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Trouble with unconditional love


Arrowsmith
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My girlfriend is upset with me.

 

She feels that I pay too much attention to how much I get out of, and put into, the relationship.

 

She might be right.

 

I don't know what to do... I want this relationship to work out, but I also want to be honest with her. Doesn't everyone, on some level, keep track of what they're putting into the relationship and what they're getting out of it? I think she wants reassurance that I would be there for her even if she were to fall apart completely. Of course I would... up to a point. If I were to feel that I was putting a lot into the relationship and getting too little back and there was no hope that it would improve - I would leave. Wouldn't you?

 

I think she feels that, because I'm the man, I'm supposed to have an irrational desire to sacrifice myself for her sake (which seems a bit of a double-standard - I don't think she feels that way for me). Does anyone know how I should handle this? Any sage words of advice?

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In my opinion...

 

When it comes to boyfriend/girlfriend relationships, the love is not unconditional. There are stipulations that make or break a relationship. There is such thing as unconditional love, but I think that is between a parent and their child, rarely ever a man and a woman (unless it's one of those ridiculously romantic old couples that everyone wishes to be like when they grow up...).

 

I also make sure that I am not getting taken advantage of or walked on in a relationship. I think it would be stupid to just close your eyes and leap, unless she is doing the same thing.

 

I'm not sure what you should do, but I agree with you. Don't take it to an extreme, but if you are the only one giving in a relationship, then you should leave.

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Personally I think that when you love someone you will do things for them because you love them and not just because you are expecting them to do something in return. When my boyfriend is not feeling well I will do more than my fair share of work and cater for him, but I don't keep track of how many times I do that and then calculate that he owes me this much in return. When he asks, "Honey, will you please massage my shoulders for me? They've been hurting me all day." I don't say, "Sure, but it's going to cost you $30, three hugs and you cooking dinner alone tonight." If you would say such a thing, then I think your girlfriend is right.

 

However, if you are always helping out when she's feeling bad and she never does the same for you I would start thinking about having a talk. A relationship isn't a one-way street; both partners need to work at it.

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Last year, I dated a guy for about six months who, in my opinion, took a LOT from the relationship and didn't give much back at all. I would run errands for him, do his dishes, come pick him up places, drive him to work, etc...all because I was so infatuated with him I would have done *anything* for him, basically. Which would have been fine, if I hadn't gotten to the point where I realized that he wasn't doing anything in return.

 

I got resentful and instead of no longer doing everything for him, I started trying to get him to do things in return. Didn't happen. He told me later (the one time I saw him after we broke up, to get some of my stuff back) that if he'd known I resented him so much for asking me to do things, he wouldn't have asked me to do so much.

 

I think that in a healthy relationship, there's give and take, and no one's "keeping track" because for the most part, each person gives and takes equally. For every couple, that might mean something different....and for each person in the relationship that might mean something different. My boyfriend helped me so much with my unpacking at our new place this weekend, I'm going to go home and surprise him by having dinner ready when he gets there. Not because I want to "even the score," or anything like that, but because I want to see him smile when he gets home the way he made me smile by driving us an hour each way to see my sister this weekend.

 

There's a difference between giving to get back, and giving because you want to contribute to the other person's happiness. If you feel taken for granted, or taken advantage of, bring it up. She might not even know she's doing it.

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