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Your Call: Can a Relationship Work If One Person Is More Into It?

Fri, Nov 30, 2012

Advice, Your Call

Madame Bovary (1949)

Question of the week: Can a relationship survive if one person loves their partner more than the other loves them back?

Women have been told for generations — usually by their mothers or aunts or grandmothers — that they should “marry a man who loves you just a little more than you love him.” It’s depressing and old school and just plain bad advice, if you ask us. But perhaps we’re naive — is it overly optimistic to assume that it’s possible to love your partner exactly the same amount as he or she loves you back? Sure, we understand that feelings ebb and flow over the years — even from day to day or minute to minute. But we’re talking about the macro level here:¬†¬†Is it even possible to find someone who loves you equally to the way you love them? If it is, should this be the ideal? And can a relationship survive if this ideal is not achieved? Finally, is there ever a situation when it would be better to love more or less than your partner?

Share your thoughts in the comments section below. Feel free to share your gender, age, and relationship status if you feel it’s pertinent to your answer (and we think it probably is!).

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13 Responses to “Your Call: Can a Relationship Work If One Person Is More Into It?”

  1. Evan Says:

    I think the primary mistake here is to think that there’s a simple binary spectrum of “into” and “not into”. People get into relationships in different ways. Are you into it because of hot sex? Deep friendship? Comfort? Children?

    Even if we pretend that different ways of being “into it” could be compared directly, it doesn’t mean that they’re comparable.

    A relationship will work if both people get most of their needs met, and if both people are willing and able to work to meet their partner’s needs. If you won’t do that it doesn’t matter how into them you are, it’s not going to work.

  2. Evan Says:

    Ok that second paragraph is hella awkward. What I mean is:

    Even if we pretend that different ways of being ‚Äúinto it‚ÄĚ could be compared or quantified directly, that doesn’t mean that two people at the same level but on different axes will mesh.

  3. Nikki Says:

    I incline toward “better to be the one who loves less,” but not because I think it’s objectively better, it’s just an inclination. Probably explains why I’m single. And that’s OK. I’m lonely, but I also don’t want to rearrange my life right now in a way that would make room for anyone else. I’m sure it also matters that I’m a straight woman in her 30s.

  4. Lily Says:

    Relationships seem to have a subtle but brilliant push/pull mechanism that make them ‘work’ in the beginning. Then after a while you have to consciously chip in in order to keep it afloat. If you’re not willing to be part of that, don’t enrol. This is where it usually ends, when one partner feels, accurately or not, that they are doing all the work. When it comes to love in a spiritual sense, I wonder if it isn’t the same thing..it usually ends if one person feels like he or she is doing all the loving. / Female late 20′s.

  5. single 29yo female Says:

    i feel like women tend bear the responsibility of failed marriages. marry a man that loves you more. marry a man that’s older and never younger. marry and never let yourself go. advice like this about power dynamics might’ve been important for dependant women, but it’s not the type of relationship i want or need… i don’t like to control and don’t want to be controlled either. isn’t that realistic?

  6. J Says:

    I think Evan hit the nail on the head. This article implies that it is always possible to measure how much love someone feels but love is not quantitative.

    That being said, I think most solid relationships will have two people who have close to equal strength of feelings. But, there are also plenty of examples of when one person feels significantly stronger than the other. And no. I don’t think this will make the healthiest of relationships. Both parties may decide to muddle through because the pros of the relationship outweigh the cons of the imbalance. But I think it is more likely that the person who feels less strongly will eventually move on to greener pastures or the person who feels more strongly will get tired of being/ feeling like a sap.

  7. Seashell Says:

    I think there is a difference between being needy of the other person and loving them a lot. Love is not neediness, love is that selfless feeling you get towards the other person. I’m going to stop trying to describe love any more because it’s impossible!

    I am 26 and recently married, but I’ve been in a relationship with my husband for 8 years. I think we love each other equally, and always have. However the issues have been where I have been more needy of him than he is of me. Things balanced out when I sorted out my issues and felt I could stand on my own two feet. I felt so independent I nearly split up with him. But then I realised that just because I felt independant didn’t have to mean being single. And I stayed with him because I love him and freely chose to be with him.

    I now find myself with a chronic, disabling illness, and again more dependant on him than he is on me. But it is still working, because I make an effort to be as independant as possible, to never take him for granted and to thank him regularly for what he does for me. There is still a feeling that we are a team, that we both have something to give to our life together.

  8. Rachel Says:

    I’ve certainly heard of this statement.

    Just because it’s a cliche, it doesn’t make them false. A cliche is…because it happens more often than not.

  9. Me Says:

    Yes, but wouldn’t you then be more tempted to cheat on him? Is he OK with an open marriage?
    Single woman 30

  10. Anna Says:

    Well, before my current relationship with my fiancee (with whom it feels pretty equal), I’ve only ever been in relationships where I was way more into it. So I don’t know about being with someone who loves you more, but I think a relationship is probably better when both people love each other equally.

  11. J Says:

    I have been with my boyfriend for 3 and a half years I have always felt like I have been more into it but then I feel my spark and feelings have never changed I know he does love me because he has stuck by me through my mental illness and so forth he has made me happy and believe in my self but then other times I feel the opposite where he is distant I don’t know if I’m overly affectionate or if he’s lost interest it’s killing me inside because I thought he was the one but sometimes I’m now thinking the way he’s not into me is ruining my self esteem I feel un wanted sometimes feel like I annoy him when I show affection not sure whether to call it off or not in the past I have brought up if he feels the same still and if he wants to leave and he says know I love u but some how I think I can see this relationship crumbling sometimes he’s on his phone more when he comes over playing games then to spend quality time :(

  12. Lynn Says:

    girls listen to Brad Paisleys song Mona Lisa. always make sure you are his Mona Lisa and accept nothing less

  13. Ashley Clements Says:

    im sorta in a relationship but I really like this guy but don’t get to see him im hoping ill c him again I miss him very much I met him here in a womans shelter


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