THE BLOG

What Love Does (And Doesn't) Look Like

12/03/2013 12:08 pm ET | Updated Feb 02, 2014

Why do people who love you always lie to you and think it's okay?

Why do people who love you try to change you?

Why do people who love you prevent you from doing what you love?

These are just a few of the questions I see pop up on my newsfeed every once in awhile, all with the same answer:

They don't.

People who truly love you, do not do these, or other negative things to you. People who really love you will not betray your trust. They will not lie to you, especially repeatedly. Love is a product of honesty, trust, and mutual respect -- without those things you cannot have real love.

This may be infatuation masquerading as love. This may be someone who is trying to control you by making you think that they love you. This may be someone you are attached to who you are trying to defend. But, this is not someone who loves you.

I believe one of the most important things that we can teach our future (and current) generations, is what love truly looks like. People who constantly hurt you and lie to you do not truly love you and we absolutely cannot allow decent human beings to continue remaining in relationships like this, while believing it is normal or right.

It's not.

If you want more specific ideas of how a good person will treat you, you can take a look at the 10 ways to know you're dating a true gentleman. This, to me, is an outline for every man to strive towards. A benchmark to set for himself, and those he loves.

And, just as importantly -- it's a benchmark for women to set as requirements for how they accept being treated in relationships.

If we want our world to improve, we must lead by example. We must pledge to treat our significant others with love and respect -- and we must pledge to walk away when we are not getting what we deserve.

It is better to be single and only accept the love you truly deserve, than to commit yourself to negative relationships along the way that will make you feel worthless or unwanted. The wrong relationship will make you feel worse than being single does.

There is an inaccurate misconception in our society that tells us that people who are in relationships are automatically happy, and those who are single, are not. So, we often chase after any relationship that comes our way just for the want of being happy. We must set our standards higher. We must reward the right treatment, and punish the wrong.

It is not good enough to say it out loud, we must live by example. We must eliminate those from our lives who bring us down, and only accept those who lift us up. The number one way to begin doing this, is by being truly honest with ourselves about which people are which.

Life is too short to be surrounded by negativity, and it's definitely too short to go to bed next to somebody who brings it to our lives.

James Michael Sama is a writer, actor and public speaker who writes regularly on his website jamesmsama.wordpress.com.