General Question

Disc2021's avatar

Does love have to be returned to be true?

Asked by Disc2021 (4491points) April 27th, 2009

Meaning, if you feel you love someone that doesn’t love you back (or appears to not love you anymore), is it true love that you’re continually feeling or is it all in your head? If they got over their love for you, is it possible that you never really loved each other intrinsically?

Which alludes to another question – is love all in your head?

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20 Answers

cookieman's avatar

A painting, or a sculpture, or a poem or a piece of music becomes complete when someone views it or hears it or reads it and projects their experiences and emotions onto it.

Before that, it is an attempt to communicate, a theory. They become real, are given life, by the recognition of the other person.

The same can be said of love.

RedPowerLady's avatar

Absolutely not. There are many forms of love. Unrequited love by definition is a love that is not returned. Love is an emotion you experience for yourself. Yes it can be deeper or more meaningful when returned. But I would also argue that unrequited love is meaningful in that it is a whole new experience of love. If you love someone and it is not returned then this must be true love because you are getting absolutely nothing out of it.

hug_of_war's avatar

I think so. But I think unrequited love is bullcrap.

BBSDTfamily's avatar

The answer is no, not at all. Loving someone does not depend on them loving you back but your happiness might.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

If your love is conditional upon getting love back, then I doubt it’s actually love at all.

augustlan's avatar

I think you can feel love for someone even if they don’t love you back. However, I would not say that it is complete without the return loop.

Disc2021's avatar

Thank you guys, I agree with most of you as well as share the same thoughts.

@cprevite Very insightful metaphor =D.

@hug_of_war Why do you think unrequited love is bull crap?

@The Compassionate Heretic The ideas here come from a scenario in which you’ve been out of a loving relationship and you see your ex moving on, no longer sharing the same passion as you. Upon these terms, you start to question how they have moved on so swiftly and start to doubt that the love ever existed.

I think it’s a mentality thing, where you just keep telling yourself that the idea of love was all in your head in efforts to move on as casually as they are. I do agree with you though, that love really is unconditional.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

The painful truth is that love is not forever. Not in the romantic relationship sense.

Disc2021's avatar

@The_Compassionate_Heretic You believe that? I’ve heard the same “truth” discussed by a sociology professor in class. Even she disagreed with the popular belief that eventually romantic love dies and the relationship adopts other purposes to keep alive.

My parents are the spitting image of what I would want. They’ve always been there for each other even during the toughest times and they’ve never left each others side. They’re always engaging in considerably “romantic” activity and I’ve never seen it otherwise. They’ve been together for almost 20 years. Now perhaps there are a number of other purposes to their relationship that keep them so devoted, but I’d never say that their romance has completely faded.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

@Disc2021 I am happy that your parents have had such a successful marriage.

I think you mistake my opinion as cynicism which is not the case.

Everything changes.
Love is not forever because people are not forever.

Disc2021's avatar

@The_Compassionate_Heretic – Thank you =D. I’m happy and mostly happy for them too.

Perhaps I did mistake your opinion as cynicism, I didn’t know exactly which way you meant that.

filmfann's avatar

@The_Compassionate_Heretic I compeletly disagree. True love lasts forever. It may not ache as deeply, after you have moved on, but you always feel that caring for the person you loved.
I have loved truely, madly, deeply for some women, and regardless of how badly I was treated, I still care for them. Some of them I don’t like anymore, but I still love them.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

You have missed my point.

ahankes's avatar

You can love someone without getting loved in return.

Lorenita's avatar

I think you can, but it kinda sucks.. we all want to be loved.. so perhaps.. to be in a relationship you do need to feel the other person loves you back, otherwise it will probably loose the meaning of it because then is when you pretty much start building dreams and projects of a life together, start solving problems and adjusting to eachothers differences.. so i think it’s very important to be loved back to make a relationship work…but outside of a relationship, of course you can love a person without being loved .

lakersfuture's avatar

I don’t believe it has to be two sided. I believe that someone can love somebody before that person actually can return that feeling. I mean I have seen people first hand who love someone so much even while dating other people and that person puts them down beyond belief… It in my opinion needs to be two sided in order to make a relationship work!!!

