There is no reward for suffering for love.

For women to voluntarily dedicate themselves to suffering for love, the patriarchy had to invent the romantic paradise. Love is like a religion: they ask us to pass through the valley of tears with resignation and assure us that in the end, we will be able to enter the gates of heaven to enjoy eternal, wonderful, and perfect love. But there is no reward, no paradise as a prize for enduring.

Women are raised in a culture of endurance, sacrifice, and renunciation with the promise that at some point in their lives, they will be rewarded and receive their prize. In Princess stories, this is the main message conveyed to women: if you suffer and endure, if you wait patiently, if you persevere and remain loyal, he will realize and fall to his knees before you, promise to love you forever, and you can be happy.

It's the perfect trap for women to care for men with problems: they seduce us with the idea that our love can conquer all, and with great patience and tenderness, we will change the ogre and turn him into the Prince Charming. Our role model becomes the Beauty who transforms the Beast by enduring his mistreatment. We fall in love with the scared and traumatized little boy that resides within every monster. Women tend to feel pity right away for these babies who demand love in a misguided manner, convinced that our love will save us both, and that we will be rewarded for being so good, generous, patient, and loving.

However, there is no reward. There is no prize, no possible paradise when we "for love" give up our freedom, our rights, our passions, our projects, our self-care. There's no way to give and receive love under conditions of suffering and abuse. It's impossible to build a healthy and beautiful relationship, and happiness cannot be achieved when we carry the burdens of others and they become our own problems.

When women come together with men who have problems, what happens is that we take on the responsibility for their well-being, and guilt is immediately triggered. We believe that we could do more or do it better, but nothing seems to satisfy the suffering man.

No matter how submissive, obedient, and accommodating we are, they won't love us more for behaving as expected of us, nor will they treat us better. On the contrary, our masochism exacerbates the sadism of those who know they hold power.

Our victim status will never provide us with the eternal love we were promised. It doesn't matter how much we suffer, how much we endure, or how much effort we put into saving the poor man who doesn't know how to love. Truly, sisters, there is no reward, no prize, and no paradise.

Alcoholics are not saved by love, gamblers, drug addicts, and violent men do not become good men through love. Each person must come out of their own hell if they want to and if they invest energy into their personal work, but no one can pull someone out of depression, their childhood traumas, their accumulated hatred, their pettiness, and misery.

There is no paradise in exchange for suffering and hardship: life slips away as we wait for the romantic miracle that never arrives. Penelope waited for Odysseus for 30 years, Sleeping Beauty waited for her Prince for a hundred years, and thus all the women of warriors and princes spend their lives, waiting for him to return, or for him to change, or for a miracle to lead us to the romantic paradise we deserve.

In all the stories, women wait and endure, but in reality, very few actually enjoy happy endings where the man redeems himself from his sins, stops being emotionally wounded, or solves his problems to make his princess happy. And usually, the price we pay for enduring is too high: suffering leaves a mark on our bodies, our brains, and our hearts, it deteriorates our mental and emotional health, makes us look unattractive, and ages us.

We cannot afford to waste our short existence waiting for the situation to change or for the other person to change. We can only change ourselves. We cannot squander our energy trying to save our loved one from their problems: we need partners by our side who know how to care for and love us properly, who can give their best in the relationship, who are generous and supportive, who know how to share and be there for us in both good and bad times.

Let's demystify love so that we can love with our feet on the ground, so we can love each other without hurting ourselves, and to avoid abusive and exploitative relationships, so that no one can take advantage of our need to be loved.

We need to be realistic and love in the present, here and now, without being complacent, without victimizing ourselves, without believing that our love will change them in the future. The only time to enjoy love is in the present, so let's forget about rewards: paradise is on Earth, and in the good moments you can experience with people who know how to love you properly.

Coral Herrera Gómez

Artículo original:  No hay recompensa por sufrir por amor