How to Love a Girl Who Doesn’t Know How to Be Loved.

Via Sara Rodriguez
on Mar 17, 2014
get elephant's newsletter

 Photo: Tainara

Whether we know it or not, we’ve all met some form of the typical “Miss Independent.”

Some of us know her better than others; some of us claim that title ourselves.

She’s the self-sufficient, somewhat mysterious go-getter with big dreams and an even bigger heart, though not everyone sees it at first glance.

Some might see her as cold and distant, because she needs a significant amount of alone time to keep her from feeling scattered and spread so thin that she disappears. Sure, she has family and friends with whom she loves to spend much of her time, but it’s in her nature to crave those precious hours of solitude—being only with her thoughts, completely alone in a crowd or in the vastness of a quiet scene.

Some call it antisocial; she calls it sanity.

For any or all of these reasons and then some, she’s never been the type to “fall in love.” In fact, if she has ever been in a relationship to any degree, it was likely one of the most difficult and confusing things she’s ever experienced—and she’s not usually one to be deterred.

Perhaps she’s too focused on her goals to realize that love could be knocking on her door, or she’s so comfortable with being in control that the thought of surrendering even a little bit to someone else makes her uneasy. There’s also a chance that, despite her outward confidence and undeniable potential for success, she’s extremely insecure.

Or, maybe she’s simply afraid of opening herself up enough to be loved.

Whatever the reason, it comes down to the fact that this girl probably doesn’t know how to handle the love that a suitor might want to give her. It doesn’t mean she’s a lost cause, it just means that developing any kind of relationship with her will require an approach that’s more sensitive to her guarded heart.

In an effort to offer some insight, here are a few pointers for learning how to love a girl who doesn’t know how to be loved:

1. Be patient.

Don’t expect her to feel comfortable with diving headfirst into anything even slightly resembling romance. Keep in mind, it’s probably taken her a great deal of contemplation and courage to even consider spending her time with you. And if she does appear comfortable responding to your first moves, it’s quite possible that she’s actually terrified of what you’ll think of her if she asks to slow things down. So, she just musters the strength to submit herself to the moment, only to spend all night feeling horrible about her dishonesty and inability to step on the brakes. This will freak her out enough to make her sever whatever ties were made and withdraw immediately—something she’s not afraid to do.

To avoid that, let things unfold at a pace that feels natural, which might be slower than what’s considered “normal.” Remember, she’s not used to this, and too much at once will surely send her over the edge. Showing sensitivity to her pace will let her know that she doesn’t have to fear being out of control, causing a miscommunication or feeling the pressure of time.

2. Talk.

Because she spends so much of her time alone and in her head, this girl might be under the impression that her thoughts and opinions are a bit too intense for others. She rarely shares the things on her mind, as she fears that whatever’s in there is so deep and inquisitive that people will think it’s overdramatic, oddly philosophical or just plain weird. She values deep conversation, but feels that she can exercise this pleasure with relatively few people, if any at all.

So talk with her. Let her know that she can say what’s on her mind, and don’t be afraid of her ability to dissect every possible meaning of a theory she’s been hung up on for weeks. If she apologizes for rambling about it, tell her she doesn’t need to be sorry, she doesn’t need to suppress it. Make her feel that although she is certainly unique for having such thoughts, she isn’t crazy or abnormal.

Tell her it makes her all the more beautiful.

And then, give it right back to her. Be sure to engage in her contemplations just as much as you listen; she wants to hear your thoughts more than you realize.

3. Support her.

Part of this girl’s struggle with letting herself be loved could be that she is relentlessly focused on her dreams and goals, so much so that she forgets to make room in her life for other things—like relationships. It’s not something she does intentionally, she’s just extremely determined to achieve whatever she has set out to do.

If she is forced to make a choice between a love life and her goals, she’s already chosen the latter. So don’t make her choose.

And certainly don’t make her feel guilty for not spending more of her time with you as a result—she’ll take that as another sign that she needs to sever the ties, even if they’re stronger at this point.

Instead, support her. If you really love this girl and she really loves you, then she’ll welcome the encouragement. She’ll want to support you, too. Let her; with a heart as passionate as hers, you’ll want her on your team.

