Whom should I marry: the one whom I love or the one who loves me?

Albert Einstein said "“Men marry women with the hope they will never change. Women marry men with the hope they will change. Invariably they are both disappointed.” 🙂

They also say that a woman should marry a man who loves her more than she loves him.

I'd say marry only for love – either the instant spark that sets your soul on fire kind or the slowly growing flame kind that keeps you warm inside kind. But marry ONLY when you are both in love.

To further explain my answer – I don't know if you are comparing the loves or if you are saying its completely one sided. So I'll cover both aspects:

Obviously if its a love marriage, the love will be mutual. Who loves more and who loves less wouldn't, and shouldn't, matter. For no two people ever EVER love the same way and there is no bigger insult to the emotion than to measure it and compare it in any way. You should both want to marry not because you can live with each other, but because you cant live without. Simple.

However, if one has to "choose" a life partner, like in an arranged marriage setup, your question becomes pertinent. But I'd say its relevant only in the beginning – and you should make sure of that. Let me ask you this – why cant the one who loves you be the one you love? Isn't his/her love for you invitation enough? If someone loves you despite knowing or sensing you don't love them equally that much,  and if that someone continues to love you nevertheless, wouldn't you eventually fall in love with them as well?

"Eventually" is the keyword here. No one – man or woman- should marry someone they don't love. Or someone they believe or know they can't love, if we are being conservative about the time you have to invest in the relationship. However, just because you don't reciprocate someone's feelings at the outset, don't discredit the potential of eventually being happy together. Marriage is a mature decision and mature love is not just about the butterflies in the stomach or the gifts and grand displays of affection or raging hormones. Mature love is about mutual respect, patience, seeing a better person in your partner, belief in their character and hence faith that together you can and will weather all storms.

So if someone you don't love loves you and wants to marry you, tell them you need time and try to allow yourself to love them. I'd say you are lucky to have them, give it your best and genuinely see if you can get to know them better and love them for who they are and how they treat you.

Of course, you can't force yourself to love someone but, as Rumi says, you can and must seek and remove all barriers within yourself that you have built against love. Only then will you make the right decision and only then will you be at peace with it.

19 Replies to “Whom should I marry: the one whom I love or the one who loves me?”

  1. Hi and thanks for the A2A : )

    Well, I can't tell you whom you should marry, for it's your life and it has to be your decision. It really depends on the culture you grew up and what do you understand as 'love' (some cultures have arranged marriages, they 'learn to love' the other person and they are happy in this type of relationship, others just need the underlying emotional connection they call love in order to get married). Furthermore, it also depends on who you are, your personality and what do you expect from a marriage. Are you a rather unconfident person afraid that you 'can't survive' on your own and need a partner to support you all the time? Then you would be better off to marry someone who deeply loves you, for they will want to support you (hopping that they don't burn out… If we are constantly giving without getting anything in return, there is a big risk of getting burned out). Or are you very confident person, standing firmly on your own legs and just want to look after someone without getting anything in return? Then marry someone whom you love, but who doesn't love you in return.

    As I said it really depends on your personal characteristics and what do you want out of a marriage.

    I grew up in a culture where love, the strong underlying connection, the subconscious understanding between the two people is very important. My parents are… 'soulmates' – they fell in love at first sight, got married after going on only 3 dates, and more than 45 years later their romance still goes on. They still do everything together, walk holding hands and fall asleep cuddled up together. Growing up in this type of environment caused that for me emotional, romantic love is very important – and I also know how it feels to truly love someone and to be deeply loved in return. Therefore I wouldn't choose any of the options above – I would prefer to stay on my own than to be with someone who doesn't love me or whom I don't live in return. (I should probably add, that I am very independent person)

    I answered a very similar question here Janin Lyndovsky's answer to Who would you choose, the one you love or the one who loves you, and why? where I exactly explained why I wouldn't want to be in a relationship with someone where there isn't mutual love.

    All the best : )

  2. Scene 1:

    This was way back when I was in high school. I was once after a girl I fell in love with. She was a Junior and had no idea who I was. Nevertheless, I did all I could to make my presence known which included- following her after coaching to her home, roaming around her class. For the initial few months, these were the rituals we practiced back then when we fell in love with a girl. Few months down the line, I was following her gaze. She noticed!

    It was time I gathered courage to let her know what I felt. I wrote her a letter that took 3 days to take its final form. I didn't want to miss out on what I thought could be my first and last chance. So I made sure it was near- perfect for a first-timer.

    It worked! I was able to convince her. I was new into her life. I always made her laugh. She was happy about this sudden wonderful change in her life. Did she love me?

