My ex’s brother tried to give me relationship advice at a party about a year ago. He said, to expect 40% but always give 60%. It was one of the key’s to a relationship – always giving more than you are expecting in return. And if both partners are consistently operating around these percentages, there is some kind of balance that can be achieved… So what could possibly go wrong?

I think somewhere along the line his 60% fell and my 40% rose. These changes did not work well together; we lost balance, pretty quickly. Inevitably, I began longing for more, while he began longing for less and the give and take began morphing into a game of push and pull.

I liked the equation at the time I heard it, but I’ve since then changed my mind. My father told me he had a conversation with a friend the other day in which it was said that in a relationship you do not date the person. Instead, you date their best version. Because if you are truly in love with somebody, you want to be the best version you can for that person. If you look at it this way, maybe he didn’t want to put in the effort to be the best he could be for me, and maybe, the best I could possibly be for him, wasn’t what he was looking for.

I am proposing a new percentage ratio. Give 150%, and expect 100%. If you really love somebody, and I mean the madly, deeply, Grey’s Anatomy “Pick me, choose me, love me” kind of love, you’re going to put everything you possibly can into the person you are with. At the same time, there should be some relative expectation that your partner is at least going to attempt to do the same.

However, there’s a trick to all these methods surrounding expectations, and sometimes it can throw an entire balance off. Sometimes when we expect the 100%, or even the 40%, we can expect it to be shown in a certain way. Often there’s a correlation between the way in which we give love and how we expect to receive it, and looking at a relationship in this format can become increasingly dangerous. I’ve learned a lot about what it means to love somebody over the past year and a half, and that how they choose to love me will often look completely different. Sometimes the differences between how each partner chooses to love can define the course of the rest of a relationship, and often its end. Perhaps that is what defined the end of mine. We loved each other differently; I wanted the passionate, can’t-live-without-you kind of love which I began to push for, and he wanted a love that was a little simpler, and perhaps a little less scary, and he began to pull away.

It seems these differences are a large portion of what led to the crack in the foundation of our relationship, and eventually the collapse. Does that mean his love was not there because he wanted less, or maybe wasn’t ready for the level at which I was ready for? I hope not. I can’t be certain. I think he’s the only one who will ever really know. But I do know, we all love each other differently, sometimes it works, sometimes it crumbles down. I think I could have loved him for the rest of my life, but I think it’s okay he could only love me for right now.

from 2015.

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