As a young girl, I would always try to take advantage of any opportunity there was to sit and eavesdrop on the conversations of the elder women around me. Whether it was my mother and aunties chatting, my great-grandmother “Nanny,” or even women in the beauty shop, I’d find a way to absorb any little nugget of wisdom they had to offer – especially when it came to men and relationships.
One of the recurring sayings I’d hear as it pertained to love was this: “Marry a man who loves you more than you love him.” Since I heard it so much, I figured it had to be true…right?
Fast forward to my dating years and I began to understand why my elder ladies felt this way. Every time I was the one who was more affectionate, more lovey-dovey or just basically more into him than he was into me, it never seemed to work. I felt vulnerable or like a pest and the relationships either ended in friendship or fizzled out. But when I dated a guy who chased me, who went out of his way to court me or who seemed more into me than I was into him, I felt more loved…and in control. I wasn’t afraid of being hurt, so there was no fear to stifle me. The relationship just seemed to “work” better.
Now of course, everyone’s experiences are different and this advice from the older women in my life might have been based on their own trials and tribulations with men. What worked for them might not work for the rest of us and some may even say that this advice is misleading because it presupposes that you can actually “measure” love. After all, how can you really know if you love someone more than they love you or vice versa? And if it’s that obvious that one of you loves the other more, wouldn’t it seem that the other person may feel used, taken for granted, resentful or unloved and therefore…LEAVE? I mean, if I could tell that I was giving my all to a man while he was just “with” me, I doubt I’d want to stay with him forever. Conversely, I don’t think a man would want to stay with a woman he clearly was more invested in than she was in him. No relationship is ever going to be 50/50, but it shouldn’t be so lopsided that it’s glaring either.
The issue at hand seems to be about vulnerability and since no one wants to be “the fool in love,” we might subconsciously try to find that man or woman who is a little more into us than we are into him so that the threat of rejection or heartbreak is lessened. But you can’t find great love without great risk and we all take that risk once we decide to enter into a love relationship with someone. Both parties should be making an effort, both parties should be willing to sacrifice and compromise, and both of you should be willing to open up and give your hearts to each other as if heartbreak isn’t an option. Don’t play games and don’t diminish your ability to love intensely.
My advice to any young girls who may be listening? Love fully, love hard, and love without fear.
Have you ever been told to find a man who loves you more than you love him? Do you believe it to be true or have you followed it?
Written by Brooke Dean. First appeared on madamenoire.com
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