4. Don’t be two halves of a whole, be two wholes that make an even greater whole.

Remember that this “Miss Independent” is just that—an independent chick with an ability to fend for herself. She might even be afraid of relying on others, no matter how much she trusts them.

Therefore, don’t think of a relationship with her as one that joins two halves together to make a whole; she won’t treat it as such, and she definitely won’t feel comfortable if you do. Rather, see it as two wholes becoming an even greater whole—two individuals who love each other enough to respect the other’s independence and uniqueness.

This includes honoring her need for alone time. She realizes that you are a person with or without her and asks that you see her in the same way. Being able to spend time apart is important to her; she doesn’t want to rely on your presence, nor does she want you to rely on hers.

Don’t try to spend every hour of every day with her unless you want her to feel so bombarded that she tailspins into a mess of tears, word vomit and utter confusion, ending with her breaking it off and swearing to never interact with another human ever again.

But when you are together, be together. Completely. Let her know she is loved until she begins to understand what that feels like, and then keep doing it. If it’s right, she’ll come around. And because she’s loyal by nature, she’ll stick around, too (so don’t give her any reason to think that you won’t).

Truly, this girl has a lot of love to give, even if she’s a bit awkward in showing it at first. She just needs time—time to figure things out for herself, to better understand how this works.

Let her figure out that deep down, she just wants to love and be loved—just like everyone else.

If she happens to let you close enough to love her, take it seriously. It means she’s trying. It means she wants to love you. And remember that helping her learn how to be loved in return is the surest way to win her heart.

Bonus: What to look for in a partner:

One of the more honest descriptions of love I’ve heard: 



Things I would like to take off my List so I can read your Name.

How to Love an Empath 

Date a Woman Who Knows Everything (& Nothing) 

Strong Independent Woman Syndrome 


Love elephant and want to go steady?

Sign up for our (curated) daily and weekly newsletters!

Editor: Catherine Monkman

Photo: Flickr


About Sara Rodriguez

Sara Rodriguez is a freelance dance artist and writer based in New York City. Her work has been published on Elephant Journal, Thought Catalog, Rebelle Society and Elite Daily. Her poetry was recently published in the debut issue of feminist art publication, Period. Sex. You can follow her on Instagram @sara_bex and on Facebook.


368 Responses to “How to Love a Girl Who Doesn’t Know How to Be Loved.”

  1. Lorena says:

    I was that girl for a long time, then i just met someone that opened my heart forever, he passed away, sadly, but what he teached me i will bring with me forever

  2. Kris says:

    How do you convince someone to stop running scared from you? I meet someone I instantly connected deeply with. It was mutual even though that scared her. She had a bad history in relationships especially one several mns prior and was scared to date and let people close. We agreed to be friends 1st and spent a lot of time texting, talking and hung several times. Really enjoyed each other’s company. I did not push being more than friends as I knew she was scared. After a few weeks, she asked me out on a date. It went great and she wanted to see me again. A few days later she suddenly went distant and then MIA. I can only assume her emotions scared. Contacted her a few times no response. Now giving her space. Been almost 2 weeks since she went MIA. I really like this person and am completely willing to be patient, just unsure how to proceed. Advice is appreciated.

  3. Jamie says:

    I only just read this article today for the first time, and the timing couldn't have been better. I berated myself and cried myself to sleep after another bad date last night, thinking I would have to just swear off dating forever. I spend the day today journaling and sitting with it. It helps to read this. Thank you.

