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Romantic love: do we need it?

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OnceInALifetime posted 6/3/2013 23:08 PM

There's the refrain that the most important love is the love you hold for yourself.

Been thinking on this a bit. Self-love seems, on the surface at least, like a vain endeavor doomed to failure. The whole "I'm good enough and I deserve happiness" nonsense which leads to a sense of entitlement.

Seems better not to burn away one's psyche with critical or adoring judgments. I'm not a promoter of Zen, but there's something to be said for being more of a blank slate, and recognizing that we are who we are in the moment, and that's all that really matters.

However, we are social creatures. We need reciprocal love from others. I have my children, my family, my friends. While dating, I believed I needed romantic love as well. I believed we *all* need romantic love, that it is hard-wired into our human nature, and that we were kidding ourselves if we tried to deny it.

So when I got worn down from dating and stepped out of the ring, it was hard for me to convince myself that I wasn't walking away in defeat.

Yes, there's something very special about two people being enough for each other, caring for each other so deeply that they are happy to share each other's quiet moments. But I don't know that there's anything particularly different about romantic love than platonic love, other than the sex, which over time loses a lot of its excitement anyway.

Would a truly loving relationship completely blow my socks off? Would I suddenly discover riches that I never even knew existed? Has that been anyone's experience? To me, that notion seems more and more whimsical. You might spend a few months in fantasyland, but then you're back to your normal state of being (with any requisite disillusionment), not necessarily significantly happier than if you remained on your own.

Curious for your thoughts. I'm not sure if I'm becoming more realistic, more cynical, or both.

Sad in AZ posted 6/4/2013 00:02 AM

A couple of thoughts; self-love IMO is self-acceptance. I'm happy with myself, warts & all. I'm comfortable in my own skin. While there's always room for self-advancement, it's not self-improvement.

Romantic love? You have to realize that for centuries couples just got together to share the hardships of life. Most marriages were of convenience and not a product of 'falling in love'. Romance, as a criteria for a relationship, is relatively new--early 1900's. So, no, we don't 'need' it, but it's sure nice to have.

wontdefineme posted 6/4/2013 00:04 AM

We were designed for partnership. To be in love and be able to be free to be yourself is wonderful. To be in a relationship where its you and them against the world. Holding someone's hand and being one. A brush of ones hand against your neck, arm, face. The sound of their voice, knowing someone cares about how you think and feel when you are apart.

Yes, romantic love when things are normal is the best type of love. Acceptance.

I felt this way for a man after 23 years and expected to for life. For good and bad, and all that other stuff.

My parents loved each other for 50 years, were each others best friend, went through hell and back again and had baggage that most WSs used for affairs. Their love was true, loyal, and were there for each other when the other one needed someone to lean on.

Yes, we need romantic love. Can you exist without it, yes. But given a choice, I would love to have a man love me for the rest of my life and yearn for me when I wasn't there. And that type of sex is more meaningful than selfish single sex.

NaiveAgain posted 6/4/2013 06:58 AM

Self-love seems, on the surface at least, like a vain endeavor doomed to failure. The whole "I'm good enough and I deserve happiness" nonsense which leads to a sense of entitlement.
No. The type of self-love that leads to entitlement is narcissism which is a whole different bag of worms. Loving yourself and being comfy in your own skin is important, because if you can't love yourself, warts and all, how can you have any true love to give to others?

But I don't know that there's anything particularly different about romantic love than platonic love, other than the sex, which over time loses a lot of its excitement anyway.
What is platonic love? You mean love for a friend? There is a HUGE difference.

Would a truly loving relationship completely blow my socks off?
Yes.

Would I suddenly discover riches that I never even knew existed? Has that been anyone's experience?
Yes. This is the first guy I have been with where we both adore each other equally, work hard to make each other happy, and show our love 20 times a day. He makes me a priority in EVERYTHING that he does. He tells me he loves me at least a dozen times a day. He tells me, every couple of days that I make him happy and he wants to spend the rest of his life with me. And more than the words, he takes the actions that show it. Great sex is just a natural by-product from being in a loving, caring relationship. This one has ruined me for other guys, and if for some reason something happens here, I doubt I will ever find anyone that can match this. This type of relationship reminds me of my great grandfather and great grandmother. They were so devoted to each other, and they made each other the most important thing in each other's lives. This is what I've been looking for my entire life.

