Love and Respect

Have you ever considered the possibility that respect might be more important in a relationship than love?

That of course raises the interesting question – well, what is respect anyway? And that in turn leads me onto another question – well, what is love anyway?

What is Love?

Love is a term we tend to use for a person or object to which we feel attached or which we feel fond of. But I’ve heard men who were brought up in families where love was not the natural currency of relationships say things like “I don’t really know what love is.”

After all, as a child born into the world, if you’re not given a clear and open expression of love from the moment you’re born, you’re going to conclude one of two things: either that you’re not lovable, or that there’s something wrong with the way you love.

In addition, the concept of love, the meaning of which is clearly learned, is confused by different concepts like love of humanity, love of our pets, love of money, love of our possessions, love for ourselves, love of our children and love of our partner.

Are these the same kind of love? Or are they different? When you say that you want to make a man fall in love with you, is it the same as saying that you want to get a guy to love you? 

When we talk about “loving somebody” but not “being in love”, we all think we know what we mean, but – do we really?

These are difficult and challenging questions.

But the thing that I’ve observed in many men I’ve worked with over the years is that respect goes a long way to building self-esteem, even when what I would describe as love is absent.

You see, part of respect is trusting somebody – trusting that they know what to do, trusting that they are indeed trustworthy, trusting that they are people of integrity, trusting that they are people of substance and worth.

As we all know, when children are treated in a way that sends the message they are respected, they will grow up to respect themselves – in other words, what the parents convey in their attitude to the child becomes the foundation of the child’s beliefs about him or herself.

The interesting question here, of course, is whether or not respect is a fundamental part of love. Can you love somebody without respecting them? I’m not sure that I believe this to be possible, so I would find it hard to accept the idea that children could be loved but not respected.

However I don’t find it difficult to buy into the concept that children can be respected but not loved, and I think in the end this is probably a better way to build self-esteem and a healthy image of self than to deny a child respect while claiming to love them.

You can bring this concept into your own adult life – as a partner, a husband or wife, or a man and woman, or a girl and guy.

When you say that you want to make a man want you, are you treating him with respect, or as a commodity?

If you were to ask the question about how you can get a man to marry you, is that really a respectful statement of intention? Where does it leave his wishes and beliefs about the situation?

I think it’s much less contentious to ask how you can get a man to fall in love with you – I’m assuming that you wouldn’t be asking that question if you didn’t believe there was some level of respect and trust between the two of you to start with!

Now having said all of that, of course love is the quality that can bring real happiness and joy to any relationship. It’s a quality of being and attachment that provides emotional bonds which make us feel secure and content in ourselves, emotional bonds which can carry almost any relationship through even the most challenging times.

When we talk about love, we are probably talking about attachment theory – a valuable quality in any relationship, and indeed particularly in a relationship with children.

There are no conclusions here, just some thoughts, designed to stimulate your enquiry into the question of what it means to want to make a guy love you, or what it means to want to make a man fall for you.

If you’re thinking about this, then the question uppermost in my mind is this: do you, above all, respect him, and if not, why would you want to be in a “loving relationship” with him anyway?

Video – Love and respect

What is Love?

The British newspaper, theguardian, ran a feature in 2016 asking people what they thought about love as Valentine’s Day approached.  What is love? 

Interestingly enough, adults mostly they describe their own experience of it – as in “an obsession”, “all consuming”,  “the driver for all great stories of romantic love, of the love the parent to child, the family, of love the country”, for example….

While children offer a romantic view of love: “Love is the kind of gravity that holds people together like planets in the solar system.”

And a psychotherapist said that “similarity was easy, but difference was the real challenge”. And his view was that love is as much about obstacles and differences as it is about bliss and similarity.

“Love,” he said, “was about accepting difference, recovering from conflict and tolerating discord.” Indeed, this view of love extended to allowing your partner to be entirely who they are, even when that upsets you to the very core of your own being.

Such profound acceptance without judgement – is that love?  Maybe, but then all the other definitions of love offered by people in this article seem just as valid to me!

But it is an interesting idea, isn’t it, the notion that love is something to do with letting each other be who we are without fear of censure?

Your Boundaries Are Dissolving!

When we are in love, the boundaries between ourselves and our loved ones tend to diminish in strength, so that there is a real risk in wanting somebody to fall in love with you – the risk of losing your identity, say when you want to make a man fall for you, or to make a man fall in love with you. 

Why do we take that risk? Is it because the experience of losing our boundaries and merging with another in the act of loving him, particularly in the act of physical union, of sexual connection, is so rewarding to us? And if so, why is losing our boundaries and our identity and merging so appealing?

Is it because it feels like a return to the childhood state of “oneness with mother” which we experience before and immediately after our birth, before we formed our own sense of identity?

Could this explain why some people describe love as “arriving home”? As a “safe haven”?

Or is it that simply we are programmed, biologically, with a particular neurological structure to want to experience love, and that hormones released in the body which act on the brain and nerve cells simply give us an experience we call love…. ?

Or perhaps it is simply a mechanism which evolved to promote long-term relationships, the mutual support of children, and perhaps even simply feeling good?

Maybe, at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter. We all know what our own experience of love feels like, and perhaps the reward of feeling it is enough for us to seek it out again and again. So in trying to have a guy fall in love with you, or in wanting to make someone love you, you’re simply aspiring to the highest form of love – the experience of bliss – and what could be wrong with that?