Any good financial advisor will have you fill out a questionnaire to determine your ability to withstand risk, and then s/he will sit down with you and go over what should expect as a realistic return on your investment. If only there were love advisors that could do the same thing!

There are many people that expect a lot out of their partners, perhaps more than their partners can realistically give in terms of time, attention or affection. We are not all built the same, and in relationships we have to respect each person’s individual capabilities and accept one another’s limitations. To expect more from someone than what they are capable of is a recipe for disaster– the person with unrealistic expectations is going to be disappointed and frustrated, while the other person may wind up feeling totally dejected, or maybe even angry if s/he feels like s/he is constantly being set up to fail.

The other day, a friend said to me, “you can never expect a 100% return on your efforts in a relationship. You should do something because you want to do it, but never with the expectation that the favor will be returned to the same degree… Love cannot be measured, so as long as it is there, you need to be okay with that.” She is totally right– the investment we make with our friends, family and romantic interests cannot be quantified, and sometimes (like with children) it might take years to see a true return.

Ultimately, the question we should be asking ourselves is: can I live with how that other person loves me? Of course, with family we don’t get to ask this question, we just have to accept our relatives as they are, but with friends or love interests if they cannot love you the way you want to be loved, then you need to be able to walk away. To stay in any relationship requires acceptance that the person will love you in his/her own way– nothing more, nothing less than just that.