Desire, (noun) a strong feeling of wanting to have something or wishing for something.
Value, (noun) the regard that someone (something) is held to deserve; the importance, worth, or consider (someone) to be important or beneficial; have a high opinion of.
Clearly there is a difference between being desired and being valued, but sometimes it’s hard to tell. If you have trouble identifying the difference, don’t worry, you’re not alone (and that includes many adults I’ve worked with over the years).
First, let’s be honest, it’s exciting when someone pays attention to us and finds us attractive, it makes us feel… special. I mean who doesn’t want to feel special? I know I do. That said, it’s important to understand what the motivation is behind the attention you are receiving.
Honestly, that’s where things become tricky. It’s tricky because the feelings we have when we feel valued and when we feel desired are typically the same. And in the end it can be hard to figure this out when we are feeling “special” or find that guy or girl attractive.
So the easiest thing I can do to help you tell the difference is to look at their behavior.
What does it look like when someone values you?
1. You are a Priority: You never have to second-guess them. Are they going to call? Are they going to text? Are they going to contact you in any way? If you have to ask these questions, clearly they are not making you a priority and don’t value you.
2. They don’t hide you: If they want you in their life and value you, you will be involved in their life regularly. You will know their friends and family and not be kept a secret. I’ve worked with hundreds of singles in my career; if you don’t meet the significant people in their life then they don’t value you.
3. They don’t just want to hookup: And by a hookup I mean anything from making out to sexual intimacy. You are more than the person who should feed their ego. If they want to be in a relationship with you, you will be more than just the person they contact for sexual intimacy. Over time if they continue to contact you just for sexual intimacy only it will negatively impact your self-worth.
4. They NEVER ask you to compromise yourself: So this is a big one for me as a relationship expert. I’ll start by giving you a common example of a compromising situation… revealing photos. Very often singles have reported to me that someone they are dating has asked them for revealing photos. If this happens to you please, understand they are asking you to compromise yourself. If they value you, they will not ask you to compromise yourself in any way.
5. They don’t play games with your emotions: I think this is pretty self-explanatory. If they make you feel badly when they contact you, then they are playing with your emotions. If they promise you things and never come through, they are playing with your emotions. If they tell you, “you are the only one”, then you find out they are involved with someone else. That is playing with your emotions and not valuing you.
If you’ve been concerned and wondering if not conforming to the NEW social norms of today will limit your chances of having a relationship, again, you are not alone. However, it is what you learn now, that will shape how you manage (perhaps more serious) relationships in the future.
It’s important to learn how to set limits and boundaries. Having expectations in a relationship IS important.
A relationship should make you feel good about yourself. Not make you second-guess yourself or make you feel badly about yourself. If “they” don’t value you, then make sure YOU value YOU!
Be sure to set limits on behavior you will accept and make sure to set expectations as well.
About the Author: Julianne CANTARELLA, MSW, is one of Your Monthly Mentors, the president and CEO of “New Jersey’s Matchmaker”. A Licensed Social Worker, Julianne received her Master’s Degree in Social Work from Fordham University. She has been a professional Matchmaker and Dating Coach since 2005. From 2010 through 2011 Julianne was a Matchmaking Consultant to eHarmony for the prestigious Diamond program. In 2011, she was chosen to become a Matchmaking & Dating / Relationship Expert for Your Tango Online Magazine. Read More…