Key Feature #2: This may seem like a no-brainer to many of you, but as I’ve said before, experience has taught me not to make assumptions. So Key Feature 2 is this: do both of you agree that you are ‘in love?’ The answer should be a resounding ‘yes.’ If one of you is saying something like ‘I really love so-and-so, but I’m not in love with her,” then that is a big, no-kidding, problem for you. This thing the two of you have going may be a relationship, but it is not a mutual one, and so by definition, it is not one that ‘feels good.’
For most of us who have found ourselves in a relationship like this, if you think upon it, I believe you will come to realize that it doesn’t feel good to either person. The one who is in love and wishes the other person felt the same way, is likely operating on the assumption that if she just waits long enough, or is a good enough girlfriend, lover, provider, or if she buys enough presents, dotes enough–even demands enough from the other–then the not-in-love partner will eventually come around and fall in love, too. Crumbs, ladies. Crumbs and codependence. You know what codependence is–adjusting your whole life, including how you are in the world, based on what someone else wants or is willing to offer…
Look, we’ve all succumbed to codependence at some point in life, but for some of us codependence is a habitual thing. A really painful thing. If you are hanging out in a relationship with someone you are madly in love with but who only sorta loves you and you’re staying because you’re sure you can convince her to love you more, I lovingly and strongly support you to take a good hard look at that. What makes that okay with you? Because you are either settling for crumbs or you believe you have more power than you really do. Or that anyone does. Because you can’t make anyone feel anything. That’s tough information for some women, that fact that we can’t control anyone’s feelings. But there it is.
If you happen to be the one who loves-her-but-is-not-in-love with her, what are you doing? Do you really believe you will eventually come to feel the same about her that she feels about you? In this life-time, that is? And if you don’t believe that, what is she to you? A place-holder until someone better comes along? Or are you afraid to be alone and you’re just using her so you won’t have to face your fears? Are either of those positions honest?
It’s really very simple. If you want to be in a relationship with a woman who is honest, someone you can trust, someone you can know deeply to the core of her being, then you have to be that person, too. Honest. Trustworthy. Hiding nothing. Using no one. Until you are all that, you won’t find it in another. Like attracts like.
So no matter which side of an unbalanced relationship you are on, it can be nothing but painful to the both of you, but in different ways. I’m not saying there is nothing redeemable in the relationship, nor am I saying there have been no good feelings or good times. There probably have been. And you probably do care for each other. But it isn’t what you are looking for, and it isn’t going to turn into something beautiful, except for perhaps a beautiful friendship–as long as you end it before someone gets too hurt to salvage a friendship out of it.