Love is one of the major themes of books, poems, movies, TV shows, and songs. I’d venture to say that there are as many views of what love means as there are people in the world. However, these various perceptions, desires, and objectives can be clustered into some common motifs.
Here are some key examples of different attitudes and approaches about romantic love:
Immature and Dysfunctional Postures
Dependent: I need and want you to take care of me a lot because I’m not self-sufficient.
Co-Dependent: I derive my worth from your approval and validation.
Child-Centered: I want us to focus most of our attention on our children; our partner relationship is secondary.
Sexualizing: I primarily regard you as a sex object.
Narcissistic: Acknowledge that I come first, and admire me because I’m special in many ways! I’ll provide for you, but realize I cannot give you much (if any) empathy.
Psychopathic: I will charm, con, and exploit you regularly, and you will accept my doing so because you need me.
Healthy, Evolved Platforms (These are not discrete.):
I’m focused on your overall well-being and expect you to reciprocate that level of caring.
We are both independent and interdependent.
Let’s support each other’s life purposes and build our dreams together.
I’m excited about the synergy we can continually create!
I cherish various forms of intimacy with you.
I want to enjoy sex with you on physical, emotional, and spiritual planes.
We’ll parent our children from the strength and beauty of our relationship.
Let’s extend our love via service to our community--or beyond.
Open or Polyamorous: You alone cannot meet all of my needs and desires, so I want to have other partners.
Which of the statements or positions that I depicted most represent your own or those of your mate? How do you feel about those items that you especially endorse or that fit you?
In my next blog I will discuss love languages, including ones in addition to those that are frequently cited.
Your Relationship Coach,
Jim Sharon, EdD is a licensed psychologist and couples' coach who has over four decades of professional experience serving thousands as a counselor, as a life and relationship coach, and as a seminar and retreat facilitator. Dr. Sharon has authored two books and many professional publications, most recently, Secrets of a Soulful Marriage: Creating and Sustaining a Loving, Sacred Relationship (with Ruth Sharon, MS), published by SkyLight Paths, 2014. Jim and Ruth have been married since 1970, have raised three adult children, and have three young granddaughters.