Ask Dr. Tracy

One-Sided Love

Who doesn't identify with Morales, the Bronx-born hoofer in"Chorus Line," when she sings "What I did for love?"

Who doesn't cringe with recalled humiliation? Is there a man or woman over twenty who hasn't done embarrassing things in the name of love? Until I wised up, I certainly did more than I should have for undeserving louts (see "What I Did For Love (Tracy)").

While Colleen, Sandy and myself are extreme examples of doing too much for love, almost everyone has made a fool of themselves over someone at one time or another. It seems to be an equal opportunity problem which doesn't discriminate between men and women (women just seem more willing to send in their sad stories).

The men buy gifts, run errands, fix leaky plumbing, and get stood up repeatedly on Saturday night only to beg for a date next Saturday night. Women seem to combine old-fashioned "sacrificing in the name of love" with post-feminist freedoms, pursuing the objects of their affection with abandon, like obsessed Sadie Hawkins characters.

Either way, shame, guilt, and common sense go out the window. When he or she doesn't respond, you change yourself to what you think he wants. When he or she grants you occasional tidbits of time or affection, you react like a wiggling puppy dog. Your self-esteem crumbles until finally you realize you've wasted months or years of your life in craziness.

Often, men and women in the throes of one-sided love no longer have lives. They've given them up in the pursuit of Mr. or Ms. Unappreciative.

Test: Are You Doing Too Much For Love?

You feel desperate for his or her love.

He or she takes you for granted.

You make all the plans, call most of the time, pay most of the time, and buy all the presents.

You get back from him or her a miserable fraction of what you give.

You're constantly worried about losing him or her.

If you are, wake up! Get out! It doesn't have to be this way! Reading "The Broken Popcorn Machine Parable" will help.

Related Keywords: Letting Go, Giving Too Much

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