Few concepts are as damaging.
Many judge the depths of love by how much pain someone is willing to endure on their behalf. By how much they are willing to suffer and the shenanigans they tolerate.
We sometimes measure the love of others and allow our own love to be measured by this unfair, abusive, self-harming standard. To set the bar for how much a person cares alongside how much they’ll allow you to hurt them is cruel and demeaning. It’s ultimately judging the level of someone’s love for you by how little they love themselves.
In the name of love, we’re expected to withstand heartbreak after heartbreak and one transgression after another. We think that if we truly love someone, we do not leave them. We’re always supposed to stay and “work it out.” But there is a thin line between forgiveness and foolishness.
Who taught us that love hurts?
We allow ourselves to be convinced that love and pain go hand-in-hand. Tears streaming down our face tell us that it must, or we wouldn’t care so deeply. The longing, the angst. The staring at a phone that should have rung a long time ago tells us that they matter. Sitting by the door, waiting with a lump in our throat for someone to finally decide to come home, hoping that they will, reinforces our desire for them to be near. We’ll hold on to a supposedly exclusive partner who is repeatedly unfaithful because we can’t bear the idea of them actually developing feelings for another. The anguish, the emotions, and the out-of-character behavior to which we are driven tell us that this is love.
So, we take it. We suffer in an effort to prove ourselves. To prove our love. And we make ourselves believe that if we just keep loving them, long enough, hard enough, things will get better — that this perverse concept of love will transform and become pure. That’s if we even recognize it as tainted.
This outlook serves no one other than the person inflicting the hurt. They do whatever they want, indulge their most selfish desires and still get to keep the person they claim to adore. Or, perhaps both parties are wounding one another. Certainly, any relationship that leaves us black and blue inside but begging for more can’t be considered healthy.