An Excess of Love Can Destroy You
When we talk about love, it seems that “more” is always “better”. Believing this lie is the same as swallowing a poisonous pill disguised as candy. If we analyze the moments we have experienced by our loved one’s side, and the suffering wins by a landslide, something is not right. We have become victims in this thing we call “love”.
Love doesn’t equate with suffering. It doesn’t mean constant suffering and always betting on the bad thing to happen. Loving someone doesn’t imply becoming blind, it doesn’t mean justifying the unthinkable or forgiving any action simply out of mercy. Love isn’t the same as dependence. It doesn’t imply developing an umbilical cord that will chain you to your partner.
Love is not just a matter of quantity, but rather of quality. Love is not over-protection. It doesn’t involve following your significant other around and solving all of the problems they cause. It doesn’t mean you must protect and sugarcoat the world for a child trapped in an adult’s body. And, of course, love doesn’t leave you devastated physically and mentally. If your relationship harms your emotional balance or even your physical health and integrity, then surely we are loving excessively.
“This idea that romantic love expects nothing in return is an invention of submissive minds. If you give, you want to receive. Reciprocity is normal.”
The masks within a relationship
It seems that there’s a great chasm between men and women, separating their way of understanding and confronting relationships. Within this separation, cultural ideals, education, the family environment in which the person was raised and even biology itself play a strong role.
Our childhood experiences with our role models and especially with our parents determines how we interact with others throughout our lives. Painful and difficult situations, affective deficiencies, the absence of important figures or a lack of limits are just some of the factors which define our way of seeking and giving affection.
On one hand, some women tend to manage love by developing a strong level of dependence or obsession for the other person. The torrent of emotions is lived in a very intense way. It’s expressed through the need for care and understanding towards the other person, adopting the role of “savior” in many occasions. Thus, it’s very ironic that women can respond with so much compassion to others and still remain blind to the pain in their own lives.
“If an individual is capable of loving productively, he also loves himself. If he only knows how to love others, then he doesn’t know how to love at all.”
Men fear their own emotions
On the other hand, many men run away from their emotions through ways of externalization. That is to say, obsessing over their jobs, consuming drugs or investing their free time into hobbies that leave them with little time to think. These tend to be emotional blocking strategies due to their inability to manage and comprehend their own emotions. They tend to not confront their unease or problems, because these imply an overwhelming, unmanageable, shameful or guilty burden. A burden which is best avoided.
This type of behavior can take place in men as well as women, but women are usually the ones who develop patterns of care and sacrifice as a way of seeking and offering love and caring. While men, on the other hand, try to protect themselves and avoid pain by establishing external goals rather than internal ones. Ones that are more impersonal, instead of personal.
When does it become excessive?
Many times we’re not satisfied with our partner, but we deny this fact by saying that we’re simply “going through a rough patch”. We justify the experience by thinking that relationships are simply like this. That they are passionate at the beginning and tortuous until the end.
We forgive the other persons actions, convincing ourselves that they will change. Or maybe we’re not brave enough to break off the relationship “out of fear of being hurt”. Actually, behind all of this lies our own fear of suffering. We’re afraid of being alone or of not finding another person that will tolerate us.
Who hasn’t at some point been in love and had it be unrequited? Or maybe you had excellent, intoxicating sex with someone, but the rest of the relationship was an ordeal. Maybe you have found yourself acting like your mother with your partner or think that without someone by your side, your life is meaningless.
There are many situations that we have been able to experience when we interact with other people. Thus, there are also many mistakes that we have made and many forms of self-deceit we create in order to soften the pain.
“Guilt, shame and fear are the immediate motives of deceit.”