Original Link : https://medium.com/swlh/how-to-stop-needing-love-72bc31ef6621
And why we lose our minds in pursuit of it
“No one should be deprived of love without the very best of reasons.” — Andreas Capellanus
Between the glamorization of romantic love from the media and the less than ideal love relationships we had with our caregivers as children, we’ve been set up.
We were destined to be lovesick puppies, either desperately searching for it or desperately avoiding it because we were hurt by it.
Nevertheless, the desire for a romantic relationship doesn’t seem to be waning anytime soon with these niche dating apps. Farmers, gluten-free people, you name it, there’s probably a dating app for you.
So with all this importance placed on love and romance, it is no wonder that people are willing to do whatever it takes for love and to also feel despondent when they don’t have it.
The book The Art of Courtly Love breaks down the origin of romance. Andreas Capellanus penned a wonderfully dreadful definition of love that many will relate to:
“Love is a certain inborn suffering derived from the sight of and excessive meditation upon the beauty of the opposite sex, which causes each one to wish above all things the embraces of the other and by common desire to carry out all of love’s precepts in the other’s embrace.”
People did not always marry for love. This is a relatively new development that has only been around for a little over 200 years. However, extramarital affairs were normal throughout history and it was no different in 12th century Europe when this book was written.
People married to uphold social and financial standings, but they also needed to get their freak on. And it was in these extramarital relationships that romantic love was the driving force.
Capellanus had a list of the 31 rules of love that again is wonderfully dreadful because you will more than likely see yourself (or your former self) in it. Here are some of my favorite:
2. He who is not jealous cannot love.
22. Jealousy, and therefore love, are increased when one suspects his beloved.
9. No one can love unless he is impelled by the persuasion of love.
17. A new love puts to flight an old one.
15. Every lover regularly turns pale in the presence of his beloved.
25. A true lover considers nothing good except what he thinks will please his beloved.
- Marriage is no excuse for not loving.
8. No one should be deprived of love without the very best of reasons.
The entire list is a testament of why romantic love is an absolute joke and why we suffer chasing after it.
If you can see the ridiculousness of the list, then you stand a chance of a truly loving relationship.
Love as it is described in this book is a desperate, life-or-death and yet fleeting phenomenon. This “love” is not what most of us would define as love, yet it is the word we use to describe how we feel and the actions we take that lead to the jealousy, interchanging of partners and fear we experience.
In modernity, our need for love has become a bit more sophisticated (or perhaps foolish in some cases) with the fear of dying alone, being the only one among our friends to not have a significant other, the existential itch to be with someone or just being alone.
So what can we do about it?
Research from the University of Auckland in New Zealand shows why some single people are happier than others.
Those who seek to avoid conflict in relationships were just as happy being single as those who were in relationships. However, those who aren’t as mindful about interpersonal conflicts in relationships were unhappier being single than in a relationship.
Furthermore, those who wanted to increase intimacy and growth with their partner were far happier in a relationship than when single.
With that said, here is the solution to the need of love.
1. You cannot love like it’s the 12th century
As was outlined above, those people were kind of nuts. Maybe they got a kick out of the whole thing but the only way you could would be because you wanted something that was temporary, fleeting and melodramatic.
Inherently, there’s nothing wrong if two consenting people want that. It seems like a game. But if you want something that lasts, this isn’t your sport.
Jealousy is not directly proportional to love. Jealousy is directly proportional to egotism.
Love is a choice, not something that just happens to people. The thing that just happens is called infatuation.
Too many people died for you to make the same mistakes they did. It’s time to wise up.
2. You aren’t giving love, yet you expect to receive it
The people who wanted to increase intimacy with someone are the people who see someone they value and give love. It is no wonder that they were happier with someone than single. Their modus operandi is to give to others. If they aren’t giving, they don’t feel as good.
If you can adopt this attitude to give rather than receive love, you would be stunned at how the need for love disappears almost in an instant.
You realize that love was not something to get from others. In reality, you generate love just as you generate any other feeling and its requisite actions from within. When you give love, it implies that you have love to give!
At this realization, you will never chase love again because you cannot chase what you already have. But you must be truly willing to give love, increase intimacy and encourage growth with your partner or whoever you care about in life.
If you aren’t doing these things, it implies you are trying to use love as a “selfish… grasping, egotistical thing” as John Steinbeck once put it. Naturally, you will be miserable.
I’m currently single but because I consciously give love, I get the benefit of increased intimacy and better relationships. I also seek to avoid conflict but not to the extent that I isolate myself from people. That would be taking it too far.
3. You idealize love
As was said from the beginning, we were marketed love and romance (and sex) as this thing we should want. Some of us already had the inner motivations of not being properly loved growing up.
We go in search due to this yearning for love but we’re doomed because we don’t exactly know what love is. We think it’s possessiveness, desperation and ego-gratification. When we see the exact opposite, we can see that that is love too but it’s not exciting and dramatic enough.
But let’s face it. Drama must come out of possessiveness, desperation and ego-gratification. How could it not?
Wanting to grow with someone sounds lovely, but the actual work that goes into it isn’t something that people actually want. They want something that maintains itself and is always passionate. They want a dream someone sold them.
Choosing to love someone sounds like work and isn’t as captivating as the unconscious drive of infatuation.
If you don’t want to choose to love, that’s fine. I would only advise that you don’t try to form exclusive relationships. You can have sex, hang out and enjoy that path too.
Love is an amazing thing and is often showcased as such. Naturally, we would want something that looks and feels appealing.
But by looking at the ways that we confuse love for infatuation or self-gratification, we can quench our desperation for it by deciding to give love for the mere reason that we find someone amazing.