Sometimes It's Patience, Not Love, that Runs Out

Sometimes It's Patience, Not Love, that Runs Out
Valeria Sabater

Written and verified by the psychologist Valeria Sabater.

Last update: 15 November, 2021

Sometimes it is patience, not love, that runs out. Patience, that sacred virtue that resists winds and tides and always ends up giving more than it should.

So, how can one not offer all of their patience to that person with whom they have built a vital and loving bond, and even a vision for a life together?

Patience is fundamental in relationships. It’s what allows us to forgive today, tomorrow, and the next day, and hope a little bit harder for the dream that things will get better…

But at times, reality ends up crashing down under its own weight before we open our eyes. Our heart cannot simply erase what it feels, and when patience is lost, we must rid ourselves, one by one, of what we were once blind to.

Some people say that patience is a virtue. However, it’s also important that our patience have boundaries. We cannot live our whole life being patient. We cannot sit back and watch our rights get violated, and our human needs for reciprocity, care, affection, and recognition be ignored.

Love requires compromise, free will, and patience…but only up to a certain point.

In love, patience is not the same as passivity 

girl on swing patience

As previously stated, the concept of patience is often defined as a virtue. It is the ability that humans have to put off determined things that give us satisfaction, because we think that the wait, in the end, will bring us something better. 

Patience can also be defined as a skill that helps us tolerate unpleasant situations over which we may or may not have control. 

Sometimes, however, patience becomes an obligation. Maybe things are bad, but what can be done? We must be patient. “What can we do if he or she is acting a certain way? We cannot change them, so it is better to be patient…”.  

This is where the real key is found. We can be patient, and we can make patience our number one virtue, because it helps us to better analyze a given situation. It helps us to know how to observe, and how to reflect.

Therefore, this internal process should allow us to see reality as it truly is.

But a patient person isn’t a passive person. A passive person makes tolerance a way of life, allowing abuse until they have a first-hand experience that reveals to them how vulnerable their own integrity is. That is something that we should never allow in life.

The benefits of being patient, not passive 

When it is time to establish and maintain a romantic relationshippatience is one of the pillars of day to day life that must be recognized. It is clear that there is no specific reason why we may be attracted to each aspect, behavior, or custom of our significant other, but just because we are does not mean we should act impulsively.

We are patient, and we respect and tolerate because we also love. We also know that within every relationship, it takes time for things to be reconciled, for everything to be accepted, and the needs of each person to be understood.

Patience should be mutual and carried out almost as if it were exercise. “I am patient with you because I respect you and I love you, because I recognize you as a person, and I know that loving is not only loving our commonalities, but also respecting our differences.”

So, patience, in turn, requires emotional clarity. We should know where the limits lie, and understand in which moments patience is required.

There is no need to be passive when faced with the demands of selfishness. We should not close our eyes to that which we lack, nor be apathetic to the emotional pain these gaps cause. Disdain and contempt, and that kind of subtle abuse are all exercised through poisonous and caustic words.

It is at this point that patience should be put into practice, and the veil pulled back to reveal the truth.

What happens when patience runs out? 

girl in boat with cats patience

When patience runs out, disappointment takes its place. At this point, we are now conscious of our reality and all of its little nuances. We are now able to see all that is positive, and all that is negative. However, this doesn’t mean that we should end our relationship immediately.

This means that it is time to have a discussion, to put the situation in a spotlight, and to say what we feel and what we need. Do not try to avoid the problem. If the commitment of the relationship means something to us, we must give everything we can in order to hold on to it.

In the end, for a relationship to prosper and heal itself from that which it lacked or was harmful, both partners must put in the the effort to fix it. The moment that one person offers more than the other, and the other only gives excuses, patience comes to an end and disappointment becomes a bottomless abyss.

Patience is not the ability to wait, but rather the skill to understand that we deserve better.

Images courtesy of: Anne Soline, Виктория Кирдий

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.