This article applies to cisgender monogamous love, but may apply to others as well.
Love only has one weight, the perception of the receiver.
There is a common misconception people have, which is that they are loving or giving love to another person – but there is no effort made to validate how their words or actions are received. If you feel you are loving to someone, you can simply ask them – do you feel loved by me? You should be prepared for an answer that is not what you expect, as it’s very possible you will be faced with the reminder that our cognitive biases cloud our beliefs of our intuition.
Does the receiver of your love get the message, or not? A simplified example could be to reference the five love languages. You may feel you’re showing love to your partner by giving them gifts regularly, but their love language is words of affirmation. The language metaphor is apropos, as with this example, you’re speaking an entirely different language to the other person, and that can very well not be considered love.
A more common example is the gap between words, and actions. Someone may say “I love you” every day, but when you have time to be together, the person is on their phone talking to someone else. Even if in your head you love the other, and you say it regularly, it’s quite possible the other person never feels loved by you. The only way you can ever know if the love you’re giving is being received as such, is to ask. You can only take the response at face value.
When evaluating love in your life, is the other person meeting you where you’re at? Are your needs being met? Are you able to communicate safely what you need to feel loved, and is the other person attentive and showing effort to meeting those needs?
Are you imagining you’re in a relationship that’s not really there?
Before reading further, it’s worth a pause to reflect, and journal, what do you need to feel loved by someone? If you continue on reading this article without spending some time thinking through this, you may miss an opportunity. In terms of love, what are your wants, needs, and expectations? What are the differences between each? These likely stem from childhood attachment, and can be quite the deep dive.
It’s important foremost to hold integrity to yourself.
You have to love yourself first. If you’ve decided that touch is your most important love language, before telling someone else that’s what you need, you should consider how you’re giving that to yourself. The most important thing you can do to give love, is to give it to yourself first.
People who love themselves don’t look for outside approval and are therefore more likely to be humble. They are also more likely to have developed healthy boundaries in relationships :)
If monogamy is important to you, make sure you have a great loving relationship with yourself before introducing a third party to the mix.
If you need a third party to feel love, this is the biggest signal to yourself that you have an opportunity to love yourself more, before you’re ready to give love to another.
One final thought on love, is to listen to your gut intuition. Your body will tell you if the love you’re receiving is the love you need, you just might not be happy with the answer, and you should be ready to act accordingly – to love yourself and hold integrity to yourself.
What’s meant for you will never miss you, and that which misses you was never meant for you
For more reading, my previous article on love