Is Love Enough?

Is Love Enough?

Ah, love! It’s everywhere. In songs, movies, TV shows, books and magazines, we’re told that it’s the greatest thing in the world and that all you need is love.

But what if we told you that love isn’t always enough of a reason to stay in a relationship?

It sounds weird, right? Don’t get us wrong: loving someone, or caring deeply for them, is an awesome thing, but it can also make stuff complicated. We hear from many people who tell us about unhealthy behaviors or feeling unhappy in a relationship but say that they still love their partners. It’s very possible to have feelings of love for someone even if they are mistreating you.

Love can be a great feeling, but it’s important to recognize that love is just one part of a whole. There are a few other crucial ingredients to having a solid, healthy relationship. If you’re in a relationship and wondering if love is enough, try asking yourself these questions:

Do you trust each other?

You can love someone, but if you don’t trust them – or they don’t trust you – then the relationship won’t be healthy. Trust is a building block of a healthy relationship, and without it, jealousy and insecurity can lead to unhealthy or even abusive behavior (and we know that jealousy does not = love!).

Do you feel supported and comfortable talking to each other about anything, including the tough stuff?

Being able to communicate openly with your partner about anything without feeling fearful of how they’ll respond is so important in a healthy relationship. Even if you bring up a difficult topic or disagree about something, that shouldn’t lead to screaming, name calling or any sort of physical confrontation. You deserve to feel safe talking to the person you love.

Do you respect each other’s boundaries?

Setting boundaries helps ensure that everyone in a relationship feels comfortable with what’s happening, which is why a person’s boundaries should always be respected – even if you (or your partner) don’t like them. Disrespecting boundaries is a sign of abusive behavior, not love.

Do you have fun together?

Maybe it seems obvious, but we’re going to say it anyway: having fun together is a really important part of a healthy relationship! Even if you love your partner, feeling unhappy or insecure on the regular in your relationship may be a sign that your relationship isn’t as healthy as it could be.

What it comes down to is that everyone deserves to be in a healthy, safe AND loving relationship. If you answered “no” to any of these questions, it might be time to reconsider whether the relationship is right for you – EVEN if you love your partner.

Need some help sorting through your feelings? Our advocates are always here, day or night! Just call 1-866-331-9474, chat here on our website or text loveis to 22522.

Comment section

30 replies
  1. I just want to understand why in the heat of an argument things that I have shared about how someone else has hurt me are thrown back in my face like when I complain about my boss it later comes back as “if that’s the way you act its no wonder your boss chews you out” yet all I was doing was asking questions to clarify what I heard…when someone makes a statement to me I often feel bound to take some action on it and when I am unsure what is being intimated I ask which leads to an angry response…I am thinking I should either not respond as it is a “statement” or ask what do you want me to do with that information if anything? Honestly if I am the problem I want to address it…it hurts me to have my sharing used as a weapon in an argument.

    1. Hi Dawn,

      Thanks so much for reaching out to comment on the blog. It sounds like there are some emotionally unhealthy or potentially abusive behaviors happening in your relationship, and you definitely do not deserve that. You are not the problem; in a healthy relationship, partners would feel safe to express opinions or concerns without having to worry about them being used in the future against the person in an argument.

      I encourage you to reach out to us to talk about what you are going through. Our advocates are here 24/7 by phone (1.866.331.9474), online chat and text (text: loveis to 22522) to offer a safe place to talk.

      Best,

      Advocate CC

      1. Thank you for reaching out and sharing with our blog community. It sounds really unhealthy for someone to be hateful towards you, and sounds like there might be some red flags for unhealthy or abusive behaviors in your relationship. You always deserve to be trusted and have space to speak out in your relationship. We would be happy to offer any support we can, and to talk through your situation with you. We are available by phone (1-855-331-9474), texting “loveis” to 22522 or even chatting on this website 24/7.

