Sunday, January 08, 2006

Question 1

Is it better to be loved more or to love more in a relationship? Can it ever be equal?

35 Comments:

At 1:26 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

In my reltionship, I am the one who loves more. I have been the one who was loved more, and I felt like I was settling because I din't love them as much as they loved me. I knew I could feel so much more.

 
At 1:34 PM , Blogger Slyeyes said...

I think that in a long term relationship, it varies. From time to time, one partner will be more into it than the other, and then the balance changes. There may even be times when one partner can barely stand the sight and sound of the other; and then the next week, the light will shine on him in a certain way, he'll offer her a taste of his steak, or will bend down to help a child tie an shoelace and she'll fall in love all over again.

 
At 1:39 PM , Anonymous Sallyacious said...

I don't know if it can. It sure feels equal in my marriage. But it seems an impossible thing to measure. How do you quantify such a subjective experience?

And do you want to? If I spent time worrying about who loved who more, I feel I would be missing the point. For me, it's not about which of us loves the other in a more obvious or measurable way. It's about each of us loving the other to the best of our ability. I guess that's why it feels equal

 
At 1:48 PM , Blogger Kafaleni said...

I believe that both partners in any relationship need to give 110% or they'll both feel inadequate to the task.

It's not, however, just about how much you are loved, but the way you are loved. Everybody gives and receives love differently, and a lot of people don't know how to give love to a person in a way that they can feel loved.
Example: if you take a fictious couple (John and Mary) and John gives and feels love by doing things for others (washing the car, breakfast in bed, etc) while Mary needs to hear that she's loved (sweet nothings, talking about her day, etc), and John doesn't have the words, even if they both love each other to distraction, neither will fully recognise it, because Mary never hears it and John never sees it.

All of this info (and there's much more!) is taken from the boook The Five Love Languages by Dr Gary Chapman

 
At 1:52 PM , Blogger Tamara said...

My thoughts...

What makes the rules of a romantic relationship so different from a friendship?

Punk, I wouldn't ask you which of us loves each other more as friends. (It's me, btw.) ;)

I've been considering lately the success rate of arranged marriages. From the bits I've read lately, it seems that the partners in such a marriage do end up caring deeply for one another. Maybe we just need to be more practical about love.

I'm a big fan of pros/cons lists. :)

 
At 2:05 PM , Blogger Slyeyes said...

I don't think there's any way that anyone can give 110% every day in a relationship. That's one of those good-in-theory-but-not-in- practice ideals. That doesn't mean people shouldn't work on their relationships. They should; but when one partner can't put in 110% for a time, the other one should recognize that and ease up.

BUT -- that's why commitment is so important in relationships. There will be good times and bad...and then there will be good times again.

I don't have time to google it, but I recently read something about how cultures with arranged marriages are more successful at long term marriages than our system. And it's not because those cultures frown on divorces. The marriages last long AND are happier. It has a lot to do with expectations. The theory offered about how Americans get married is that they couple meets, falls in love and plan that marriage with stars in their eyes. Then reality sets in and the partners don't live up to each other's expectations.

In arranged marriages, they may not love each other at the start, but they learn to appreciate each other and out of that, love and a deep commitment to each other grows over time.

I remember one young Indian bride (who is an attorney here in the states) said she trusted her parents' judgement in finding a mate for her. They love her and will want someone good for her. And she felt they would be more objective than she.

 
At 2:16 PM , Blogger Smiley said...

I think it has to be equal.

If one loves more than the other, wouldn't he or she end up bitter that the other person doesn't care as much? Or wouldn't one person feel bad for not loving the other as much?

If you don't love someone as much as they love you, doesn't that mean, on some level, that you're not happy? Wouldn't you be cheating yourself? Settling?

If you love someone more than they love you, are you devaluing yourself? Don't you deserve to be loved just as much? Are you settling, too?

 
At 3:55 PM , Blogger Kafaleni said...

okay.. maybe I should have said "be prepared to give their all" rather than 110%. There are some days that all you can give is 20%. You just don't have it in you to give more. That doesn't make you less than someone who has 110% and only give 60. That means that you're giving more, because you're still giving all you have. You shouldn't lose yourself in a relationship, you should find a better version of yourself.

This all sounds very idealistic, and the everydayness (if that's a word. if it's not, it is now.) of our lives isn't like a romance novel. Relationships are about commitment, and you do have to work on them. It's not about what makes you feel good on any given day, because somedays being in a relationship truly sucks a$$, and you have to get past that. It's all about taking the other person as a whole and not just picking and choosing the bits you like.

