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Beware of Love

Love and relationships are the most complex experiences we can meet in life.
The following stages of love may help in defining this.

Baby love:

Completely dependent upon the loved person for ones needs, physical, emotional and social. Great anger, jealousy or pain if the loved one relates to anyone else, is lost, or threatens to leave. In an adult this enormous feeling reaction may also be felt at a time of emotional withdrawal of the partner, even if there is no sign of them withdrawing physically. There is a desire for unconditional love and a need to be always with the loved one. In an adult with this level of love, sex may be a part of the relationship, but the main need is a bonded connection. This is sometimes felt as a need to have the loved person want you as much, or as desperately, as you want/need them. Obviously many people never develop beyond this level.

Possibly the greatest fear, that can trigger great anger or an enormous desire to placate or earn love, is the threat or fear of being abandoned.

Adolescent love:

Initial uncertainty or clumsiness concerning emotional and sexual contact. Desire to explore many relationships. Still finding out what ones boundaries and needs are. Great sexual drive. Partner will probably be loved for dreamers own needs – for example the dreamer wants a family and loves the partner to gain that end; the dreamer loves the partner because in that way they can get away from parental home. Great romantic feelings and spontaneous love which are not easy to maintain in face of difficulties.

Adult love:

Growing sense of recognising needs of partner yet not denying ones own. Ability to be something for the partner’s sake without losing ones own independence or will. Becoming aware of the issues that colour or influence relationship, and meeting them as partners. Independence and closeness together. Caring sexual partners through discovering each others needs and vulnerability. It can lead to needs and directions that are not considered natural. For instance many people desperately want a partner, but those who have developed an adult love can live easily without such need.

At this level of love we offer freedom to those we love, and of course we therefore expect freedom in return. But that can be very painful to those who are still in other ages of love. Very few people grow beyond the baby stage, therefore the pain when a partner dies or leaves.

But it is important to realise that we are all dual beings. We exist strung between enormous duality – sleep and waking, male and female, pain and pleasure, light and darkness, life and death, and death and resurrection. To be whole we need to accept and meet these opposites. In the pursuit of love we need to recognise that that we must integrate the other gender to become whole.

What happens in a relationship that doesn’t integrate ones own inner opposite is that when we take a person into a close partner we actually integrate them into us as our male or female. Then if the relationship breaks up it feels like a part of us has been torn out – painfully. If we have become whole however, not such pain can occur, for we have our own inner male/female. See archetype of the anima and archetype of the animus

Okay, so it’s a strange title, Beware of Love, but it’s true. When somebody says they love you they are usually telling a big lie.

What they really mean is, “I will be nice to you and share myself with you as long as you do exactly what I want you to do.”

In detail this means that I will have all those exotic and erotic feelings about you as long as you don’t dare look at another person, and as long as you fulfil all my needs of dependency, fear, and all the other hang-ups I don’t really admit to myself.

That is the baby stage of love.

The word love in the English language is a crazy word. If you look up its meaning it simply says that you love somebody, or care about them. That is really no definition at all. And when most people tell you they love you, what they really mean is, “I will let all my childhood dependency, unfulfilled need for love and attention that I didn’t get from my parents; and all my fears of being abandoned, all my need to possess somebody and have them do what I wish, and of course all my sexual needs, be projected onto you”. That is one hell of a load to put on someone – and to carry.

Most of us have not actually matured to the point of being capable of love. The very roots of love arise out of the incredible survival drives of a baby totally desiring its mother to give utter and complete attention to it. Without that attention, millions of years of survival in harsh environments, tell the baby it will die. So it holds on to that connection with its mother or carer with every jungle trick it knows. These includes tantrums, acting out sickness, sulking, anger, emotional cut off to see if the parent still cares; and if you haven’t outgrown those, then you will use them in your adult relationships.

Quite honestly, few of us have outgrown them, so we are mostly five or six year olds when it comes to the business of love. I remember a man driving many miles to consult me because, as he said, “My wife is going to leave me if I do not change.” He explained that his wife said that he was so jealous that if she talked to another man it would cause a row. So I asked him to remember the first time he felt like that. It took him a while before he said, “I was about five”. I then explained that he had not learnt to grow emotionally since then. I also explained that I, in my mid forties, had married again, and discovered much to my horror that I had regressed to a four years old in relationship to my wife, and I needed to be near her and follow her around. Realising what was happening I started leaning to grow, and went through childhood, teenage and on. the man went on his way with a new intent.

