I need to share this with everyone as it has been a HUGE turning point in my recovery.
I’m at a very strange and beautiful place in my life right now and have since had a major realization about G, my ex (SW). I kept trying to figure out what everyone meant when they said he was a representation of my father. I could see some of his traits but I wasn’t convinced on any deep level that I was “dating” my dad. Then it occurred to me. My love for G was one sided. I really adored G. His personality was wonderful, he was funny, hard-working, musician, grungy, we had a lot in common. I was so darn happy to be with someone that I actually LIKED that i never took into account HOW he treated me. I never considered that his love for me was also a part of the equation. He neglected me, basically, and it was pretty painful. I allowed it to happen because the thrill of being with someone FUN and ALIVE was more important than meeting my own needs to be loved and treated well.
And then I saw the parallel. I adored my father. I loved his personality. He was funny, hard-working, musician…we had a lot in common. I felt ALIVE with my father. Because of who he was as a person. And YET, as per my mother’s advice, I was told to love him “as is” and not take into account how he treated me. It’s no surprise to know that he treated me much the same as G; neglectful, uncaring, always had something more important to do than spend it with me etc.
Now here’s the important part… To love my father and not get anything in return is OK for a father/daughter relationship. I could not change my father ((i couldn’t go out and get another dad!)) and therefore, had to accept him for who he was, especially because I liked him and wanted to hang out with him. But this type of relationship is NOT OK for a healthy, romantic, love relationship between two adults who DO have choices and their love is not unconditional.
There are two parts to the Love equation. That is all. And I always seemed to go for one or the other. Never both. Here they are in their simplest form:
1. I must love someone; respect them, care about them, be attracted to them, treat them well, be compatible with them and generally LIKE them.
2. They must love me; respect me, care about me, be attracted to me, treat me well, be compatible with me and generally LIKE me.
A good, healthy relationship has both these parts. Throw in the mix sharing similar values and goals and you’ve got yourself one heck of a tasty love recipe.