    I think it was the letter that worked wonder and I, for once, made her feel exceptionally wonderful a person while she read the letter. She couldn't say a no. She did say- I love you but she didn't mean it. It was because I convinced her into loving me. One year passed, I could no longer make her laugh at my jokes. I could no longer make her feel wonderful because she had become used to it by now. I still loved her but she didn’t feel the same way. It didn't work out and she broke up. I couldn't convince her this time. Words failed me.

    Scene 2:

    The ‘She’ character changed. Plot changed. It was my time to feel ‘exceptionally wonderful’ now. She made me notice her. She followed my gaze. With so much care and attention, I felt wonderful all the while. One day, she told me about her feelings. I said yes. I thought I was in love too. But I wasn’t! When I retrospect, I realize it was the circumstances and environment she created that I fell in love with rather the person. Once I got used to them, I stopped feeling the same way. Since I never loved the person, it faded away. She tried but couldn’t convince me. She did everything what I did in Scene 1 but it didn’t work out. We broke up. Perhaps, this was the reason why the character from ‘Scene 1’ broke up with me. I hated her for what she did but now I don’t.


    Whatever the scene may be, whether it’s you who love someone or someone who loves you, if involves convincing’ the other, it won’t ever work out. Love is a mutual feeling that involves the same degree of mutual caring, sharing, respect and involvement by the parties involved.

    If ‘convincing someone’ is ruled out, does that mean one should never approach a person they love or should never respond to someone who loves them? No. That’s not what I mean.

    Meet. Hang out. Spend time with each other. Get to know each other better. You’ll know when you’ll be in love and you wouldn’t even realize it until one day you would be like- ‘Fuck! we love each other’. That’s the kind of love that doesn’t fail. Ever.

    If not mutual, love is always a fail. I learnt this from the characters I played in the aforementioned scenes.

    Good Luck.

  3. I depends on 1. How strong and stubborn you are

    and 2. How big your expectations are on the opposite person.

    With the person who loves you, one side it is clear that he lives for you. Always he tries to reach your expectations. Of course, the limit is on your level of expectations.

    Then comes the question, how better you reach his expectations. It depends on your stubbornness and adjustability.

    Then comes the real question, whether you will be really happy with the person, as he may not have the qualities you like.  Mostly you may get adjusted with the BETTER alternatives that he tries to produce as a part of his love towards you and to meet your expectations.

    With the person whom you love, one side it is clear that you will get adjusted with him, whatever way he is, as you love him. You may not expect the same from him, as it is not sure that he loves you.

    The risk factors are, you may not reach his expectations also you can't expect him to reach your expectations. The only positive point is you will be happy with the way he is… Of course, as you love him, you will try to reach his expectations.

    Try to understand these…

    Sanjeev Kumar's answer to What is the best marriage advice you would give to me if I will be married in a month so our relationship will be strong physically, emotionally, and in terms of longevity, and what are some common marital mistakes that I can avoid in our marriage?

    If you choose the person who loves you, you will have upper hand and his fate depends on how good you are.

    If you choose the person whom you love, he will have upper hand and your fate depends on how good he is.

    All the best…

  4. Marry The One Who Loves You, Not The One Whom You Love

    Love is called as the other name of sacrifice but, to some extent the expectations are always attached to it. Sometimes, we miss the true love of our life and choose the artificial cover of emotions which is hollow from inside. Trust me, there is no way to return after you cross one phase of life and the only thing which hovers till the end is the regret. The worst part is that worse than the worst comes out even if you try to go back as the situations completely change by then.

    I know the scene described is really hard to imagine before it is experienced but once it falls upon someone, the whole life is ruined. The institution of marriage has lost the importance in the present era but, still at some point of your life you choose someone to settle down.

    Experienced people always make a statement of million dollars when they say ‘Marry the one who loves you, not the one whom you love’.  It does not mean that the person whom you love does not love and the other way round but, a dominating side is always there. If we think logically, this statement proves very true in the long run. If you marry the person whom you love, your expectations dominate and in the other way, the other’s feelings dominate. It pinches a lot when the person whom you love hurts you and the person who loved you is ditched by you.

    The above discussion is not to confuse anyone but to advise everyone to move ahead in life with a wise discretion. One single decision ruins the life forever. Yes, you can leave the person anytime and try to move ahead but, the thorn always remains. You can settle down with the second one, then the third one and may be the fourth one as well, but the dissatisfaction always increases with every new relation, how much ever you deny. The mere suggestion is to understand the relations and make the biggest decisions with extreme patience and after listening to both the heart and the mind. Love is blind, it is true but, do not get swayed by this blind emotion to the extent that it makes your whole life blind.

