I’ve spoken on this before. It’s the most important lesson my mother ever taught me. Love is not enough. So of course I have rather a few thoughts on the matter. The first is this:

Saying “I Iove you” is not enough.

What if one could hear the words and know they were sincere? I wish it worked this way, as it’s a nice idea. But it isn’t. Of all the questions I’ve gotten about my crazy psycho ex metamour, one is, “But does she love her children?” She says she does.

But how do you know if the words are real?

I cannot keep wondering. I used to…all the time. She would say them All. The. Time. Sometimes I believed her. Other times I did not. Drove me mad. Because there was no way to know. I’ll never be inside her head. I’ll never know. Thankfully, there are things I can know– as can you.

Do they treat you in a manner that makes you feel good? 

This could mean sadistic pleasure, even sadism without pleasure, whatever it is you desire. “Good” is quite subjective.

Do they keep their word, consistently? 

It’s impossible to have perfect follow through. But what matters is that they try…and mostly succeed. Because they don’t make wild promises they know they cannot keep.

Do their words match their actions?

What they say is nice. What they do is nicer. They can tell you they love you all they like, look to what they do for you (not in terms of ‘earning’ your love through gifts and quotas, but rather how they treat you, the quality of time spent with you, and the kind acts they perform for you).

Do they alter their mannerisms/behaviors in way that make you more comfortable over time? Accommodating each other’s wants and needs is a form of expressing love. My master is more affectionate with me than when we first met. I have learned patience. It makes neither of us “less” than ourselves, but rather more capable of showing love to each other in a way that matters.

Do they touch base and ask how they are doing with you?

It’s easy to say, “I love you.” Do they also ask you if what they’re doing works for you, i.e. asking if the word of affection they use are ones you like most or if the hugs they are giving are wanted? Love given should be love that is also desired. I may want to hug my munchkins, but it isn’t love if they do not want it in that moment. I need to express love on their terms, too, not only mine.

Love is tricky, sometimes, but it isn’t unfathomable. I stopped worrying if I’m loved, but rather how I am loved.

Perhaps it would be beneficial if we did this more often.

2 thoughts on “love is not enough: part one: words are not enough

  1. For me, love incorporates so much more than just an emotional state. If all were, was a feeling, then I’d agree, love is not enough. But, over years of my own growth, I’ve come to believe that true love, real love, involves choices that demonstrate it. “Do they make you feel good”? “Do they keep their word”?
    “Do they touch base, communicate, check-in, actually listen”? All of these you mentioned…and many more…are demonstrations of love that’s effective and real. Sum it all up? “Do their actions match their words”?… It’s not enough to tell someone you love them. Show it.

    1. While I am very, very cautious about attempting to define “true” love in any manner, you bring up a good point. I really only half answered this question (perhaps less so, but there’s at least two parts to this). This one addresses “SAYING love is not enough.” I’ll modify the post to reflect this. The second part is addressing when love is more than words and STILL not enough for a relationship.

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