[ image description: A screen shot of a post that reads “Don’t cross oceans for people who wouldn’t cross a puddle for you.” Someone has crossed this out with a big grey X and underneath added “No, do it. Do cross oceans for people. Love people, all people. No conditions attached, no wondering whether or not they’re worthy. Cross oceans, climb mountains. Life and love isn’t about what you gain, it’s about what you give.” End of descripton ]
I hate this post, I hate it so much. And let me tell you why.
At first it seems like a pretty good post, right? You should love people and do things for them because you want to or because it’s nice, or just because you love them, not because you expect something in return. Yeah. We learn that as kids. But listen. Listen to me. It is not that simple. Yes you should do nice things for people. Carry in your grandmother’s grocerys even if she forgets to say thank you. Sure. But you should never, never, pour yourself into someone who does not give back to you.
Doing everything for someone who gives you nothing in return is not love.
A friend of mine worded it really well “The point of the original post was to emphasise that your own mental/physical health is more important than someone’s selfish needs.” It’s not romantic to run yourself into the ground for someone who can’t even be bothered to care about you. And not only is it not romantic, it’s unhealthy.
I have, on more than one occasion, “crossed oceans” for people who I do believe loved me, but who didn’t even come close to crossing them for me. And do you know what I got out of that? The first one I lost 10 pounds because I was so miserable I could barely eat and I was throwing up what I did eat. And I was still doing whatever I could to be with them, and make them happy, even though they didn’t seem to be willing to put any work in themself. Why bother, I was always there. The second one I ran my own mental health so thin that that literally could not do anything for him, all I could do is sit in the bathtub and think about how I coudln’t feel anything. But I still refused to turn my phone off and ignore his messages. I still made myself avaible to him because he “needed me.”
There was nothing romantic about either of those situations (note: only one was a romantic relationship but the idea of giving and giving and giving when you’re gettin nothing back is romanticized whether it’s in a romantic or platonic relationship.) There was nothing beautiful or selfless about it. It was miserable. I was miserable. I can remember one of my friends telling me he missed me because all I could talk about was the person I had allowed to become my whole life.
And in the end, both of them stopped talking to me.
Don’t believe anyone when they say the second part of that post. It’s bullshit and I’m really tired of seeing it romanticized. It tells people (especailly young girls) that this is an okay way for a relationship to be, that this is what they should be doing.
There is nothing selfish about demanding that your emotional labour be reciprocated. That’s what makes a relationship (romantic, platonic, or otherwise) healthy. That’s what love is. Both people giving. Both people supportin each other. Not one person giving until they have nothing left for themself.