Do we "need" love?
September 4, 2012 5:41 PM Subscribe
Do we really "need" romantic love in our lives? Is there a magical point of self-love where one just attracts love from others?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (27 answers total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
After having the book "Feeling Good" by Dr. David Burns recommended to me many times, I read it and found it helpful in some ways. (I know it's a popular recommendation here).
I have had clinical depression for over 22 years (I'm 35 now), and was treated successfully with medication at age 19. Over the past year I noticed that the medication was losing its potency and that the depression had returned. I am now seeing a psychiatrist regularly; the depression is not as severe as it had been in my past, so CBT-related approaches are working quite well for me.
However, I am struggling with Dr. Burns' statement "Oxygen is a need, but love is a want. I repeat: LOVE IS NOT AN ADULT HUMAN NEED!" (Author's caps). It's perversely true for me, almost in a defeatist way. I know that the message is that self-love is a priority (the concept that one has to love oneself first; romantic love is secondary to this.)
Part of me really wants to believe that I really don't need love from a romantic partner; that the support from my friends & family are sufficient. My psychiatrist tells me that in fact, romantic love and companionship are basic human needs. This has become very frustrating for me; all I want to do is shut off the part of my brain that wants to date and have a boyfriend. To me, romantic love is basically a matter of luck, and at this point seems about as achievable to me as winning the lottery.
All I want is just to be happy with my life in this moment, being single. I get a lot of advice from people saying that once you stop looking and truly love yourself, you will simply attract love into your life. Unfortunately this has not happened to me, and any attempts to "put myself out there" have made me some great friends, but absolutely no romantic interest.
Do we really need romantic love/partnership in our lives? Am I just not trying hard enough to get better and love myself more? How can I shut off the part of my brain that wants a partner, and just be happy alone? I feel like if I "put myself out there", I'll seem too desperate and needy, but not approaching anyone and just "being approachable" doesn't work for me at all.