Often we make a satellite character of the person we “love”. In other words we try to make them swing around us in the way that suits our emotional and physical needs. Notice how many people have breakdowns, depression, or even commit suicide when their partner leaves them, goes with another person or dies. Those things point to pretty desperate internal situations – in other words the baby level of feeling response.

What ‘lovers’ are really saying is, “I will love you if – if you don’t go against any of my childhood needs – if you remain my possession – if you don’t do those things that remind me I am a vulnerable baby and open up that incredible pit of feeling.”

Mature love is when we accept that the person we care for is a separate and unique individual with their own needs and directions in life. We do not love them “if”. We love them simply because they are who they are, because we respect and admire them, and we allow them the freedom that hopefully we give ourselves. This is a level of unconditional love. It doesn’t place the conditions on the other person of only being loved or lovable when they remain our satellite. When we do that we make of them a possession, somebody manipulated by our own moods, emotional blackmail, or underhanded tricks. If we are grown up in love and our partner leaves us or goes with someone else, having matured we will have already seen that as a possibility (come on, look around. There are only a few marriages that survive). It will mean difficult changes, but not ‘heartbreak’, not depression or long years of grief. It will also mean that because we love that person we will continue to be interested in their welfare and be glad if they are happy.

To grow up and become a mature lover takes courage. Each time we try to possess the other person, lash out at them through jealousy, curtail their life through our fears and insecurities, we need to stop and say, “This is childhood behaviour. I will not let this anger, possessiveness, jealousy or emotional blackmail be perpetrated on the person I presumably love. I will face this and deal with it as a problem in my character, and will not rationalise and excuse it by saying to my partner that I love them. That is an underhanded excuse. It is not love.”

Love for someone can be a strange thing, wonderful but sometimes painful. I have traced love back into the deeps of dreams and myself, and I found that although love has many faces, your mother or  partner for instance, it has in the end only one source and it flows through all if we allow it. So don’t be hard on yourself, but let love flow through until it becomes one great love that is everyone – it is Life itself.

So, how about it? How about growing up?

Also we are always alone. It is that which drives us on to seek others so frantically. If we love, it must be out of this realisation of aloneness and death, of not being, of the Nothing. Then human existence is seen as a poignant togetherness against the nothingness that is actually everything. All importance and rigidness drop away, and there is only a tenderness.

See Learning to Love

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Comments

-Rafiel Longbottom 2011-03-29 9:15:08

I disagree most strongly. Your idea of love means to able to let something go. Not only does that needlessly expose you to much suffering, it also does not qualify as love.

Let me explain. I cannot understand your experience, so I do not know how or where you got your influences from. It seems that an analogous experience to what you describe would be that of a Mother Theresa or a Dalai Lama who has given up attachment or the need for desire, and thus is free of the need to hold on to someone, or something, to feel fulfilled inside.

I do not view love that way. In my opinion, love cannot ever be complete, until you have completely possessed the person, until you have completely devoured the person’s mind, soul, body and spirit with such passion and alacrity that both of you become one, that there is a longing… not a mild ache, mind you, but a passionate longing, like a very force of nature, within your very soul when you are banished temporarily, by virtue of circumstance (hopefully) from the sunshine of their presence.

To me, childish behavior is a necessary aftertaste of this beautiful and ecstatic experience described above. It is only when we are willing to reveal ourselves as vulnerable children to our lovers then we can grow and develop…. together. To do otherwise is to do an disservice to ourselves, and in my opinion, to the nature of love.

Besides, while being emotionally controlled and “above it all” can free a relationship of turmoil and strife, it could also be an excuse for apathy and indifference to the relationship. After all, a person who cares for you will not lightly surrender their need for your presence by his/her side.

