When you love someone dearly, it’s obvious that you’ll make them a priority in your life.
But what do you do when the feeling isn’t mutual?
Well, that’s where everything starts to go wrong in a relationship.
Misunderstandings in expectations from each other are almost always the biggest reason for bad relationships and friendships.
[Read: How to let go of a relationship that’s bad for you]
Making someone a priority in your life
Love is a funny thing.
When you love someone, you can’t help but open the floodgates of your heart and welcome them in.
It feels good, doesn’t it, when you can truly love someone wholeheartedly?
When you’re in a close friendship or a budding romance, it feels good to care about someone.
And it feels a lot better when you know the other person cares about you too.
But when the care and concern is one sided, the relationship could start to turn bitter and take a worse turn.
[Read: Reasons behind why love can hurt so much when it goes bad]
My experience with priorities and best friends
Until some time ago, I had a really great friend. We were BFFs and shared every moment together.
We knew each other since high school, we had even moved in together and were living just like two happy sisters. And everything in my life was just perfect.
Now I don’t mean to sound like a braggart here, but I’ve always found it easy to get the attention of the guys I liked while my friend found it harder to get a guy to stick around. [Read: How to get a guy’s attention in any circumstance]
But I never liked seeing my friend sad or alone, so I started tagging her along on most of my dates so she didn’t have to feel lonely at home. I didn’t care if I lost a guy. If a guy I dated couldn’t take both of us out often or be nice to her, he was out of my life. I was very protective of my friend, and I always wanted to see her happy.
I shared all my special occasions with her. I spent months saving up to buy her a perfect birthday gift, and I even dumped boyfriends if she was in a slump and wanted me to spend more time with her every day. It was truly unconditional love, and I didn’t have any expectations from her. In fact, I was extremely attached to her.
One day, she met a guy and started dating him. I was over the moon for her and gave her a lot of space to spend time with her steady boyfriend. At times, I even spent nights at another friend’s place just so my best friend could get some quality time alone with her boyfriend.
A few months into her relationship and I couldn’t recognize my best friend anymore. Well, she looked the same, but her behavior completely changed. She stopped calling me over the phone, and would ignore me even if I was sitting in the same room with her. She would snap at me for no reason at all, and she wanted a lot of space to herself. She was aloof and distant, and our relationship changed completely within a month or two. And I was devastated.
Even when I tried talking to her about it, all she had to say was “Well, people change, don’t they? Why can’t you deal with the fact that I’ve changed?”
She still expected me to do all the pampering, the cooking and the taking care of her, and she even wanted me to buy her things, but she wouldn’t do anything in return for me. In fact, she didn’t even have time for me anymore. And all I wanted from her was to spend half an hour talking to me every day. But she didn’t want to do that.
And in one conversation, she even went as far as accusing me of being jealous because she’s happier than me!
My best friend was a priority to me, but it took me a lot of painful tears, long sleepless drunk nights and painful heartaches to realize the fact that I was not a priority to her.
And that’s when I realized that you should never make someone a priority when all you are to them is an option. I felt betrayed and cheated. And I felt so used because I sacrificed my happiness for her for years, and all she had to say to me was “who told you to do that?!”
For the first time in my life, I actually realized how heartbreaking and miserable it feels to be insignificant in the eyes of someone you love so much. [Read: What is unrequited love and how to get over it?]
You should never make a wrong person a priority
Needless to say, I’m not in touch with that friend anymore. I still care about her, and am filled with affectionate love when I bump into her. But I couldn’t stay friends with her anymore.
But now that I look back at all those years, I realize something. I can’t blame my friend for what happened. I made her my priority and I allowed her to use me. I didn’t care if I was a priority to her or not, because taking care of her needs made me feel good inside.
When you love someone as a partner or a friend, you’re taking a risk. Your love may be reciprocated mutually, or maybe it won’t. So if you want to have a happy life, take time to fall in love with someone. It’s the safest way to ensure that you’re giving your heart to the right person.
Sometimes, people are just selfish. And there’s nothing you can do about it. But from my own experience, all I can advise you is to avoid people who don’t make an effort to be nice to you. Love and affection should never be one sided. The neglect you feel is worse than the pain you’d feel after a break up. [Read: How to stop selfish people from hurting you]
A relationship is a barter system
It’s not about keeping count. It’s about unconditionally loving each other. In a perfect relationship, both the involved people give and take constantly. And that keeps the wheel of love spinning smoothly.
It may be a relationship between lovers, friends, siblings or with parents, a happy relationship is always a barter. But when the scale of give-and-take starts to tip over, one partner will start to feel drained and annoyed. [Read: The 80 20 rule in relationships]
Do you know you’re only an option?
In many cases, you may not even realize you’re in an uneven relationship. You may be clouded by emotions, or worse, you may convince yourself that you need to give more to the relationship because your partner is more deserving of love and affection.
Relationships works best only when love and affection is exchanged in equal measures.
If you ever feel like you’re the one who’s doing all the giving while a friend or a lover is only taking you for granted or using you, back away from the relationship. Walking away will hurt, but it’s still better than having to endure the neglect and the pain of experiencing a one sided relationship every day of your life. [Read: How your self respect affects you and your relationships]
8 signs you’ve made someone a priority when you’re only an option
If you’re unhappy with any relationship in your life, there’s a big chance that you’re in a one sided relationship. Use these 8 signs to find out if you’re giving someone more priority than they deserve in your life.
#1 They expect you to give, but they don’t give back.
#2 They constantly let you down even when you have the smallest of expectations from them. [Read: When should you end a bad friendship?]
#3 You’re just a backup plan in their life when they have nothing better to do.
#4 They don’t care about your feelings. Even when you emotionally pour your heart out, instead of understanding you or hearing you out, they just argue back or try to justify themselves.
#5 You feel hurt all the time when you’re around this person.
#6 They treat others in a special way and give them a lot of attention, but you’re never given any preference no matter how hard you try to please them.
#7 You’re always taken for granted no matter how much you try to win their affection.
#8 They are completely selfish and care only about themselves. They always put their own needs before yours, and they try to manipulate you all the time. [Read: How to stop thinking about someone you like a lot]
If you experience any of these signs in a relationship, you’re probably better off snapping all ties with them. But just remember that it’s not your fault that this person is selfish. Sometimes, some people just care too much about themselves to think from another person’s perspective.
[Read: The 10 types of love you’ll experience in your lifetime]
Never forget that meaningful line, you should never make someone a priority when all you are to them is an option. It seems catchy, but understanding that line could mean the difference between happiness and pain for the rest of your life.