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You really, truly love your partner.
Not just a little bit. A lot.
The problem is, you feel pretty sure they don’t love you as much as you love them.
And this leaves you wondering where the relationship will end up in the long run.
We are taught to believe that love is this amazing thing, and that when you feel it, all your problems will melt away.
But that’s not how love works in real life. Love is tied up in so many other emotions and circumstances. It’s just one component of a relationship, albeit an important one.
So don’t assume that unequal love means your relationship is doomed, or that it is unhealthy. It might be those things, but quite often it can still be a good and happy thing.
There’s a lot going on here, so let’s unpack some things you need to think about and some things that you can do when you love someone more than they love you.
1. Don’t presume to know how much they love you.
Love is a very personal thing that people feel in different ways.
You may think that your partner doesn’t love you quite as much as you do them, but you’ve only got your perspective on which to base that assumption.
Truth is, the intensity with which someone feels love varies from person to person.
And it also changes over time as your relationship changes and the two of you change as people.
For you, love might be based upon a strong physical and emotional attachment to the other person that manifests in you wanting to spend all your time with them.
Or perhaps you feel compelled to not only tell your partner how much you love them but show it in very clear and obvious ways too.
But for them, love might mean knowing that they always have you to come home to after a hard day at work, and looking forward to that.
Or it might be that they see you as a team who help each other out and tackle life’s problems together.
They love you, but not necessarily in a way that you can understand. And because of this, you might be mistaking their love as somehow less than yours.
This brings us nicely on to our next point…
2. Determine each other’s love languages.
If you’ve never heard of love languages before, you might find your answer to why the love in your relationship appears to be unbalanced.
The five love languages are a concept formed by one-time relationship counselor Dr. Gary Chapman.
He believes that many relationship problems can trace their roots back to the difference in how we each like to express and receive love.
The five love languages are:
– Words of Affirmation
– Acts of Service
– Receiving Gifts
– Quality Time
– Physical Touch
If you’d like to dive deep into each of these, visit our love languages guide.
Because you’ve found yourself reading this article, there’s a good chance that you and your partner have different primary love languages.
And this can cause problems because it may make it seem like you are not being shown the love you feel you need and deserve.
But your partner, on the other hand, might be expressing their love in ways that they feel are appropriate – ways that they would be happy to receive it back.
You believe they love you less than you love them, but it’s more of a misunderstanding in terms of how that love is communicated.
Maybe you are big on words of affirmation and quality time – meaning you like your partner to say nice things to/about you and you like to spend time with them doing things as a couple.
But they might have acts of service and physical touch as their dominant love languages – meaning they show their love by doing things for you and by being physically affectionate.
Without knowing that this difference exists, you may both feel like your love needs aren’t being met and this can breed resentment and doubt.
So take the love language quiz and see what scores you both get.
3. Learn to feel loved based on what your partner does do.
By having a better understanding of your respective love languages, you may be able to appreciate each other’s displays of love.
It won’t be easy at first – much like trying to speak or understand any new language.
But given time and by being more aware of what your partner does to show their love, you can rationally understand how much they love you and eventually feel that love too.
And appreciation isn’t something that you have to keep on the inside. When you see that your partner has made the effort to demonstrate their love in their own way, you can thank them or show your appreciation in some other way.
In fact, the act of thanking them helps to highlight to you what they have done and the underlying feelings that prompted it.
The more you find yourself thanking them, the more you will realize the extent of their love.
So if they run you a relaxing bath after you’ve pulled a late shift at work, recognize that as an act of love and not just an act of kindness.
Or if they buy you something special and specific because they know you’ll enjoy it, thank them and see that as something loving, even if gift giving/receiving isn’t something you necessarily value all that much.
Sure, it won’t feel the same as if you and your partner shared the same primary love language, but it can make you feel more loved overall.
4. Explain to them what you would like them to do.
Expressing to your partner how you would like to be shown love does not make you demanding or ‘high maintenance.’
Clear communication of your wants and preferences is part of any mature and healthy relationship.
So if you don’t currently feel as loved by your partner as you’d like, it’s a good idea to sit them down and talk to them about what you would like them to do.
Start by showing appreciation for everything they already do as in the previous point, but if there are specific actions you’d like them to do or words you’d like them to say more often, they need to know.
Your partner cannot read your mind, and as much as they can read about your love language and get a better understanding of it, the most effective way for them to do the ‘right’ thing is for you to tell them what that is.
Aim for one thing at a time rather than giving them a list of requests. Remind them every so often if they are forgetting to do it. They’ll soon form a habit around it and you can then introduce another request into the mix, and so on.
5. Expect effort, but don’t expect perfection.
If something matters to you, it should matter to your partner, even if they can’t see it the same way you do.
So having communicated what sort of things you’d like them to do, it’s important that you see effort on their part.
They need to show that they are trying to speak your love language as much as they can expect you to try to speak theirs.
Don’t expect them to get things right all the time, though. Your partner is a human being who has flaws after all.
But do look for effort that is maintained and not just something they put in when you first raise the issue of wanting to be shown love in certain ways.
Your partner won’t be able to change their whole mindset around love and it’s not a reasonable expectation to have, so you will have to accept that some of your wishes will go unmet.
That’s a compromise you’d have to make in any relationship, but it’s up to you to decide how big a compromise you can live with.
6. Don’t keep score.
You currently think that you love someone more than they love you.
Perhaps you are right. Or perhaps you just communicate love in different ways.
Regardless, don’t try to keep score in terms of how much you love each other or who shows that love the most.
Love is something you feel and something you give, and you can’t put a condition on that love to say that it must be reciprocated in equal measure.
If you do, the danger is that you end up in a downward spiral where you show less love to your partner because you perceive them as not showing enough love to you.
They then feel less loved and so might withdraw more of their love and so on and so forth until your relationship is a wreck.
7. Don’t settle for no love, or love with abuse or neglect.
Whilst you shouldn’t keep score, you can expect to be shown some love from your partner at least some of the time.
When it feels like your partner isn’t trying to show you any kind of love at all, the relationship has either failed, or it needs some serious work, probably with the help of a relationship counselor.
And then there are relationships where you might receive love from your partner and yet at the same time suffer through their actions.
Abuse of any kind should not be tolerated.
And a situation where emotional neglect is the norm and loving attention or affection the exception is not healthy either.
But many people have personality disorders, mental health issues, or substance abuse challenges that may mean the love they feel for their partner doesn’t prevent them from treating them poorly.
If you love someone and they don’t treat you with the level of care or respect a person deserves, your love is not a good enough reason to stay.
Persuade them to get help by all means, stand by them and love them from afar until they get their issues under control, but don’t allow harm to come to yourself for the sake of love.
Still not sure what to do if you think you love them more than they love you? Chat online to a relationship expert from Relationship Hero who can help you figure things out. Simply click here to chat.
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