Want to Need to Want You: An Essay on Love as a Need

February 14 encroaches with its thundering storm of love and lust and capitalism and shared venereal diseases. But I will be indisposed over the President’s Day holiday, which comes directly on the heels of VD Day. (That’s VD for Venereal Diseases for those in the know.) (Welcome to The Know.) So I’m gonna talk about L.O.V.E. today.

I don’t mean love in the way someone says:

  • OMG I just LOVE those heels, girl! You must tell me where you got them! Hashtag YOLO!
  • Dude, this chicken is divine. I would totally LOVE it if you’d left out the cream cheese.
  • I LOVE Bonobo. Like totally LOVE Bonobo. The music gets me high.

No. I’m talking about Love as in Eros. Merriam-Webster defines Eros as such:

  1. The sum of life-preserving instincts that are manifested as impulses to gratify basic needs (as sex), as sublimated impulses motivated by the same needs, and as impulses to protect and preserve the body and mind – called also life instinct.
  2. Love conceived by Plato as a fundamental creative impulse having a sensual element; erotic love or desire.

I also consider the nature of love is more than emotional/sensual “feelings.” Love is a verb, meaning it requires attentive action toward your partner. And despite what many believe, it does require effort. If you’re not willing to put forth any effort in your relationship, then can you truly call it love? I think not.

(P.S. The concept of Eros deserves a post all its own. Psychology fascinates me, and Eros is no exception. If you’re into psychology or the inner workings of humans, I suggest digging in.)

Note that I placed emphasis on certain words in those definitions. Chiefly need(s). For that, my dears, is what I’d like to discuss today: Love as Need. How Wanting your Lover becomes Needing your Lover.

Some people believe that love (and desire and lust and passion and psychic/soul connections and all that goes with it) forever remains in the realm of want. I disagree. Strongly.

Love in an adult relationship between two unrelated, attracted adults, certainly begins as want. (I’m not going into polyamory. I’m discussing this from the perspective of a monogamous coupling.) But as it progresses, if in fact it progresses from strong connections and compatibility to a mutual desire to become long-term partners, your love for one another should certainly still be a wanting. But I will argue that it also becomes a need. And I don’t mean need in the way some perceive it as this negatively connoted cloying, whiny neediness. I mean need in the way that you finally reach the stage where your want becomes so strong that you need your partner to fulfill your wants and needs.

Most people who give the concept of need serious attention and thought, only go so far as to consider the physiological needs of humans (and mammals in general): air, water, food, shelter. While these are critical for survival and must be met first, human complexities include more than just physiological needs. These may be the only ones necessary for survival, but we need more than that to be fulfilled and live lives worth living.

Countless studies have shown the importance of interpersonal relationships, communities, families, intimacy. Consider infants. One simply cannot dismiss their need for love. I could cite study after study on the nature of childhood development and the effects of love upon said development. Parental affection is critical for most infants to become well-rounded, healthy members of society as we know it. Children who are deprived of love are wont to develop such afflictions as social anxieties and depression. They often have difficulties relating to other human beings in acceptable ways and develop issues with trust and self-worth. These are proven facts. Children need love. Parents who provide for the physiological needs of their offspring but withhold love and affection are psychologically damaging their children.

We, as humans, simply require more than our physiological needs met.

Consider Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

MaslowsHierarchyOfNeeds

In order, he places physiological needs as the foundation of human needs, which of course is inarguable. Once those needs are met, we move into safety needs (adequate shelter and clothing to protect one from the elements and predation). But take a look at what he places next:

Love and Belonging. Here, Maslow argues (and I adhere to this psychology) that friendship, intimacy and family are requisite for social and emotional stability. Otherwise, as previously discussed, we are neglected and ostracized, which typically develops into severe depression and other psychological problems.

Now let me place this into the context of a long-term monogamous relationship.

Real Life Shit

I do believe in soulmates. I do not, however, ascribe to the notion that there is only one person in all humankind that can fulfill your own personal needs of love. There are billions of people on this earth, and while we will never meet even the tiniest fraction of those billions, rest assured there are many people out there who are capable of fulfilling your love needs.

But while in a monogamous relationship, the person with whom you shared a mutual attraction and wanted to become your lover…that person is the one whom you’ve chosen to fulfill your needs. I do not argue this in a toxic way. I do not argue this as a way to say, “Well, I fucking need you, so you have to put up with whatever I do to you. However I treat you. I don’t have to do a fucking thing to actively love you, but you have to stay because I need you.”

No. That’s bullshit. And anyone who argues such doesn’t understand the responsibilities inherent to love and interpersonal relationships. Failure to acknowledge those leads to neglect and psychological abuse, which in turn may lead to feelings of ostracism and depression. That is not love. And if your relationship ever reflects such neglect, then your partner is no longer fulfilling your needs. And now you must decide whether you want another to fulfill those needs.

So if I say, “I need you,” I am declaring to you that I’ve chosen you to fulfill my personal needs.

I want to
Need to
Want you

And that will remain true so long as we want to fulfill each others’ needs and actively demonstrate our love.