        Take care,

        Advocate RF

    1. Hi James,

      Thanks so much for reaching out to comment, that can be difficult to do sometimes. It sounds like your situation is really serious, and I encourage you to reach out to us to talk about what you are going through. Our advocates are here 24/7 by phone (1.866.331.9474), online chat and text (text: loveis to 22522) to offer a safe place to talk about whatever you are going through with your relationship.

      Best,
      Advocate CC

  2. I’m not sure what to think. My boyfriend and I got into n argument after I asked if he could take me to my friends house so we could go to a hotel that our friends had gotten for a good night. My boyfriend doesn’t much care for my friend, so I don’t really bother asking if he’d like to join us anymore. But at the end, I didn’t go and he made it seem like I didn’t care about his thoughts, and when I corrected him he began to tell me that if he ever lost me he would hurt himself, we’ve been together for three months. I feel like if I try to break up with him it’d go south. Theres a lot more to the story, but it’s long and very complicated.

    1. Hey Alissa,

      Thank you for being brave enough to share your experience with us. From everything that you’re saying, it sounds like the situation you’re in is really scary and confusing, so I am happy you reached out for help. No matter what went on, it is never ok for your partner to threaten you or make you feel guilty for their behavior. Unfortunately, it sounds like that is exactly what your partner is doing and that is not healthy at all.

      If a partner is threatening to hurt themselves over the other partner leaving them, then that is actually a huge red flag for emotionally abusive behavior. Even in a relationship, both partners are still two individuals, which means they are still allowed to make their own decisions and choices. If he is trying to threaten you into staying with him, then that is not allowing for your own individual autonomy and free choice. Abusers use this tactic as a way to manipulate and control you into doing what they want. And that is what abuse is all about:power and control.

      I definitely encourage you to contact us directly so that we can talk further about what is going on and maybe discuss some possible options? If you think this might be beneficial, we are here 24/7 by phone at 1-866-331-9474 or by online chat at http://www.loveisrespect.org

      Best Wishes,
      Advocate KB

  3. Hi,
    I’m in a situation where I don’t know what to do, I really like this guy but i’m not sure if he 100% likes me back. We hang sometimes and I go and see him, we kiss and cuddle and I go to his place but sometimes I feel like he doesn’t like me as much as I like him. we talk but sometimes he just stops replying and he’s never expressed his feelings to me, I really want to ask him but I don’t know the best way too.

    1. Hi Tess,

      We’re so glad you’re part of our community and are reaching out to talk about your experiences. I understand being worried that you like the guy you’re seeing more than he likes you. Sometimes, it can be hard to tell because people have different ways of expressing their feelings and that can be confusing.

      Open and honest communication is an vital part of a healthy relationship. It’s great that you’re wanting to talk to him about the situation and how you feel. This page from our website, How Can We Communicate Better? has a lot of specific info, like finding the right time and talking face to face. Talking about how you feel and being able to communicate your needs and wants are important skills not only to a relationship, but also in life. This page from Scarleteen.com, Be Your Own Superhero: Learning How and When to Stand Up for Ourselves, talks a lot about why it’s so valuable and how to figure out the best ways for you.

      Please feel free to reach out to our advocates anytime by phone (866-331-9474), by chat, or by text (text “loveis” to 22522). We’re here for you 24/7!

      Take care,

      Hotline Advocate AS

    1. Hi desirea,

      Thank you for being a part of our online community! Everyone deserves to be happy, and it can definitely be concerning if someone is in a relationship where they are not happy. However, the only person who can decide what the right choice is for them regarding whether to stay in or leave a relationship, is the person who is in the situation. There may be a number of reasons why someone chooses to remain in an unhappy situation, including that they are afraid, there is some financial tie to the person they are with, or even just that they remember how happy they were at other times in the relationship, and they hope for that to return.

      If you feel like it might be helpful to talk through this further, or if you or someone you know is in a relationship that they are unhappy with, our advocates are here 24/7 by phone (1.866.331.9474), online chat and text (text: loveis to 22522) to offer a safe space to talk.

