Sex/love - love/sex...... Can I have both?  

rm_lovelyLady 63F
552 posts
4/29/2006 11:06 am
Sex/love - love/sex...... Can I have both?

••••Do you feel loved?
Lots of couples complain they don't feel loved by their partner. Yet when asked what would make them feel loved, people are often unsure. Sometimes the way someone shows love is not what makes their partner feel loved. For example, one person may show love by looking after their partner's practical needs, when what the partner longs for is a hug and tender words.

•Take a sheet of paper and write: "As a child, I felt loved when..." write down as many things as you can think of.

•On a second sheet of paper write: "I feel loved when..." and write down all the things you can think of that your current or previous partner(s) have done that make you feel loved.

Have a look at the list and think about which things you prefer. Next time you find you're not feeling loved, remember what you've written and ask your partner to show their love in a way that's more meaningful to you.

••••How do you know if you are loved?
by Thom Hartmann

A Loving Couple?
How do you know if somebody loves you?

Most people think they know the answer to that question-and many are wrong.

The problem is twofold.

~First, we can never really know what another person is thinking or feeling: we can only observe their behavior and draw inferences from that.

~The second is that we judge others by our own standards. If I'm a person who feels loved when somebody hugs me and kisses me, I'm most likely going to try to show love to another person by hugging and kissing them. But what if they experience the feeling of being loved when somebody brings them an unexpected gift, and hugs or kisses are relatively meaningless to them?

•This isn't an abstraction: it's a very real problem of communication, in relationships ranging from those with our spouses to those with our friends or children.

For example, after eight years of marriage, Bill and Sue were both concerned. Bill was worried that Sue didn't love him any more, even though she insisted she did. And Sue suspected that Bill had fallen out of love with her, even though he thought he was expressing his love for her on a daily basis.

The problem was that Bill felt loved when he received affection. A simple touch on the shoulder would give him a warm feeling inside: a hug or kiss would make his day. So this is what he did to Sue every day.

But physical affection wasn't particularly important to Sue. These touches from Bill seemed gratuitous to her, and she thought he was just doing it because it made him feel good. To her, being loved meant that the other person went out of their way to make special time for you, to spend time talking, walking, and sharing. Bill's attention span was so short that these kinds of things hadn't happened since they were courting and first-married, when he was still fascinated by the newness of their relationship.

The root of their different ways of experiencing love came from their experiences as children.

In Sue's family, her parents had made a ritual of family dinners, and the family would have long, involved discussions over the dinner table. That always made her feel loved: they listened to her, asked her questions and paid attention to her answers. Neither of her parents had Bill's short attention span, and the attention they gave her became the basis for her concept of love. They were also far more cerebral than affectionate.

So, for Bill, the best way to show love was a hug. For Sue, love was best demonstrated by participating regularly in a long conversation.

Bill hadn't grown up feeling unloved because his family rarely had meals together, and Sue hadn't grown up feeling unloved because her parents rarely touched her. Both had taken the paradigms of their families and developed the assumption that that particular behavior was how "everybody" showed love.

But neither had ever told this to the other (probably neither realized it). Long conversations made Bill uncomfortable. He hated them, and bluntly said so whenever Sue suggested they sit at the dinner table for a long or formal meal, or sit afterwards and talk over coffee.

Sue interpreted this as Bill no longer loving her; after all, if he loved her, he'd want to talk for hours. She was confused when Bill would tell her that she obviously didn't love him because it had been four days since she'd as much as put her hand on his. What on earth did that have to do with love?

Bill, on the other hand, was feeling that Sue didn't love him because she could go months without giving him even a single unsolicited hug. She, instead, was always wanting to "sit and talk for a while," which Bill found irritating. After all, if you loved somebody, didn't you touch them and tell them that you loved them? What did long talks about often-irrelevant matters have to do with love? If anything, it seemed to him that her demands for conversation were just a way of hassling him.

The beginning of the solution was relatively straightforward. Upon learning about different loving styles, each made the effort to honestly tell the other what made him or her feel loved. Then each made a commitment to follow through by giving the other what they wanted, and suspend for a while their monitoring of the other's behavior. The emphasis shifted from getting to giving, and each said "thank you" when they realized that the other was going out of his or her way to give touches or attention.

Whenever they were in a room together, that was a reminder cue to Bill to give Sue a chance to initiate a conversation, or for him to start one, and to not leave until she signaled that it was over. Over a few months, he learned how to be a good listener and conversationalist. For the first time in years, Sue felt like Bill really did love her.

For her part, Sue, realizing that Bill needed more affection than was normal for her, put an equal effort into trying to reach out to him. When they passed in the house, she'd touch him briefly. In the mornings and evenings when waking up or going to sleep, she'd make an effort to remember to kiss him or say good night. Whenever he was in the same room with her, that was a reminder cue to her to touch him at least once before they left the room. And for the first time in years, Bill now knew that Sue loved him.
Of course, this goes way beyond just couples.

I was startled recently when I asked each of my children what made them feel loved. Our oldest said that she felt loved when she was hugged, or told "I love you." Our middle child said he felt loved when we took him to a restaurant without his siblings and bought him a meal. Our youngest said that she felt loved when we played games with her, helped her with her schoolwork, or took her to a movie with her friends.

I'd always assumed that when I told any one of them that I loved them that they'd then know that I loved them-but words like that were only meaningful to one of the three.

We all experience love differently, and what we want to get is very often quite different from what we should be giving to make those around us feel that we love or care about them.

The challenge for all of us is to pay attention closely to the signals others give about how they want to be loved, and then express our love to them in the way they will hear/see/feel it, no matter how odd or counter-intuitive it may seem to us. The most difficult part of that for people with ADHD is when their partner considers "paying attention" to be a sign of "love." This is common in our culture, particularly among Farmer types of people.

But self-knowledge is always half the battle.
Making an effort to give our partners, friends, and family members expressions of love on their terms is one of the first and most effective ways of getting back love on our own terms.

I gotta feel loved first...
I wann'a feel love....
the sky's the limit....
xoxo LL

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