Having someone special to love and be loved by is one of our most basic human needs. For some of us, the need for love feels just as essential as our need for oxygen. Without this love we feel as if we will die. We want it so much, but love doesn’t always come easy. Many of us have never had our basic needs met and that leaves us feeling as if we are starving for love and affection.
Every now and then, someone comes along who appears to hold the promise of being that special someone. But for whatever reason they do not reciprocate our feelings. They may have a very limited capacity to love or bond with another human being or they act in ways that are hurtful. The painful feelings of hurt, disappointment, desperation and fear of getting hurt again can make us extremely vulnerable. We often find ourselves trying to make the relationship work, but in doing so we are setting ourselves up for a fall.
We try to make relationships work for a number of reasons. Many of us have been deeply wounded and are trying desperately to get the love and attention we've never received. Those of us who don't know any better fail to recognize the red flags that would alert us to potential dangers and because of that we fall into the trap of becoming attached to someone who is unavailable or abusive.
People who reenact our early hurts and traumas will invariably evoke more painful feelings and issues thereby causing us even more suffering. We keep trying to fix the relationship or make it right, but the person we’re trying to maintain a connection with continues to do things that keep adding to the hurt and that only deepens our emotional wounds.
We're trying to make a relationship work anytime we chase after another person. We keep calling or emailing even when they don't respond. We tolerate and even justify their lack of interest and abuse. We try so hard to convince the person whose love we so desperately desire to be with us. But all of these things only make us less attractive in their eyes. In some instances, we keep on trying until the person we’re longing for eventually does something hurtful just to be mean or to finally get rid of us. That can cause us tremendous pain and then we find ourselves sinking ever deeper into the hole that we have been digging for ourselves. For many this pattern of crash and burn has become a vicious cycle.