It’s easy to fall in love with people who don’t love themselves. They’re vulnerable raw souls who need saving, which is a job that happens to appeal to a lot of people. We like to feel needed. More importantly, we like to feel like we could be the missing piece of the puzzle for someone. We delight in the possibility that we could be the cure to whatever ails this person.
Truth be told, it’s nearly impossible to have a meaningful relationship with someone who has tragically low self-esteem. Rather than it feeling like a relationship between two equals, it will always be two people reading from two different books. You exist to build them up, to give them purpose. Meanwhile, they suck you dry. They break your heart, or you resent them. You resent them for being so weak even though that’s why you got into the relationship in the first place, right?
That being said, it’s okay to need someone or want to be needed. In an ideal relationship, your strengths are the other person’s weaknesses and vice versa, but when you’re loving someone who doesn’t have any self-worth, you’re cheating yourself out of some extraordinary love. Because, as Queen RuPaul once said, “If you don’t love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?” That’s what it boils down to. How good of a partner can they truly be? How can they ever fulfill your needs when they can't even fulfill their own?
Does this sound familiar?
Your partner depends on you for their happiness. They say things like, “You make me so mad” or “You make me so miserable.” Then they say, “You make me so happy” and “I can’t live without you” but in a way that lacks their own responsibility. There is a theme of depending on someone else to make them happy almost as if your existence is there only source of joy or entertainment.
They may refuse to speak up when something is bothering them, leading to passive-aggressive behavior or stone-walling.
You are at an uphill battle trying to make them see themselves the way you see them. They are constantly worried you will leave them, so they may push you away or become possessive. They may look for constant reassurance that they are the center of your world. This can lead to expectations few can live up to for very long.
The need to feel wanted is endless, so this may lead to cheating or attention-seeking behaviors.
A person who does not love themselves is indeed lovable, but they are difficult to maintain healthy relationships with. Since they are not satisfied with self, they will never be fully satisfied with anything or anyone around them. Remember, Queen, it is no one’s responsibility to make you happy. That’s too big of a burden for anyone to carry.
Ask yourself what kind of love you think you deserve. If you keep on finding yourself falling for damaged people, you have to wonder if you are damaged yourself. Otherwise, why would you subject yourself to this kind of torture? You can devote all your time trying to fix this person up, making them feel better about themselves, but in most cases, it’s just going to end up falling apart on you. And then all of this energy you’ve invested will add up to a person who simply can’t love you the way you need them to.
You deserve the best kind of love, Queen. If you don’t believe this, maybe you’re really the one who doesn’t love themselves.
One of the most important factors in relationship success (or failure) is balance—balance of commitment, balance of desire, balance of love. Relationships take work, so you both have to be equally invested if you’re going to be happy. So, when you love someone more than they love you, it’s time to ask yourself if that’s really the kind of relationship that you want.
"Is this person really the right fit? Do I deserve more?"
Maybe, you’re telling yourself that you love them enough for the both of you, on your Jhené Aiko shit, or that they love you too but just need to catch up. When it comes to matters of the heart, anything is possible. But, the question is...is it likely?
While some couples may be able to chalk it up to speaking in different love languages (and hopefully try to bridge that gap), the reality is that for some couples, it could just be an imbalance of love. In those cases, the question becomes: is this healthy for you?
People deserve to be in healthy relationships that can be fruitful and productive; not mediocre and stagnant. It all comes down to the fact that you deserve more in a relationship, and you owe it to yourself not to settle for less. It’s not a good decision to settle for “emotional crumbs.” Unfortunately, many people do out of fear of being alone or dealing with certain changes.
Why is it difficult to love people who don’t love themselves?
It can make communication difficult. Conversations can become difficult if you are in love with a person who doesn’t love themselves. This can be frustrating, but it is normally just them projecting their own inadequacies onto their partner.
They can become overly dependent. If your partner often feels sad and down, they may start to rely on you to cheer them up. While this is normal in small amounts, it is unhealthy for anyone to rely on only one person for their own happiness. It can also result in them becoming clingy or dependent as they are worried that you will leave them, and then their “happiness” will be gone.
They may reject your help. If you love someone who doesn’t love themselves, you will try to help them start because it is difficult to watch someone you love suffer. But, you have to be honest with yourself…their self-loathing existed before they knew you, and, often, they will reject your help.
It can destroy the trust in the relationship. People who don’t love themselves don’t understand why other people love them; they worry that their partner will suddenly “realize” that they are difficult and break up with them. This can make it difficult to establish a trusting bond, as one person is permanently worried that the other person will leave.
It is time to say goodbye to the emotional pain that has gone on for years. You need to accept that you cannot make your loved one love themselves. Only they can do that.
We can love them, but they can’t really love us until they fix themselves.
When you’ve reached that point of no return, here are three ways to continue to love your loved one and still love yourself in the process:
Step away. It is important to remember that you can motivate your loved one to change, but you cannot cure, fix, or change someone else’s life unless they are ready to make that change themselves. Accept them for who they are even if they have issues that they are unwilling to work on. It is important to consider your own health and give yourself the respect that you deserve. You are not abandoning them, you are taking care of yourself.
Forgive yourself. Everyone who struggles in life has a story that most likely contributed in some way to the problem. Make amends if you feel the need to and then forgive yourself. We all make mistakes, but it does not do any good to continue to relive our past mistakes. Today is a new day. You have a clean slate, and you can now start again.
Exercise, meditate, write. Exercise in any way that works for you. Find something that will keep your body moving. Take a moment to sit each day and give your mind a rest. Your own feelings and intuition will be clearer, and it will help with anxiety, depression, and your inner peace. Write often in a journal which will lead you to your inner thoughts. It helps you to think through and solve issues as well as feel empowered and understand yourself and your situation.
We never want to give up on anyone. They need our love and support. Be the example to follow. Provide tools for change but allow them to take responsibility for their own lives.
“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.”—Buddha
What should you do if you love someone who doesn’t love themselves?
If you find you are sacrificing too much of your own well-being in order to tend to your partner’s needs; if you’re frustrated from feeling that your caring efforts are being wasted, or if you feel that your own needs are being neglected or suppressed, something needs to change. This may involve starting an open dialogue about your concerns, or it could mean that you need to leave the relationship. Whatever you do, you cannot let your partner’s needs overshadow your own. However much you care for the person, you aren’t responsible for him or her. Other people’s failure to love themselves should never make you forget to love yourself.
Don’t sacrifice your own happiness for someone who is going to be unhappy either way. Remember that you are not responsible for them; they are...you are responsible for yourself.
You deserve to be loved just as powerfully and passionately as you love. Accept nothing less, Queen!
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