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Quote Challenge Numéro Deux

Several lovely bloggers (seriously, like seventy-two of ya!) asked me to do the quote challenge again. But, because I’m a nogoodterribleverybad person, I only remember the first one who asked me: And that was Ndumiso Mncwabe over at Music Smells Like Noise. He has an original and creative blog going over there – I do hope you’ll check him out; he’s one of my favorites. And okay y’all, it was nowhere near seventy-two. More like seventy-one. Yeah. And I should have kept a list so I could give everybody a shout-out. My bad.

It’s been a while since I was asked, but I wanted to put a little more time between now and the first one I did. And it certainly doesn’t hurt that I’m a sucker for a good quote. And I’m doing it today because I’m in a supershitty mood so I need to do this to occupy myself.

(Disclosure thingy: I actually wrote this yesterday and scheduled it to post this morning. Since you’re all aware of my wild ups and downs, I’m probably in a better mood by now. But as of writing? FUCKTHEWORLDMAN. Not the worldman. The world, man. Because I don’t know who the Worldman is, but I’m not really keen on doing him.)

Y’all know, rebel that I am (snort), I’m gonna fuck the rules all up. If I recall correctly from last time, I’m supposed to do three quotes over the course of three days. But I think the new one going around has a twist: one or three quotes each day for three days, nominating three people each day.

And you homies oughta know by now that shit ain’t happenin’.

In fact, what I’m gonna do right now is give you a shitload of quotes all at once, and I’ll try to keep them all sufficiently moody to suit my mood. (How many times am I gonna say mood in this post? How many licks will it take to count them? Start licking and lemme know.) (Also ew. Stop licking your monitor.)

salad fingers
Here, lick Hubert Cumberdale. He tastes like soot and poo.

And then, I’m gonna nominate all of you. To gimme some quotes in comments. Or post some on your own pages. Whatever floats your goat. (I know it’s supposed to be boat. Don’t you think I know that? Goats are better than boats. Trust me.) (Oooo better still, a goat in a boat. Why didn’t I think of that?!)

But first, here’s some mood music to set the tone.

Ahhhhhh, that’s better. Nothing like some good ole ambient acid jazz trip hop (seriously will we ever agree on genres?). Now, where was I? Ah yes, to the quotes! I’m gonna share some that I keep in my own personal stash of quotey goodness.

Existential Mumbo Jumbo (that I love. So stop calling it mumbo jumbo. Jerk.)

On the walls of the cave, only the shadows are the truth. ~Plato

first-noble-truth-xkcd-platos-cave-allegory-fnord-funniest-webcomic-ever-humor-e1301882307435

The time will come when diligent research over long periods will bring to light things which now lie hidden. A single lifetime, even though entirely devoted to the sky, would not be enough for the investigation of so vast a subject … And so this knowledge will be unfolded only through long successive ages. There will come a time when our descendants will be amazed that we did not know things that are so plain to them … Many discoveries are reserved for ages still to come, when memory of us will have been effaced. Our universe is a sorry little affair unless it has in it something for every age to investigate … Nature does not reveal her mysteries once and for all. ~Seneca

Whew. I love this stuff.

passion_struggle

Isn’t that the truth? Can you really say you’ve experienced true passion without struggle? I know I can’t. Next up:

He was free, free in every way, free to behave like a fool or a machine, free to accept, free to refuse, free to equivocate; to marry, to give up the game, to drag this death weight about with him for years to come. He could do what he liked, no one had the right to advise him, there would be for him no Good or Evil unless he thought them into being. ~Jean-Paul Sartre

Oh yeah, I’m not even done.

Man cannot endure his own littleness unless he can translate it into meaningfulness on the largest possible level. ~Ernest Becker

This next one is one of my all-time favorite quotes. Ever. Period.

The wound is the place where the light enters you. ~Rumi

And that’s a damn good thing, because:

We’re all going to die, all of us, what a circus! That alone should make us love each other, but it doesn’t. We are terrorized and flattened by trivialities; we are eaten up by nothing. ~Charles Bukowski

I should probably lighten the mood, huh? At least attempt to? Cuz damn.

Lightening the Mood, or At Least Attempting To

My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness. ~Dalai Lama XIV

That’s what I’m talkin’ about, yo. Next up:

The past beats inside me like a second heart. ~John Banville

Whoopsie. That wasn’t very light, was it? (But true.) Lemme try again:

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent. ~Eleanor Roosevelt

Ahhh, that’s much better and an important one for me to remind myself of. I think I’ve got the hang of this now. Here we go:

“Words are events, they do things, change things. They transform both speaker and hearer; they feed energy back and forth and amplify it. They feed understanding or emotion back and forth and amplify it. ~Ursula K. Le Guin

I’m on a roll!

To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist; that is all. ~Oscar Wilde

Ooooops. My bad. Good quote, though. And true. Here, I’ll leave you with one final choice quote from my vaults:

Albert Camus Quote-1-Love

How about you? What quoth ye?