If I could reach back in time and grab myself by the shoulders, I would tell myself to stop wasting so much damn time on boys who didn’t care. On boys who didn’t try. On boys who obviously wanted the temporary, easy, effortless types of relationships instead of the real ones that actually required work.
I wish I could grab my nineteen, twenty-something hand and smack myself across the face when I cried over a guy who turned around and got with another girl two days after we broke up, or when I tried to change myself, over and over, for someone who wasn’t interested in the real me.
I wish I could just shake the hell out of myself and any other girl who has convinced herself that her worthiness is dependent upon what a man sees within her. Because that is absolutely not true.
I don’t know what it is about us women and our inherent selflessness when it comes to relationships (and sure, this may apply to guys as well, but I’m talking to the ladies here!). I’m talking to the females who are fearless when it comes to sharing their hearts, who open the palms of their hands and reach out, drop everything, stay when the road gets tough.
I’m talking to the women who would die for their partners, who would defend their partners with everything in them, who would fight for something to work even as it falls into a toxic cycle. Who try to fix, to save, to keep, even when there’s nothing left to hold.
I’m talking to the women who find themselves falling into connections with men who don’t value their hearts. And I’m telling them one thing: if he doesn’t show up, walk away.
Maybe this is a lesson learned with time and distance. Maybe I would only realize this when I grew up and discovered my worth would never be based upon a relationship status. Maybe I needed to break my heart a few times before I would discover the difference between a man and a boy. Maybe we’re all destined to fall before we find someone who shows us we were always able to fly.
Whatever the reason, this is something I will shout until my lungs bleed: when you are not valued, you don’t need to stay. Not in a job, a relationship, a place, a home, a lifestyle, a path—nowhere.
But this is easier said than done. This is easier said than done when your entire future is staring back at you with those grey-green eyes, when the plans you had for yourself are crumbling and you’re powerless, when the job or relationship you’ve worked so hard for is suddenly out of reach.
But you must, you must find a way out from things and people that don’t treat you with honor simply for being the woman you are. Because you are worthy, damn it. Repeat that to yourself until you believe it.
Here’s the thing, you may love him. But love is not enough. Love does not make him give himself to you. Love does not force his behavior to change. Love does not grow unless he is willing to set aside his selfishness and meet you selflessly.
Love will not work when you have to work so damn hard to make it work.
Listen, if he loves you, he’ll be there. He’ll show up. He’ll answer the messages, return the calls. He’ll be by your side when you’re sick or struggling; he’ll fight for you when you’ve lost the will to fight for yourself. He’ll move away from those behaviors that break you; he’ll stop messing around with other women and you’ll be the. only. one. in his life.
If he loves you, he won’t just fade when you fight. He won’t abandon you when you’re going through hell. He won’t jump into a fling with some temporary person the second something goes south. He won’t be swiping on Tinder, messing around with girls at the bar.
He will be loyal because he values you. And if he doesn’t value you, then hell, why are you still with him?
A real man will show up. Meaning he will be there, he will care, he will never leave you questioning who you are, what you have, or what you mean to him. A real man won’t play games with your mind, spinning you in circles until you’re dizzy, chasing after him like a lost puppy.
A real man will be committed to you because he’s not afraid. And you, sweet girl, will stand beside him in all your selfless, big-heartedness and love the hell out of him in return.
This is what love is like—not always easy—but not so damn difficult you’re forever unhappy, working so hard to get someone to care.
This is what love is like—not perfect—but a compromise, two people giving all that they are and have to one another because there’s nothing else they’d rather do.
Please stop loving men who can’t match the brilliance of your heart.
If he doesn’t care, doesn’t fight, doesn’t commit, doesn’t show up—walk, no run the hell away. Because with the right person, all those doubts and all that pain will simply not exist.