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Is It OK To Love A Man More Than He Loves You?

Love & Relationships

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."

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

Featured image by Shutterstock

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