But, it is work. It IS scary. We have lots of stuff to work thru and we do it together. We discuss our fears and our issues with each other. No lies and no secrets. We cry and hold each other...Sometimes thing are hard to hear. But we have respect for each other.

This is the most "romantic" relationship I've ever been in, but he doesn't show up with flowers or take me out to eat every night or buy me bling. It is his actions and what he holds in his heart and shares with me that makes the romance come alive....

[This message edited by NaiveAgain at 7:00 AM, June 4th (Tuesday)]

Williesmom posted 6/4/2013 07:08 AM

I need to feel that I am a priority in my partner's life. I don't think that everything needs to go my way, but I need the respect that comes with being in a relationship.

I need to feel emotionally safe, loved, cherished, and wanted. And I need to be able to feel the same way about him.

I thought that I had that at one time, but it was all just bullshit. Will I have that again? Idk, but a girl can dream.

SBB posted 6/4/2013 07:10 AM

I don't 'need' a man. I don't 'need' a relationship. I do like both though.

As extroverted as I am I'm also quite a solitary creature. I struggle a lot with missing my alone time when in a relationship.

I'm not really a 'couple' person. Never have been. I like my own company. I'm hoping when the time is right that I find someone who also likes his own company. Someone who enjoys and his time with me but is also happy enough to go into his cave and let me go into mine.

She11ybeanz posted 6/4/2013 07:35 AM

So when I got worn down from dating and stepped out of the ring, it was hard for me to convince myself that I wasn't walking away in defeat.

I feel this way now....after XWH...and Piper's sperm donor..... and browsing the OLD sites....I have lost hope that there is a good man out there that is meant for me. I hope one day I'm proved wrong....

SoHappyNow posted 6/4/2013 08:17 AM

Maybe we don't need it for survival, but we certainly do crave it, deep down.

I'm in the position right now of being completely astonished by the discovery of my soulmate #2........who woulda thunk that the Universe had THIS in store for me?

My guy is nowhere near being a carbon copy of my late husband, but in several ways he's an even better mate for me.

Helen of Troy posted 6/4/2013 08:27 AM

I'm in love, 8 months exclusive with him.
That said it isn't all easy all the time. It's compromise and it's working through issues. For me, it's relearning how to be in a healthy romantic relationship. Until a couple of years ago my whole adult life was spent in a toxic marriage with lots of dysfunctional aspects.
Intimacy takes work, especially learning this later in life.
The "If only I could be in a romantic relationship, then I would be happy" is a fallacy.
You can be happy now no matter what.
Relationship is also trade off, two way street. You give up things to get things (compromise).

OnceInALifetime posted 6/4/2013 09:53 AM

StrongButBroken, I think I'm in a similar place as you.

I'm very busy with my two girls, my work, etc. I need down time.

NA, the thought of always making someone else a priority exhausts me. I don't think I'm cut out for that style of relationship right now. I have enough responsibilities as it is. Maybe this stems from some attitude I have that suggests a man must continually court his significant other, else-wise she becomes quickly dissatisfied. I don't need another job.

Whether this means I'm unable/unwilling to be in a rewarding relationship, I'm not certain. I used to believe that I wanted precisely that: to be super close with someone and integrate her wholly into my life. But now, the thought of a woman living with me, or taking up most of my alone time, would feel like an invasion.

One cold water reality splash for me was that mutual chemistry does not equal compatibility. Sparks cannot be blindly trusted. I pretty much stopped believing in romantic love as an ideal.

NaiveAgain posted 6/4/2013 14:08 PM

NA, the thought of always making someone else a priority exhausts me.
that suggests a man must continually court his significant other, else-wise she becomes quickly dissatisfied. I don't need another job.
See, that would drive me crazy as well. I don't want another job and I don't want to feel if I'm not jumping thru enough hoops, new guy is going to leave. Or vice versa. That isn't love. That is fear.

We both have our own lives. We work, go to school, have family to take care of. When I say the relationship is work or that it takes effort, what I mean is that when we are together, or when we talk on the phone, we are conscious of the other person's mood or their feelings. We both distance sometimes. We work on bringing the other person back when that happens. We talk it thru. And honestly, it may seem like work but it is very fulfilling and leads to some deep and intimate talk.

