Q: What does loyalty in a relationship deserve?
Giving more of myself than what I expect of others, is something that I struggle with when forming or sustaining existing relationships, but it has also been a really helpful indicator when accessing my wants and needs when dealing with others.
In the past, I’ve shown an alarming lack of loyalty to myself while at the same time continuing to engage with certain people out of what I believed was a display of my undying loyalty and devotion. Of course this type of double-edged allegiance where you effectively keep throwing yourself into fire for someone who isn’t even on the same proverbial life path as you or someone who will never throw themselves back into that same fire because they don’t acknowledge, respect, or even desire that same loyalty and devotion, is exactly how I ended up feeling deeply compromised and rejected throughout many relationships in my life.
So what exactly does loyalty deserve? Being as though this a very vague question, Simply put, it depends on the person.
Loyalty is a two-way street
Like any relationship whether it be romantic or otherwise. you need to create a set line of boundaries for yourself that will not be compromised on the behalf of someone else. Unlike deal breaks, boundaries consist of rules or guidelines that teach a person how to treat you in any given circumstance. Once you establish what those boundaries are and what you will not allow, then you can start re-accessing what the word loyalty means for you.
Too many times we mistake being willing to compromise the essence of who we are and even our willingness to endanger our emotional, mental, and physical well-being, for the sake of loyalty and devotion, but in all actuality loyalty is a two-way street.
For me, loyalty is not an action, but a sense of where two people consistently communicate and demonstrate strong feelings of support, acknowledgment, care, trust, and respect on both sides. In essence, loyalty is giving out what we want to get back in others. However, the trouble is, we often confuse what loyalty is for servitude.
There have been countless times where I foolishly have mistaken servitude for loyalty. Thinking that by answering every phone call, not entertaining other suitors, being a listening ear, staying home, being a “good woman” (whatever that may mean) when those things were not given back to me was my definition of loyalty.
Looking back, I was a fool.
As defined by Merriam-webster, servitude is: “the state of being a slave or completely subject to someone more powerful.”Last time I checked, slavery is over subjectively but many people continue to display acts of servitude as a replacement for loyalty. We see it all the time with the memes on social media. In today’s new-age of dating people believe that if you are not accessible to them 100% of the time than you are being disloyal.
So what exactly does loyalty deserve?
It’s difficult to answer this question only because I’m not sure of the circumstances in which this question may arise. For many people, their definition of what loyalty is varies based on the dynamics of their relationships which leads me to ask “what does loyalty mean to you?”. Once you answer this question for yourself, then you can continue to evaluate what you deserve in your relationship based on your actions.
In my opinion, I believe that I deserve exactly what I am pouring into others. The types of relationships I form (professional, platonic, romantic) are all built on communication, time, consistency and effort. Without these core characteristics, these relationships would not last very long (for me).