 
At 5:28 PM , Anonymous Jeff Meyerson said...

There are some cliches that just grate on me, and "giving 110%" (or 200% or anything above 100%) is one of them. 100% is all there is!

Can it be equal? Yes, in theory. But how do you quantify that? We're all different, so you might feel you're giving everything you have and the object of your affection might feel neglected anyway. Are you wrong or is the other person unreasonable or overly needy? Who's to say.

The theory that arranged marriages work better is not one that I believe would work in this society. As sly's comment indicated, I think it DOES have to do with expectations to some extent.

I read somewhere that a lot of young people getting married today seem to consider their first almost a "trial" marriage. You fall for someone and get married, then in a few years if it doesn't work out you move on.

Commitment (again, thank you sly) is the issue here. You have a problem, you try to work it out, you don't just dump the marriage and walk away. There are marriages that probably should never have happened in the first place (we all know of some) and others that break down beyond saving.

But that wasn't the original question, was it? What was it?

No, really, you strive for a balance. Some people are better at expressing their feelings verbally than others, some are better at showing by their actions how they feel. That doesn't mean - necessarily - that the former loves more than the latter.

At least, that's how I see it.

 
At 6:16 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd like to think that the relationships where one truly loves more than the other don't really last. I have had both as well. I felt unfulfilled in both. Which is probably why both ended. I agree that any strong relationship is strong because both people decide it's worth the effort ... always worth the effort ... and they dedicate their life to making it work and making their relationship a priority. Those who ultimately end up in a relationship where one loves (or is loved) more than the other are probably settling in one way or another.

 
At 6:51 PM , Blogger Tamara said...

Effort is key.

I have many, many negative traits. There are many things about me which make me very difficult to live with. But I am loyal, and I persevere.

I married a man who gives up easily.

I don't even care that he sucks. If he were willing to put in the effort, I'd still be with him.

Now I feel like crying again. So I'm going to watch "The Philadelphia Story". If I'm going to cry, they might as well be happy tears. Love, love, love this movie. :)

 
At 9:58 PM , Anonymous ArcticAl said...

I think that it is better if the love is equal, or at least a running average of equal over a period of time (I love more this week, you love more next week etc.). We all have our various cycles we are going through continuously, tied to our health, the weather, the amount of sleep we're getting, etc. that affect how much we are able to and willing to devout to the very hard task of loving someone and demonstrating that love to them in terms that they understand. If the love is too unbalanced for a significant period of time, the lover tends to feel taken for granted and ignored, while the lovee expects that this attention is the norm and should be provided with nothing given in return.

I was married for 20 years to a woman who gave me little in return. With 20/20 hindsight, I see now that the relationship was entirely about her, what she wanted, what she felt, what she did. My role was to support her, whorship her and meet her demands. I loved her deeply (or at least I thought I did at the time) and when she ended the relationship I was devistated. I had always thought that the kind of love that you read about in books or see in plays or films was make-believe. You didn't feel magic, you didn't feel complete with the other person there and less than complete without them.

And then I fell in love again (or really fell in love for the first time). I found the magic, I found the completeness, I found the balance that was missing in my first marriage. That love is different in that it is balanced. It is stronger in one of us usually at any particulr moment in time, but is equal on the average. We pull each other through low spots and help each other to appreciate the relationship. We share our troubles and support each other. Yes, we fight at times, but they usually clear the air and sort out communication problems and we move on.

 
At 10:40 PM , Anonymous Jeff Meyerson said...

arctical: good for you and congratulations.

It seems a stupid thing to have to say that you should really know someone before you marry them, but in too many cases it's marry first and then discover that it's a mistake. Great sex is not enough, sad to say, though it can last you a little while.

Then there are the cases where everyone around you but you can see that it's doomed from the start, but you know better and will have to learn the hard way.

And then we have your Hollywood-type infatuation, getting married on the spur of the moment after a very short acquaintance. Now I happen to know a number of such marriages that have lasted, but I'd say it isn't the ideal way to start out.

 
At 12:37 AM , Anonymous southerngirl said...

Kafaleni and Jeff ~ you are both more eloquent than I could hope to be, so I'll just agree with everything you've said, and say that you've said it quite well.

Al, you are a lucky man... congrats.

Tamara...take this as you will..