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    -Tony Crisp 2011-04-05 9:40:23

    Rafiel – Yes, I agree that we need to reveal ourselves as vulnerable children to one we love. In fact I did it. My mother did something so powerfully harmful when I was five that I could not mature or learn love. So it was not until I was in my forties that I began to learn to love. And that was when I regressed to a five year old and had to follow my mother/wife around for fear of losing her. Of course I gradually grew up, not from reading books, but by living out all the pain and disturbance of growing up as a forty year old. I certainly didn’t hide under a guise of Mother Theresa or of a Buddha figure.

    You wrote, “I do not know how or where you got your influences from.” Well, I got them by opening myself as fully as I could to everything I experienced. Strangely enough I learnt from Life itself, by allowing all the pain that you suggest growing up would needlessly expose me to. As I said in one piece I wrote, “This is an unconditional love. It doesn’t place the conditions on the other person of only being loved or lovable when they remain our satellite. In other words we try to make them swing around us in the way that suits our emotional and physical needs. Notice how many people have breakdowns, depression, or even commit suicide when their partner leaves them, goes with another person or dies. Those things point to pretty desperate internal situations – in other words the baby level of feeling response. When we do that we make of them a possession, somebody manipulated by our own moods, emotional blackmail, or underhanded tricks. If we are grown up in love and our partner leaves us or goes with someone else, having matured we will have already seen that as a possibility (come on, look around). It will mean difficult changes, but not ‘heartbreak’, not depression or long years of grief. It will also mean that because we love that person we will continue to be interested in their welfare and be glad if they are happy.”

    But something that Life showed me was that as you say, Love is about giving fully to the other. But that is the physical basis of life. As I was shown, the sperm and ovum give themselves totally to each other. What a love that is! All their treasures are shared equally, and they do it as an act of creation – the creation of a new being.

    The thing is that from there on the growth moves toward independence. In different stages it becomes independent – something I never learned from my mother. In full independence we can actually give ourselves to another; not from dependence or emotional or even sexual needs, but because we love the person. But love is many things. It starts as a physical things and gradually matures, as I learned to mature as I faced being a five year old in a forty year old body.

    The strange thing is that every new challenge I faced, and I faced it fully with all my emotions and vulnerabilities, every time I got back to seeing what was hurting me, it was always childhood dependences; even to reliving my birth as a premature baby, who was cut off from life too soon. In those days they did not have intensive care units, so without an umbilical connection I was dying. And it was only love that saved me; my grandmother’s love gave me the courage to carry on fighting for my lilfe.

    So I cannot see that growing up in love needlessly exposes one to suffering. I feel, honestly that it is the opposite. Having move out of a lifetime of depression, of self defeat, and into a lasting peace, I will stand by what I have written.

    Tony

    Reply

      -brian 2011-06-12 23:25:17

      Interesting intake on love and actually the whole webpage is interesting. For such a strong word in relationships, it loses all its meaning because we associate love with things that cannot love us in return. I love chicken. However, the chicken cannot love me back. Our fear of not receiving love in return is what makes us intimidated by the word love. Where we gain perspective of the meaning of love comes greatly from our parents. We form our own opinion on what love is supposed to mean. Love must come from many different places in our lives or we will have a very small perspective on what the word actually means. By the way, its hard to grow up. Hope to hear back.

      Reply

        -Tony Crisp 2011-06-19 13:03:56

        Brian – It is hard to grow up, but I seem to have done it reasonably well, although it took a long time – till 65 when the last painful link with parents fell away.

        Also I do not think we need to have any opinions of what love means or perspectives. If we dare to strip ourselves back we can discover that love is not our own, but is natural like breathing and it doesn’t expect anything in return. Loving chicken is in a different league with the love that flows through when life is unblocked in us.

        It is the fear of being abandoned – not receiving love in return – that is rooted in our survival instinct. It is something we can outgrow, we can form a different perspective. And I say this from experience rather than opinion. I quote a little of my story here from Story of a Premature Baby.

        “When I was meeting such feelings and pondering if they were a form of sickness or a natural situation, I was lucky enough to watch a nature documentary on British television about a herd of elephants. The film centred on a baby elephant that had become separated from its mother and the herd. The separation had come about because the baby had got stuck in deep mud at the edge of a waterhole. Hyenas were not far away, and the baby knew instinctively that if it cried out for help it might attract the hyenas, which meant death. So it remained silent but desperate, because it would die anyway trapped in the mud. Then it heard a group other than its own herd nearby. A dominant female always leads such herds. The baby called and the herd came, recognised the baby didn’t belong to the group and started to leave. The baby cried so desperately the dominant female tried to pull the baby out, but failed, and the group started to walk off. The baby called again, and this time the group succeeded in pulling the calf out of the mud and adopted it.

