Is love enough?
I’ve heard this phrase so many times, but never actually stopped to think about what it meant. At first thought, you’d think yes, right? In a perfect world, if you love someone, you’d do anything for them. The problem is, we don’t live in a perfect world.
Here’s some backstory on me, for you: in May of this year (2021), I got out of a relationship with a man I was extremely committed to & in love with. We were together for a year, and lived together for about 4.5 months. As soon as we moved in together, the dynamic changed, as it tends to do. Our spark drifted, and we sucked at communicating about it. In March, we finally had a conversation about not feeling connected, but decided to try and work through it. The connection never seemed to return, so we finally called it quits two months later. Out of all the breakups I’ve been through, this was probably the toughest. Nothing traumatic happened between us, we just lost a connection. A connection that I thought I would forever wonder if we could’ve gotten back. After moving out and starting the grieving process, I realized that all of the love in the world that I had for this guy, could not makeup for the bare minimum that he gave me. I saw all the times that I had to beg him to show up for me. All the fights where he could never understand how he made me feel, and apologized by saying “I’m sorry you feel that way.” He hated giving me reassurance, made me feel like I was needy & too much, did not understand the word “compromise,” and made me feel like a huge burden to him. I realized, finally, that I was settling for him, despite all of the love.
I never understood what it meant to “settle” for someone. I truly, deep down, did not understand that settling meant you put up with a partner who embodies your personal red flags, who does things or has qualities you don’t like but think you can “put up with,” who does not show you love in ways that you let them know you need, or who does not show up for you when you need them. When I date someone, the word “settle” does not exist. Settling manifested itself into my relationships as the phrase, “I can deal with that, it’s not a big deal.” I did not choose partners for me. I chose partners who conveniently chose to give me attention. I focused on if the guy would want me, when I should have been focusing on whether or not I wanted the guy. I ended up with partners who constantly showed me deal breakers & red flags. I believed that if they loved me that they would change in ways that would benefit me and our relationship. I believed that love would cancel out all the toxicity and selfishness. Settling for someone still might lead you to a relationship full of love, but you will eventually be forced to deal with the deal breakers & red flags. They manifest into bigger relationship problems like lack of effort or communication. A person may not change for you, no matter how much they love you.
I’ve gone into all of my past relationships thinking that falling in love was the ultimate end goal. Saying “I love you” was this built-up monumental moment that carried so much weight, anxiety, and was the repeated phrase that my mind constantly used as reassurance. The end of a relationship felt like the end of the world, bringing on that ever so popular feeling of “I will never find love again.” The feeling of “will I be okay alone?” The feeling of post-breakup self-doubt, even if during the relationship you knew that the cons outweighed the pros.
Love does not and cannot make up for a lack of communication, lack of effort, lack of empathy, or lack of selflessness. Love will not magically erase the issues in your relationship. Love cannot make up for self-love or fix past traumas that you have not healed. Love cannot be the only foundation of your relationship.
Is love enough? If you would’ve asked me this exactly a year ago, I would have said yes. But after my last longterm relationship, my answer is no. Love, alone, is not enough. Love is just the beginning.
Please don't ever settle,