I am married, to my second husband,(15 years in July).

But my first husband (with whom I had a child, my oldest daughter)is still in the picture, cause he lives 5 minutes away, and when he's home, (works offshore 14 & 7), always gets our daughter to visit. In spite of all the problems we had when we were married, and yes, we were very young, we get along pretty well now. B/c of our daughter. And, I like to believe, b/c we were once very close, and we really did love each other. I like to think that if I should ever need anything, he'd be there for me, because I know I'd be there for him.

This is just to say that no matter what has gone on between you and #$@%#@*#*, (that maroon!) one day things may be ALL RIGHT. Cause of the Munchkin. And, no matter what you feel for him now, you WILL get over this. Really. And, you WILL be able to trust, and love, again.

So just remember..(it took me many years to realize this)...You Are Terrific, and a Great Mom, and if you and he are friends one day, Great. If not, He Gave You the Munchkin!!! And that alone is worth everything, right?

*Geez, why I don't try just a LITTLE HARDER to get thrown off the blog the first time I show up.*

Sorry, guys.

 
At 12:46 AM , Blogger Higgy said...

My 2 cents. I don't know if the question is valid - because HOW DO YOU KNOW? How do you know if you love more or love less than your partner? How do you really know what your partner is feeling?

All you can really know is how you feel.

I have a story very similar to arctical - I was engaged to The Evil One (as I call her now) and it was all about her (and her daughter.) I felt as if I loved MORE - I threw myself into that relationship to the detriment of the other facets of my life.

Never again.

When I left that relationship, I knew what I DIDN'T want in another one. I also knew myself better and knew I had to be watchful and nurture myself (god that sounds odd even typing it) if I was to succeed in any other relationship.

My wife knows that and supports that. We've been together 4 years now and have a beautiful baby boy to show for it. She supports me having alone time to recharge, playing D&D with the boys (yes, I'm a nerd), even going to nudie bars with my brother-in-law or to Vegas with the MOATies. She trusts me and I trust her - that wasn't present with the Evil One.

Anyway, enough diatribe. I think it should be equal in a relationship OVERALL - at any one time, one person might be putting MORE effort into the relationship, or feel more stressed, but overall, it's got to be beneficial for both. You keep pouring yourself into a black hole, you'll get lost....

 
At 1:22 AM , Blogger Polly P.I. said...

I believe that the question of whether "loving the other more" is good or bad really depends on the needs of the people involved.

I know a couple where the husband gives and gives. Time, money, love. The woman seems to appreciate it, but she doesn't give half as much to the relationship that he does.

I always felt they were off kilter. That he couldn't possibly be happy and she should be ashamed of herself.

But then I heard their respective stories and it all made sense to me.

The man's mother died in a tragic car accident when he was a young boy. She was pinned in the car and a fire started in the engine. He tried to save her, but he wasn't physically capable of getting her out in time. He always felt terribly guilty and fantasized for years about redoing that day when the car crashed and the fire rushed in.

So all his life this man has been "saving" people to make up for it. It is how he copes. It is how he feels absolved. It is how he feels happy.

The woman in this relationship, on the other hand, was raised in a family where she was the oldest of 5 kids. Her mother ran off one day when she was 12-years-old and she was left with the majority of the responsibility of raising her siblings. She sacrificed her youth and much of her early adulthood in that capacity and was never really taken care of until she met her husband.

They may seem imbalanced to the rest of us, but they work because they fulfill a deep need in the other.

Not all "I love you more" scenarios are necessarily unhealthy.

 
At 7:48 AM , Anonymous Marie in Kourou said...

This morning I'm too depressed to put in my two cents. I'll just say that I enjoyed reading your comments, everyone, and that I'll be thinking about them for a long time.

 
At 8:02 AM , Blogger punky said...

OK ... I'm going to weigh in now.

I think there is a difference between one loving more than the other, and one showing love more than the other. In the case that polly was explaining, although they show love differently and it appears that he loves much more, I would like to believe that they love each other much the same, but show it in different ways.

As for the "how do you know"? Oh, you know. I knew when I loved more and I knew when I was loved more. And I knew neither was right. Of course it took me over 4 years in both situations to realize this.

For me, it seems that consistently loving more than the other in a relationship is a form of settling that I'm just not willing to do again.

As for "can it ever be equal"? God, I hope so. I look forward to the day when I fall in love with a man who is ready, willing and able to love me with all his heart and soul ... which is what I deserve and also what I would give in return.

