Love is that one thing that can delight and energize us more than any other possible feeling, and it is the same thing that can bring us down deeper than any other. We all need to love and to feel loved. We naturally connect with the most suitable people and form with them deep attachments, we live together, we have tensions, conflicts, we solve them, we fight, we do not give up, and all of these … in the name of love. Love songs have been, are and will always be in great demand.We must admit that novels, movies and love songs will always attract us. Although we depend on love, we do not know so much about what health means in love. There are many myths and things that have passed by as “ordinary” over time and too few have noticed that there are limits of health in love, as there are anywhere else.
When we refer to love, we mean, in fact, the realationship needs we all have from the first day we appeared in the world to the last. We need to belong to a special person, to feel sought, explored, valued, desired, wanted, appreciated, encouraged, understood and not only these. We need hugs and physical affection. All these lead to a generally healthy emotional regulation. Scientific studies have shown that social support is one of the most important protective factors in a man’s life and all studies have shown that people in stable loving relationships live longer and are healthier both physically and emotionally. We are born out of relationships, we grow in relationships, from the first moments we cannot live outside a relationship with another human being. Babies who remain untouched and away from any human connection die within a few days. It is a scientific fact, a given fact, that we need relationships to live and stay healthy. And this involves forming relationships with people who can adequately meet our relationship needs and to whom we can adequately meet these needs.
Basically, the health of love is reduced to the level of satisfaction of relationship needs. The more this satisfaction is sufficient, balanced and appropriate, the stronger the love. But what does this actually mean? What and how should we feel, what does this love look like? Well, to find the answer to this question is enough to think about how you feel when you need to be understood, for example, by the partner and he / she does not succeed. Nor does he/she empathizes with you so you get to feel completely alone in a particular situation and there is no one to understand your perspective either cognitively or emotionally. This is a classic example where the need to be understood is not met by the partner. In those moments the whole balance of the relationship is shaking. And if it is found that even the support is not provided by the partner who alos does not provide the understanding, the relationship can be questioned by many people who find themselves in such a situation. So … love is questioned. And that’s because the feeling of being loved and loving lies in how satisfied we feel in terms of needs. That’s how healthy love feels. When you feel that your needs are being met by the partner and when you feel that you can actively and satisfactorily satisfy him back. It’s about reciprocity, about balance.
A debate about the needs can be started quite easy here. What does it mean to meet a need? When one partner is sacrificing himself to please the other, is it a model of health? Are partners spending all their time together and being isolated from the rest and not supporting separation for too long, a model of health? Of course not. These emotional needs can be harmed during childhood and may be inappropriately met years in a row so that we do not know what a normal and appropriate satisfaction actually looks like. Not knowing this we will connect with those around us as we have learned that it is normal. This, in fact, causes unhealthiness in love. Many such things are widely promoted and go on as normal and healthy when in fact they are not. Take the example of a very famous love song, “Everything I do” sung by Bryan Adams. The whole song is about how the partner in love does everything for the beloved woman and how he would give his life for her in any second if needed. Many of us can be impressed by such a message and we could think that a partner who will love us like this is the ideal partner, but things could not be more untrue. Love does not involve anyone’s sacrifice, it does not require anyone to do everything they do for their partner. In reality this is an obsessive fixation and it has nothing to do with love or health.
To love healthy means to remain independent, to remain you, to remain separate and to understand that you carry deep feelings of affection for another but without losing yourself, without sacrificing yourself and compromising yourself in the name of love. Although the songs are full of messages that promote unhealthy symbiosis, self-sacrifice and obsessive fixations we do not need to stop from listening to them or liking them, but it is important to know for ourselves which are the healthy patterns we are aiming for.
Healthy loving behavior means truly respecting each other’s wishes, needs and limitations even if they do not coincide with what we want and can even hurt. A healthy love means that we can face the truth about what the partner feels, what is happening with the relationship and allow ourselves to be vulnerable to unpleasant emotions. Any love, any relationship comes with obstacles, conflicts, tensions, fear and pain. It is as normal as possible, and a healthy management of these things involves the ability to regulate ourselves emotionally so that we do not need to run away from the painful truths of ourselves or our partner’s and do not get to reject or blame the things that do not suit us just because they hurt. I believe that respect is, however, an indispensable basis for a healthy love. You must be able to respect your own feelings and limits in order to respect those of your partner. It is an illusion, for example, to dedicate yourself to your partner and to believe that this means respect. It is an illusion that will easily crack in the face of reality which will only show you that self-sacrifice equals an almost total lack of self-respect and it is impossible that this sacrifice does not attract expectations towards the partner. At least the expectation of staying, possibly forever, with you. And this has nothing to do with respect. It should be mentioned that it is impossible to respect, satisfy and love someone if we cannot do it for ourselves. Of course, we cannot meet our relationship needs alone. However, respecting one’s own relationship needs means choosing the right person and staying with the right person who is able to meet these needs in the healthiest way possible. Of course, it is not an unknown thing to remain in relationships in which we feel dissatisfied, but we do not have the power to leave, to look for something more appropriate. This is a very representative example of a lack of self-love. You cannot literally love yourself, but choosing someone who loves you healthy means loving yourself. And that’s because, in fact, you are taking care of your needs . And this translates into love, as we have established from the beginning. And just at this point you will be able to love yourself and love healthy.
In conclusion, healthy love is reduced to satisfying in a healthy manner the relationship needs, and this level it can be reached through introspection, personal analysis, identifying relational problems, psycho-education and, of course, psychotherapy. It is difficult to be alone on this road, and the lack of knowledge in the field makes it necessary to consult a specialist.