Love or Need?

24 Jul

I am a member of a few forums and discussion boards.  On one of them a woman posted for support on making a decision about her current boyfriend.  She described him and his behavior in such a way that I wanted to personally rescue her from this mooching loser.  At one point she said that he “provides no support and rarely cares about my needs.”  The only positive I heard her say was that she knows he will always love her.

That got me thinking…  I asked her if she really meant “love,” though, or “need?”  The behavior she described – not going to work, smoking a lot of pot to the detriment of her health (she has asthma), cheating, not pitching in around the house, and ignoring her expressed needs – were not loving at all.  When she left for a few days, he was full of promises and apologies and declarations of undying love.  But real love cares about your needs and provide you with support.  Someone who is mooching just needs you around. It might feel good at first, especially when you confuse it with love, but it gets old pretty quickly.

I have been guilty of confusing feeling NEEDED with being LOVED.  That’s a trap.  Those two things are not the same.  I poured everything I had into my husband and then some because he “needed me to.”  I let his neediness feed my ego. I don’t know another way to put it… It felt great being able to give him support, love,and understanding, to rub his feet, and do his laundry.  To try to “help” him, finance his dreams, give him a “leg up.”  It made me feel successful, generous, kind, smart, and loved.

I was all of those things except loved by him.  Being taken advantage of didn’t make any of those things more or less true.  It just made me drained.  Because I gave and gave and gave and got nothing in return except his “love.”  A “love” that lied, cheated, did drugs, ran up my bills, and contributed nothing except his ability to cook and wash the dishes.  Hey, that’s more than some people get from their partners, right?  I convinced myself to settle because he “loved me so much.”

Bullshit!  He just needed me. He wanted my money, my house, my foot rubs, my stability, my kindness, and to show me off on his arm.  He wanted a narcissistic supply, which I stupidly continued providing to him.  Even as I pulled away, demanded more, “forced” him into therapy (he only went to prolong his free ride, lying the entire time), got upset, and threatened to kick him out, he kept getting what he wanted… My attention, my emotional involvement, and more time to drive my car around and sleep in my bed.

Yeah… Exhausting to say the least. When you give everything and don’t get anything in return it makes you tired in a way you can’t describe if you haven’t been there.  Parasites eventually sap all of your energy.

Again, that’s not love.  Feeling wanted or needed can certainly give off a little high.  It doesn’t last, though.  And it certainly is not the same as being loved.  In the future I don’t just want to be needed or wanted.  I want to be loved.  Cared for.  Put first.  Acknowledged.  Supported.  Treated with respect.  Gifted with honesty.  Noticed.  Appreciated.  Trusted.  I want tenderness.  An equal partner.  Someone who will put as much effort into the relationship as I do.



13 Responses to “Love or Need?”

  1. rgonaut July 26, 2013 at 11:37 am #

    You nailed it!

  2. smittenwithhim July 25, 2013 at 6:25 pm #

    “I let his neediness feed my ego.”
    It does feel good to help someone, but only for a while and only if they actually attempt to help themselves, too.

  3. theabilitytolove July 25, 2013 at 10:49 am #

    Great distinction between love and need. Also an excellent example in sharing how you were responding. There was a lot of personal responsibility taken for your own contribution. He’s an asshat. You deserved better, but rarely do i see blogs where the person victimized can so aptly and humbly share their own part and why they were there. I”m very impressed! Thanks for sharing!

    • beautifulmess7 July 25, 2013 at 2:25 pm #

      We generally don’t do things unless we’re getting something out of it. I had to ask myself what I was getting out of it. If it wasn’t love, and I firmly believe it wasn’t, then what?

      Other than what I mentioned in this post, he was also a rebound for sure. I was ending my longest relationship (7 years – longer than I ended up being with him). I think it was something like two weeks between the time it ended and the time I met him. He was a distraction, a project, someone more broken than me to put my energy into. A healthier person would not have ended up in the situation where I found myself.

  4. Katerina July 25, 2013 at 3:13 am #

    Once again you clarify what love should look like. When we give and give and give and receive very little in return, that’s a sign to move on but sometimes regrettably it takes years to wake up to this fact. Thank you once again for the wake up call. I love your writing and striking intelligence.

    • beautifulmess7 July 25, 2013 at 8:12 am #

      Thank you. I wish all of my insights weren’t due to making these mistakes myself.

  5. omtatjuan July 24, 2013 at 11:07 pm #

    I call Somatic Narcissistic Psychopaths.. Soul Zombies. They are dead inside and they constantly need to seek something from others to remain alive. Once they are finished with you they discard you like a used tissue…. I have tried to ask therapists and people in the know what happens to them in later life. Male psychopath usually end up in jail but what of female ones… Does anyone know. Please help me on this question.

    • beautifulmess7 July 24, 2013 at 11:14 pm #

      I think they just continue to move from victim to victim. Some get involved in crime or drugs. There isn’t a lot of research on female narcissistic psychopaths that I’m aware of. They may more easily blend in and have less violent tendencies just due to the differences in genders. Women in general tend to be more subtle, at least in my experience. And it is more socially acceptable, even still, for a woman to live off of a man.

      • omtatjuan July 24, 2013 at 11:17 pm #

        Yeah I know…. She destroyed me or almost did. He daughter suffers from a severe eating disorder and she made it sound as if it was nothing. That should have been a sign but foolish me I was in love.

  6. sexdownunder July 24, 2013 at 10:55 pm #

    Another great post and oh so true ! Love must be the most confusing word in our language. I also think love belongs on a sliding scale. Cheers, Michelle

    • beautifulmess7 July 24, 2013 at 11:00 pm #

      Love really can be confusing. I like the concept of the different types of love that were used in ancient Greece. Like your sliding scale idea, it differentiates between the forms love can take. I do think there is a big difference between being needed and being loved, though.


  1. Love or Need? | Outside The Fish Bowl - July 25, 2013

    […] Love or Need?. […]

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