 
At 9:17 AM , Blogger Polly P.I. said...

I'm glad you're back blogging, Punky. Missed you!

((HUGS))


(Sorry for cutting in on your action, Tamara.)

jetauqwh- A swear word in Klingon

 
At 11:46 AM , Anonymous Susan said...

Never having been in, well, such a serious relationship, I can't add a whole lot to what has been said.

I don't think that each can love each other the same amount all the time. I do think that at times one will love more than the other, but over time it evens out. I have been loved a time or two more than I loved...and tried to end it asap...knowing I couldn't love him the way he loved me. (or at any rate, claimed to love me.)

 
At 9:40 PM , Blogger Graz said...

Balance, Daniel-san, balance.

I think everyone's pretty much covered it with all very valid points. I've been in both several times....I love her more, she loves me more.....but everytime I knew it. Everytime. When the woman I was with loved me more, I just felt wrong...like I was taking advantage of her and I was just selfishly waiting for the guts to end it the entire time when I should have ended it when I came the this realization....but really I always waited just to make sure of my feelings. Which in itself was a true indicator. And when I was the one who loved her more, even though I knew I was setting myself up for pain, there was always that little voice telling me "If you just do this or that you will make it so she can't help but fall completely under your charm". Which is complete B.S. Most women don't want a guy to be a puppy dog... and definitely not all of the time.

But, like Polly pointed out, there are exceptions to almost everything and the truly difficult thing is to find the person with whom the way you love and the way they love meshs.....then (from what I've heard) the pieces just fall into place....both figuratively and literally.

 
At 11:21 PM , Anonymous Bismuth said...

I'm going to not read what's been posted above, so's not to skew my answer.

Actually, I guess I don't have an answer to your actual question, but like a politician, I'm going to say things anyway.

Love is freely choosing to give yourself to another being to the point that you would choose to do what is best for the other person, no matter what. You may not always like it; they may not always like it; it's not always clear what is "best".

Now imagine if you will, two people loving each other in this fashion. One person always looks out for the other's best interests, while having their own best interests looked out for by their partner. It is as if, in order to keep from falling, they each bear the weight of the other's feet on their shoulders, making a sort of ring (assuming for the moment fairly flexible spines). Love is what keeps that ring floating in the middle of the air.

 
At 11:29 PM , Anonymous Bismuth said...

...and we can now see who are wise with experience and who are the idealistic yutes...

 
At 7:13 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I typed out this whole thing, with circles and paragraphs and three part harmony, and *poof*, who knows where it went.

Oh well, it was only the answer.

 
At 7:22 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

So - I'm on record as saying love is a verb - I'll stick with that. Love is what you do, not what you feel or what you have.

Love is not a noun. It can't be quantified. But if you could quantify it, you'd see you needn't, because the act of sharing love exponentially increases your supply. Conversely, the attempt to hoard love, to protect yourself from getting hurt by not sharing love, to "take" from others without giving, doesn't work. There's a hole in your bucket, as they say, and no matter what, the love leaks and dissipates away as you try to save it.

It's quite simple in a way: Love. Just do it, and be real about it.

And it's maddeningly complex. Don't waste it, disrespect it, or sacrifice it for shiny bullshit.

A child can master it in a moment, but adults have to work. We've built up huge ideas of self that we are loathe to let go of, but which are incompatible with love.

There is no greater prize, nor one that requires more risk. You can find it, but you have to be looking. Really.

*loves everyone a beer*.

-cbol

 
At 8:32 AM , Blogger Tamara said...

That's all well and good, Cbol, but where are the 8x10 glossy photos?

Also: *swoon*

 
At 10:11 AM , Anonymous ArcticAl said...

Keep looking Punky. I didn't believe that love could be like you dream it to be, but it can be when you find the right person. Seven years ago I found the right person and we both continually ask where were you 30 years ago. Why did we waste so much time with other people? Maybe we weren't ready for each other 30 years ago. Maybe we wouldn't have appreciated each other as much without going through the crap we went through. But we will never know, so we look forward to the 30 something years that we have left together.

 
At 10:17 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're good as well, Punky.

I of course did not wish to imply that, for any given person (or you), the condition of still looking for love implies that you have been "doing it wrong" so far.

We live in a broken world, where it is all too possible to sincerely love and not be loved in return. Lust, jealousy, envy, anger, even hate, are all expressions of broken love, only even possible because of love.

