There are a lot of black and white thinkers out there, and two rather harsh sayings that really drill home this point are: (1) there are 2 types of people in this world– those that like to screw others and those that let themselves get screwed; and (2) there givers and takers in life.  Well, as someone who appreciates a world with varying shades of gray, I would like to think that most human beings at varying times have the capacity to either take or receive,  and play different roles in the screwing process, as is appropriate under different circumstances– especially when it comes to love.

Love after all is a 2-way street when you are in a healthy, loving relationship.  There should be times when one person may be the one giving, and the other should just graciously receive the gifts being offered, then the next time they would reverse roles, in such a way that they create a balance between them showing mutual love and admiration for one another.  The problem of course is that there are some that are just pure takers, and sadly some incredibly generous souls that keep on giving and giving without realizing that their efforts are simply not being reciprocated or even appreciated.  This is a very unhealthy dynamic, which I call a dysfunctional see-saw.  Remember for a see-saw to work, you both have to make an effort and take turns, otherwise it won’t work.

In the divorce world, I see imbalanced relationships every day– and now even off the clock they are very easy to spot.  It is incredibly clear to me within a few minutes of observing a couple when they both feel like they are equally lucky to be with the other versus when one person clearly is just not as into the other while one appears to have fallen head over heels.  It is very sad to see this lop-sided situation, but even worse  is when you have a major disparity in power.  Those are a recipe for disaster.

No one should ever have the feeling of having the upper hand in a balanced relationship.  When that sentiment exists, that means there is a power imbalance, and this will lead to a lot of friction.  Ultimately the one with the power realizes that s/he can do practically anything and can also walk away at anytime and it just won’t matter much, and with such feelings of indifference, apathy becomes inevitable.  Sadly, love cannot exist where there is apathy, and in my opinion that is when you truly hit the point of no return.  

If you want a relationship that will last, then you have to make sure that upfront it feels like there is equality in your passion for one another.  Do you both feel like the signs are telling you this is the one?  Do you both feel like soul mates?  Do you both wake up thinking of each other?  Are you both checking in with one another during the day and/or at night?  Do you both do nice things for each other?  Are you both coming up with plans to do fun things?  Are you both walking around experiencing things together feeling like you have died and gone to heaven?  If you have answered yes to all these questions, then this is how you know you are on the right track– but don’t take it for granted.  To stay on track, you have to constantly put forth the effort together.

Having been on one-way streets more than once, let me just spare you the journey and tell you that the final destination is a Dead End.  So, if that is not where you want to end up, then take a good look in the early stages of your relationship as you first start to pave that road together and make sure the endeavor is indeed a mutual one.

Love is an overused, and often misunderstood word.  Here’s hoping someone will walk into your life that gives it real meaning.

By Regina A. DeMeo, Esq.