Disc2021's avatar

^ I definitely agree with both of you (Lorenita+lakersfuture), in order to produce a healthy foundation for any relationship it’s required that both sides love each other almost equally. Too much or too little from either side creates an imbalance.

@Lorenita – Very interesting feedback, you mentioned about adjusting to each other’s differences and building off of each other’s dreams and projects of life. I’m not sure if you’re implying that adjustment sometimes might entail sacrifice – but I think in any major decision in life some sacrifice must be made. A lot of people dont want to sacrifice certain aspects of their independence or think of it as changing qualities of themselves. I guess a person has to decide whether or not they like would like themselves as they were in a relationship with someone or if they’d be sacrificing too much of their own “self”.

rexpresso's avatar

I’ve got a personal theory in which I perhaps twist (or don’t?) some definitions. But it goes like this: for me love is altruistic. You give yourself. Love is wanting to someone else the best quality of life, and doing something for it. Even if that means you not getting the best end of the deal. Then there is passion. And there comes the paradox and the need to balance and harmony. Passion is selfish. Passion is like “what does this person have to increase MY quality of life?” — it’s about showing the other person off to your friends, it’s about having the other person stimulate your mind, your body, whatever… but it’s about you. So in my opinion love does NOT have to be returned to be true. If you see a homeless old lady and you take her a bag with some groceries that is love, and you can just walk away and it will still be love. What she will feel for you will probably be passion. This applies to all kind of relationships, in my view point. It is possible to “passion” a child and not actually love her so much — it’s the case of spoilt children I think. To finalize… I think a good example of one-direction love is just letting someone go when you feel he is not happy in the relationship, even though you’d be willing to do whatever to keep it going, yet know it’s not the best for the other person. I hope this made some sense :-)

Disc2021's avatar

@rexpresso Very interesting, although I have a few points of disagreement. In a very humble way though, I think you have an interesting perspective (made me think).

First, I dont think passion is selfish necessarily – which one thing I learned is that there is a huge difference between selfishness and self-interest. There is a difference between having little to no regard for others and working towards the things you want in life (or love). Though it may not exactly benefit someone else, it doesn’t mean you lack care, consideration or compassion for others. I do recognize what you’re saying here and I wont deny that there even are selfish situations where an individual only cares about what they receive from another person – but I wouldn’t call this love or passion.

I dont think love in itself is altruistic (not to imply that altruism doesn’t or can not stem from it) and I dont think it’s fair to compare love in a romantic relationship with parent/child love. There are many other dynamics that exist in companionship love that dont or wouldn’t normally exist in parent/child or general personal relationships love.

I could agree with you that love is a devotion that is not concerned with the overall benefit for oneself. That is not to say that love negates mistreatment, reality or the well-being of oneself. Love isn’t completely mindless (though it could and often does provoke senseless behavior) and I think for the most part if you love someone (or people) there is a reason (even if you may not know it and whether it’s good or bad). Once that reason becomes entirely vague or nonexistent, I think it’s possible for that love connection to fade – or shift.

I look at love in a companion/romance type of relationship as more of a team based phenomenon. There’s no “I” in team – it’s our car, our house, our time and not mine or yours. That being said, if your own well-being is being neglected or abused – it’s your prerogative to speak up on behalf of the team and I dont think it would be the selfish type of passion you’re describing. If one person fails, the relationship fails and that’s why I think balance and harmony are imperative to the relationship. Sure, you could still love someone in a one sided relationship – but as I mentioned, that love endangered of becoming inactive.

I do agree with your last example but I would even extend that to a person stepping out of a relationship because either of them were no longer happy or fulfilled in the relationship.

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