I sat there at Applebee’s with far too much emotion to possibly be hungry for the mozzarella stick I was dipping in the marina sauce and I explained my dilemma to my aunt.
I was confused and needed some advice.
You see I had been processing my thoughts back and forth in my head for months, I had shared bits and pieces of the story with my mother, called my cousins, sought advice from my sister, spoke with my female friends, heck I even went to the world of google and asked Siri trying to figure this thing out.
But the knowledge my aunt gave to me that winter night I have carried ever since.
The question that had rattled my brain for months, the thing that I wanted to know more than anything else and definitely had me stumped was….
I mean I had heard that when a person loves you, you just know, but I didn’t like that response, because the thing was I didn’t know and I wanted it to be true that he did.
So I did what we all do when we don’t like an answer…. I kept asking everybody until someone finally told me what I wanted to hear.
Only my aunt didn’t just tell me what I wanted to hear she told me the truth of what I needed to know. She said,” Renata it sounds like he does love you….” and my face lit up.
That sounded way better than everyone else’s “No I don’t think he does” or their “I don’t know maybe he is confused”
…..But may aunt wasn’t done. She ended her sentence of how it sounded like he did love me with “but whether he loves you are not is never the question. The real question is, “is the love he is offering enough for you.”
It was such a powerful question it changed my entire direction of thinking.
She further explained that a person can love and care for you with all of their heart but if it isn’t enough for you, it is not your job to sit around and teach them how to love you.
I took a bite of my mozzarella stick trying to digest it much easier than I was digesting what she said. She was right.
That was the real question.
It wasn’t about him or how he felt. It was about me and how I felt.
It wasn’t about whether he loved me or not it was about whether his love was enough for me.
– It wasn’t.
I wanted it to be because I loved him with every fiber of my being, but the love he gave me was not enough for me to feel secure in the relationship. Had it been enough I wouldn’t have questioned it, asking everyone from my hair stylist, to my mother in round about ways if the object of my affection loved me.
I had never experienced a situation like that one before. A situation where I loved someone who may very well love me but who didn’t love me the way I needed to be loved.
You see, I have experienced what was obviously unrequited love as both the person who loved and the person who did not love back. But until then I had never experienced love where I loved a person who indeed showed signs of loving me, but not to the degree I needed to feel warm in his love or in the language I needed it to be translated to.
I needed to feel secure in his love and I didn’t.
Whether it was because my love language was different from his, if I loved at a higher intensity than him, or if it was all in my head and I needed to simply do my own self work – the love he gave just wasn’t enough.
I had a choice to make.
Do I leave and walk away from someone I love with all of my heart or do I stay in a relationship where I don’t feel like I am receiving reciprocity.
Wiping the breadcrumbs from my fingertips and transferring them to the napkin, I took a deep sigh because not only did I know it wasn’t enough, I knew I had to walk away.
He could love me until his very soul ached, but if the way he loved left me feeling empty then I had to love me enough to stay full.
So I left.
I left the person who I love as I love myself. It wasn’t easy. I didn’t leave in an attempt to make him love me the way I wanted him to, I left because I truly believed he never would love me the way I needed him to.
Through my years, I have left people I didn’t love any more and I have been left by people who didn’t love me any more. But until this transpired I had never left someone who may have loved me the best way he could at the time, but it simply wasn’t enough for me.
What I needed to feel loved for whatever reason he wouldn’t or couldn’t give to me. I had repeatedly explained what I needed from him to feel loved to no avail.
The words Common spoke are true – “It doesn’t take a whole day to recognize sunshine”.
So in essence he knew me and recognized me for who I was and had ample time to treat me accordingly but for whatever reason chose not to.
So I take solace in knowing my truth is no matter how much he loved me, it wasn’t enough for me. I could not possibly stay in a relationship where I was giving my love and wasn’t feeling loved in return without losing myself in the process.
Actively waiting on someone to finally love you the way you need to be loved after having multiple conversations on the subject is devaluing. You start to feel like they are dangling the carrot stick of their affection before you and that is not an act of love.
It doesn’t matter if he didn’t know how to love me any better, if he was afraid or if he had low self-esteem or insecurities.
What matters is how I felt.
I was dying inside, and that ain’t no way to live.
I felt like I was giving all of me and coming up empty.
It wasn’t a matter of finding someone who would treat me better. It was a matter of treating myself better and not continuing a relationship with a person who knew what I desired out of a relationship and for whatever reason chose to deny me of it.
So I left the one I love not because I didn’t love him, not because he didn’t love me, but because his love wasn’t enough for me.
Knowing I made the right decision did not make me stop loving him one iota but it did make me love me more.
I don’t regret leaving because by leaving I chose me.
I don’t know if he had past hurt and was afraid to give me the things I wanted out of a relationship, I don’t know if he didn’t love himself enough to love me enough, or if I he actually didn’t love me at all. But what I do know is that Steven Chbosky said it best – “We accept the love we think we deserve.”
The reason why you see people stay in relationships where it is painfully obvious to everyone else that they are being mistreated is because the way they are treated by their partner is the way feel about themselves. They don’t truly believe they deserve better so they stay.
The same goes for the other extreme. There are people who mistreat people who love them dearly. They don’t love themselves so they can’t accept love from someone else.
We cannot give or receive love to a greater degree than what we love ourselves. If someone loves us more than we love ourselves we push them away because we feel unworthy or we feel uncomfortable having someone care about us to that magnitude because we are not accustomed to it.
We also are inclined to have a self-fulfilling prophecy where we have a fear that they will leave us so we subconsciously behave in such a way where they do.
So leaving wasn’t a matter of if he didn’t love me or if he didn’t care. For I believe he may have very well loved me and cared.
Leaving was because while he didn’t care enough, I did.
I cared enough to choose me.
I decided to love me enough not to wait for someone to want to do the things that I needed to feel secure in a relationship.
I decided to love on Renata.
It wasn’t about finding someone else, it was and is about finding myself.
You have to love yourself enough not to beg someone to give you the love you think you deserve. Because as you wait and as you beg you start to believe the scraps of attention they are giving you is a full course meal. When it comes to love, you should never live in the land of famine when you can love yourself enough to feast like royalty.
© Renata Pittman and RenataNicole, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Renata Pittman and RenataNicole with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.