we accept the love we think we deserve

Ahmad Ayyash
5 min readJun 10, 2024


The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)

I’m no stranger to neglect. Ever since I was a child, I was used to receiving less affection than others. We don’t come into this world knowing what love is. We are shaped by our experiences, both positive and negative. We are influenced by what we see in movies, TV shows, and social media. We learn about love from our families and friends, sometimes in toxic ways.

Our traumas and journeys have a major impact on our perspective of love. But amidst all the confusion, one thing remains true: love is a complex and ever-changing emotion.

As I scroll through forums filled with heartbreak stories, I notice a common thread. Regardless of whether you’re the one ending the relationship or the one being left behind, the stories seem eerily similar. Lack of communication, unmet expectations, and fear of vulnerability seem to be recurring themes.

People often compare their new relationships to their past ones, believing that they have found someone better. But do we really know everything about our new partners? The truth is, that we are all complex beings with many layers to uncover.

Why is it that the one ending the relationship seems to have all the answers, while the one being left behind appears indifferent? Are we all just regurgitating the same patterns and reactions? Is media playing a major role in shaping our understanding of love? Why do we all share our stories and our loved ones say the same things? When did this start becoming a thing?

I reflect on my own experiences, as well as those of my friends, family, and past lovers. I realize that love is not easily defined. It cannot be classified into a few categories or terms. Love is a spectrum, with countless shades and variations.

We often find ourselves using terms like “limerence” to explain intense feelings. Did you know that psychologist Dorothy Tennov coined the term limerence in the early 1970s after conducting over 300 interviews to gather qualitative data on the experience of romantic love? Over 7 billion people in the world and only 300 people participated in this study. Does that mean you’re now in limerence or could it be borderline obsession? How can we accurately portray what we feel isn’t love? Who can dictate the definition of that feeling?

The once-envisioned power of love is stripped away. Why can’t one have intense feelings? Should they feel ashamed for loving so deeply? One will always love the other more in the relationship.

But do these labels truly capture the essence of love? Love is a feeling that requires effort and commitment. It cannot be reduced to a single term or concept.

In the midst of heartbreak, the one being left behind is often made to feel ashamed of their emotions. Meanwhile, the one ending the relationship claims to have tried everything before giving up. The cycle continues, with both parties hurting and repeating toxic patterns. Roles might be switched but the damage continues. The patterns continue.

This feeling makes me laugh, especially when someone says they don’t feel it anymore. Butterflies? Nervousness. Excitement. Stepping outside of your comfort zone.

The feeling of finding someone new who is attractive to you, and the feeling being mutual, the spark. Love has become dissected and analyzed, but do any of us truly know what it is? Love is a feeling that comes and goes, just like happiness. To some, there is no such thing as love at first sight, and saying “I love you” too soon and often is labeled as love bombing.

We often try to put love into boxes, categorizing it as either true love, in love, unconditional love, obsession, infatuation, or limerence. Then come the negative feelings: avoidance, abandonment, cheating, breadcrumbing, and emotional and physical abuse. But love is not black and white. It is a complex and multifaceted emotion that cannot be easily defined.

Could it be that our definition of love is based on what we know love to be, shaped by our environment? Is cheating shown as a norm on social media? Marriages turned into trash TV competitions? Jumping to someone new instead of committing to fix what may be a little damaged but not beyond repair?

We all come from different backgrounds, cultures, and experiences. We interact with diverse individuals and face unique challenges. Yet, we often judge others based on our own limited perspectives and experiences.

In online forums, I see people jumping to conclusions and diagnosing others based on a few sentences. We believe in strangers and try to influence them based on our own past experiences. But everyone’s journey is different, and we must remember that we are not experts in each other’s lives.

Mental illness has become a focal point in our society, with pharmaceutical companies holding immense power. A time to capitalize on the weak. Everyone wants to be a better version of themselves. But we must remember that not everyone is mentally ill. We all have our struggles, but we also have the capacity to change and grow.

In the midst of all this confusion, one thing remains constant: we must take care of ourselves. We must communicate our needs and boundaries, and treat others with kindness and respect. Let’s break the cycle of toxic love and strive for healthier relationships. It’s in your control who you allow in your life. It’s not in your control what people do, so it’s better to cut them off and move on; don’t linger on it.

If you know you deserve better, you won’t entertain the people who give you half-hearted responses, who flake, who keep you as their backup, who ghost and then come back, and all the other multitude of disappointing behaviors. The quicker you cut them off, the less time you waste on them and the closer you are to finding someone you deserve.

There are many people who forget or don’t realize that you don’t need to keep low-effort people in your life. You have control over that.

How do you learn to deserve better? By loving yourself. Truly loving yourself. Along with this, you teach people how to treat you. If you accept poor behavior from your friends, family, or partners, they will continue to treat you that way because they will believe that is what you want, expect, and deserve. You’ve got to have some self-respect and ask for, even demand, the treatment you want.

We have all the control over the quality of the people in our lives. Often, we are the creators of our own misery. Many people believe that they will gain respect by letting others disrespect them. But this is far from the truth.

We tend to always have people around who want us, but maybe it’s not the type of love we think we deserve. We deserve more because we are full of love and have so much more to give.



Ahmad Ayyash

I'm Ayyash, a poet on a mission to heal souls with words. Through my verses, I embrace my scars and aim to inspire others to find pride in their own and heal.