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Love and Need

PostPosted: Sun Apr 18, 2010 8:19 pm
by Daywhite
What's the difference in love and need?

If someone says, "I love you," it seems they're saying there's something in me that needs you. I know the love of if you love someone, you want what's best for them, if you love something set it free...but generally, maybe realistically, it seems loving someone is a matter of need. You love how the person makes you feel; but then, no one can "make" you feel.

Perhaps, through someone else, you're more comfortable accessing feelings you're unprepared to face alone. But, is this more dependent on the situation or the person, on the place you are in your own life, at that moment, when you and the other person meet, than on the actual person? Maybe there is something in your life, something in you, that you are able to hide within yourself, to keep hidden, when you are with the other person. Some weakness or insecurity you don't know how to handle, something you can't face that the other person is able to distract you from having to explore or ponder. You walk with a limp because your leg is broken; the other person tells you, "No you're fine; your leg's not broken," and you think, "Okay, I'm fine; I don't have to limp." Everyone else has been telling you to get your leg checked out, but it hurts, you don't want to. You meet someone who convinces you, who agrees with your assessment, you're fine -- "Oh, I love you."

One can say I love you because I want you, physically, sexually; one can say I love you because of how one feels thinking of the other person; is it this feeling that allows the individual to suppress something in himself? Everyone has weaknesses and strengths; how much of "love" is a balance of each's weakness or strength? How much of it is "I want to be more adventurous, to be less fearful, and you encourage me to do that," or maybe "I want to feel more grounded, not as if I'm about to drift away with each cloud, like a kite in an awkward breeze, and I feel that with you"?

Do you love someone out of a need? People are often heard to say, "I wasn't looking to fall in love, but I did; I didn't want to, but I did." Maybe they simply didn't want to fall in love in the way love has been defined to them in the past. They were hurt; "I don't want to fall in love" means I don't want to be hurt; I don't want to trust someone and have them leave. I don't want to fall in love with someone, thinking we define it, love, the same... we each have the same picture, we each mean the same thing when we say I love you. Then it turns out as if one looked at a picture, a color, and said, "Yes, of course, that's blue; everyone knows that," while the other, looking at the same picture, says, confidently, "Yes, yellow; my favorite color." Maybe that's what happened in the past; someone said "love" to them, and "love" turned out to mean hurt, pain, disappointment.

The two people simply didn't speak the same language; one speaks Greek, the other Latin, one Spanish, the other French. Either way, they simply mean different things when they say certain words. To one, love means joy, to the other rejection. Or maybe each defines it as "joy," but then each defines "Joy" differently. Yes, there's the golden rule, do unto others...but then what if one in the relationship is a masochist? In showing their love, what they term true love, they would need to inflict pain, in hopes it would be reciprocated; they would have their "needs" fulfilled. While the other person sits thinking, what the hell have I gotten myself into; this person's a frigging lunatic. Which brings us back to need again.

If there are two masochists in a relationship, then wouldn't things work out? Or at least have a better chance. So maybe when two people meet, "fall in love," maybe they've simply met someone closer to their definition of what they need, good or bad. Everyday people get involved in what everyone around them, friends, family, would call destructive relationships; and though friends and family are often wrong about what someone needs, they are occasionally right, more so than the individual.

Often, when someone tells friends they've fallen in love, the friends will say, "He/she is not what you need," and the occasional reply, simply, "But he/she is what I want." Maybe friends mean "need" in the sense of someone to make you better, as they or society terms it. And maybe the individual means "want" in the sense of he/she allows me to be comfortable. Though, of course it could be the other way around; the individual "wants" it because it is a challenge, and the friends see the "need" as the need to stay in place, not to progress. But, either way, if the individual terms it something they "need" or something they "want," how do you define either one as "love?"

So if you say you "love" someone, is that to say, I need you to stay here for now; and when you say you've fallen out of love with someone, is that to say you simply no longer need them; not meaning it in a negative context, but you've gotten from them what you needed, a drink of water in a dry desert, almost as if taking a train from one place to another. You can take a train or bus from NY to LA, but if you want to go on to Hawaii, you'll need to find a plane or a ship. You no longer have a need for the bus or train. You want to go places they can't take you.

