"You can't bribe someone to love you."
We get crushed, disappointed. Either we're not loved back, or we are and it doesn't work anyway. And somehow, we need to force ourselves to move on and put ourselves through this again, risking the same heartache yet again.
There's a lot of ways love can go wrong. Sometimes you think that if you can get through that "rough patch," things will work out and he'll treat you the way you treat him. Maybe you had sex too soon and it messed up the dynamic forever, or maybe you waited too long and it hit the friend zone.
Maybe he cheated. Maybe YOU cheated. But once the trust was gone, you never got it back. Or, you were never on the same page no matter how much effort you both put in. It's like that old song goes, Sometimes love, it just ain't enough.
Here, 7 brave women share their lessons about love they learned the hard way.
1. You can't suffer your way through forever.
"The hardest lesson about love I learned was the moment I realized that just because I endured an excruciating amount of physical and mental pain from people, I was no more deserving of their love than I was before. Maybe if I just take it, maybe if I just let myself get beaten down, I will have gone through enough to deserve love now. I don't know if that makes sense, but when I realized that I was allowing myself to be trampled verbally and physically in hopes of being loved, I was ashamed and angry and disgusted. But it's a lesson I had to learn."
2. Having sex too soon can end your chances of a serious relationship.
"Even in an age of hookups, Tinder and texting, I still think a double standard applies to dating. And it's a lesson that's tough to swallow. I recently met a wonderful guy that I had a good bit in common with and we had a few dates prior to getting intimate. He texted me constantly and we had a good time just hanging out or playing board games. But when we spend our first night together, he was very different toward me the next morning. When he left, he said see ya — no hug or kiss. Then our texting conversations only happened if I sent him a message first. He'd text back, probably to be polite, but he hasn't suggested making any plans to hang out since then, and I'm afraid that if I ask if he wants to, he'll give me a reason why he can't. Or give me a false maybe."
3. You can't make someone be on the same emotional page as you.
"I dated someone for a year-and-a-half and then slept with him for two years. Though it was a painful process, I kept thinking that eventually, he would emotionally want the same things that I did. We were so compatible in so many ways and I could never understand why we couldn't love the same way. What finally helped was going to therapy and understanding my own patterns and being."
4. Love is just not enough to make it work.
"No matter how much you love someone, it doesn't mean they love you the same back. I didn’t expect that I would have to grow so much and work through such painful insecurities and hindrances to be in a great relationship. Your relationship will not be happily ever after unless you make it one, every single day."
5. Trust is everything.
"You cannot have real love in a relationship without trust, and insecurities prevent that trust from happening. Without complete trust and the ability to love yourself, you will not be able to both give and receive love to it’s fullest potential. That spark will fade eventually unless you both put in work to keep it ignited. Talking to each other and communicating your needs in all areas of your relationship is an absolute must."
6. You can't bribe someone to love you.
"No matter how many nice things you do for them to make yourself essential to their life; no matter how many times you make them dinner or are there for them or surprise them with brownies; if they don't love you, they just don't. You can't bribe someone to feel the way you do."
7. If they cheat with you, they'll cheat on you.
"Yes, it felt great to know that even when they were with someone else, they wanted you. But that doesn't mean you are special. Or that when that other person is out of the picture, you still will be."
8. Love is a choice.
"It's easy to forget love doesn't just happen; we have to let it happen and let it lead us. But like any other aspect of chemistry, sometimes love burns fast, and then just disappears. And sometimes, it's just because they stopped being interested."
9. You need to invest the time.
"We have no problem putting the energy into our job or our workouts, but a lot of us just aren't willing to put that energy into each other."
10. You have to love yourself first.
"If you aren't respecting yourself and putting your feelings first, they never will either."