  5. According to me, you should definitely marry the one who loves you as his/her love for you will eventually make you fall in love with him/her.

    Lets consider a situation wherin you decide to marry the one whom you love. Do you sincerely think that while taking such a decision are you respecting his/her feelings and opinions?  You cannot change anyone and make them fall in love with you. The only person who can be changed is you yourself. Even if you try your level best to make them happy ,sometimes by sacrificing your own aspirations, it is not assured that this will make them fall in love with you. It will only lead to sheer disappointment and despair if your love is not reciprocated by him/her.

    Whereas, if you choose to marry the one who loves you, you will have a life partner who loves and cares for you. And trust me its very special to have someone by your side. There is a high probability that you will fall in love with him/her and your marriage will work. However, you have to put in sincere efforts from your side to understand him/her and respond to his/her feelings.

    Being loved is an awesome feeling. Dont miss out on it. Your partners love for you will surely blossom your life. 🙂

  6. Love is secondary. It’s not important. You'll need someone you can respect.

    Respect? Sounds boring Right?

    One thing is for sure that a relationship is not just for fun, it is also about trust and the knowledge that you can depend on your partner.

    Relationships based on passion and excitement do not last.

    What I’m trying to say is that you marry a woman who is better than you are; a woman who will compel you to bow your head in ADMIRATION.

  7. Whatever the case, unless love is mutual, the one experiencing unrequited love will face a sad future in marriage…

    I notice that there are about 70+ answers to this question already and the questioner too had written an answer telling that if love requires ‘convincing’ the other, it cannot last long ending in break ups explaining in detail his own past experience in such matters.

    As such, it seems to me that he wanted my views also on this for reasons best known to him.

    So, I will restrict it to responding to his views on this.

    Almost all love episodes are not mutual with love at first sight. That is the reality. What happens is one falls in love with another first and by acting proactively, ‘convinces’ the other that the person who loved first is indeed a good match for her/him by frequent contacts and perseverance. Once the other is also convinced about that, the love becomes mutual.

    The fact of the matter is even after such mutual love, over time one ( and it could be any one of the two ) may experience a slow dying and disappearance of the initial intensity in love that was felt (for whatever reason that is considered as valid by that person) and decides to end the relationship. It need not be restricted to only those where ‘convincing’ took place.

    The crux of the matter is “commitment”. Where there is a strong commitment by both the persons in love, there the love will blossom, stay fresh for ever, and spread fragrance everywhere after marriage to the joy of all.

  8. Neither.  You should choose the person who loves you, AND  that you love AND that matches your needs, desires, personality type, agrees with you on core beliefs and life principles.  Shares your vision for the future, wants the same things in life, shares long-term goals with you, agrees with you on (or compromises on) roles in the relationship, is aligned with you in moral compass and ethics. Someone who respects you, empowers you and supports you.  Someone who knows who you REALLY are and loves you because of this.  Someone who will defend your right to your stand (even when they disagree with your perspective), who will stand by you in hard times and who never takes for granted or advantage of your care and love for them.

    Choose someone you are willing to do all these things for in return.  Do not settle for less than this.  If you haven't found that person, stop messing around, wasting your time, playing at unfulfilling relationships and keep looking.

    Choosing someone to love is about SO MUCH MORE THAN JUST LOVE.

  9. Neither if the imbalance is great. Whether we like to admit it or not, I certainly don't, relationships have a balance of power component that is exceptionally important,

    When two people are relatively even in their love for each other, then they have a vested interest in compromising where necessary so that each party has a relative sense of satisfaction and feeling of being valued in the relationship.

    Hypotheticatically this is possible in relationships where one person is far more in love than the other, but it would require that the partner who had less sense of a love connection to have an extreme egalitarian sense of fairness and perhaps to even be an empath as well. While people like that no doubt exists, in most cases this type tends to be highly romantic and would not commit to such a disparate relationship to begin with. Although you might see them in one of the opposite type where they were the ones madly in love and their partner far less so.

    Any time there is this type of power imbalance and it doesn't move closer to the middle on each parties part, inevitably there will be pain, hurt feelings. One party will take advantage of the other. It can be overcome. However if it was this power imbalance that attracted one or the other but not both, then it is almost certainly doomed to fail. It tends to foster mutual disrespect over time.

  10. Obviously the one who loves you more as you won't be happy if the person you love won't love you back. If someone loves you, his/her love may eventually make you love them.

    Let me elaborate.

    My answer is based on the assumption that he/she doesn't want to get married to you since he/she doesn't love you.

