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Saturated_Brain's avatar

What does it mean to love? I mean, really?

Asked by Saturated_Brain (5235points) July 5th, 2009

You often hear it. People go, “Oh, I simply can’t bear to live a single day without him/her.” And we all say, “Awww….”

So many songs on the radio speak about one’s dependence on another, and they quickly get shoved into the category of ‘love songs’.

But is this really love? Why should we be so dependent, so needing of another person in order to know that we’re in love? Put it another way… Why should we call this dependence ‘love’?

Or is it deeper? Is it the knowledge that you have to sacrifice yourself for that person, necessarily remove yourself from their lives if they really need it?

I once heard that in order to love, you need to be whole first. It’s hard to love when you’re broken, because you’ll probably end up trying to find what’s missing in your life in another person. And you’ll probably always be disappointed. And if not, you might end up demanding too much from the other person, smothering the one you ‘care for’.

In my recent breakup, I realised that the predominant feeling within me was not just of loneliness and missing the other, but also of guilt. Guilt that I had left someone behind. Guilt that I had left someone to deal with life when I had featured so clearly, when I had been so clearly important to that other. But I had to ask myself… Was I really feeling love? Somehow, it didn’t really feel that way. It felt more like a one-way relationship where the other seemed to gain more from it more than I did.

It’s still slightly messy right now, but at least I’m clearer on what the relationship really was. Perhaps something might happen again in the future, when there’s enough the both of us have grown more.

Perhaps love, in its most beautiful form, is best described when both individuals give freely to each other, knowing that they’re both fully functioning independent beings.

But I want to know… Why would you care for another? Why would you qualify your feelings for another as love? Is it because they provide something you’re lacking? Is it because they provide some company in your life? Do you love the person, or do you love what the person provides?

I apologise for the many questions asked in this single post. But I just had to pour quite a lot out…

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12 Answers

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I think that obviously we can live on our own and without our loves, but life would be not as great – it is a positive dependency in that, I hope, one’s love enriches, not completes, one’s life and makes it so much better…I can count on my hand the number of times I’ve been in love…2 of the 5 times the feeling, the realization that I love this person, took me by surprise and, 1 of the 5 times was a first love, also a surprise, in a way, of how overwhelming it can feel, the last time it was a much ‘truer’ love for me, felt deeper, more connected…I am with this person now through thick and thin…He has provided me with a lot of support and changed my life for the better but I didn’t know the multiple ways he’d do so when I fell in love with him…I love his mind, I love the way my mind works next to his mind, I love him for his personality and his quirks, they’re very much unlike my own…I often say I love our life together, it is so much better than our life apart

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

Okay, here’s my take on it. Part of it is co-dependence. As a team, my wife and I have different duties. She does what she does and I do what I do and together, everything gets done. Sure, I could do what she does, and she could do what I do, but it would be a hardship. Just like it is easier for many people to work together as a team to get a project done, say building a house, it is still something one person could do, it would just take longer. So part of it is that.

Part of it is an emotional response. I love my wife. Why? I can’t explain why. She isn’t beautiful, she isn’t anything like what the media tells us that defines beauty. She isn’t tall, slim, with perky tits and a firm ass like the runway models that most men drool like dogs over. She is short, chubby, has plain features, and a couple of physical faults that would turn most guys off. She could never model a bathing suit, she can’t wear open toed shoes, she doesn’t wear makeup, and from society’s point of view, she is just one more somewhat overweight, plain looking, ordinary Midwestern girl. You might even call her unattractive or ugly if you met her. But I love her. I don’t love her for her physical features, because looks just aren’t important. The most incredible people I have ever met in this life are the ones you wouldn’t give a second glance out on the street. If a person is beautiful, good for them, but I can’t see it as the only trait worthy of deep love.

My wife has hidden talents that I’ve never met in anyone else. She has a deep compassion for the DD individuals that she works with every day. People that everyone else sees as useless human beings. These people are her ‘children’ even though many of them are her age and even older. She doesn’t coddle them, she makes them work, but she does it in a way that they do it for themselves, to please her. She has a relationship with those people that I have seen very few people able to do. Some of the most incredible people I have met in this life weren’t rock stars, celebrities, athletes or even Nobel Prize winning men of greatness. They were ordinary folks, even less than normal DD people that most people see, are uncomfortable around, and wish would just go away, or at least stay locked up in an institution where no one else has to interact with them.

