Every day I hear new stories about women being flexible with their boundaries and subsequently exploited. Typically, I won’t blame women because we have been trained since birth to remove or loosen our boundaries for this thing called love. Television and movies communicate daily, sacrifice every part of yourself for the prospect of love. Music makes us feel like suffering for love is worth it. Our family constantly asks us about our love lives. Our friends are partnered or longing and we are stuck wanting what they have or trying to find satisfaction in the now so you won’t be desperately longing. Every facet of life communicates to us to be obsessed with love. We are so brainwashed by society’s definition of love that when love shows up we bypass, ignore it, fight it, or write it off because it doesn’t look like the love that we’ve been shown all along.
It’s not as exciting as TV portrayed it to be because love is not a product. It does not look like falling for someone in one day. In real life, your partner IS being desired by other people. Folks will flirt with him. Your partner will see other people as attractive. You won’t be called or text all the time. You won’t always be validated or centered. Every exchange won’t be grandiose and that’s the missing piece concerning love. Folks believe that love is so immense that they confuse their overwhelming feelings of obsession and low self-esteem as a love that they need to live.
When your low self-esteem kicks in and tells you to need someone so that you can live, you end up taking anything a man says as the truth. When your low self-esteem kicks in, you are getting caught up by week three. Even though you don’t know this person, you feel that this is love. When your low self-esteem kicks in you start overextending yourself to keep the thing you feel that’ll make you happy. So, you do actions like paying his bills, lend him money, and sacrifice your dignity. Obsession and low Self-esteem can make you bypass your rules to keep you safe, to prove to someone you love them. Think about it clearly, you are the only person who will give you the love you need. You are the main character in your life. Yet, you would rather bypass rules that keep you safe and happy, to prove to someone else you love them. Then, exploiters see how much you love them more than yourself and start testing you. They already know you will lay your body on the train tracks for them, so what else can they get out of you?
Obsession and low self-esteem feel very different from authentic and healthy love. The former is pulling you and consuming you, the latter feels like you are gliding into grace. Love is a slow process. Love is kind. Love takes its time. Love ask important questions. Love is understanding. Love is not possessive. Most importantly, love is boring. It shows up in the small details. It looks like saying aloud I need my car washed and waking up to it washed by your partner. Love does not feel like a deep overwhelming hole that causes you to crumble if you don’t have it, that’s an obsession, that’s codependency, and that’s unsustainable.
When you walk around feeling unable to function because you didn’t receive a call from someone you’ve been talking to for three weeks, that’s a hole inside that is asking for you to tend to it. I am not saying you can’t feel bad because you were expecting his phone call. I am saying if you are crumbling because of it, it may not be the partner that you are yearning for it may be a red flag and a signal that childhood trauma or a framework needs to be challenged, changed, and healed.