I am slowly learning that love is not the only ingredient that goes into the creation of a relationship. It is a necessary component, but not the most significant one.
Someone can love you and treat you like shit. Someone can love you and make your life a living hell. Someone can love you and hurt you worse than you have been hurt before.
Someone can love you and be the wrong person for you.
I am slowly learning that it takes a lot to keep a relationship balanced, to keep it from becoming lopsided, one-sided. Both parties should put their heart on the line. Both parties should be expected to do an equal amount of work. Both parties should love with the same amount of force and try with the same amount of might.
I am slowly learning how much I have been letting others get away with over the years. I have always been the person who cared more — and I never thought twice about it. I let others walk over me. I let them take my kindness for granted. I let them form high expectations of me while I kept my expectations for them low.
I am slowly learning that I must alter my standards for the sake of my future. I cannot keep accepting subpar treatment from subpar people. I cannot keep someone around, just because I like them, when they are not giving me what I deserve. I cannot keep cycling through toxic relationships when I deserve a reliable, rock steady one.
I am slowly learning that the minimal amount of effort is not enough. It’s not enough to text me without making plans to see me in person. It’s not enough to buy me dinner and drinks if you’re going to end up staring at your phone the entire time. It’s not enough to say you love me without proving it with the way you behave around me.
I am slowly learning that words are only half of the equation. If someone swears they care about me, but their actions never match their words, then they are not worthy of my time. They are not worthy of my love.
I deserve more than someone who only cares in theory. Someone who thinks they can take from me without giving anything in return. Someone who wants everything I have to offer, but won’t take a second to think about what I might like from them.
I am slowly learning that effort is about more than showing up. It’s about wanting to be there. It’s about having dinner with my parents, and instead of whining the entire time, actually trying to enjoy it. Actually trying to make the most of it, because you know it would make me happy. Because if I want you there, then you want to be there too.
I am slowly learning that effort matters as much as love matters. I am slowly learning how pointless it is to settle for a relationship with only one of the two.
I am slowly learning that I am not asking for too much. I am not being too picky. My expectations are not too high. All I want is effort. And the right person will be happy to give that to me.