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The truth is we outgrow those who don’t know how to love us

When Someone Doesn’t Know How to Love Us

Sometimes, no matter how hard we try, we end up in a relationship with someone who doesn’t know how to love us.  Whether it’s a partner, parent, or friend, it’s confusing and painful. Eventually, we outgrow them.

Everybody gives and receives love in different ways. The five love languages — words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time, and physical touch — are one way of defining expressions of love. When the way you prefer to receive love doesn’t line up with the way someone else naturally gives it, that can cause problems in a relationship. (1)

But that’s not insurmountable. People can learn how to love us better. Sometimes we just have to communicate about it. And if they spend the time and energy learning how to make us feel valued, that says something important about that relationship.

But what happens when someone won’t learn to love you? Maybe your love language is quality time, but they fill their schedule with other things. Or you need words of affirmation to feel adored, but they never build you up. (1)

If you’ve communicated about the way you need to be loved and given them some time, but they haven’t made an effort, that may mean that you’ve outgrown them.  Maybe there’s something they need to work on in order to move forward. Perhaps they’re oblivious or just selfish. But you don’t have to sacrifice knowing that you’re loved for someone who won’t step up.

You Deserve Love

“They love you in their own way.” Have you ever heard this phrase when you’ve confided in someone about a difficult relationship? I’ve heard it many times, all about the same person. The people who said this to me meant well, but they were communicating that what I needed didn’t matter.

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In fact, this relationship didn’t just involve someone who didn’t know how to love me. This person consistently made me feel unloved and unworthy of love. So when I heard the words, “They love you in their own way,” I thought that I was getting what I deserved.

But that wasn’t true for me, and it’s not true for you either. If someone actively makes you feel unloved, you’re not required to accept that. Or if they’re not willing to try fulfilling your love language, you may have outgrown them.

Moving Forward

So what do you do at this point? Well, it’s totally up to you, and it varies by relationship. In extreme cases, where someone is manipulative or abusive (physically, verbally, or emotionally), you may want to step away from the relationship completely. If this is the case, you may need help from someone else.

In other situations, there are several ways to proceed. You might ask the other person to go to counseling with you, especially if this is a core relationship, like a partner or parent. You might choose to distance yourself from a friendship and treat them more like an acquaintance when you see them around.

No matter what you choose to do, make sure you keep your wellbeing at the front of your mind. If you’re at this point, you’ve probably already put a lot of effort and emotion into making the relationship work. You need to be valued too, and if the other person won’t do that, you’ll have to. We all deserve to be with people who love us, and moving forward makes more room to find those people.