Four critical relationship issues that stem from not loving yourself
All throughout high school, my mom repeatedly told me “no guy would love me until I learned to love myself.” Everyone has heard this before. I honestly believe my mom was only saying this to make her daughter-who-hadn’t-hit-puberty-yet feel better and be more confident, but she said it nonetheless.
Then I forgot about it.
Going into college was like a dream. Guys thought I was attractive. I was getting 100, 200, 300, 400, or more matches on Tinder. Every party I went to a guy would hit on me, and some night while hopping from party to party I would meet more than one guy who was interested in me. This had never happened to me before. However, we would go on a date or two, and then it would fizzle out.
Except this one guy.
He was an international student, and holy shit he was by far the most attractive guy I had ever seen in my entire life. I grew up crushing on Sky from Mamma Mia, and this guy looked exactly like him. I was immediately smitten and was expecting us to sing “lay all your love on me” while rolling around on a beach and then live happily ever after.
However, it didn’t work out quite like that.
Why? Because I didn’t love myself, and I caused the end of my relationship. I was insecure, and clingy, and thought “how the fuck did I get a guy like THAT to find me attractive, much less like me?”
I am honestly not surprised he stopped texting me and moved on to other people, despite at the time I was completely blindsided and heartbroken. I wouldn’t have wanted to be with someone like me, and it was proven when I dated a guy who absolutely hated himself.
How I met Reid
I completely transformed from the insecure, pimply teenager to a confident woman who (thankfully) has very few acne problems nowadays. I found my passion for writing, and was pursuing it relentlessly. I started to take care of myself. I got regular haircuts. I wore clothes that fit. I made wonderful friends and started to be more social. I got my rocky financial situation taken care of. I was emotionally available, and ready to mingle.
It was around this time that I met this amazing guy, Reid.
Reid was a really, really good guy. He had so many qualities I looked for in a man. He was affectionate, goofy, slightly awkward, and emotionally intelligent. I was interested the minute he made a fool of himself on our first date and then proceeded to laugh at himself. I was committed after he cried during one of my favorite movies.
However, after a couple of weeks into our relationship, things got weird. How many of you have heard things like this?
“Wow, I am so lucky that I’m with someone like you.”
“I never thought I would date a woman like you.”
“You’re so smart. I just go to community college.”
“You are so lucky to have all of these amazing friends and opportunities.”
“God, you’re so pretty. Why are you with me?”
Or, the kicker, “How the fuck did I get you?” Spoken with absolute, utter disbelief and awe.
Four Problems Stemming from this Mindset
Now, it sounds sexy at first. “Aw, he is so lucky to have me.” “Aw, he thinks I’m pretty.” “Aw, he really appreciates me.” However, there’s something seriously wrong with all of these statements.
Reid wasn’t really complimenting me when he said these things. He brought himself down by comparing himself to me, despite the fact we were very different, had different goals in life, and different personalities. He did not love himself. He did not think he was good enough to be with me.
There are so many relationship issues that stem from this mindset.
1. They are insecure
This is probably the biggest issue that stems from someone not loving themselves before they get into a relationship. If you don’t believe you’re good enough for the other person, you are not secure in your partner and you are not secure in your relationship.
Security is one of the most important aspects of a relationship, and I’m not talking about the ability to be financially secure (although that is very important, as well). I’m talking about having trust that they mean what they say. That they love you. That they want to be with you.
An insecure person needs constant validation and reassurance that you love them, that you’re not going off and cheating with someone else, someone better, someone more “worthy” as if they know what/who is best for you.
2. They are jealous
They’re constantly worried you’re going to go and find someone better, so they are constantly worried about the people you’re spending time with. Your best friend from high school? Probably likes you. Your partner for your study group? Probably likes you. That guy at the deli was totally checking you out, you know that right?
They are incapable of believing that you are happy in the relationship, because they are not happy with themselves. Why would someone love me? Why would someone be with me? Why would this amazing girl be with me when she could be with that hot guy who works out all the time and works at a startup and makes so much money?
This leads to them being controlling, and checking in on you every second of the day.
3. They put you on a pedestal, and in the process bring themselves down
This is another thing after reading hundreds of romance novels as a teenager I wanted in a relationship. “Oh my gosh, he loves her so much he practically worships her that’s so hot.” In theory, yes, it is. In application, not so much.
It’s tiring hearing about how “oh you’re doing all these amazing things” and “I’m not doing nearly as much as you” and “wow you’re going to be so successful” and “I’m just working part time and going to school part time.”
What are they looking for in these statements? Validation and reassurance. However, it doesn’t matter what you say, they aren’t going to believe it anyway. They need to learn how to validate themselves, and know they are good enough.
You want to be equals in the relationship. You don’t want to be compared to your partner. You want to both have your own goals, and pursue them, and be your own people but together. If you’re passionate and driven and are accomplishing your own goals, it is so unhealthy being with someone like this.
4. They are not pursuing their own goals
Seeking validation, that they’re good enough, that you love them, that they are worthy of you, takes up so much time. They have no time to pursue their own goals and passions, if they even have any.
It’s not that they’re not good enough. It’s that they don’t believe they’re good enough, and as long as they stay in this cycle of negativity and victimization and having no life goals, they never will be.
These reasons are why I was dumped in college, and why my relationship ended.
When you love and respect yourself, you don’t want to be in a relationship with someone who doesn’t have a goal or passion or something they strongly believe in. When you love and respect yourself, you don’t want to be in a relationship with someone who hates themselves and constantly brings themselves down.
This is why anytime someone says that “you need to love yourself first before you can love someone else” is bullshit, I call bullshit on their bullshit. You have to love yourself first in order to be in a happy, healthy, successful relationship. I learned this the hard way, and hopefully my ex learns it, too.