What kind of love do you deserve?

Looking back, there is one assertion that perfectly encapsulates every relationship I’ve had: We accept the love we think we deserve.

During my first relationship, I was mainly happy to have one in the first place. It also instilled in me the notion that I needed to work hard to be worthy of being in a relationship at all – probably one of the reasons why I stayed in that relationship for way too long.

In the second relationship, I took that whole “must be worthy” thing to the next level. I ended up spending so much energy on trying to do and know everything that eventually, it felt more like I was some kind of father figure instead of a partner.

Since I hadn’t caught on to my portion of responsibilities and insecurities in the dynamic, my third relationship was when it all came crashing down. My partner at the time developed a strong depression and I, deeper in my “must be worthy” state of mind than ever, foolishly tried to fix it.

Looking back, the love I thought I deserved was one I paid for by always being able to find solutions to everything. As a result, I was always chasing a self-imposed goal, while simultaneously being unable to accept any other kind of love. Sounds obvious in hindsight that this couldn’t really go anywhere.

Today, also largely thanks to Micah, I’m learning to separate finding solutions to things on the one hand from being deserving of love on the other. And to open up to signs of love that may differ from my self-imposed definitions. It is a work in progress. But enough about me. What about you? Which kind of love do you think you deserve?

32 thoughts on “What kind of love do you deserve?

  1. You sound like you have done a lot of inner work and reflecting on this topic, and I think it is also a key to having a good relationship! That being said, I entirely relate to what you say, finding your place as a partner can be a struggle, and it also takes time, communication and understanding 😊 Because of my perfectionism, I always want everything to be perfect and that can be exhausting and actually not great for the couple! Thanks for sharing your thoughts 😊

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    1. Perfectionism is a tough one! Especially because in itself it can be a great thing – wanting to do things the right way, no half-assing, etc. I guess an important question would be: Who decides what perfect means?

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      1. Yes, but even in itself it can be very tricky, for instance sometimes I don’t start something because I can’t do it perfectly, instead of trying it and perfecting it – it can be very annoying! 😊 For sure, the thing that I try to remember is that there is no perfect or, even better, there are many “perfects” 😊

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  2. How do we actually know what kind of love we deserve? I mean I’m happy with my relationship but I don’t know if I deserve this or not. 🤷🏻‍♀️

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    1. The “think” is important here. Of course, we deserve all kinds of love. But I, for example, was only allowing myself to accept love as “real” if it was shown in this specific way as a result of me being “useful” somehow. Because only then did I think I deserved it. Realizing this helped me get through many of the issues I had with this.

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  3. Well said! And what a tough question! For me the problem was that I had a tendency to be self destructive, and I thought I didn’t deserve someone as good as my then-boyfriend. The solution of course is to acknowledge I have a problem, and my then-boyfriend not to fix things for me but for me to allow him to help me fix whatever. We are married now with a son and i still ask myself sometimes if i deserve all this, and the answer is at least a yes most days. That’s progress for me ❤

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  4. I have only been in two serious relationships in my life–my husband was the second one and we fell in love and got married when we were 21 and 22. It has worked out remarkably well, although there have been lessons galore as there are in any relationship. I deserve this totally!

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  5. One of my biggest steps in life was realizing it wasn’t my job to fix my broken boyfriend, and to walk away. We’ve remained on/off friends but nearly 40yrs later, they’re still broken in many ways.

    Congrats on your growth and developing healthy interaction!

    As for me, I turned my back on relationships. My relationships with my cats are far better!

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    1. Yes, I couldn’t agree more! It also took a while for me to realize that it is not my job to fix people. Perhaps more importantly, it’s not even in my power – at the end of the day, people can only fix themselves.

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      1. Exactly!!
        Except… someone else ended up fixing me. Okay… helping me fix myself… but he was the only one who saw that was possible.
        One of my very fee regrets on life was that I didn’t figure out how to return the favor and he ended up dying young.

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  6. An interesting idea, Markus. I do not have a ready answer to this question as I’ve never thought about love in this way. It was something I happened across and which has remained strong and steady in my 24 year relationship (20 years married). Of course, love for your children is clear and bright, like a beacon.

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    1. Yes, the important part of that question for me is the self-awareness that it can bring. Not having an answer is probably a good thing, if it means that you don’t have a limited view of what kind of love you are willing to accept.

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  7. Great post. I’ve been very lucky because the second relationship in my life, became my wife. In a few days time, we will celebrate our 49th wedding anniversary, how time flies, but of course, we were seeing each other before that so we’ve been together for 53 years! I don’t really know why it has worked for us, but we still believe in each other and we’re still in love.

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  8. You know, Markus, you don’t need to deserve love. We all deserve love. What you deserve is a respectful partner who also helps you to grow so that it’s a give snd take. Taking on the father role must’ve been draining your cup with little being poured into it! The relationship you have with Micah seems to be of partnership, respect and lots of love. I’m glad you had the bad before you found what you guys have now. It’s usually our past that best shapes us for our future 😉

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    1. Yes, very true. This really is the hidden message, no? When we reflect on what kind of love we think we deserve, we hopefully realize that there is no basis for thinking we only deserve this kind of love, or only under specific circumstances.

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  9. I love your post, I appreciate your vulnerability! I think my current relationship got so much better when we both read The 5 Love Languages and began to see the different ways we each give and receive love. I think love is both a gift and a necessity for basic human survival ❤️

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    1. Thank you. It’s not easy to be vulnerable, but I’ve been trying to practice it for a while now. The 5 Love Languages have been super helpful for us, too – we even led a retreat that included them in the past!

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  10. relationships are hard, but the first step is figure out why it didn’t work with the other person and especially what works best for us. Too often we forget about ourselves, we just want things to work out with our other half but we end up having is some sort of compromise with our true self. I am glad you found your way to build a healthy relationship with Micah, you guys rock!

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