I feel very lucky for my experience. And very sorry for the times you've been hurt. Glad you're still in the hunt, and confident you'll be rewarded.

-cbol

 
At 11:15 AM , Blogger Tamara said...

Rock on, Cbol.

*SQUEEEEZES PUNKY!*

 
At 2:14 PM , Blogger MrFisher said...

Great thoughts Folks!

I really gots to get a place of my own soon and move outta the basement, cuz I'm always missing the "GOOD" questions.

LTTG, but I suppose I should weigh in.

It should most certainly be equal. But that's easier said than done. I've been in more relationships where I loved more and I too knew it right away. It always then became an expectation. Alot like I heard growing up, "Don't give it your all, son, cuz then, they'll just expect it from then on." Thankfully as much as my father wasn't one, he never said those words to me, but I did have friends whose fathers did. And I would think, if you aren't giving your all, then why the hell bother? But I do (sadly) see why some people feel that way.

Anyway back to the loving spoonful.

If you aren't giving your all, why bother? I think it's easy today for people to just give up on love because of all the complexity involved, and it's become very much materialistic and sad in alot of ways also. Meaning, people give it their all, don't get it back in return, see some shiny bullshit (thanks Cbol) and split.

I say this, because I've been there. I've seen those shiny things, and I've bolted. I thought I'd learned.

Currently I'm waging war with love.
You can do that, you know.
Well, maybe you can't, but that's what it feels like I'm doing right now. And I am doing it.
I'm right in the middle of seeing how this balance beam will teeter out. I (like Punky and alot like Polly's friends situation) have the need to save "broken" souls. The first few years were as equal as equal could be, but at the moment or for the last few months we have defintely been out of balance, but we are both loving with all we have and trying to balance things back out.

It is for sure something you do. It has to be given by both parties and sometimes it meshes and sometimes collides. And sometimes I wonder why I try answering these questions, when I look back at what I typed and I have a hard time understanding it myself. Personally I think it should be easier, but then where's the challenge in that, right?

Bis- I like your circular theory, keep that wheel spinnin my good man.

Good question Punks. ;) And I think we're all glad there's someone out there like you still giving it there all, despite what seems like no return.......they (you) will get your equality. It can ever be. And it's down right inspiring, so keep it up. k?

Oh yeah, and then there's that whole penis thing.

 
At 5:54 PM , Blogger Polly P.I. said...

Did somebody say penis?

Oh....nevermind.

*pops back into hole*

 
At 11:11 PM , Anonymous Mr. Completely said...

Love means never having to say your're sorry.

 
At 11:29 AM , Blogger Tosha said...

I think a lot of the question is based on what you want out of love and/or a relationship. If you just want to love someone.. you are not looking for anything in return, then it doesn't matter who loves who more. You are just there to feel those emotions for that person. It is sort of what a parent would have for a child. A lot of kids go through a "I hate you" mode, but the parent still loves the child and doesn't lessen their love because the kid doesn't.

Most people when they get into a romantic relationship are looking for something out of the other person. They want to feel something back from them. That is why it matters if the love is equal. If you where just there to be with them..not get anything in return, then all that would matter is if they are receiving your love. If they tell you to go away, well then you don't have much choice.

I personally prefer a relationship where there isn't any defined wants and requirments. I don't expect a guy to make me breakfast every morning or tell me he loves me once a day. If I have strong enough feelings that I love him, I just want to be around to love him. He is his own person, shows love in his own ways. I am my own person and shows it in my own ways. If one loves the other more.. as long as both love enough to hang around, then I don't care. Granted sometimes its easier said than done, but I have been in that relationship where one partner was all stuck up in the ass of the other and it was no fun. Always worried about rather or not they like/love you, if they are doing something you dont' like/love etc.

If you want a really interesting look at love watch, "Adaptation" with Nicholas Cage. The main character's twin brother defiantly has a interesting outlook!!

 
At 1:49 PM , Blogger Tamara said...

I like what Tosha wrote. Couple that with that Katharine Hepburn chapter on Spencer Tracy, and I feel like I'm developing a little light bulb over my noggin.

 
At 1:52 PM , Blogger punky said...

I especially like that Tosha added the last line of this excerpt.

If you where just there to be with them..not get anything in return, then all that would matter is if they are receiving your love. If they tell you to go away, well then you don't have much choice

Ain't that the truth.

 

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