Romantic Relationships Don't Rescue Anyone

Thinking that romantic relationships are the answer to your own discomfort is a huge mistake. Anyone who thinks that falling in love will solve their emotional deficiencies is only paving their path towards disappointment.
Romantic Relationships Don't Rescue Anyone
Gema Sánchez Cuevas

Written and verified by the psychologist Gema Sánchez Cuevas.

Last update: 28 February, 2024

Sigmund Freud said that romantic relationships aren’t an encounter but a reunion. But who are you exactly to meet again? Well, basically with everyone and everything you’ve loved before this new union. For instance, with your parent’s affection, along with everyone else you loved during your childhood as well as with your previous lovers. In short, with all that emotional constellation you’re a part of.

Human beings have the wrong idea that romantic love is a kind of panacea, the definitive answer to their loneliness, and a guarantee of happiness and fulfillment. The father of psychoanalysis also says that the exact opposite occurs when people find someone they want to love. Instead of feeling whole at last, you may feel more incomplete than ever. This is because you suddenly realize that you really need that person’s affection.

“I knew he would always be my best friend for my whole life. That was the biggest thing to me. I’d never known anything like the friendship that I had with him. I could like him as much as I loved him.”

-Blake Lively-

A woman with a strange expression.

Quite an event

No one can deny that, sometimes, love becomes an event for the person who experiences it. It doesn’t necessarily generate a radical change in life but it does in perception. Suddenly, the world seems more endowed with meaning and conjures up what Freud called “death drive“, at least for a while. It’s that secret desire to stay still and not think about anything ever again.

But this is precisely what makes romantic relationships so misleading. They induce a feeling of satisfaction but also make you feel needier than ever. Also, a relationship can lift you to the peaks of happiness but it also generates more reasons for suffering. It’s an interesting and wonderful experience that doesn’t give a definitive answer to your gaps, shortcomings, and lack of meaning.

The rescuing illusion

Life unfolds amidst many paradoxes. There’s a bewildering duality when it comes to romantic love. When someone needs a lot of love, they can’t build, secure, or allow it to germinate. Their own lack leads them to generate a series of distortions in their actions and the way they perceive things. They alone prevent the seed of affection from taking a healthy turn.

A person needs help when they have many problems, big gaps, and confusion. This is because they neither find the peace of mind nor the answers they need to overcome their discomfort and emotional suffering inside. For this reason, romantic love creates the illusion of being just what someone needs. However, sooner rather than later, you realize it isn’t enough.

Many love disappointments have to do with this. A person who believed the wonderful love they found could rescue them from a situation in which discomfort prevails, only to find out it didn’t. They may repeat the same cycle countless times because that’s precisely what a neurotic person does: they indefinitely repeat the experiences they want to get rid of.

A seemingly tired man.

Romantic relationships, love, and their true dimension

The person who lacks or needs love doesn’t always behave in a needy manner. That kind of deprivation also gives rise to cynical or aggressive forms of behavior. Then, there are those who use sex to cover up their discomfort, workaholics, or people who become blind slaves of selfish and inconsequential success.

If a person has no love in their life, they’ll become ill to some extent. Everyone needs significant emotional ties to overcome their narcissism and “death drive”. However, romantic love remains that promised land some want to reach, it becomes the country of never again for others. The place where they don’t want to be, even if they have to pay a high price to avoid it.

Note that there’s an idealization of romantic love in both instances. They neither give nor take as much. It’s just one more experience of life, not a fundamental experience. Instead, there are other connections that can rescue and save you from yourself and from the ghosts that haunt you. For example, the bond that you can establish with a psychologist, the therapeutic bond, that is. Freud said that every demand for analysis was a demand for love. Finally, a psychologist can respond to it and propose a healing process.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Sanpedro, P. (2005). El mito del amor y sus consecuencias en los vínculos de pareja. Disenso, 45.

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