I‘ve come to realize that, in relationships, people tell you all the relevant information within the first few days of knowing them. Several years ago I took it upon myself to love a woman who considered herself unlovable. She was a heroin addict in recovery on suboxone, but her devil-may-care attitude, sex appeal, and knowing smile, captivated me.  Early on I recall lounging in her cluttered room (she was a hoarder), my hands all over her body as she cried, relating story after story of her past lovers and history with sex work. “I feel that I’m bad for men,” she said.

“Why?” I asked.

“I don’t know, I just feel that I destroy them, that they feel worse off after they’ve met me.”

Naturally, I didn’t listen. I would be the exception. I would use the purity of my love and all of my strength to show her that she was good enough. After all, I loved her. I saw her for the exceptionally intelligent, snarky-quipping goddess that she was.

This story is long. It is heartbreaking. But, ultimately, the relationship ended. I had grown *tremendously* as a result, but most of me wished that I had heeded that initial warning. The relationship ended in infidelity, an unplanned pregnancy, a CPS case, an absent mother, and more pain than I know how to measure.

It is never your responsibility to make your partner feel lovable. It is never your duty, your privilege. It may be your calling to try, and if I can save even one person a few weeks of pain from relating this it will be worth it: You will not succeed.

So long as your lover/partner is looking to you for validation, so long as they see you as a route to some kind of salvation (or vice versa), your relationship will be incredibly painful for the both of you.

I’ve read this same advice on relationship blogs and articles too numerous to count, some of them during the time when I was in this relationship. I’ve read it enough to know that, sometimes, you need to learn these lessons firsthand. I did, certainly. No amount of intellectual knowledge that your relationship is ill-advised will dissuade you from trying to make it work–at least that is true of many of us whose hearts are open.

To you who may struggle with a situation that is in any way similar, I want you to know that you are not alone. You have support should you seek it. I have dedicated my life in service to those who feel they are unlovable and, by extension, to those who would love them. The healers. The empaths. Those who feel that society has been, and is, unjust. Seek the support you need.

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