That word gets thrown around my office quite a bit. It is overused and can be so loosely defined that it loses its meaning.
It rarely means the same thing from person to person. What does it mean? Can we agree on what it does not mean?
A typical counselor question is “Tell me why you stay with so and so.” This is not me telling them to break up, I want to see if it is possible to strengthen their reason for staying. Almost every person responds with a variation of “I love them.”
“I am confused. You say you love your partner and yet you just ___________ (fill in the blank with something that you would consider not loving). How do you reconcile that in your mind?”
When you say you love someone, does that mean that you are willing to sacrifice for them, to do things you would prefer not to do? Does it mean if they have a reasonable request you will consider it? Does it convey loyalty above obligation/duty? If you love someone, how do you let them know you love them? Loving people are recognized by doing loving things. Do you do loving things?
Here is how one man spoke his truth-
“Doggone it, I just want to hear it from your lips, okay. Just tell me you do not love me. Admit it. If you loved me, you could not possibly do the things you have done. You could not neglect me, ignore me, make and break promises so easily. That is not love- that is convenience. You love what I symbolize, what I represent. You love what I do for you, but I am not irreplaceable to you. I am not something special. Just be honest with yourself and with me. Admit you do not love me and let me go. I want you to be happy and you are clearly not that with me. I love you enough to let you be free and be loved. Let me be free!”
My challenge to you is to really look at what you mean when you use that word.