Although we always hear that relationships are hard, which is very true, we don’t hear enough that love itself is hard too. While falling in love is easy, staying in it and working for it is a whole different story. So if you find yourself with someone who isn’t working to keep you, it’s clear they don’t deserve you or your love.
Love is a two-way street. While unrequited love is great if you’re living in a Shakespearean play, in the real world, to put it as eloquently as possible, it effing sucks. So love, real love, is giving as much as you take and it’s not easy. If they aren’t putting in the effort to give you as much as you give them, then they’re not working for your love. Instead, they’re taking a backseat and is completely undeserving of what you’re giving them.
Love is more than words. When I think of all the times I’ve told people and even inanimate objects how much I love them when I’m drunk, I’m forced to realize a painful truth: Love is easier said than done. Your partner can tell you until they’re blue in the face that they love you, but if they don’t work for your love by showing you that they truly do, then what do you have as proof? Not much.
Love is communication. Communication is tough for many people and it can often feel like you’re pulling teeth when it comes to trying to get your partner to open up and truly talk. But someone who works for your love by communicating with you, even if it means stepping way outside their comfort zone to do so, is a keeper. Communication is essential in any relationship, romantic or otherwise, so when people work towards being good at this, it means they give a damn and don’t want to lose you.
Love is inconveniencing oneself. No one likes to be inconvenienced, but working for your love means occasionally having to go out of their way for you (and you for them). Maybe they’re attending your best friend’s one-woman show with you or spending time with your family who might not even like them that much and they know it. When you love someone, this is what you do. You work for your S.O.’s love by doing what you really don’t want to do sometimes. If you can’t think of the last time your partner did anything even closely resembling these things, they’re not working for your love and therefore don’t deserve yours.
Love is doing the right thing. In life we’re presented with a lot of choices we need to make – some good, some bad, and some straight-up dumb as hell. If your partner is working for your love, then they’re making the type of choices that have your best interest in mind. If presented with a choice that doesn’t positively affect you or play in your favor and that’s the one they choose, they didn’t just choose wrong but they chose not to work for your love.
Love is admitting when you screw up. One of the hardest things in the world for most people is to admit when they’ve messed up. To be able to admit you’re wrong, especially if that wrong thing caused pain in any way, is a big deal. While some things are unforgivable, if your partner is working for your love, then they’re willing to come clean and admit their shortcomings even if they run the risk of losing you. It’s in these instances that they’re working for your respect too.
Love is paying attention. To truly work for someone’s love, you need to pay attention. It’s not just about knowing what their favorite song is, the fact that they prefer blueberries to raspberries, or that watching talk show interviews makes them nervous. It’s about picking up on their body language and facial expressions. It’s about working so hard that you can read those things perfectly. To have worked that hard to be that aware is a testament to something that, frankly, you don’t find every day.
Love is making sacrifices. From letting you have the last slice of pizza (you deserve it more anyway) to choosing to spend time with you instead of their friends, these sacrifices take work —and the latter definitely takes courage, depending on the douchebag caliber of his friends. To not work for love in these ways, which are actually small sacrifices in the grand scheme of things, is very telling.
Love means being a damn grown-up. No one wants to have to suck up the fact that their youth is behind them and now it’s Responsibility City, baby! But you can’t stop the hands of time and you can’t be an immature a-hole forever – which, yes, takes work. Because of this, your partner should work for your love even more because they know now that they’re an adult and more is at stake. If they can’t hang and they continue to be immature and flighty, you need to say goodbye.
Love is the grand gesture. What is the grand gesture exactly? Doing whatever it takes to win the love they desire, then working even harder to keep it. And if that gesture includes them outside your bedroom window with a boom box over their head a la Lloyd Dobler in Say Anything, then so be it. If someone wants your love, they have to work for it – in return, you’ll give them the world.
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