People Who ''Need to Be Loved'' Rarely Find What They Are Looking For

People Who ''Need to Be Loved'' Rarely Find What They Are Looking For
Valeria Sabater

Written and verified by the psychologist Valeria Sabater.

Last update: 19 May, 2024

Few sources of suffering are as exhausting as needing or lacking love. Sometimes it turns into an obsessive hope of always receiving something in return, even if it is the leftovers … People who need to be loved above all else or who are willing to sacrifice everything are those who will always settle for less than they deserve and who will seek affection in the wrong places.

We know it’s the same old story. We may have experienced it ourselves, overcome it and left it behind us, but what is clear is that few phrases are heard so often in our day to day lives. Either at dinner with friends, at the psychologist‘s office, or in the car while listening to the radio: “… but I just want to be loved!”

The best thing is for everyone to plant their garden and decorate their own soul before having to wait for someone to bring flowers.

-Jorge Luis Borges-

It must be said that it is of little use for us to reply to that person by saying, “You always have someone who loves you: that person is you.” This does not work, because some people don’t know how to love themselves when their feeling of emptiness is so great and the need is urgent, blind and despairing.

They lack more than just the patience of sitting with the person reflected in the mirror, talking to her and convincing her that nothing makes sense without self-love.

Perhaps this is one of the biggest psychological and emotional efforts that we undergo: making people, especially teenagers, see that love cannot exist out of necessity. “I love you because I need you” has roots in fear, and that is not healthy. Good love is the very expression of freedom, personal fulfillment and well-being.

Everyone wants to be loved, but to need it vetoes our freedom

We all know the theory, but we get distracted in our day to day lives. Needing to be loved vetoes our personal growth, which makes us captives of the wrong people, those to whom we cling. We hope they are our salvation, that give meaning to each of the voids that mark our hearts and our senses.

We know the theory, we have read about it, our acquaintances remind us that we are not on the right track, that we need to love ourselves first. And yet, there we are, turning our wounds into bigger scars.

But why do these behaviors become chronic? Why is it still clear that there are those who continue to feed their need to be loved? Here are some of the reasons.

  • Those who obsessively need to be loved do not, in general, have a reference model on which to base themselves. It’s common for their childhood family dynamics to be based on the wrong attachment style. They are taught that love, far from nourishing strengths and self-esteem, causes serious shortcomings.
  • People who need more love settle for much less. This makes them accept anything that comes to them without evaluating it or filtering it. They will forcefully adjust to that relationship like a square peg in a round hole. They’ll do almost anything to be worthy, to receive affection, attention and consideration. However, by not achieving it, their gaps will become larger and their need to be loved will intensify.
  • They live in continuous contradiction. This fact is without a doubt very striking as well as destructive for the person who suffers from it. As we have pointed out, we all know that the obsessive and constant need to be loved and recognized is not healthy.

However, there are those who cannot help it. Some people go back into a relationship of the same size, shape and color even when they have a broken heart and broken dignity, because it is the only thing they know. They feel they can receive what they are missing from the outside instead of finding it inside themselves.

The importance of not “needing”

All of us have “needs” or important aspirations: a good job, a bigger house and even a little more luck in this life. However, these are light, empty and anecdotal “needs” that rarely generate dependence or acquire any depth. We are aware that our day to day lives could be a little better if we achieve these aspirations, but they do not obsess us: we understand that they are more like desires than needs.

It’s a good idea to correct your terminology and to live honestly according to them. Instead of “needing” to be loved, we “want” to be loved. We don’t need to “find” love, but to “allow” love to find us. 

Let us allow destiny, chance or life itself to bring us closer toward that special person, while we do not stop taking care of our inner garden. Find pleasure in that solitude without clinging to an impossible ideal or putting an empty bowl in front of others expecting them to fill it.

Therefore, we take care of our own love by feeding our own share of recognition and affection. We don’t allow ourselves to be mistreated, preventing us from having to surrender our dignity to make ourselves feel loved.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.