I used to believe that I wanted precisely that: to be super close with someone and integrate her wholly into my life.
I used to think the opposite. I was happy with my individuality and aloneness. I wasn't particularly looking for someone to integrate in my life. But it is easy to integrate for us. That is why I have taken the stance that when it is right, it is right and you will know.

And I have changed myself....this is not one I would have dated a few years back. He is gentle and kind. Caring, loving. I used to go for the bad boys that could not deal with emotional intimacy. This is scary but so much more fulfilling. I've never had this before. I really like it

Oh, p.s.

One cold water reality splash for me was that mutual chemistry does not equal compatibility.
Nah, chemistry isn't that difficult to find. I had incredible chemistry with XSO, but he was a lot of work, and fun, but not what I would call fulfilling. He hurt my heart sometimes. That could never work for the long-term.

[This message edited by NaiveAgain at 2:10 PM, June 4th (Tuesday)]

gma56 posted 6/4/2013 15:37 PM

I don't have romantic love in my life now so I guess I really don't need it to survive.

I hope one day to have a lasting love. I would love share my life with someone again. I'm in my late 50s and we all have pasts and baggage so to expect someone to be without issues is unrealistic to me. I want them to have lived a full life as I have.Warts and all.

when it is right, it is right and you will know.
I agree with NA.

OnceInALifetime posted 6/4/2013 15:56 PM

chemistry isn't that difficult to find

Perhaps for some. It took me two years of dating before I finally found mutual chemistry, and then I learned the hard way that we weren't right for each other anyway. That did it for me. I was done.

inconnu posted 6/4/2013 18:35 PM

Would a truly loving relationship completely blow my socks off? Would I suddenly discover riches that I never even knew existed? Has that been anyone's experience?

Yes, that's been my experience. Being in a truly loving, reciprocal relationship is mind-blowing, and so very wonderful. I'm still amazed at how cherished I feel, and that it took until I was 45 for me to actually learn what feeling and being cherished is like.

That's when I realized that my relationship/marriage with ex had been even more one-sided than I thought, btw.

OnceInALifetime posted 6/4/2013 18:39 PM

Being in a truly loving, reciprocal relationship is mind-blowing, and so very wonderful. I'm still amazed at how cherished I feel, and that it took until I was 45 for me to actually learn what feeling and being cherished is like.

You guys ain't helping

My flurry of SI activity these past few days was precipitated by my cancelling my match.com account. So I'm going in the *other* direction.

[This message edited by OnceInALifetime at 6:44 PM, June 4th (Tuesday)]

I.will.survive posted 6/4/2013 20:30 PM

Add me to the list of romantic love is necessary!!

I feel more cherished by my SO than I ever remember feeling for longer than a couple of months while dating my XH.

This man is romantic in the traditional sense and in the verbal sense of the word. His words of affirmation are something I never thought I needed to hear, but turns out they really do strengthen a relationship!

I find it easy to reciprocate with him. We've had discussions about me being terrified this feeling will end because it did before. But THIS relationship is built by 2 people who WANT to make it work and keep the romance alive.

We came from marriages where the spouse gave up so we're extra focused on TRYING to love each other completely.

It's such an uplifting feeling. Don't give up on it, you DO need it!!

torn2bits posted 6/4/2013 20:41 PM

OIAL, your the one who asked about loving, cherished relationships!

Seriously, I think that it may be where you are looking? Gosh, I had such great chemistry with someone and it was soooo wonderful. I definitely can recognize it when I don't see it.

I had the best friends, comfortable in my own skin for 22 years, BUT a lot was me.

I am not a pushover, but petty things don't bother me. In love and devoted relationships, I think some expectations are lowered and love is higher. Compatibility is not much of an issue when your not picky. Sure there are certain things, but in general someone is giving in.

Yes, its possible to find that other person and have such great sex, love and even a nice wrestling session.

h0peless posted 6/4/2013 20:51 PM

Romantic love: do we need it?

I don't think we need it and that's why I'm considering growing a mustache.

OnceInALifetime posted 6/4/2013 20:56 PM

tryingagain74 posted 6/4/2013 21:15 PM

All I know is that I'm not seeking it out. I will stay open to the idea, and I will take the plunge if an opportunity presents itself when I'm ready.

I have to say, though, I don't "need" it right now. I love spending time alone. I had no idea how little I valued being independent, and now I'm not sure that I'm willing to let that go!

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