Love glitters because of its many facets; it captivates us because it is always unique, always brings with it what it means to be alive. Most of us would say that we have felt love at one time or another, but what exactly is love? One of the biggest human misconceptions is that love has a universally shared definition, as do words like dog, or apple, or run. However, everyone’s experiences and need of love are never the same. Even for two people in the same relationship, the experience and need of love are different. Though we may be connected in some form to those we are closest to, we will never be able to share the same feelings as we are all individuals with our own set of recipe for how we feel about love.
There is a limitation in our language because it is so limited, we say both “ I love you” and “ I love cake”, as though the two sentiments were the same. What people seem to mean when they say that they “love” is that they are feeling intensely, in either a yearning or joyful ways. “I love” means that someone (or something) matters a great deal to me or provokes a strong positive response in me. The only difference is in the intonation that determines the degree of emotional intensity that one feels. When people talk about loving, they also seem to experience little contradiction in the fact that they love their mother, their father, their friends, etc. All of these, however, are qualitatively and quantitatively different. It would be difficult for a stranger of our culture to come in and be able to distinguish what we mean when we say that we love something or someone.
So before we can speak on the subject of love, we have to first define which aspect of love we will be discussing and what we mean by that. Love here in this case is the passion of one lover for another, the mutuality of shared experience, the gratitude for understanding validation, the security of being adequately held, the admiration for someone who is wonderful, and the joy of feeling at home.
The model for the need of love emphasizes a human yearning for connection. Within the need of connection lurks the threat (and experience) of the opposite. For example, we are most aware of being held when we begin to fall or feel smothered. Nothing sharpens ours sense of ourselves and our meaning for others as much as a heated argument. In other words, we never fully realize what we have until we are threatened with that thing diminishing or becoming overburdening.
The connection that we feel is what defines who we are in the world. We discover the self through our connections with other, and as we grow, we refine and modify our connections to more complex and deeper ways of reaching others. No matter how much we try, we never fully bridge the space between us. It is with this little bit of difference that separates us and makes us individuals. Even when we are married to another, even when we share our lives together. The two people becomes one, but still of separate halves. For 2 people to completely mesh into one would not only be unhealthy, but quite impossible.
To be unloved is an unbearable feeling because it means that we have no real meaning or importance to anyone. I speak of being unloved not in terms of a significant other, but to anyone. As humans, we are stuck with our inescapable need for the emotional responsiveness of another. Even as an infant, we seek the approval and responsiveness of our parents, and this need for approval and responsiveness may repeat itself with the feeling for a need to have a child. Some may feel that there’s a lack of need for you and a feeling of emptiness develops. What better way to fill that void than to simply creating a new being that will be completely devoted/need you? Thus our addiction to being needed continues. This addiction for need will continue till our heart stops beating.
Unless we know that we are somewhere part of the affective life of another, we cannot feel our own existence. This is not to say that we are defined by other’s perception of our existence, but other’s acknowledgment of AN existence. This is why some people who fear that they are unloved often work to be hated (hate being just another face of love in its intensity and its selectivity.) Also, another sign of a person who is unloved shows signs of aggression. People are not inherently aggressive. Rather, our fears of aloneness and loss make us rageful, and we learn to use our anger to try to compel others to meet our needs.
People live with both their fantasies of love and their experiences of love. Inner representations of loving relationships may have little to do with how people appear to observers. We sigh when we watch movies like ‘Sleepless in Seattle’, or ‘Casablanca’ but carry on with the less romantic folks at home. Many people are just not willing to take the risk involved in trying to fulfill a fantasy of love for the great fear that they may not be able to recover from the loss. This is a problem that only we can answer for ourselves. Are we satisfied with taking the beaten path, where all the road signs are there to direct us on a safe and uneventful road. Or will we risk it all in search of that one true romance that others only dream of? What is the price that we will pay if we do not succeed?
Like anything great and worth the effort, the risks are high, but remember the reward. No one should ever tell you what to do in this subject. Sure there are times when it’s obvious that one is doing the wrong thing, but sometimes it’s not that easy. In many choices, it’s not a matter of right or wrong. Simply a choice with which one has a certain ending, and one is unknown. No one has the right answers, and no one will know what can and will happen.
Please note that the choice doesn’t necessarily involve a new person. Simply the choice of doing something different, with the same person or with a new person. It matters not. It’s simply something that you’ve longed to do. Doing something so that at the end of your years, you won’t have to wonder, and to ask yourself “what-if”. “What-If”, a Hell like no other.
I had a point when I started writing this, but that was 4 drinks ago. I'll just let you make your own conclusions.