basic necessity in life is something that his partner does not believe to be necessary, and therefore won’t provide.
He didn’t have to say it. I could sense his pain over this difference a mile away. How do you walk away from someone you care about and love? How do you honor your needs when your partner won’t? How does that relationship survive? Can you really deny something about yourself that is vital to your well being in order to stay in a relationship? Maybe you can for a while. But are you ever really happy? What is the cost to your soul?
Through the experience I had as an adult watching my parents’ marriage unravel, my perceptions on commitment and relationships were altered quite drastically. Over time, it became crystal clear to me that I would never be able to commit to a relationship with a man where our needs couldn’t coexist and thrive in each others presence. I’ve seen too many friends and family members settle for less than this. I watch their struggles, and I know I don’t want that for myself.
I’m not talking about little things and small differences in a relationship. I’m talking about the big ones. The things that you absolutely need in order to feel loved by another. Without them, you will never feel complete.
Some people might say that if you love someone, you’ll accept that they may not love you the way you need. Okay, that’s one way of looking at it. You must make the sacrifice and ignore what you need in order to receive their love. You lower your expectation, and make it okay for someone to love you by giving you less than you need.
Really? Feel love by not getting what you need to feel love? Hmm…
I think that if you truly love someone, you try to discover how they need to be loved and offer them as much of that as you can. In other words, if you have to sacrifice anything, you make the sacrifice of giving more than you feel comfortable with, rather than asking them to accept less.
Remember this, my dear friend. It is never too late to choose to honor yourself. It may not be easy, but your heart knows the way.