  4. Luthur says:

    Thanks for the insightful article, it is indeed an eye opener for an outsider such as I, you see… my ex fits the profile to the dot. When I first fell in love with her, I knew she was special, but it was ironically for that same special reason that drove us to drift apart. She’s attractive, intelligent, and came from a good family. I would be considered blind and stupid to not have fallen head over heels for her. She was also very career driven. To her, her career defines her self worth. Like any ordinary guys, once you find that special someone, especially in that first few months, you just couldn’t get enough of her. I knew she needed more time, so I took it slow. Believe me, my previous ex had borderline personality disorder, so patience is literally my middle name… and so I thought. But how do you deal with a girlfriend who can go about her business without even having the desire to call, message, or meet up with her boyfriend? Like a robot, she offers no passion in return, as though she does not know what love is. She hides in a nutshell which she calls her safe house where she is free from the exposure of any emotional pain. She might be very capable in her work place, but as a girlfriend, she was a really lousy one. Please don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to bad mouth anyone. But if you are considering starting a relationship with someone who doesn’t know how to be loved, patience may pay off in some cases, but not for the extreme ones. To her, the world evolves around her. How does two persons come together when they don’t even share the same understanding in the most fundamental values in a relationship? I love her with every bone of my body, but if she was meant to live a single lifestyle, there’s not one damn thing in the world that we can do to change that. Good luck everyone!

  5. Kaustuv says:


  6. vera patrick says:

    My Name is Vera Patrick from USA,i want to use this opportunity to thank the Great DR ADUDU for helping in getting my Ex boyfriend back to me, i have been in great pains until the day i contacted DR ADUDU he casted a love spell for me and told me to wait for just 24 hours that my Ex boyfriend will call me and i did according to the instructions given to me by him and surprisingly, in 24 hours, my Ex Boyfriend really called me and started apologizing for all he had caused me. I am the happiest Woman on earth today because DR ADUDU has done a wonderful deeds in my life and i will continue to share this testimony, if you would love to contact DR ADUDU and if you know you are encountering same condition, visit him: [email protected] is really a gifted man and i will not stop publishing him because he is a wonderful man… If you have a problem and you are looking for a real and genuine spell caster to solve all your problems for you.he is the answer to your problems. Here's his contact email:[email protected]

  7. Amber says:

    Great article. Very insightful.

  8. Thank you so much for sharing this perfect words! I’m glad the article touched you as much as it did me.
    Thank You !!

  9. Kay says:

    I too Maggie, thank you and thanks to this article (Sara)

  10. Dee says:

    oh wow, this is me! I don't feel alone.

  11. Pankaj says:

    Cant believe.only week before met with the same kind of girl and was trying to understand her. This article is something which could enlighten me in this matter. Thanks

  12. Honey Ryder says:

    I agree, it is probably gender neutral introvert behavior!

  13. Renae says:

    Holy Smoke–thank you for the self portrait–I am absolutely flabbergasted. Amazing. Thank you.

  14. Karishma says:

    This is so well written, clearly defines what is it to be that girl… Thanks.

  15. shreya says:

    This article is awesom. It perfectly defines me. While reading this i realise where actually i went wrong in my relationship. But i hope next time i am with someone, i’ll suggest him to go through this one 😉 Please do write for girls that wants to be loved but are weak at it…

  16. Thomas says:

    Last year, I tried to date a girl like this. We went out once and it was amazing. Just talking and nothing else. But after that date, she suddenly stopped talking to me. And when I approached her, she would just “go away”. And one day she told me she couldn’t see me as nothing else but a friend. We stopped talking full time, and last december we started talking again, but I wanted to take things slowly so that I wouln’t mess things up again.

    Up to this day, I’ve been thinking of what I did wrong. After reading this and seeing how it perfectly describes her, there are only two thoughts in my head right now: First, this is why I like her, because she is deep, she is different and is full of love. Second, I want to show her how much I’ll love her.

    Since the day she told me I was nothing but a friend to her, I’ve been patient. I didn’t date nobody else. I only date someone if I’m going to be committed to the relationship. I’ve been doing what says here without knowing and now, I know what step to do next.

    Thanks a lot.

    Sincerely, a guy in love.

  17. Sam says:

    Oh my gosh!

    I can see that most of comments are happy girls who saw this article express themselves. Fortunately, I am in the otherside of the fence. I am in love till my ears with a girl that I would say this article was just written about her. I have been patient and practicing most of these tactics by nature 🙂 but thank so you much, this article really puts lots of things in place. And I am sure that such a person have lots to give that eventually would happen.

  18. Brionna says:

    I loved it all, it sounds like me. But antisocial was used wrong. It’s a common mistake. Antisocial people have violent tendencies. Asocial people are the type that tend to be standoffish and want to be alone.