So what's the difference between love and need? I love you because I need the strength you have, or I love you because I need the weakness you have; it allows me to show my strength, reinforcing to myself that I actually have a strength, something someone else may need.

I love my nieces, my brothers, but familial love is different than what I mean, though not entirely. Often, within families, one does for another either out of a sense of obligation, or a sense of self empowerment. Helping you shows that I can, which is very similar, if not the same, as loving someone for their weakness; it allows you to show your strength, even if only to yourself; which is often the only person who needs it to be reinforced. I'm not saying I wouldn't run into a burning building for my family; I truly feel I would. But to give my life, if it came to that, does that mean I love them? Even if you do something for someone that goes purposely completely unnoticed, you still have the knowledge within yourself that you did that, you helped someone. Again taking us back to a sense of empowerment. I had something someone needed, I had something to offer, something to make the world a better place, at least as I define it. It seems to all come back to the individual, to a need.

Re: Love and Need

PostPosted: Sun Apr 18, 2010 9:48 pm
by Heidi
When you really love someone, you certainly need him/her.
You need to be with the one you love, but I think it's not right to need the other just the way you
need crutches when you have a broken leg. This is not love but dependency and sooner of later it will tire and bore the other person.

Love has a lot of parameters, and as I was reading your post the lyrics of the song by Alan Parson's Project came to my mind...

Games people play
You take it or you leave it
Things that they say, Honor Brite
If I promised you the Moon and the Stars
would you believe it?
Games people play
in the middle of the night

Re: Love and Need

PostPosted: Sun Apr 18, 2010 9:55 pm
by dermot
Hi Daywhite,

i had to go for a little lie-down after reading all that!

Am i right in believing what you are doing is identifying Love as Need?

Maybe in lots of cases thats exactly what it is....... i will love you, if you promise to need me.

The way i see it Love is an entirely different proposition.
If you agree that Love is a fundamental life force, that suggests that its something we can dip in and out of almost at will.
We can act with love, or choose to act from a lesser impulse. We can do this in relationships, or indeed in any part of living life.

When we fall in love, are we not just dipping into that life force, somebody else is helping us identify with Love. We could also identify with love by looking into a babys eyes.
There is something compelling about finding another being with whom we can consider the idea of mutually staying ....with Love.

Need on the other hand, comes from a negative energy, there is a bargain being made, a promise that better not be broken.....'i will love you, as long as you love me'.
That aint Love.

I enjoyed reading your post, hoping for more .......

Re: Love and Need

PostPosted: Sun Apr 18, 2010 10:48 pm
by Ryan
First off I would like to welcome you, Daywhite, to the DS forums and say that it is an interesting topic you have started.

If I am following your thoughts, I have understood that you are kind of talking about the "you complete me" aspect of a relationship, no? Kind of that we are stumbling through life looking for that sincere "other half" of us and while a lot of times we get close, and all is great for a while. If that person is not truly our "other half" the "love" certainly fades. If we consider that we are developing through childhood and as adolescence approaches we begin our search for our significant other. Which is also the time in which we reach maturity and become semi set in our ways. We, in that time, start trying to discover our "true" selves and at the same time find our true "other" to complete us... which of course compounds and complicates both things.

So, I don't understand it as a dependency, nor as a selfish want, but that need to find that person that will help us learn our lessons, and we can help them learn their's, their strengths compensate our weaknesses and our's their's, that our life philosophies mingle perfectly and life is truly heaven on Earth because of finding our perfect match... our soul mate... if you will... Is that a need...? I think so. Every bit a need as having air to breath, food to eat, and water to drink... What other true needs in life are there really?

Re: Love and Need

PostPosted: Mon Apr 19, 2010 1:13 am
by Sabina
You have touched several interesting topics here, in my opinion.

First of all, I agree that people have very different ideas of what love is and their reasons for needing it are different as well.
Did you by any chance watch the movie "The Secretary", with James Spader and Maggie Gyllenhaal?
The basic plot outline is this:
A young woman gets a job as a secretary to a demanding lawyer, where their employer-employee relationship turns into a sexual, sadomasochistic one.