        The point is that certainly in the past, and still today in many parts of the world, abandonment means death. The greatest and most prominent drive in a baby animal is to stay connected with its parent or group. If it doesn’t it will almost certainly die. That instinct has been built into us as vulnerable animals for millions of years. The baby cannot help but feel that imperative.

        When I met the feelings involved in being apparently abandoned in the convalescent home, for six weeks I couldn’t function normally because the emerging emotions and states of mind were so strong. If you have never had an actual experience of this nature it may not be possible for you to understand or believe. But I will try to explain.

        Remember that what you take for granted as an adult is not operative in the baby and young child. For instance a sense of time is something you learned as you gained the ability to speak and grasp certain concepts such as morning, midday, evening, a new day, minutes, hours, etc. Before that you lived in a timeless world without beginning or end. A day, even a minute is eternal. So when a mother says, stay there I will only be five minutes, to the mother that seems very reasonable. But to the child it has no meaning whatsoever, and the length of her departure is only measured in terms of its own inner feelings. If it misses its mother, the pain is eternal. Perhaps that’s where the concept of Hell originated.”

        As I see it, meeting these ancient instinctive childhood fears is something we can undertake if we are to grow up as individuals and a culture. So much pain in relationships comes from such primitive drives. I know, and I have only quoted a small part of my story. And that is not even mentioning the other tremendous killer, the tribal instinct behind wars.

        Tony

        Reply

    -George Meeks 2014-01-27 3:21:04

    Rafael,

    Why do you wish to “posses” another?

    Are you a demon?

    Reply

-Michelle 2011-11-18 0:08:26

Wow, this is really deep, but true. I recently found out my love was calling another, courting her while he remained intimate with me. When we started dating 16 months ago, he had presented himself as being alone 10 months after his wife died until we began seeing each other. Within two weeks and a promise from God, I believed I was already in love with him. At six weeks I found out he had courted three other women (one for 3 months) within the first 10 months after his wife died and one was a one-night stand. I was so broken up about it–I thought I was special and sought-out, not a convenience. We had gone on a mission together 14 years ago and are both Christians, but did cross the line into intimacy before we were married so I was very attached to him. I asked him to stop calling her and he smirked and shrugged. I did end up getting his phone and calling her. I am not sure if I wanted her to just know about me so she would step back because of his dishonesty with her, to warn her about his history, or to ruin it for them. After 16 months and almost as many separations, I still love him and do want him to be happy and do want the Lord to bless him. He is angry with me for calling her, but he stepped up his game with her, texting love letters and calling her daily and leaving messages and sending pictures to her of his home on the river to woo her and he forbid me to call him or come to his home. The truth is, I am jealous. I did call her again and she said she didn’t give him any indication she was interested, spoke 20 minutes the night she found out about me and never answered or returned any of his calls or texts since then. She asked me why I would want to be with such an old man. I repeated her words to him out of anger at him for continuing with me when he was courting another. Even though he hurt me first, I should have stepped back and never called her. He was near tears when I later spoke to him about it and that put an arrow to my heart that I upset him and hurt him on purpose even though those tears were for his loss of relationship with her this time and not for me. I just need to heal and make better choices next time.

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-andri 2012-02-05 6:48:52

i dreamt that at my fathers birthday which is today my boyfriend who i have been with now fof a year and a half came to my fathers birthday lunch with another women.

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-Alan Higgins 2012-02-29 11:55:30

I liked reading this Tony. It’s great you share it. If I may, here’s my input. The word ‘love’ means different things and arouses different things in different people. Sexual lust comes into the equation in conjugal love, and possesive lust with parental love…. and so on… and from lust comes anger to quote the Bhagavad Gita:
“While contemplating the objects of the senses, a person develops attachment for them, and from such attachment lust develops, and from lust anger arises”.

