Loyalty

loyalty

Loyalty is one of those things that is really important in any relationship.  It has to be earned though, and not expected, unless of course if we are talking about a parent being loyal to their children.  That should be expected.  The other way around though is a different story.  As kids grow older and start thinking more like adults, they start to see things differently, including their parents.  If one or both parents have been there for the child every step of the way, then there’s a good chance the child will feel a sense of loyalty to the parent(s).

When that’s not the case, the parent shouldn’t be surprised if the child doesn’t feel a sense of loyalty.  I think this is especially evident when parents split up.  It’s quite possible that a child will feel loyal to both parents if the child has had a good relationship with each of them, but when one or both parents haven’t been there for the child, the child is likely to lose that sense of loyalty.  I have experienced this with my own parent, and I am now watching my kids go through the same process.  It’s definitely a two-way street.  You can’t expect someone to be loyal to you if you are not willing to do the same in return.

The same can be said for friendships and romantic relationships and relationships with other family members. There’s the old saying that blood is thicker than water, meaning family will always be a stronger bond than other relationships, but clearly every family doesn’t have that type of connection.  Loyalty shouldn’t be assumed with other family members.  It all depends on how people treat each other and what their values are about any number of things.  Often times the people we feel most loyal to are our good friends, especially those who might seem more like family.  That’s because they have typically earned it.  We all need people in our lives who we know will be there at the drop of a pin for us, so we latch onto people who fill that role, friendship or otherwise.

I think one of the most important factors in a successful relationship is feeling that sense of loyalty from your partner.  I have yet to be in a relationship where I felt like the other person would have my back no matter what the circumstances, but I am hopeful that one day I will have that.  I can only imagine how much stronger that makes the bond between two people.  For now, I am relying on experiences shared from other friends and family members to understand how important that factors in to the strength of a relationship.  For many of the ones I know have failed, that has sometimes been a piece of the puzzle. The sense of loyalty wasn’t there.

It is very disappointing to find out that someone you trusted and thought was loyal actually wasn’t at all, regardless of the type of relationship.  There are a number of reasons this may happen.  Some people mistake kindness for loyalty or maybe are too trusting.  Some people appear to be trustworthy but are just good at giving people that impression, and their loyalty changes to suit their own needs.  Loyalties may change once you get to know a person better and realize they weren’t the type of person you thought they were, and they haven’t earned your loyalty.  Actions always speak louder than words, so even if someone says they will be loyal to you, you may figure otherwise.  The bottom line is if you look out for people who you know will look out for you, while at the same time strive to be the type of person who deserves loyalty, you should have no problem feeling secure in any type of relationship.

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