If there’s one piece of advice I can stress more than any other, it’s that when entering into a relationship or the dating scene, don’t ever, I repeat ever, lose your self-respect. It’s the one thing that almost everybody forgets about, although I don’t know why. You would think standard protocol would be to “respect myself,” but it seems as though this protocol takes a back burner the second there’s a dreamy guy or beautiful girl in the picture.
I've had multiple instances where I've put myself out there only to have my heart taken to a cheese grater. Then after it was grated, you would think I'd have the common sense to say, "Patrick, come on; your heart was just put through a cheese grater, you're not going to let her eat it are you?" Not only do I let her eat it, I put it on a fork, then into her mouth and ask, "Does it taste good, honey?"
Something can happen when you fall hard and quick for someone. You want to do everything in your power to make that person happy because you think it'll make them want to make you happy. But if they aren't making you happy with the same urgency, then you're doing these things for someone who both doesn't really care about you and doesn't really deserve it.
If self-respect is maintained, you won't stand for anything less than a mutual partnership. And to be honest, a genuinely mutual relationship is the only relationship worth having. If both people have healthy self-respect, it will motivate this mutuality. Self-respect causes someone to draw the line when it comes to poor, inconsiderate treatment. It took two Jacqueline the Rippers to rediscover my self-respect again. It was expensive to relocate this self-respect, but eventually I did after lots of tears and endless phone calls from friends telling me the same stuff over and over. "Patrick, they don't like you as much as you like them, so end it for your sanity."
Eventually it became exhausting and love shouldn't be exhausting. If it is, that means you've lost your self-respect. So find it again, then reserve your efforts for someone who deserves it. You will get a second chance, just like Scott at the end of the wildly-underrated Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. That would be the second piece of advice I'd stress more than any; if you haven't seen Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, find it right now and watch it. If you're with someone who doesn't like that movie, this may also serve as sufficient reason to consider ending the relationship.