      Take care,
      Advocate GR

  4. Hi,
    I’m in a situation my boyfriend is in a boys home we have been dating for about 5 and 1/2 months he doesn’t trust me at all and he won’t let me hang with my guy friends. I have tried so hard to tell him that he could trust me but all he says is mhhm. What should I do? I don’t wanna leave all my friends behind just because he wants me too.

    1. Hi Lacie,

      I’m glad you reached out as that sounds like a difficult situation. Trust is something that you choose to give to a partner, it is not something that is earned. It is not okay for your partner to use withholding his trust in order to try and justify controlling what you do. In a healthy relationship, both partners feel comfortable spending time apart and with friends outside the relationship. You deserve to be respected as an individual and to make your own decisions about who you spend time with regardless of gender. It is a red flag for unhealthy or abusive behavior when one partner tries to control who their partner spends time with or tries to isolate them from friends. It is not okay that your partner is putting pressure on you to not hang out with your guy friends or friends of any gender. It sounds like your partner may be trying to establish unequal dynamics of power and control in the relationship. If you would like to talk over your situation with an advocate, please do not hesitate to reach out. We are here to support you 24/7 through text (text “loveis” to 22522), chat or phone at 1-866-331-9474.

      Take care,
      Advocate RG

  5. Thank you for providing this site. Its been years now that I survived an unhealthy relationship . I lost my identify as he slowly stripped my family and friends and other support from me. I was a hollow shell that was emotionally and physically battered in the name of love. Please know this : if you stay there is something you feel you still get from this relationship . when I finally started to love myself and went to a 12 step support group in secret I was able to leave and got a restraining order and divorced. It was a nightmare I caution everyone that respect and trust are paramount in relationships, without it you will loose yourself. Love yourself as the person God created because you are a beloved child of God, never THINK you don’t deserve the best . God bless you .

    1. Hi Survivor,

      Thank you for being a part of our online community and for your kind words about Love is Respect! You sound like a very strong and resilient person, and I am so glad to hear that you are in a more supportive and positive environment now! You are so right that trust and respect are important in healthy relationships. There is no excuse for abuse. Unfortunately, because abuse is about power and control, tearing down a person’s sense of themselves and making them more and more reliant on the abuser can be one of many tactics used against their partner.

      Making the choice to leave an abusive relationship can be incredibly difficult, and it’s one that each individual has to make for themselves about when and how is right for them. Healing from abuse can take time, and every survivor deserves the space, time and support for that process. It seems like you have taken so many wonderful steps for yourself, and that is truly fantastic to hear about! If there are any aspects of your relationship or recovery from your experience that you would like to talk through with us, our advocates are here 24/7 by phone (1.866.331.9474), online chat and text (text: loveis to 22522) to offer that space to talk with you.

      Take care!
      Advocate GR

    2. I am in that same position right now.. He is taking all my family and friends away, he tells me its my fault that he calls me names and hits me..but I can’t leave him..I don’t have the strength and I’m scared to feel heartbroken.

      1. Hi Katie,

        Thank you for sharing your story. Having someone you care about treat you this way is very traumatic. What you have described is abuse and never your fault. It is really common for abusive partners to try to isolate their partners. Not only does this make survivors of abuse dependent on their abuser in several ways, it prevents them from having a safe place to talk about the abuse. For a relationship to be healthy, each partner needs to have fulfilling connections with loved ones and friends outside of the relationship. Him being violent is never acceptable. Thinking about how to navigate an abusive relationship is very confusing. Abusive partners are portrayed in TV and movies as unlovable monsters but in real life they are whole people. There are valid reasons why you care about him and want him in your life that his abuse doesn’t erase. The good in him doesn’t excuse the abuse. It is ok to take your time deciding what is right for you. If you would like to reach out to an advocate about to explore your options and what is right for you, we are here 24/7 on chat, by texting “loveis” to 22522, or by dialing 1-866-331-9474.

