We’ve been through this before, but let me spell out in a listicle for easy digestion. These things are not love.
1. Pride over ownership.
You love your bank account and you love your vintage car. You even spend on your car. But it is not the kind of love you owe a person.
2. Aesthetic pleasure.
When you like the way he looks it is not love. Keep going out with him because he has a desirable body – and you will get exactly that. A body. Not a partner.
4. Being grateful.
For services. Such as to your mother.
Especially when those services are expected. Claiming that you are still grateful for receiving them is just a cover. You are tapping her dutiful little head for carrying out her womanly duties towards you. Proof that you’re not “grateful”, just handing out approval: that you get resentful, angry or even aggressive when she doesn’t do it. You can’t resent that I didn’t do something for you – if I wasn’t expected to.
What did your mother like to do when she was your age? What was her favourite thing in the world before she disappeared and became a mom? What would she rather do than food for you? You don’t even know her.
If she managed to dissolve in her role that is not a proof that you’re right – only proof that she is no longer there.
Same goes for being grateful to your “breadwinner”. That’s not love. Especially when you expected it from him/her.
When securing a legal partner and getting the pressure (real or imagined) off your back.
Whoever made you feel inadequate for not having a partner, whoever kept explicitly nagging you, whoever told you that you owe him/her grandchildren – they can back off now. That is not love for your partner.
6. Having someone on Valentine’s day.
Again, that’s just relief. Your strings are pulled by the hungry dating and useless-gifts industry – and you are even dumb enough to transmit that pressure on to others.
We’ve been through this. It’s a defect in you. Not respect (let alone love) for your partner.
Ask anyone with a Madonna-whore complex or dead libido in a long-term relationship.
9. Loving the comfort of his/her money.
Of your friends. Real or imagined. Because you secured this enviable partner. It is not love.
11. Fear of losing him/her.
It is called lack of confidence. And putting up with a good enough/not too bad relationship because you fear that you couldn’t trade up to a better one is not love either.
12. Spending money on him/her
This usually goes under “proof of love”, but nothing stops you from confusing them so here it is: you spend on a pet, your yacht, your hobby, even on your parking tickets. You want them to be pretty, comfy, or just off your back.
13. Any combination of the above.
Even when it’s super intensive.
Yes, it is quite possible that most people never experience love.
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Featured image: Simon Gyula (Fortepan 1966)