    So how will you make him/her marry you? You can’t force him/her.
    There is no guarantee that someone's love will make you love them, that’s why I used the word 'may'. You can’t change others, their behavior, their thinking, their feelings etc. You can only change yourself. There is no guarantee that you will be able to make him/her love you, no matter what you do for them. So even if you somehow manage to get married to him/her, you will remain unhappy if your feelings are not reciprocated by your spouse.

    Now, if you are acknowledging the fact that someone you don't love is in love with you and you are considering him/her for marriage, then I assume that you at least respect his/her feelings. Now if you are making a conscious decision to marry that person, then you will also try to make your marriage work instead of waiting for him/her to make all the efforts and to make you fall in love with him/her and if you are not ready to make any effort then there is no point in getting married at all. If both of you are working on your marriage and you have got a spouse who loves you and cares for you, there are more chances of you falling in love with him/her and even more chances that you will be able to make your marriage work.

    If my assumption is wrong and the person you love is ready to get married to you then you may go ahead and marry him/her.

    At the end I would like to say that these are my personal views. What will happen in case of any particular choice of yours depends on the situation you are in and a lot of other factors. I can’t predict anything and in any case, you will have to take a chance.

  11. Neither. In both the cases, one doesn't understand the other. So, one of you may get affected/disappointed in the course of life.
    But when you go for a new one, both will be in a need to understand each other so adjustments, surprises, flirtations, love, etc will fall in place naturally…:)

    So before marriage, either both should love each other or go just plain.

  12. Oh it's a mad rush.

    We run after love all our lives, only to realize that it's the feeling we're addicted to, and not the person.

    It's an elusive search for a sense of comfort, a few nights of false contentment, a few mornings of smiling without reason and those damned sleepless nights


  13. I had this same hypothetical dilemma that if I was in your place and your case ever happened to me then what would I do?

    In few days within wondering that I read this somewhere (most probably 9gag :P):
    "Always marry the one who loves you and not the one you love, coz it's always easier to fall in Love with a person, than to teach someone to make them Love you"

    This made total sense to me, hope it makes sense to you as well..

    Also I wonder if Johnny Depps' realization is applicable to your question:

    Hope this settles your dilemma 🙂

    Peace \m/

  14. Neither.

    Go out and meet a new person.

    You will end up debating forever if you ever choose between either of them wondering what it would have been like had you married the one you didn't choose. Life is too short to waste your thinking process on issues that won't matter after two years.

    Also, had you been sure of either, you wouldn't be on Quora asking for advice. 🙂 You would just know and be content in the decision you made.

    So well, look around, and you might see someone new and interesting.

  15. Can we try to find both? You should want the person you chose to be with, to love you as much as you love them.
    If a relationship is hard work right from the get-go…its a not a good relationship.  And some couples do go through trials and tribulations, and do OK, but most of the time if it's rough from the beginning it won't get any better.   New relationships should be fun, happy…and then comfortable. Try for that, so you will be happy in the long run.

  16. Question yourself ! What type of a person do you want ? Do you find that characteristics in the person who loves you ? If yes, you're lucky. You can prefer the person who loves you and can save a lot of time :P.
    Well, there maybe many factors affecting too. But, I believe that in choosing something or someone for oneself, one must never compromise because the ultimate goal of a relationship is happiness.
    Cheers 🙂

  17. Its a very old question always bugging people. But there is no definite answer to this problem. It completely depends on your choices. There are two kind of people.

    1. Those who find their happiness in loving others without thinking about getting anything in return.
    2. Those who like to be loved unconditionally.

    Clearly if you lies within first category then go and merry the person you love because your unconditional love will make them love you more by each day and you will live happily forever.
    But if you lies in second category then go and merry the person who love you because love is one of the hardest thing to find in this world and you should never let go such unconditional love.
    See there I just framed my lines to look each of decision like correct. My point here is that none of both the decision is wrong so chose wisely. GOOD LUCK

  18. If the person you love does not feel the same way for you, I suggest you to prefer the one who loves you.

    As is always said-Love the one who loves you. So if you find someone who is madly in love with you and a person with good habits, go for them.

    In the long run you will finally love that person back as gentle nature sure does attract everyone. Although initial attraction maybe because of looks but finally you tend to settle with someone who respects you and has a maturity more than yours to support you throughout.

    In short if I had been in your  place I would go for the guy who loves me unless there is something seriously wrong with him. 🙂

  19. Alexandra, I guess the answer depends on your needs and your priorities. Some people like to feel "needed" and therefore they would appreciate having a person who loves them a lot. Some people like to give love and they'd be happier having a person to love.

    But the real question is, why do you have to choose one over the other? Why not try to go for both?  There's no sense in feeling deprived or feeling forced to make sacrifices.  Life's too short for that.

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