        Take care,

        Advocate LC

  6. Hi
    My name is Becca. Me and my boyfriend have been together going on 2 1/2 years would be 3 but we separated for 6 months. After we separated he got married and I moved on with a guy. Later on we got back together. Every time we have an argument he throws up the guy I dated in my face even tho he got married. Every time I leave the house alone and come back he times me and says harsh things to me and says I’ve been cheating. When actually I’ve never cheated once on him. He says I don’t love him when I do dearly. Plus he has actually put his hands on me n punched me n strangled me before. I can’t help Who I love but I know what he does ain’t right so how can I fix this because I love him?

    1. Hi Becca,

      We are so glad you’re part of our online community. It takes a lot of courage to talk about what you’re going through and we’re glad you’re reaching out for help. Your boyfriend’s choices sound incredibly scary and dangerous. He doesn’t have the right to verbally or physically abusive. The strangulation you mentioned is very concerning because of how quickly that behavior can become lethal.

      I hear how much you love him and I can imagine how much it hurts you that he’s choosing to treat you this way. No matter what you have or haven’t done, you don’t deserve to be abused in any way. Your boyfriend is choosing to treat you this way because he thinks it’s okay for him to do it. He is the only one with the power to change his choices and to stop being abusive. You’re not responsible for what he says and does and you can’t change or stop it.

      If you want to talk more about your relationship or make safety plans to protect yourself, feel free to reach out to us anytime. Our advocates are available 24/7 by phone (866-331-9474), by text (text ‘loveis’ to 22522) or chat here on our website.

      We’re here when you need us.

      Loveisrespect Advocate AS

  7. Is it still considered abusive if he doesn’t hit you, but he pushes you, spits on you, and put his hands around your neck?

    1. Hi Carlie,

      Thank you for reaching out. Someone doesn’t have to be hit for it to be abuse. There are different forms of abuse such as emotional and sexual abuse as well as physical abuse. For someone to push you, spit on you, and put their hands around your neck are physical abuse. Choking someone is very violent and potentially lethal behavior. It may help to look at our description of the different forms of abuse or our warning signs of abuse pages. If you would like to talk about violence or different forms of abuse that you or someone you know are experiencing, we are here 24/7. You can chat us, call us at 1-866-331-9474, or text “loveis” to 22522 if you would like to talk with an advocate.

      Take care,

      Advocate LC

  8. I grew up in a fairly “normal” home in that I did not witness abuse.
    I’m divorced but my past relationships have not involved abuse until now.
    I have been in a relationship with a man over the past 1.5 years and I truly love many things about him.
    My boyfriend has slowly taken control over every aspect of my life, I find myself scratching my head not knowing how this happened.
    He has just recently become physically abusive.
    The control began by telling me I’m not allowed out past 8pm at night, if I have lunch or do anything with my girlfriends he would call and or text me obsessively, one of my passions is fishing, he won’t allow me on a boat to fish because he doesn’t want me with a man on a boat alone, He made me change my cell phone number and email so that no one from my past can contact me (not that they were), and he made me delete FB because he bielieves people can try to contact me.
    I honestly don’t know how I let this happen other than rationalizing that I was trying to do everything I could to make him feel secure within our relationship.
    He is a handsome 6’8″ man who is funny and very likable, I don’t know where his insecurities come from.
    Last night he went far beyond emotional control.
    He bloodied my face and threw me into furniture.
    I did not call the police or file any report.
    I took pictures of myself and I told him to text me that he agrees to move out of our residence and never contact me again, he will leave our furniture and tv’s( not much) and I would have his clothes and personal effects outside at 3pm . If he didn’t agree to these terms he will go to jail for assault/domestic
    violence.
    And so I changed the locks and he dos remove his clothing without incident.
    My concern is that I actually feel bad, like I am turning my back on someone I love.
    I can’t wrap my mind around the fact that I actually feel bad over someone who just physically assaulted me and has been controlling me.
    Considering taking him back at any point is not an option but how do I get rid of this feeling of sadness, I’m afraid of he ever tried to come back and cries or apologizes I will become weak.
    I don’t know if he ever will but how do you keep your mind strong and get rid of these feelings of weakness?

