Selfish love is akin to toxic love in that it can damage the violated partner. It can also destroy your relationship.
Selfish love is common. Selfish love exists when one or both partners’ dominant concern is on what they “get” from their partner and the relationship. All their interactions, negotiations, and activities center on this.
Setting boundaries and communicating your wants and needs in a relationship is good. But when a person’s behavior to “get what they want” becomes manipulative, demanding, or coercive they are being selfish. They are also being immature and unfair.
It’s not just young people who engage in selfish love. People of any age can behave this way. It does start and become ingrained during a person’s childhood though.
A selfish person says I love you to hear I love you back. A selfish person gives love to “get” love. A selfish person says I love you at strategic moments to “get” what they want. A selfish person uses love to manipulate and control. Children may do the same thing with their parents. But there’s a big difference.
Children do it unknowingly. Adults do it unconsciously. Adults do it unconsciously because that’s where they put it using rationalization. Rationalization in this context is a process of making excuses, blaming others, and self-deception (an unwillingness to face the truth).
How do I know this? I observed an extreme case over many years in a close relative. This led me to study this behavior in other people and my own relationships.
Selfish love can happen in any relationship, not just romantic ones. It can happen in family and friend relationships as well.
True love or a love without selfishness is when a person’s utmost concern in the relationship is the happiness of the other person. This does not mean they are self-sacrificing or subservient. They have just developed a level of maturity, confidence, and self-awareness that allows them to give love without measure or expected return. They know from experience that if the love is real it will be returned to them in equal or greater measure. It usually feels greater from their point of view.
I had been in many romantic relationships that I believed were based on true love until I noticed a radical shift in my behavior during a special relationship years later. In prior relationships, one or both of us often behaved selfishly to varying degrees. I didn’t recognize it as being selfish at the time. Apparently, I was too immature.
After advancing further into adulthood I fell deeply in love with a woman in a way that I had never experienced before. The biggest difference was that my pleasure and joy came from seeing her satisfied and happy. Before this relationship, my main concern was often on my own interests, pleasure, and happiness, which is selfishness. That relationship was one of the most exciting and fulfilling of my life by far.
It’s easy for me to recognize selfish people now. If I see these traits in a woman who I’m interested in, I’m immediately turned off. Selfishness is ugly when you’re not being selfish. When selfishness is deeply ingrained, selfish behavior by others seems normal.
If you’re involved in a selfish love relationship there are only two ways to deal with it. Fix it or end it. Living with it would only lead to frustration and heartache.
Since selfishness is an immature behavior with powerful rewards, you’ll need to take a strong stand to change it. Here’s what you might do. Call them out on the selfish “behavior” when it happens. Describe why the behavior is unacceptable to you without calling them selfish – if you can. Ask them if they will stop it. If their selfish behavior continues, tell them that it’s a deal breaker if it doesn’t end. And mean it.
If you observe serious selfish behavior like running up huge balances on credit cards buying unneeded luxury items for themselves, you might cut your losses and end the relationship. This would be especially true if both your names are on the credit cards and the behavior continued more than once after you talked about it.
If they were opening credit cards and running them up secretively, it would probably be best to move on. But before you do, be sure to secretively close or take your name off the credit card accounts.
I believe selfishness causes more problems than anything else in relationships. Safeguard yourself from selfishness. The rewards of being unselfish greatly outweigh the rewards of being selfish.
This article is my unselfish gift to you. 🙂