The objects of the senses, for those who are pondering the meaning, are what the eyes see, the ears here, the skin feels etc (those being the gross senses) and what the mind perceives/experiences via the external information provided by the senses (the mind being one the subtle senses).

An example of parental anger would arise when someone threatens to harm/endanger the child. And so in that example anger could be very useful, stimulating an aggresive response to thwart the aggressor; anger being more useful than despair on occasion.

There are many variables. Just throwing a few into the mix. Not claiming to be an expert.

I like it very much when people share their knowledge like you’re doing Tony. No person is an island.

All the best.

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-Adrian 2012-11-02 16:02:07

Relationship love. Is all about giving and taking. If two people are willingly trading the right things, compatible things, it works. There is another way also for it to work and that is if they base their relationship on unconditional giving which requires both people to be that way to work.

Trouble is most relationships start by trading sexual attraction and they start with relative strangers so neither person knows what each other can trade other than sex.

There is in western cultures the idea of romantic love, which is a kind of unconditional love. Most people are drawn initially into starting a relationship because they can trade sexual attraction and because they trust or have some faith in romantic love without realizing that romantic love is rooted in unconditional love. Often they don’t know how to give unconditional love so fall back on trying to trade other things after the sex thing gets less important. Often they start to realize what they have to trade and what they would like to trade it for is partly incompatible with that which their partner is offering or would like in return.

My experience suggests that good relationships will work if either by luck or hard work or prior knowledge two people have compatible needs and things to give each other and or they know about and skillfully practice degrees of unconditional love.

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-michelle 2013-01-12 10:37:34

You need a better typist who can spell correctly. Changes meaning in some circumstances, such as the word “realization”….otherwise it’s a good article.

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    -Tony Crisp 2013-01-12 12:38:52

    Michelle – You must be from the US. In the UK, the home of English, realisation is the correct spelling. I live and work in the UK, my home country. So you would be dismayed at neighbours, and other such words.

    Tony

    Reply

-Camochick 2013-04-24 22:50:22

Thank you so much, this has really helped me better understand the dream and the situation.

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    -Tony Crisp 2013-04-25 7:45:32

    Thank you for letting me know.

    Tony

    Reply

      -isis 2014-01-23 18:43:14

      Hi:
      My name is Isis.I’m 40 years old with two teenagers sons.
      After reading for hours your web site I felt the need to express my gratitude for such vast immaculate information about love and also about the interpretation of dreams.
      Thanks to you I realize how wrongly my head has being when it comes to understanding what true mature love is.Unfortunate for me I’m in baby love stage and need help to get to mature level before I loose my finance who has in several ways threaten on leaving me.
      Reply
      Thanks for your wisdom.
      I’m sorry for misspellings.

      Reply

    -Tony Crisp 2013-04-28 10:13:06

    Camochick – Thank you so much. Sometimes I felt as if I were being to hard in my description – because many people have told me it is natural to feel pain in relationships. Yes, but only if we are babies emotionally.

    Tony

    Reply

-Angie 2013-05-29 19:38:53

This is awesome! I am such a toddler! :) This really speaks to me…appreciate you sharing.

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-Kim van wert 2014-02-09 2:42:47

I lost in city looking for child that died two years ago. It seamed very real and long. She was 26 years ago.. please help me. I have no family left .l at a very dark please I have no one help in any way? Thank you for what eve you can tell me? Kim van wert

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-Stephanie 2014-02-22 16:21:30

I am in the process of reading your website and find it very interesting and so helpful. I relate to the adult love and I came upon this site by searching the meaning of a dream I had. It was that my ex hung himself. I was never a jelous person while with him, I read the article of what that type of dream means and I did have the adult love for him but after reading, I realized that I have finally let go of those feeling and wish him the best. My problem now is I am afraid to go into another relationship. I refer to it as a trust issue. I really trusted my ex. He did not cheat on me but he never let go of his mother. She wanted to rule the roost and I was not having it anymore. He chose his mother, not the mother of his children and i could not understand why he would do that to his children. I have learned adult love but how do I learn to give someone else the opportunity to to have a relationship with me? I am emotionally unattached to every male that is even around me. I see them all as friends and not even one hint of a potential partner. When one hints at this, I push them away or get involved with things that do not include them until they are no longer interested. Do you have any insite on how I can get over this?

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