I can't remember where I had heard this old adage before or just how far back the saying goes, but it always seems to resonate no matter your view on it, even going so far as to say it might be an interesting thought to contemplate as we trudge through our romantic lives: You should be with someone who loves you more than you love them. It seems simple enough — sure we've all had that one person in our lives that's always been there and who definitely loves us more than we love them and would quite literally do anything to be with us. But they're usually the nice guy or girl that we overlook because we don't feel that spark or we're not overly attracted to them, or simply don't consider them our soulmate.
That's what we've been told we want: To find "The One", our other halves, the person who is supposed to complete us, and the person we look forward to flashing on Facebook about that we're oh-so-lucky-and-blessed-to-have-found. Could it be we're all shooting way too high and putting too much expectation on the partner we're supposed to find or end up with? Consider all the things we want our soul mates/other halves to have: They're supposed to be your best friend, your lover, your provider, your partner, a parenting equal (if you want kids) always there to listen to you, cherish you, and be beside you through thick and thin. Oh yeah— and the person who you have mind-blowing sex with. In short, perfect.
When you really think about it, that's kind of a lot of pressure to put on another person or think that this all exists in one. What about that other person we never considered (the one who loves us just a little bit more) the one that will put us on a pedestal and treat us like gold but maybe we're not overly passionate about? Are our expectation too, too high? After you've gone around like a merry-go-round through the dating scene, at the end of the day, don't you just want to be with the person who's nice and treats you so well.
As it turns out, finding your "soulmate", or someone you think of as such, is much rarer than your Facebook feed or the media will have you believing — which is why our expectations are so high and perhaps that's why we're so confused. There's some depressing news to add to this confusion. According to a 2013 poll of 2,000 participants conducted by Siemens Festival Nights, a unique three day event showcasing three different operas, found that as many as 73 percent of people surveyed said that they are "making do" in their relationships because the person who was their true love got away. To add further insult to injury (and further prove that soulmates are BS) about 17 percent of the same respondents said that they had met their soulmate, but it was too late because they were already married, with another 46 percent saying that they would leave their spouse to be with their true love. Our fight for seeking what we consider the ultimate form of romance continues even though the odds are not ever in our favor (not to be negative but there is always hope, just saying).
No matter where you meet your future partner, maybe it's time to consider that meeting someone who has all those wonderful qualities and is just a good person who loves you more than you love them, might not be such a bad thing after all. I'm not saying to settle, nor should you ever settle for good enough, but maybe there are pros and cons to being with some one who you have lukewarm feelings for as opposed to fiery passion (it takes a lot to maintain that and a lot of the time crazy).
So with all this, it begs the question: Should you be with someone who loves you more than you love them?
To get to the bottom of this difficult question, I spoke to dating and relationship expert Ravid Yosef. She advised me on some things to consider about this aphorism that continues to linger among classic dating advice for good, bad or for worse.
Fairytales, the media, and societal expectation have shaped the way we think about love
We may need to disregard and think outside the box in a way and form our own expectations of what we want out of a relationship. We're freer to live our lives the way we want, why are holding so fast to some of these fairy tale expectations of love and all the characteristics one person, your partner, should have? Yosef says that love "means different things to different people and there’s no right or wrong way to love, there is only what works for you. If you haven’t already, figure out what that it means to you, what it looks like in practice, so that you’ll know it when you find it."
Question the love you have and ask yourself whether it's good enough. "Women have been fed a story that’s very similar to that since they were kids, but in truth people fall in love and eventually love very differently. What the hell is love anyway? It doesn’t mean the same thing to everyone, and therefore it’s unfair to measure. What you can measure is effort, communication, desire, intimacy and acceptance. From there you get to ask yourself if this works for you or not? Does the way this person shows up work for me?" says Yosef.
Consider if they truly have those characteristics that you seek
This person who loves you just a little more than you love them — is it possible that they have all the ideal characteristics that you seek in a partner and a good human being in general. "Key characteristics for a mate would include having integrity, kindness, compassion, optimism, and dedication. Other traits depend on the person, but these should be ones you seek in not only a partner, but in all of the people in your life," says Yosef. Put fire and burning attraction to the side and really consider their worth as a human being. That is special above all else. There is something to be said for a man or woman that treats you like you're the most important person in this world to them. Does this feeling overrule the fact that when you see them you don't want to rip their clothes off? Think about these things.
Yosef further advises to ask yourself the following three questions:
1. What do you value most in life and love? Passion is amazing, but do you value it over a person’s character or their ability to be a great partner?
2. How are you showing up for their partner? An extension of that would be, is the effort mutual? Are you choosing their partner despite that? Is your partner showing you love the way you accept it?
3. Does the way you show up work for them? Has your partner expressed a need that you can’t provide because the intensity of the feeling of love isn’t mutual?
There is a huge difference between settling and CHOICE
"If you call it settling then you shouldn’t do it. If you call it a choice, then it can definitely be a healthy choice. You can love someone deeply and have it not work out. There are no guarantees in life. If you are choosing to be with a person because you love them and they love you (no matter which way it is measured) and you treat each other with respect and kindness and accept each other for who you are and who you are not, why not be in the relationship?" says Yosef.
Be sure to be honest with your intention and feelings. The only time the relationship becomes a problem is when you feel like the difference in how you love won't allow you to show up in the way the other person deserves. At the end of the day, we all love differently and no one feels the same kind of love that you as an individual feel.
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