Love Without Respect or Respect Without Love?

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I talk to a lot of people. Or better said, I listen to a lot of people talk. Women in particular – about their relationships, and the conversation is always quite intriguing. Recently, a young lady – lets call her Adele, (a well sought after motivational speaker managing her own business) was sharing with me two relationships she had been in, and was trying to decide which had been the better (or the worse) of the two.

In Relationship Number One, the man Adele had dated – let’s call him Marco – had very little if any genuine interest in her, but recognized all of her talent and worth, and often would call on her to assist him in working on his goals. Because Adele wanted him, she thought she could work hard and earn Marco’s love and willingly did everything he asked her to do – from connecting him with professional contacts, to cooking dinner (and Adele is an AWESOME cook) to writing his school papers (Marco was seeking his Master’s Degree she said) to being a free baby sitter for his 3-year-old daughter (whom he had every other weekend but often had to work or go to school). Adele hoped that in her giving of herself, Marco would inevitably fall in love with her, ask her to marry him, they’d have at least one baby together (Marcoya) and live happily ever after.

Well we all know what happens when we try to make someone “The One.” It just doesn’t work. Adele shared with me that all Marco did was use her to no end (which she embarrassingly admitted as being her own fault) often telling her what a positive impact she’d made on his life and how much he appreciated her, while keeping her hanging on by a thread for hopes of a romantic future. But finally, the stardust and love bubbles cleared from her eyes and she moved on from Marco, regardless of his pleas that they at least remain friends. After all, who would do his upcoming thesis paper?

Months later Adele met Man Two, – lets call him Lincoln – who fell in love with her right away. Adele said Lincoln absolutely adored her and showered her with a level of affection that Marco didn’t even come close to. “I felt like a queen!” she told me, closing her eyes and surely imagining herself sitting on a throne with an exquisite crown upon her head. She shared that where as Marco had never even given her as much as a birthday card, Lincoln took pleasure in surprising her with “just because” gifts he knew she’d love and enjoy. He showed her that there was nothing too good for her, and the world was hers for the asking, and half the time she didn’t even have to ask. Adele said she was certain of Lincoln’s love for her, which she recognized as pure and sincere. She found him worthy of her love, let down her guard and let him in. Not long after, he proposed, she accepted and moved in to his beautiful 2,200 square foot home. Awwww!

Then Adele rolled her eyes. She went on to say that although Lincoln would bring her the moon on a platter smiling the whole while, he often made her feel as if he had rescued her from the homeless shelter despite her professional career success. He cringed as she tried to unpack her things, looking to incorporate them in their home, not wanting to upset his established decor. Her things ended up sitting in boxes for months. Although she held a Bachelor of Science degree from a well respected university, Lincoln had in no uncertain terms expressed that it didn’t hold a candle to his Doctorate degree. She shared that while they began to work through some lifetime relationship initiatives, she found out that he expected to be the sole keeper (and account holder) of the marital checkbook and that he would not allow her to spend any money without his permission. My eyebrows instantly shot up.

“What do you mean; like high dollar items?” I asked for clarity. “Like if something costs $100 or more?” 
“No – like a $10 ITunes download!” $10? Wow. “He practically flipped because I bought Anthony Hamilton’s album without checking with him first then said I needed to run all my income through his account so he could keep up with my spending!” she screeched.

Adele said she ended up breaking the engagement a few months later, not willing to trade her freedom as an adult for “flowers, cards and candy” as she put it. She expressed that with Marco, she felt respected and valued but not loved, and with Lincoln, she felt loved, but not respected or valued. And had been mulling over in her mine if one situation had been better than the other. If you ask me, both situations suck, but if you had to choose one of the two, which would be the better – to be loved but not respected, or to be respected but not loved?

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