Now, this is an interesting topic to explore. If you're checking this out while you're actually supposed to be finishing up a project at work, the Cliffs Notes version answer to if it's OK to love a man more than he loves you is "yes". But if it were as simple as that, this wouldn't be an entire article, would it?
Let's begin here. A couple of years ago, while standing in a wife's kitchen and complimenting her on how well her husband appeared to love her, she said something that came across to me like she had a tinge of arrogance mixed in with a dash manipulation—"The key to a happy marriage, Shellie, is to make sure your husband loves you, at least a little more, than you love him."
Is it? Is it really? I mean, I'm not married and she is, so maybe that (somehow) works for her household. Although, I can't help but wonder what her husband would've said had she not been whispering so that he couldn't hear her say what she said.
I've known this couple long enough that I remember them when they were dating. On some levels, she really did run him through the ringer as she kept raising the ante as a way for him to "prove" his love for her. *sigh* I dunno. A quote that I made up years ago is "Love should be a gift, not a bribe" and so, to me, when we're using the word "love" in the context of plotting, planning and strategizing, something feels a little…off.
That's why I say that if there's a man whom you love more than he loves you, no, I don't think that it's wrong. It's simply how you feel. However, at the same time, I think the better question, the one that really gets to the core of the issue is, "How should you act when you know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that you love a man more than he loves you?" When you are totally into him and either he's not into you as much (yet) or he's not into you in the same way as you're into him (because there are different kinds of love, after all).
Now that we've unpacked what we're really trying to get at, let's dig in.
As a woman who has loved and watched other women love, I absolutely, totally and unapologetically LOVE the way we do it! When a woman loves a man, it's fully. It's thoroughly. It's intensely and intently. On so many levels and for so many reasons, it's one of the most beautiful things to witness on this entire planet. Because it is so precious, sacred and powerful, I fully believe that it should be esteemed as the eighth wonder of the world—something that requires effort to be seen so that it can truly be appreciated for what it is.
Unfortunately, because the love that we give comes from within us, even we as the vessels of love, can take it for granted. Whenever we go above and beyond to express how we feel, we don't see it as potentially being too much (or too much too soon) because, like breathing, we're just doing what we know to do.
What's the problem with that? It's this: When we take our own selves for granted, it sometimes sends the message to others that they can mistreat, or at the very least underestimate, what we're offering them. As a result, the care, the time, the forethought that we put into making them feel seen, adored and valued, they don't always revere it. And when a person doesn't honor love while it's in action, they typically end up doing the opposite—abusing it. And since the love comes from us as a primary source, this ultimately means that, on some level, they end up abusing us in the process.
Believe you me, I know of what I speak. There is one man from my past that I loved. Love, love, love, love, LOVED. Although he told me that he loved me too and some of his actions, some of the time, backed his declaration up, because I clearly loved him more, he received the royal treatment while what I got was more like…a guest of the royal court. On special occasions, he would do some pretty over-the-top things, but that really was far and few between. However, because I loved him so much, I found myself living for those, what I call "blue moon moments" and then "rewarding him" for what he did by going above and beyond the rest of the time…until the next time.
It took me quite a while to catch on, but what I eventually came to realize was loving him more than he loved me wasn't the problem. Treating him like he loved me as much as I loved him was.
Shoot, I'll take it a step further—acting like I should overcompensate for his lack of expression of love until he caught up (or caught on) was even more of the issue.
So now that we're here, what's the difference between loving someone more vs. expressing it? And why is expressing it something that you really should reel back in?
Here's an example. I once knew a long-distance couple who both loved each other. I had heard each of them express the sentiment. However, I saw some red flags coming from a couple of miles away when suddenly, out of nowhere, the woman picked up and moved to be in the same state as the guy. Two years later, she resented him because he didn't propose marriage. In fact, their relationship didn't make any more progress than it had when they were living states apart. She eventually moved, broke up with him and met someone else. She's been married to the new/next guy for over 15 years now.
My point? She could've easily loved the first fella from the comfort and convenience of where she was originally staying. She didn't have to leave her job, friends and the city that she also loved. If it was on the table to do that at all, it needed to be once she and the guy discussed together that her moving was something that they both wanted, with the intentions of taking things to another level—not eventually but sooner than later.
See what I mean? The fact that she moved without getting clear on if it was something that she and he could both get excited about meant that she loved him more than he loved her. However, the issues really only arose out of her acting on her love before it was truly time.
So, to me, the bottom line would be this—if you love a man more than he loves you, don't beat yourself up about that. You feel what you feel and, whether he realizes it or not, he is in the presence of greatness. But until he expresses the level of love that you have for him to you—on his own without any prompting, nagging, manipulation or ultimatums on your part—pull back a bit on allowing your actions to show him just how big and deep your love goes.
He's already blessed that you love him at all. Let him appreciate that by displaying some reciprocity—first.
In the meantime, while you're trying to exhibit some self-control so that you don't do more than you should, revisit the lyrics of one of my favorite DeBarge songs, "Love Me in a Special Way". It'll hold you accountable:
Love me now 'cause I'm special
Not the average kind who'd accept any line that sounds good
So, reach into your chain of thoughts try to find something new
What worked for you so well before for me it just won't do
Your love is special. Not average. Let him simmer on that for a while. If he's paying attention, he'll catch up…without you having to run after him (some of y'all will catch that later).
Featured image by Getty Images.
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