So many of us use the word “love” when we really mean “need”.
Many clients come to me with a broken heart, “I really love him/her”, but when we analyze what he or she really means, the person realizes that what they meant was, “I really need him/her”
What’s the difference?
Have you had crush on or “fallen in love” with a woman because she’s so dead drop gorgeous but one month or year later look at the same woman and only see butt ugly with “serious emotional problems”? Or may be fallen head over heals in love with a man you are not compatible with, and although it is so obvious that your relationship is just a “booty call” and you feel used, you are still willing to put yourself out there to be used, misused, abused and reused again and again…
That is attraction based on need and not love. When you are driven by an unfulfilled psychological need for validation, obsessed about the romantic stuff or pushy about getting into a relationship, you’ll typically develop an affinity to a member of the opposite sex who seemingly meets whatever need it is that you have. Your emotional state (fear, anxiety, low self esteem, desperate, drunk, superficial, unrealistic, broke or struggling financially, angry, lonely etc) at the time you meet, makes the person appear more attractive and desirable than he or she actually is.
How do you determine whether what you feel is love or attachment based on need?
1. A need-driven relationships built on unrealistic expectations of perfection: “We had very much in common. In fact, he/she is perfect!’
The irony is that our object of unrealistic expectations is often also looking for the perfect man or woman. Go figure!
2. A Need-driven relationship focuses on superficial qualities — good looks, status, material possessions, race (including “loving” someone just because he or she is of a different race), etc. which may be quite irrelevant or even obstacles for being able to live happily together with the person.
3. In a need-driven relationship, your feelings are exaggerated and erratic . When your need is met, you feel extremely happy and so in love. But when your need is not met, you feel uncertain, frustrated, angry, and even depressed.
4. When you need rather than love someone, you feel fear, anxiety, worry or jealousy, especially when separated from him or her. This kind of “love” often leads to possessiveness and possessiveness leads to FEAR of losing, fake affection out of fear, over-protection, craving or even the feeling: I can’t live without her/him.
5. There is a sense of “owing to” in the relationship based on need. How much each person “loves” is measured by and dependant on how much the other person fulfills a need or indulges a desire. Everything else matters very little in comparison.
6. A Need-driven relationship feels very exciting but it is also mixed with a fair amount of “pain”, and the feeling that you are somehow “suffering” or not being appreciated and valued enough.
It can be a sobering experience when one deeply reflects on what we normally describe as “love”. Try this experiment. Ask the man or woman you are dating in person or online what kind of person they are looking for/interested in. If someone’s is driven by need, they’ll say something like “I want a man/woman who looks like… or makes me feel… or who does this or that for ME.” They’ll run you a list of their “NEEDS” (often very unaware) and the kind of person who they believe will fulfill those needs (read between the lines, you’ll not miss it!).
Better yet, go online and pull up a profile of a potential mate and you’ll see what I mean by “looking for a person to fill a need”. It’s all about what he or she hopes to get, and less about what he or she wants to give.
A person driven by REAL LOVE on the other hand may say something along the lines “I am interested in a man/woman, I can do this and that FOR” or “I can do this or that WITH”. They send the message that they feel they have something about themselves that is VALUABLE and want to share it with a DESERVING person.
So if you have a crush on someone or have been dating him or her, the potential for something very special could be there… but you must be willing to take the risk of finding out whether he/she is really into you or just needs you. Doing so may be scary, but knowing is much better than just guessing or creating bonds that may turn very unpleasant!