Love isn’t logical, nor can it be easily explained. I thought my type of woman was 5’ 9”, 125 lbs, red hair and green eyes with long legs and perfect fingers and toes. I fell in love with a woman that is 5’ 2” tall, 160 lbs, dirty brown hair and bluish eyes with short legs, deformed toes, and a few personal physical defects that would make her unacceptable to most guys.

But the woman has the biggest heart of any one I’ve known. She loves without hesitation, she gives without expectation of reward, and she complements me in ways that make us a perfect match. Life sometimes throws a tire iron at your head, and when it does, it is sometimes the best thing that could happen to you.

The point is, never give up on love, and never, ever, set your expectations too low or too high. Sometimes the perfect mate for you is someone you normally wouldn’t even give a second glance. Life is funny that way. Learn from all your mistakes and keep your heart as well as you mind and eyes open.

And given a choice between my ideal woman, the redhead with the green eyes and long legs and the woman I married 20 years ago, well, it’s no contest, the redhead sits alone at the bar while my wife and I laugh like children at silly things as we walk hand in hand. I wouldn’t have it any other way and I cannot imagine life without her. She is my friend, my lover, my partner, my compatriot, and my soul mate, for want of a better word. So to answer your question, life is about choices, your results may vary, and who you fall in love with and plan to spend the rest of your life with may be the biggest surprise of your life.

Sorry for writing a novel here. :-)

Lovey_Howell's avatar

**sighs* what does it mean to love? Nothing deep, philosophical or religious.. just what does it mean… No problem SB **laughs*

I think it that when you love someone else it makes you a better person. Maybe because you see something in the person you love that you aspire to, or maybe because the other person helps keep you on track with where you want to be in life.

When I look back at my own loves, there are quite a few if you include family, there have been only 2 outside my family. 2 people that have made me feel better about myself because of who they are, how they treated me and how I felt when around them. I think that’s what love is really all about. And when you are in love you think about those things as well, how can I be the person that makes a difference in their life as well?

SuperMouse's avatar

Once not long after my mother died I was talking to my father. He was telling me how my mother always worried about her weight and was constantly on a diet. He broke down as he said “She could have weighed 500 pounds and she still would have been the most beautiful woman in the world to me.” That is love.

In my life I have been in love – truly in love – only once. Luckily for me we are together and will be for the rest of our lives. Because of our love, together we are greater than the sum of our parts.

filmfann's avatar

Food feeds my body.
Knowledge feeds my brain.
Love feeds my soul.
Stay away from the junk food!

zephyr826's avatar

I realize that “you complete me” is ridiculously cliche, however, I think that that’s what love is. In all sorts of love (parent-child, romantic, true friendship) the other person (or people) fill in gaps, sometimes that you didn’t even know you had. Once that gap is there and recognized, it can never be filled by another person except the one for whom it was made. Not that it’s not possible to fall in love more than once, but the gap is different.

Blondesjon's avatar

Love is when you realize that someone, other than yourself, truly exists.

They are not just some more of the background noise in your life. They are the soundtrack.

CMaz's avatar

Love is when it is unconditional. You will go to hell and back. No matter what people might say.

shipwrecks's avatar

Love is the recognition of your soul’s counterpart in another – it’s the ability to leave your heart completely vulnerable to someone, and giving it to them, trusting them not to break it. It is complete honesty, humility, adoration, and comfort in the company of this other, who you feel is also part of you. They give you a feeling you truly can’t describe, but you wouldn’t want to try to describe it, because this feeling is beyond words.

Love is usually wonderful, sometimes scary, but totally worth it. Just realize that a relationship is about more than love, and that no matter how much love there is between you two, you will have to work to keep a healthy relationship.

musicman997's avatar

To simply put one of life’s greatest complex, Love is the unconditional admiration and passion you share with someone. Unconditional, Unconditional, Unconditional, Unconditional, Unconditional, Unconditional. Extremely important word.

Saturated_Brain's avatar

A really really long belated thank you to everyone who contributed to this question. You guys deserve it. Seriously. =)

Iconoclast's avatar

I heard it put this way:

You know you love someone if you’re okay with them leaving you to be happier somewhere/with someone else.

The dependency stuff… General western society tries to program each of us to be half a person. That is, for the man to be logical, rational, and the woman to be emotional and nurturing. I disagree that that’s best for us. I think we should all be a whole person with each of those characteristics.

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