Often I am faced with the question – how to understand that I am loved? Or the same question is asked in the past tense. When one person leaves a relationship the other is tormented by the question, “Did he love me?”
I understand perfectly wanting a simple answer on how to determine the other person’s feelings without error. But it’s not that simple! I’m going to break this question down in great detail. Let’s begin in order.
Love is a very general concept. The word “love” implies a whole bunch of different feelings, emotions and states. Here you can see attraction, passion, interest, desire to care, self-interest, pleasure, desire to save, desire to enslave, and even sweet pain! I have not yet given a complete list! All this heterogeneous mess of feelings and desires is called love. The one thing it all has in common is the utmost intensity of desire and experience. But there is also the following point.
Human feelings and desires are changeable. In other words, everything we feel and experience is in constant change. Even our moods may be one thing in the morning and completely different in the evening. It is very easy to notice this by observing ourselves. Our feelings change depending on our health, what other people do, how the weather changes, how we think, how we see things… There are many factors that can turn our feelings 180 degrees!
When our needs change, so do our attitudes toward the other person. At different times in life, different needs come to the fore. And it is under the satisfaction of our needs that we look for a person. If even a loved one satisfies a certain need very well, another period of life may bring a completely different need to the forefront. Perhaps the other person will not be able to satisfy what has now become very urgent . Then we will go looking for the person who can do it.
Over time, a persistent habit and dependence on the other person may emerge. It may be strange, but a loved one can even begin to hate him or her! While being in a relationship with him or her because of psychological or material dependence. Because of the fear of losing your security, or your apartment, or your patronage. As you can see there is no love here! I mean, there is not the set of feelings that we would like to see. So it’s not just passion or adoration, but also fear of losing something.
In light of the above, do you think it is possible to answer unequivocally the question, “How do I know if I am loved?” I anticipate the objection that true love does not change, does not get weaker, but only gets stronger over time! I think that such a view is rather a literary fiction. It is a dream that one can have something that is stable and unchangeable without constant effort on one’s part.
The reality, however, is quite different. The process of relating to another person is in constant flux. And in completely different ways. It is very important to see this dynamic, to keep track of every aspect of the relationship and to tend to it. After all, we ourselves may want to be with a person forever at one point in our lives, but years later we may be dreaming about how to get rid of that same person!