Love is often misconstrued in adult relationships.
I blame generational trauma and the way our values are susceptible to being shaped by the media.
But true love persists! It outruns and isn’t afraid to outgrow unhealthy expectations.
If your partner genuinely loves you, they won’t display these 11 behaviors.
1) Expect more than they can give
I don’t think people should make themselves completely available to their partners to the point they don’t have any time for themselves.
But there is a line between an emotionally unavailable partner and someone that has boundaries.
What does that line look like?
That line should be a reflection of what you can offer without overexerting yourself. And your partner should reflect back that sense of self-respect.
So if someone refuses to be there for you even though they expect you to be there for them, they don’t love you in the way you deserve.
An equal give and take in quantity and quality should be on both of your minds.
2) Avoid difficult conversations
When it comes to emotional availability, a huge sign that they are unavailable is if they avoid difficult conversations.
For example, if your partner is constantly being passive aggressive, requiring you to solve their behavior like a puzzle.
Which then you have to bring up in conversation, asking what’s wrong, which can turn into what you might have done wrong.
Love happens between two people that love themselves and are authentic.
When one partner doesn’t love themselves and therefore is incapable of being vulnerable, it can damage the other person’s self-esteem as well.
Because holding the emotional fort down on behalf of everyone can unconsciously reinforce the idea that you aren’t deserving of a love that is equal.
3) Prioritize their reputation over you
To love is to have enough room for another in your life.
Someone who prioritizes the way other people might perceive them over respecting you only has room for themselves and their ego.
This means that if they’re serious about you, they should make it known that you are someone that they love and respect in private and in public.
Including but not limited to celebrating you openly, respecting your privacy, and standing up for you no matter the occasion.
Behind closed doors, this means that they encourage you to be your authentic self instead of pressuring you to be a certain way.
They’d never shame you into changing who you are.
4) Criticize you to change
We are all human and have room to grow.
But a partner who loves you, understands you. And they know that you are free to grow in directions that you want to grow in.
If you have an open dialogue with them about your personal development, those directions should be clear in the relationship.
And if you have a healthy relationship with yourself, you can keep yourself in check and your partner should be someone that can keep you accountable.
If you’re unsure, ask yourself: are their requests rooted in their ego? Or perhaps unrealistic or harmful expectations? That are perhaps rooted in gender roles or superficiality?
Someone who loves you would never want you to resent yourself or question your confidence. And they’d never make you feel like your feelings don’t matter.
5) Put you in harm’s way
Because when someone loves you, they should want to protect you.
Especially from themselves, since we are the only things we have full control over.
That means your partner should put effort into being a positive influence in your life by being one in their own.
Other than ensuring that your mental well-being isn’t threatened within the confines of the relationship, both partners should be committed to keeping each other safe elsewhere.
So if you consistently have been put in situations where it feels like your safety was on the backburner, that’s a red flag.
Sure, everyone makes mistakes. But there’s a difference between a mistake, and a pattern of inconsideration.
6) Avoid accountability
The difference between a mistake and a pattern of inconsideration comes down to this.
If someone is incapable of looking inwards to become a better partner who is self-aware, that indicates a pattern of harmful behavior.
Indicates emotional immaturity, and a lack of genuine love.
And it shouldn’t be written off as a simple mistake. Especially if you’d never do that to them.
Because unlike an ego-based request for change, this is regarding the way your partner makes you feel unloved. How they view you as a person.
No one that loves you should cause you to resort to believing their words more than their actions.
That would only demonstrate that they are interested in manipulating you into loving them more than yourself.
7) Manipulating your reality in any way
This is like a litmus test of sorts that can help you weed out anyone that has ill intentions towards you.
And it’s how they react to your reality and autonomy.
Because it is not impossible or that difficult to disagree with someone without making them question themselves.
Even if some conversations require time and effort, resorting to gaslighting or aggression only shows that person’s emotional indecency.
This includes trying to manipulate your perception of love in order to get what they want.
8) Taking advantage of your love for them
When we’re young, a lot of us subscribe to a lot of harmful ideas about love.
Like how love is self-sacrifice, or something you can only find with another. Or that you’re nothing unless someone loves you.
But this is something we all need to unlearn because how is it love if you’re the only one that’s compromising? How is that compromise at all?
For example, this harmful notion can cause us to make huge life decisions based on what our partners want. Like the decision to want kids, or what university you want to go to.
Freeing yourself from an oppressive love means that you can say “no” and know that the right person won’t abandon you for it.
And that if someone says anything along the lines of “if you truly loved me, you would do this for me,” they love your role in their life more than they love you.
9) Act like they have authority over you
Depending on your upbringing, having an authoritative figure in your partner can feel comforting.
Almost like you’re having an itch scratched that’s been itchy since childhood. And it might feel like genuine love because it fills a void that makes you feel unworthy.
But the truth is, that void is an illusion created by your negative experiences and you’re only validating the idea that you are inherently broken by filling it.
And unfortunately, this belief can make you vulnerable to partners that enjoy having power over you. To the point where your happiness, well-being and independence is a threat to them.
That means they don’t genuinely love you. They just love the sense of purpose you provide for them.
A purpose that stems from you feeling inferior, inadequate and unlovable.
10) Keep you from your goals
What makes a person independent? Empowered?
Personal goals that stem from their heart’s desires. Their own thoughts, opinions and dreams.
A partner who genuinely loves you (and themselves) shouldn’t dwell or consider how your goals might keep you away from them.
In fact, they should have their own!
Sure, you can have conversations on how you can support one another better as you both grow. But no one should make you feel bad about having your own resources.
This goes for anyone in your life: take note of how they respond to your success.
People who love you want more for you, not more from you.
11) Keep you from your loved ones
Another thing we as a society overly romanticize is being overly possessive of your partner.
Jealousy is a healthy and natural emotion. But like all emotions, if it overpowers another person’s identity or rights, that’s not love.
That’s just control and bad for your soul.
Of course, all relationships should have their own rules and boundaries.
But if your partner makes you feel like you should fear humanity and that they’re the only one that can love you – run.
Because someone who truly loves you would want you to experience all the love platonic and familial relationships can offer.
What is love without trust?
Unless they’re planning a super fun surprise party, someone who loves you won’t hide from you.
If you find yourself or your relationship being reflected in this article, it doesn’t mean you aren’t deserving or capable of love.
It just means that you’re ready to make more room for real love.
People can only meet you as deeply as they’ve met themselves. Love yourself so deeply that you are attracted to depth more than anything.
And remember that your partner shouldn’t make you feel alone. Like you don’t deserve to be loved the way you love yourself.
Or like love is something that keeps you a prisoner to your emotions.
A partner who genuinely loves you will help you embody all aspects of life by validating your feelings in reality.