I deserve to be happy… but so do you. Waiting around for something to never happen only promotes the stagnation of life, progression—it halts the future and what it has in store. What so many others our age forget to remember is this: love isn’t simply choosing to spend your life with someone. It is waking up every day and making the daily choice to spend the rest of your life with them. Love isn’t passive, it’s an action—a daily choice. It’s perpetual.
I guess no answer is answer enough. I’m not important enough to warrant a simple, quick text saying you’re not up for hanging out? I’m not important enough to stick around and wonder where this is going, because the answer is clearly a resounding “nowhere.” It echoes off the walls built by the silence you have placed between us so many weeks ago now. I’m done waiting for a response, convincing myself that somewhere—even in the far back of your mind—is a thought of me that will ring through as if someone tapped a fingernail on a crystal glass. A clear sound to ripple to the front of your consciousness and remind you I’m standing by… but I’ll stand by no more.
But the most important kind of love is the kind we most often neglect: self love. I gave that up in my desperate search for love from you, and I lost sight of who I am and what makes me happy. So instead of sitting around waiting for a text from you that will probably never come, I’m choosing myself every day. To wake up and remind myself that I am strong, and worthy of being loved the way I wanted to love you. Someday, I will get that kind of love from another person, someone capable of allowing me to love them.
It is a hard thing to love a good man. A good man is not a nice man – he does not do things to be nice, he does things because he has a moral code, a set of values he prioritizes and will always do his best to make sure that his actions are in line with his own personal standards. A good man will not do the easy thing or the convenient thing, or even the thing that he wants to do; he will do what he knows to be the good thing.
He will never lie to you to spare your feelings or attend something because social constructs deem it the courteous or polite course of action, and he will in fact do many things that anger and frustrate you. But you cannot get mad at him, because after all, he is a good man.
A good man is the man who will take his ex-girlfriends call while he’s with you, because he knows that she has anxiety and would only ever call in an emergency, and he is obligated as a good man to do whatever he can to help even when it makes those around him uncomfortable.
A good man will put the wants of friends and family before his own needs, even when he recognizes that his friends and family are being manipulative or selfish, because a good man is always loyal. Worst of all, a good man will believe that his unflinching honesty about not wanting a relationship will negate his increasingly relationship-like actions, the kind of thoughtful deeds that a good man would deem necessary in any and all interactions with a female, despite the confusion they would cause.
The Kind Of Love That Every Person Deserves
You deserve someone who does not only make you feel better, but makes you want to be better. He supports you and your goals. He’d listen to you blabber about your studies like it’s the most interesting topic in the world. When you’re about to give up, he’d be your cheerleader. He would keep you motivated all the way.
You deserve someone who is utterly obsessed with you. He would randomly place notes in between book pages because he knows it would make you smile. He would call you at 2am just to tell you he wants to hear your voice. He would drive for 3 hours just to see you for an hour because he misses you. He would send you peonies because he knows you love them. He would text you good morning not because he feels obligated to do so, but because you’re the first thing on his mind from the moment he wakes up.
You deserve to be treated like a choice, not an option. You are not someone’s “maybe.” He would treat you like a priority. He would love you consistently. He would always be there especially whenever you need him. He would make an effort to be with you. He would show you that you are his one and only.
Love is the best antidepressant—but many of our ideas about it are wrong. The less love you have, the more depressed you are likely to feel.
Love is as critical for your mind and body as oxygen. It’s not negotiable. The more connected you are, the healthier you will be both physically and emotionally. The less connected you are, the more you are at risk.
It is also true that the less love you have, the more depression you are likely to experience in your life. Love is probably the best antidepressant there is because one of the most common sources of depression is feeling unloved. Most depressed people don’t love themselves and they do not feel loved by others. They also are very self-focused, making them less attractive to others and depriving them of opportunities to learn the skills of love.
There is a mythology in our culture that love just happens. As a result, the depressed often sit around passively waiting for someone to love them. But love doesn’t work that way. To get love and keep love you have to go out and be active and learn a variety of specific skills.
Most of us get our ideas of love from popular culture. We come to believe that love is something that sweeps us off our feet. But the pop-culture ideal of love consists of unrealistic images created for entertainment, which is one reason so many of us are set up to be depressed. It’s part of our national vulnerability, like eating junk food, constantly stimulated by images of instant gratification. We think it is love when it’s simply distraction and infatuation.
One consequence is that when we hit real love we become upset and disappointed because there are many things that do not fit the cultural ideal. Some of us get demanding and controlling, wanting someone else to do what we think our ideal of romance should be, without realizing our ideal is misplaced.
It is not only possible but necessary to change one’s approach to love to ward off depression. Follow these action strategies to get more of what you want out of life—to love and be loved.
- Recognize the difference between limerance and love. Limerance is the psychological state of deep infatuation. It feels good but rarely lasts. Limerance is that first stage of mad attraction whereby all the hormones are flowing and things feel so right. Limerance lasts, on average, six months. It can progress to love. Love mostly starts out as limerance, but limerance doesn’t always evolve into love.
- Know that love is a learned skill, not something that comes from hormones or emotion particularly. Erich Fromm called it “an act of will.” If you don’t learn the skills of love you virtually guarantee that you will be depressed, not only because you will not be connected enough but because you will have many failure experiences.
- Learn good communication skills. They are a means by which you develop trust and intensify connection. The more you can communicate the less depressed you will be because you will feel known and understood.