Being in a Relationship Without Self-Love: Unmasking The Love Paradox

We’ve all heard the saying, “You can’t love someone else without loving yourself first”. We simply take this as truth, because it sounds truthful. I’m here to tell you, this isn’t true at all.

You can love someone without loving yourself. In fact, a lack of self-love often prompts us to love someone else too much. We give them everything we have, hoping they will love us because we don’t love ourselves.

We choose the wrong relationships, again, because we don’t love ourselves enough to make healthy choices. Perhaps we even punish ourselves by choosing mates who will ultimately break our hearts, and deepen our self-loathing.

The good news is self-love isn’t some artsy fartsy feeling we have to chase for our entire lives. It’s a series of patterns and actions.

This means that we can learn to practice self-love, regardless of our relationship status. We can go from being in a relationship without self-love to a healthy relationship with ourselves, and a better relationship with others.

  • Lack of self-love can lead to unhealthy relationships and behaviors as people may seek external validation, avoid setting boundaries, and end up in toxic relationships.
  • Recognizing signs of lack of self-love—like feeling guilty prioritizing oneself, tolerating toxic relationships, and harsh self-criticism—is the first step towards addressing this issue.
  • Cultivating self-love involves being compassionate to oneself, practicing forgiveness, taking self-care actions, and engaging in positive self-talk. This process is vital for improving self-esteem and relationships.

How a Lack of Self-Love Impacts Your Relationship

A lack of self-love can impact your relationship in several ways. It can make you distant, jealous, or insecure. None of these qualities are attractive in a partner. It can also cause you to avoid setting healthy boundaries, which will diminish the respect your partner has for you.

I’m a people pleaser. I used to think it was simply because I’m kind, and I enjoy doing things for others. This is certainly true, and it’s one of the qualities I admire about myself.

However, there’s a darker reason for my people-pleasing tendencies. I find myself saying yes when I should say no for my own benefit. Why? I want people to like me. I want them to love me. And I mistakenly think that the way to get that love is to please them, regardless of the personal cost.

The truth is this doesn’t deepen their love for me, and it erodes the self-love that I do have.

When we don’t love ourselves, we seek validation from others, according to Psychology Today. This makes us insecure, which is never an attractive quality. It also prevents us from being truly intimate with those we love.

We think if they see the real “us”, they won’t love us, because we know who we are, and we find little or nothing lovable about ourselves.

If you are reading this, you can probably think of ways that this has caused problems in your relationship. Perhaps you struggle to assert healthy boundaries. Perhaps you are jealous because you are insecure. Perhaps, like me, it’s hard for you to open yourself up to the person you love, because you fear rejection.

Lack of self-love breeds insecurity impacts relationships negatively and often fuels a need for external validation. This insecurity may hinder intimacy, cause boundary issues, or provoke jealousy. Self-love is key to healthy relationships.

Signs You Don’t Love Yourself

I could easily list 100 signs that you don’t love yourself enough. However, I’m going to give you my top 3.

You Feel Guilty Putting Yourself First

Do you never make time for yourself? Do you meet everyone else’s needs, without considering your own? Do you feel guilty when you do take time for yourself, or ask for something that you need from others? These are signs you need to work on self-love.

Toxic Relationships

Toxic relationships are another sign that you are lacking self-love, according to Psych2go. This is most often seen in romantic relationships, but it also applies to relationships with friends and family.

If you believe deep down that you don’t deserve to be loved, you will choose people who don’t treat you well.

Being Too Critical of Yourself

Self-awareness and recognizing mistakes and shortcomings are essential to healthy growth. However, you may take it too far. Do you beat yourself up over small mistakes?

Do you revisit times when you’ve failed long after the situation has been resolved?

Being too critical of yourself can also make you very reactive to criticism from anyone else. When someone points out a mistake, you may react as if you are being personally attacked, because you don’t have the love and self-confidence to accept healthy criticism.

Always be aware of feeling guilty when prioritizing yourself, giving yourself reasons to stay in toxic relationships due to a belief of undeserving love or you’re being overly critical of yourself, to the point of feeling attacked by criticism. These are alarms for you to start to take care of yourself.

How to Start Cultivating Self-Love

You’ve recognized you have a problem. You find yourself being in a relationship without self-love. What do you do now? Here is how you can start.

Be Compassionate to Yourself

Being compassionate towards yourself is as easy as being as understanding as you would be with a loved one. What would you tell a loved one who was in your situation? How would you want them to feel? We are often much harsher on ourselves than we would ever be on anyone else.

Practice Forgiveness

When you realize that you’ve been neglecting yourself, the realization can actually make things worse. You may be angry, disappointed, or feel foolish.

Of course, there’s likely a multitude of other crimes, real or imagined, that you haven’t forgiven yourself for.

A study published in the National Library of Medicine followed participants who underwent forgiveness training. They reported lower stress levels, less emotional pain, and more optimism immediately after the training, and four months later.

Take Action

You’ve got to love yourself by taking action. One way to do this is through self-care. This may be as simple as drinking an extra glass of water or taking 5 minutes to meditate in the morning. It can be as grand as a day at the spa, or anywhere in between.

List some things that will make you feel loved and cared for by yourself, and start to do these things. It’s ok if it feels a little strange at first. Keep doing it.

Positive Self Talk

This was a life changer for me personally. According to HealthDirect, negative self-talk can affect your self-esteem, well-being, and your relationships with others.

When you notice that you are engaging in negative self-talk, stop. Replace it with something positive about yourself. Over time, your self-talk will become more positive.

For example, perhaps you are saying “I’ll never get this job. I bombed the interview.” You could replace it with, “I did my best. I put myself out there, and got the interview. Whatever happens, I’m proud of myself”.

Recognize your lack of self-love and start by being compassionate towards yourself, akin to how you’d treat a loved one. Practice forgiveness for past mistakes. Engage in self-care activities and list things that make you feel loved. Replace negative self-talk with positive affirmations to enhance self-esteem and relationships.

Stop Being in a Relationship Without Self-Love

Now you know why you need self-love, and what to do if it’s lacking in your life. When you are in a relationship with the right person, as your self-love deepens, so will the love and intimacy you share with your partner.

Learning to love yourself is fundamental to a happy and successful life, as well as healthy relationships. Remember that this doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a journey, and likely a lifelong one.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I love someone else without loving myself first?

Yes, you can love someone else without self-love. However, the lack of self-love may lead to unbalanced relationships, where you give too much or makes poor choices.

How does a lack of self-love impact my relationships?

Lack of self-love can lead to you feeling insecure, jealous, and difficulty setting healthy boundaries in your relationships. It can also result in you seeking validation from others.

What are some signs that I may lack self-love?

Signs that you lack self-love may include feeling guilty about prioritizing yourself, staying in toxic relationships, and being overly critical of yourself.

How can I start to cultivate self-love?

Cultivating self-love can begin with practicing compassion towards yourself, forgiveness, taking actions for self-care, and engaging in positive self-talk.

What role does self-love play in a successful relationship?

Self-love allows for healthier relationships as it encourages balanced giving and receiving, better decision-making, and increases self-confidence. As self-love deepens, so does the intimacy with a partner.

Share with your friends!

Written by

Follow on Facebook, Twitter

Sharing my life lessons to help you overcome life obstacles, rejections, fears and learn to embrace failures to create your dream life... xoxo More about me

Leave a Comment

Share to...