The movie is weird, odd... yet the conclusion was beautiful, and for me this movie became the best possible example for a relationship in general, for what really matters.
That may sound strange considering the plot outline and the development and the feelings it evokes at first, but for me the point was that if two people agree on what they need and it makes them happy, then it doesn't matter what it is, what goes on between them (as long as it doesn't involve anyone else for their amusement).

What you said about people speaking different "languages" and having different meanings for the word "love", that seems to be the case with other emotive words too... all those things that are not clearly defined.
When two people speak the same basic language (and I don't mean linguistics by this), then they can communicate and eventually, possibly grow together. If they don't even speak the same language, then chances are they will never get over that initial hurdle.

In regards to love as a means to getting/having a sense of self empowerment... just because something empowers us doesn't mean we did what we did in order to feel empowered, right?

But to give my life, if it came to that, does that mean I love them?

Not necessarily, no.
People are capable of giving their life for complete strangers as well, so it is not love that necessarily makes us perform grand heroic acts. We have recently had a topic related to this, you may want to have a look:
Can anyone really be selfless?

Hmmm.. I started writing about what love is for me, but that is not what this topic is about, is it? :)
So I deleted that part.... we've had another topic about love and what it is for us specifically. In this here topic however, it is, among other things, about the differences between people and their individual perceptions of love, which can be in sync or completely misaligned.

Loved your opening topic! Welcome to DS! :)

Re: Love and Need

PostPosted: Mon Apr 19, 2010 1:29 am
by Metatron
First of all, greetings Daywhite! A very impressive opening post indeed. I wanted to say that I identify with you ideas about Love and Need and also want to add my bit into the discussion...

Love is a word like Good and and Evil... Each of these are very complex subject and are very often misused, in the way that children are often taught about good and evil from the very beginning of their lives, thus they get a rather black and white opinion about the world. Love is the same, I believe. Most people have a very simplistic view of love, or have no view about it at all and throw the word around as if it was a football (wait, you actually kick a football, right? How would I know, I am half gay, and my gay half hates sports lol), just as they do with good and bad.

I wish to refer to you Dermot, specifically. Can you love a man? Can you love a chiuaua? Can you love a remote control? If the answer to these is no, then Love is not to be capitalized and referred to as a fundamental life force. A need comes from negative energy? Our survival is based on needs. If we didn't have needs, we would be dead minutes after our birth.

Actually, I would go as far as to say that Need is a fundamental life force (whatever a fundamental life force is). It's what drives us in everyday life, from going to the toilet, through going to school to going to sleep in the evening. And I also believe Love is just a word for a set of needs specific to a certain individual.

Why don't you love men? Because you are not attracted to them. If love really was that fundamental, it shouldn't be limited by gender. You love people because it keeps you close to them and it satisfies your needs.

Re: Love and Need

PostPosted: Mon Apr 19, 2010 10:13 am
by mirjana
HI Daywhite,
You gave us all very nice food for thought with your first post. =0) Welcome to DS.
I do not think that love is something that comes out of a need or that different languages influence the basic expression of that emotion and therefore it could be differently understood.
I think that love is a vital need. It is not that we love because we need somebody for something; we need everybody and everything in order to experience this emotion, because we need love.

All you need is love.
All you need is love.
All you need is love, love.
Love is all you need.

Maybe it is not all we need, but as much as we need air and food we need love so that we can experience what is life. It is not important how we express it, toward someone or something, more or less, but all we do is somehow connected with love because we just need this feeling and the possibility to express it. That is how I see it.

Re: Love and Need

PostPosted: Mon Apr 19, 2010 1:41 pm
by Sabina
People say "love" but they, individually, have different ideas of what this love is. That is a fact. Yet just because they call it by the same name, they think they are talking about the same thing. That is the beginning of many problems.

What is the problem with splitting the term itself into its "ingredients" and having a closer look? Are we afraid of "downsizing" love?

Does understanding the ingredients make love itself less magical or less valuable?

Seriously... does it?
What is to be lost by that?
Does realizing what all plays a role make something "less"?

    I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
    I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
    so I love you because I know no other way...
    Sonnet XVII, by Pablo Neruda
Is love something that can be talked about and analyzed while still allowing for Neruda and Shakespeare and other poets?
Or does talking about it and splitting it into its ingredients "ruin love"?
Is that the fear?

Re: Love and Need

PostPosted: Mon Apr 19, 2010 4:39 pm
by Daywhite
Thank you all for such great comments and questions.

