CADY: Meaningful relationships need more than love

Relationships+need+more+than+love.+Photo+via+Flickr

Relationships need more than love. Photo via Flickr

As much as I have always wanted to believe that love is enough — it is not.

The narrative that love conquers all, love is all that matters and love is enough on its own is one I have come to disagree with.

For a lot of people, their relationships are the defining factors of their lives. Whether these relationships are romantic, platonic, familial or professional, it consumes them inside and out.

When relationships grow, they are usually met with love. When a child is born, their parents love them. When people make a close friend, there is love between them. And when two people form a deep, meaningful relationship and create a romantic bond, they are in love. Love is difficult to define but we know when it’s there.

I have always been a hopeless romantic. Reading books or watching movies where two people in love have a dramatic story but always end up together in the grand finale because they love one another really influenced me to believe that love is all that really matters in a relationship. For me this included shows like “Sex and the City” or books such as “Pride and Prejudice.” As I’ve grown older and had more life experiences, my perspective has shifted.

Love is wonderful and a feeling that can almost border on magic. But, a lot of times people don’t love the “right” way. There is really no singular right way to love, but there are definitely wrong ways. Being disloyal, inconsiderate, defensive, unkind or detached from your partner are some examples of wrong ways to love. People act in ways that don’t represent feelings of love. And, people break those that they love.

I have learned that there are some foundational things that are necessary in a relationship.

A relationship without trust, communication, loyalty and respect is a relationship that cannot last. It cannot be bound together by love, stitched up with the affection of even the sincerest “I love you.” If you are in a relationship with somebody who has a deep love for you and you for them, but you cannot confidently say that you trust them, you communicate well, you give each other loyalty and respect, then you must know when to walk away.

With the lack of trust in a relationship, you will always be left feeling unsettled. Relationships should bring peace, contentment and happiness, not constant stress. If you find yourself on the edge of your seat because of your significant other’s behavior or feel that they are not worthy of your trust, love will not be enough.

With the lack of communication in a relationship, you will always be left feeling unheard. It is so easy to leave things to the imagination of how somebody is feeling or what they are thinking, but if you cannot lay your thoughts on the line, love will not be enough.

With the lack of loyalty and respect in a relationship, you will always be left feeling inadequate. You can ask yourself one million times over, “Why does this person not make me feel valued? Why do I have to feel like I’m not the only one? Why can they not respect how I feel?” but you will never find closure in that hamster wheel of thought. If you even have to question these things, love will not be enough.

Admitting to yourself that it is time to give up on somebody you love is one of the most difficult moments a person can endure. After you have expended so much time, energy and emotion on another human being, it is an ugly truth to face that it is time to wave the white flag. It does not mean that the love you feel for someone has to end, but it means that the relationship does.

Relationships cannot be clung to because of love. You cannot let yourself be worn down because you are shackled by your emotions. As beautiful of a thing as love is, it will never be enough to warrant a relationship with someone if you are lacking in the bones of partnership.

This story was written by Grace Cady. She can be reached at grace.cady@marquette.edu