I have a lot of experience when it comes to this. Well, mostly in my younger years anyway. I’ve always been very good natured and love going out of my way to help people. But sometimes these strengths can be turned into weaknesses to be used against you.
Here, I’m talking about being the one to constantly make the first move to foster a relationship, whether with a so-called ‘friend’ or partner. It can seem like struggling to swim to shore but constantly being swept back out to sea. And for those who might be thinking “well that person who is constantly trying must be needy and desperate”, this isn’t always necessarily the case – it hasn’t been for me at any rate.
It can go on for days, weeks, months, years, even decades. Just how long, however, depends on when one person from this unbalanced relationship decides enough is enough and does something about it.
After all, for the person who feels the relationship is unrequited, how much time and energy should you expend tolerating being probably nothing more than an annoying inconvenience to that other person? How long should you allow your peace of mind and self-worth to be eroded? How long should you tolerate cancelled dates and meetups, no responses and excuses? It is a degrading and upsetting experience, and can leave you feeling hollow and worthless, as well as giving too much of your power to the other person. Moreover, you are disrespecting and hurting yourself. You can’t win everybody over and you can’t make everyone like you, not matter how hard you try. It’s impossible!! There are so many people that would love and appreciate you for exactly who you are.
From the other perspective, how long would you put up with someone you didn’t like or didn’t feel you were compatible with? For how long would you subject yourself to making up (and having to remember!!) excuses for why you couldn’t do something with them, making yourself invisible online so they couldn’t pester you, or if you are both in the same vicinity scurrying off and hiding from them before they have a chance to notice you etc.?
It’s always best to end the madness and invest your time in healthier, happier and more productive relationships. Whoever decides to pluck up the courage to do it, it’s best to confront the person and be as honest as possible without being angry or rude about it (even if you do think they deserve a good tongue-lashing!!).
And stick to your convictions.
Having a period of silence and no contact, only just to rekindle things at a later date, doesn’t usually help things – you usually just end up picking up where you left off, in the same depressing and intolerable situation. Nobody has the right to waste your time, disrespect you or make you feel uncomfortable. It can be hard, especially for the person who put in all of that effort to no avail. Don’t give your power away to those who don’t deserve it.
I almost had a wobble with this a few days ago – I really wanted to contact and meet up with somebody from my past who I was quite fond of and was special to me. I had ended communication with this person at least once before for a long while due to the one-sided nature of our relationship, hoping that they would realise what they had lost and would change. However, remembering with perfect clinical clarity that even with long breaks of no contact, this person never really gave me the time of day; has only remembered my birthday once in 13 years (even though we lived together for a considerable time), nearly always replied WEEKS later to my messages; and contacted me only ONCE in the last six years off of their own accord for help with a situation, just reaffirmed my convictions to keep the lock on that ‘relationship’ firmly shut.
Oh well. I’ll get over it. ?
As my sister Shani says:
Be unapologetically aware of your value and your self-worth. Realise that your time is valuable and precious and that it is a privilege to be given, not a right.