Heidi, I didn't mean so much to compare loving someone to needing crutches as much as simply finding someone who will tell you what you want to hear, to help you avoid facing whatever fears you may run from. If one person tells you that you have a problem and you need to get help with it when you're doing all you can to pretend there is no problem, it's likely you won't feel comfortable with or close to that person. The crutch was simply a way of saying some want another to help them face their problems and get better, while others want someone to help them hide their problems. Hope that makes sense.

Dermot, it may sound strange, but I'm flattered you needed a lie-down after reading and then come back with such great thoughts. You may well be right in that I am identifying love as need, at least as written. I think that love is, indeed, a need, as shown in the extreme with feral children. We as living beings need love, to give and receive. I guess what got me started writing about it was an attempt to find a difference in love as need and simply love for love's sake. In love, each profits, the loved and the lover. If one is truly in love, then there is obvious give and take, but not in a bad way. In loving, one is fulfilled, as well as in being loved.

Ryan, thank you for the welcome; I'm glad you enjoyed reading. I have to say I think you pretty much nailed what I was saying or asking when you said:

"So, I don't understand it as a dependency, nor as a selfish want, but that need to find that person that will help us learn our lessons, and we can help them learn their's, their strengths compensate our weaknesses and our's their's, that our life philosophies mingle perfectly and life is truly heaven on Earth because of finding our perfect match... our soul mate... if you will... Is that a need...? I think so. Every bit a need as having air to breath, food to eat, and water to drink... What other true needs in life are there really?"

That really is what I was asking and wondering about. I guess I was kind of wondering is it true love if I feel I need the person, if I am getting more than I feel I may give? I was wondering about the romantic ideal of love and how much of it may be based in what is received. Thank you again. To hear someone say that need is, or can be, a part of love, true love, is quite nice to hear, encouraging, you might say.

Metatron, I agree that most people have a very simplistic view of love, a very narrow definition. That's yet another reason I wrote this. I wanted to lay love out on the floor, spread it out, all of its parts, and see where need may fit. I didn't want to see love as simply one color, one design, something that when anyone may see it, they immediately say, "Oh, yes, of course, that is love." I wanted to dissect it a bit, so that maybe one wonders a bit upon first seeing it, "Hmm, I guess it could be love...I mean, it kinda looks like it." I love your last line, especially, "You love people because it keeps you close to them and it satisfies your needs." That works for me.

Mirjana, I guess I was asking is love itself changed by how each individual may see or define it. I do believe that, as the song says, "Love is all around us," but at the same time, some may not see it at all simply because of what they've been taught or simply learned through experience. To some, love may seem painful, because that is their only experience with love. But does that change what love itself is. As Shakespeare said, "A rose by any other name would still smell as sweet," meaning no matter the name, it will always be a rose. So I asked is the same true with love. I appreciate when you say, "It is not important how we express it, toward someone or something, more or less, but all we do is somehow connected with love because we just need this feeling and the possibility to express it." Thank you for your comment. I always love =0@ having more to think about.

Re: Love and Need

PostPosted: Mon Apr 19, 2010 6:02 pm
by dermot its about Need?

I identified Need as a negative, i think it is. It signified a want, we want something we dont have, do we still Need it when we have it.....why?

Why do we look for the other half, what is it in us that identifies Love as something we need/want, ......surely its Love itself. We have Love as a fundamental life force within us, we identifiy from an early age things/people that we can pour our love into.

If we didnt have that force within....we wouldnt know what to look for. And some people dont.

So, i guess Love can be a Need, but its fundamentally a life force. The idea of Need, seems to me to imply we need to get it elsewhere.
If we are lucky to grow in an athmosphere of love, then usually we identify Love inside ourselves and our attention grows to finding someone to share that with.
I think it has to be found inside before we have a chance of finding and staying with it 'outside'.

not sure what you mean about can i love this or can i love that, we are surely talking about Love rather than my abilities or limitiations.....and i dont have limitations, i can share a glance with a stranger and it can be called Love.
By fundamental life force i mean, Truth, Beauty, and Love, and yes i capitalize each.

I think there is a desire to follow each of the above, but i dont think they are food and water are Needs for survival.