    1. Hello Christine,

      I’m so glad that you reached out and shared what you are going through. You deserve lots of support around processing what happened and moving towards healing. That sounds like it was really scary and painful! From what we know, abuse is about power and control. I can hear that the emotional abuse had been escalating as the relationship went on and often a big part of this is the abusive partner trying to justify their behavior and make their partner feel responsible for the abuse. This blame-shifting can take time to untangle and this can be a difficult part of healing, it is normal to feel guilty because of this but nothing you could possibly do would make the situation your fault. I can also hear that you really cared for him, and it is so hard when someone hurts you and that does not mean that all of your feelings for them just disappear. Staying out of an abusive relationship can be really hard for a variety of reasons. On average, people who leave abusive relationships leave and return between 7-11 times. You are definitely not alone in this experience. Getting your ex out of the house must have taken so much courage and strength!

      Healing is different for everyone and it is okay to be patient with yourself in navigating this process. Some strategies that can be helpful are to build up support whether this is through friends, family, counseling and/or support groups, to make a safety plan around your concerns, and to practice as much self-care and self-compassion as possible. We are always here to support you around staying strong after leaving and building up your wellbeing, to connect you with local resources that can offer support, to discuss what abuse and healing can look like, and to answer any questions or concerns that are on your mind. An advocate can also help you make a safety plan around your concerns, such as what could be helpful to prepare for if he does show up to apologize. If you would like to contact us directly, you can reach us here 24/7 on chat, at 1-866-331-9474, or by texting “loveis” to 22522.

      Take good care,
      Advocate RG

    2. Your.compassion is not.weakness. It may feel that way because abusers exploit their target’s compassion to manipulate and control them. Protect your beautiful compassion, and save it for yourself, and for someone who will not use it to control you. Blessings to you.

  9. I’ve always thought that true love was enough. Real love has the power to change people from within when they truly love someone. They will find themselves open more to considering a loved ones viewpoints and compromising more out of love. Real love is also empathetic and caring, which is also needed to be able to relate and bond with your partner. This creates closeness and greater intimacy and trust that you are being understood. Without this, some people even feel uncared for and their feelings disregarded. Then we have forgiveness, which is crucial in a relationship…we learn how to forgive and understand that people make mistakes when we really love someone, and we are more compassionate in giving them another chance because we love and care for them. Too many failed relationships occur because of a lack of forgiveness and letting go of pride, which is the opposite of love. Forgiveness is needed in managing conflicts in a relationship and on the flip side, when someone makes mistakes, which will happen, they vow not to ever hurt that person again.. Why? Because they LOVE and care for them ! When you love someone, you find it in your heart to keep trying and never give up and seem to muster up the strength again to keep working on conflicts as they arise. For so many reasons not even listed here, love is enough! It has the power to heal and break boundaries people didn’t think we’re possible, BUT you must have this type of love coming from both parties to make it work. Look at Gods love for us, he sent his only son who died on a cross to save us from our mistakes and sins. He endured pain and humiliation…why? LOVE! So, when someone wants to argue again that love is not enough.. Think again! Maybe what you thought was love (and stating it wasnt enough) wasn’t even love in the first place!

    1. Hi Maris,

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us. I think we’re saying a lot of the same things here; love is about trust, caring, empathy and working together to solve conflicts. But unfortunately, many people think that because they love someone, they can or should endure abuse from them, or that their love will make the abuse stop. We just want people to know that abuse isn’t love and it’s never okay, even if you have feelings of love for the person who is abusing you. It can be very confusing, which is why we point out that trust, communication and respect are super important to maintain a healthy relationship. If you have any questions, we’re happy to talk about it! Call, chat or text with us any time.

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