In adults, love and need are orthogonal. They may even be opposites.
That is to say, you cannot truly love that which you need, and if need is allowed to enter the picture, love leaves it in equal measure.
Because need is an expression of underlying risk, and when love is a hedge against risk, the question of whether or not it is freely given becomes unanswerable for all involved. And love that is taken—whether by force of body or by force of emotional blackmail—rather than being freely given? There’s a word for that. It’s an ugly word, so I won’t repeat it here. But it is the result of need—when one party’s need can only be fulfilled by another party’s emotionally unwilling sacrifice.
I realize that interdependence is held up as an ideal of interpersonal relationships, but in fact tremendously mature and enlightened people are needed if interdependence is to occur without its covertly being a matter of mere mutual dependence. You can tell them apart by noting that the former is a way to multiply the effects of each party’s strengths, while the latter is a matter of each party relying on the other to hold them up.
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“…just can’t be happy together anymore…”
“…has run its course…”
“…just aren’t compatible any longer…”
All of these kinds of things are euphemisms in a self-absorbed culture for one simple thing: adults that are too immature to fulfill their responsibilities and to manage to get along well with others. I hate this bullshit wisdom that people feed me.
I have no illusions. Nobody gets married thinking “We’ll be married until it’s run its course.”
Few people these days are honest enough to admit that they failed at: getting along with the most important person in their life, sustaining and nurturing the most important relationship in their life, fulfilling their commitments and obligations, being a good parent, and just plain being a grown-up.
Well I am. I failed at it. We failed at it. It is a personal failure of both parties, always. To say otherwise is indulging in self-deceptive excuses for your own inability to get what you want out of life. Oh, it just happens. No. You let it and made it happen. You did not get what you want and now in your minimization you are living out the most famous of Aesop’s fables.
Admit it. I do.
I swear, people have no integrity any longer.
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I should never have given in.
My biggest weakness as a man: I give in to the women that I am interested in, or that I love. Over and over and over again. I let that feed the “white knight” part of my ego. And it is, over and over and over again, my undoing. For decades.
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Even with everything said above, when you love someone, you invariably try to fulfill their needs.
If the need is great enough, however, then there is nothing you can do. Love becomes meaningless when the need cannot be met; it is a fool’s errand to try. The day that you realize this is the day that need comes out into the open as the destroyer of love.