I Can’t Give Everything To You, If You Give Me Nothing In Return


Everyone has heard the term “Manic Pixie Dream-Girl” at this point.  There are a deluge of films that portray this “perfect girl” in romantic comedies and indie dramas spanning from the late 1990’s – 2000’s.  This girl is effusive, giving, laughing, wacky, quirky, walks-to-the-beat-of-her-own-drum, breezy, uncomplicated, optimistic, wears funky clothes and maybe no shoes, and so forth.  She brings the male lead out of his murky moods and then he can suddenly face the world again.

What if you find yourself in this scenario in real life?  What if you find yourself constantly sending uplifting text messages to your significant other?  What if you are the one who calls first “just because”?  What if you are building up their ego and sense of self?  What if you find yourself making them chocolate chip banana bread when you have a cold and would rather be in bed?  The real kicker is this: what if you are not receiving the same love and support back?

Some may call this male fantasy “codependency” and I think there is a case to be made for it.  Putting your significant other’s needs and desires over your own is not healthy.  Yes, there are times when he or she needs more support, everyone has hard times.  It is amazing when you can be there for your partner on those “banner-days”, jobs lost, family members passed away, financial difficulties, etc.  However, your entire relationship should not be built around how good you make them feel and how you can get them into a “better mood” by your presence.  

I have had this happen recently and it has been a real cold-water-in-the-face moment for me to realize I am the one not having my needs met.  I had been spending so much time sending him encouraging texts out of the blue, of calling first, leaving a party or room to take his calls, being the “listener” and bringing this man out of his Eeyore-Gloom-Ville state.

The question is, here we are weeks later, and: what about me?  What about my needs?  What about the shitty days I have?  I have had a rough week – emotional, family, health, a lot of things going on and I do not feel optimistic about all of them.  But I am not receiving back the care I have given. I have seen that we are not equals.   I need a partner who can bring me a cup of tea, rub my shoulders and call me before work in the morning “just because” – I need all of it, too.

I don’t mind being the one leading the positive charge for our relationship.  I do try to look at the good side of life.  And it is part of my personality that I enjoy being in a “caretaker” mode.  However, I cannot be the supplier of positive energy 100% of the time with little to nothing in return.  

I don’t want to be anyone’s “manic pixie dream-girl” because that is not how I want my story to play out.  I don’t want to burst into someone’s life every day with effervescence and positive energy, all sweet, cute and fizzy like a cold cola, bubbling over.  I can’t be that girl every day and I don’t want to be.  I can’t carry the weight of my world and his, too.  I need a partner – a true PARTNER who is willing to meet me halfway.  

Hold my hand and I will hold yours. Send me texts in the middle of the day to build me up and I will do the same for you.  We all deserve the same love and energy we give to be reciprocated in our relationships.  Isn’t that why we are all out here anyway?