I feel like almost all of the guys who’ve had an unreciprocated thing for me developed it because I listened to them and was emotionally supportive, etc., but they themselves never thought to do the same for me. Which ended up with this weird situation where I knew them super well but they literally had zero idea about who I was as a person other than “listens really well and is emotionally supportive.”
Like, they didn’t know the first thing about what was important to me, my beliefs, my family, my work, how I spent my time when I wasn’t with them. Because not a single one of them wanted to know. They would just… never ask, or they’d ask politely and when I started to answer they’d show extreme disinterest and change the subject back to themselves.
But they still thought they loved me, because to them that’s all love is - being emotionally supported by someone. It did not even occur to them that the support could ever go both ways, and they were always bewildered about why I never loved them “back” - even though all they gave me to love was a person so self-obsessed that he couldn’t see me at all.
Emotional labour is so, so important to be aware of in relationships. It has to have some kind of balance, or the person performing it will just burn out. And a relationship consisting only of one person demanding and demanding and never giving back is not love. Love is not a demand. It can accept, and it can ask, but love listens, love cares about how its requests affect the beloved. Love wants to give back.