Love is an untamed force. When we try to control it, it destroys us. When we try to imprison it, it enslaves us. When we try to understand it, it leaves us feeling lost and confused.”
– Paulo Coelho
It is good to have hope even in the most trying of circumstances. When you’re going through a rough patch in your relationship, hope can be like ray of sunshine peeping through dark and stormy clouds. But it is important to differentiate between a rough patch and a relationship that does not leave the pits of darkness. During such times, we try our best to understand our partner, and keep the relationship going. All the while not realising that what we’re actually doing is forcing ourselves to love someone who doesn’t want to be loved. Sometimes it’s best to let go. Here are 10 signs that indicate you’re forcing love where there is none.
1. You have to work hard at persuasion
There is no harm in having excellent persuasion skills. In fact, I encourage it. Similarly, having a reward based system is great too if that’s what works for you. “You do the dishes,” you tell him, “I’ll treat you in ways beyond your imagination in the bedroom.” But when you are constantly having to make an inordinate amount of effort to persuade someone to do something that shouldn’t require such effort, then something is not quite right. Having to bend over backwards just to gain someone’s approval, threatening someone in order to get them to comply, and growing accustomed to rejection are all indicative of a relationship that’s being forced.
2. You make all the compromises
You generally do what he/she likes, you go out when he/she likes, you even work your career around his/her needs. You are so used to hearing ‘no’ for most things, you’ve grown weary of even thinking of what you would like to do. Sacrificing your happiness has become the norm in your relationship. You even quit hanging out with your friends because he/she does not approve. Perhaps he/she is jealous, perhaps insecure, but you’re slowly having to give your happiness up bit by bit and compromise on everything that is important to you to keep your relationship afloat.
There is a drama each time you do something that your partner does not approve of. It could even be the most trifling of matters, such as meeting up with an old friend. But your partner may build it up to a crisis and construct a story around it, that by the end of the entire argument you feel like he/she has built a brick wall around themselves that you find virtually impenetrable. And taking decisions in the future, whether or not pertaining to your relationship, has you feeling absurdly anxious.
4. You make all the plans…alone
It isn’t unusual to be so busy with work that one doesn’t find time to make plans. But when your partner is rarely, if ever, making plans with you, whether it is to pick a day for your next date, or make reservations, then that is not the sign of a healthy relationship. Making plans has simply been relegated to your shoulder…each time. And when you do make them by yourself, often he/she accepts, and other times just declines, and you know deep down you don’t have a good feeling about it.
5. Your heart is constantly broken
Giving all of yourself to someone is easier said than done. Plenty of us tend to hold back just a little. But when you do finally give it your all in a relationship, your expectations usually rise simultaneously. You’re human after all. And when that trust is made light of, and your worth disregarded is when you know that you are simply compelling yourself to drag the relationship further.
6. You are having to conform
Conforming yourself to fit the standards set by your partner is a recipe for a relationship not meant to be. It’s better to lose someone who wishes you to change for him/her, than to continue to force yourself to love someone while slowly losing bits of yourself over him/her. Trying to be someone you’re not in order to please another human being would eventually leave you with identity issues, a mass of regrets, and an exorbitant sum for the therapist’s bill.
7. You obsess over the past
In a relationship where he/she doesn’t love you, and you’re forcing yourself to love him/her, it isn’t uncommon to find yourself woolgathering. More than likely the subject of your ruminations and obsessions are the days gone by. When your relationship was better and he/she gave a stronger impression of love and things seemed easier. But you can’t continue to live in the past.
8. You have to constantly ask how he/she feels
I recall with striking precision the agony of never knowing how he felt. He had all but ceased to initiate conversations, and it had fallen to me to break the ice every now and then. When you have to try that hard just to get someone to open up, and your relationship becomes a burden to either one or both of you, then it’s better to let go.
9. You don’t talk about the future
You never discuss your plans for the future. It’s almost like some sort of a taboo subject. Sure, you’re thinking about it, but he/she never speaks in terms of ‘we’ and ‘us’. It is always what he/she wants out of their life. You never seem part of the equation.
10. Confrontations are avoided
Confrontations are treated like a disease. Something to be steered clear of, and never faced head on. When someone repeatedly treats the relationship in such a manner, he/she does not have the depth of feelings for you that you wish they did, and continuing to remain in such a stagnant relationship would not bring either of you any happiness in the long run.
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