How to Stop Searching for Love

Photo by Alex Iby on Unsplash

When one begins their search for a partner or spouse, there is a dual purpose behind it. Firstly, they want to have the experience of being loved by someone they like. Secondly, they want to never search for a partner or spouse ever again.

This second reason is a bit strange when it comes to love. If you love basketball, do you want the experience of playing the game and also to never have to look for new opponents to play against or new teammates to play with? If you love gardening, do you want the experience of planting flowers and removing weeds and simultaneously want to never touch a trough ever again?

If you love your friends, do you want the experience of making their acquaintance, sharing similarities, respecting and celebrating the differences only to then never want to make any more friends ever again?

That’s pretty strange, isn’t it?

One might say that a romantic relationship is different than basketball, gardening or friendship. Romance is about being with someone who loves you. It’s painful to have that person and then lose them, only to begin the search yet again.

But isn’t it painful to lose a friend? Isn’t it painful when winter comes and you can’t plant anything? Isn’t it painful when your game gets cut short because of rain or injury? And yet, you accept it. You know that you’ll be okay, but some people are never the same after a seismic breakup. Why is that, and why do we search for love?

When we’re kids, many of us pay little to no attention paid on romantic love, but some do. Then hormones kick in during puberty and we begin dating. Most of us will walk away from our first relationship and continue to date until we find someone that fits.

The reason some people are never the same at the end of significant romantic relationships is because of the loss of what they thought they had secured.

It isn’t just that love is secured. Security itself is secured. One thinks that they will never go hungry again. Then you’re rudely awakened to the reality that not only is this person not the security you were looking for, you were never secure to begin with. Accumulate enough of these failures and then you’ll start saying things like no one will ever love you or that love doesn’t exist.

After racking up loss after loss, it is time for introspection. You might ask yourself, why do you never get and keep the love? People have done it, so why can’t you? Why do I keep liking these losers that leave me or that I have to leave? These are valid questions and they all lead to one place: the nature of your very first love relationship.

Now, when I say your first love relationship, it could be your first romantic relationship but it is usually the relationship with your primary caregiver, whether that is your mother, father, relative or guardian. It is this relationship that sets the tone for future love relationships, especially of the romantic variety.

Therefore, the reason you search for love is because you did not feel loved in your primary love relationship.

One might say that they were indeed loved by their parent/guardian but there is a bit of a misunderstanding. Yes, they might have cared about you, protected you and provided for you. However, there were moments where they missed the mark. There were moments where they put themselves before you, where they were the ones you needed protection from and the ones who took from you rather than provided for you.

The fact is, just because they got it right on a number of occasions does not mean you felt secure. If you touched an iron and it burnt you, you would probably be cautious around irons for the rest of your life. You would make sure that it is not turned on and when you’re using it, you make sure that you manoeuvre it so that it doesn’t touch you.

Similarly, when your parent/guardian made a mistake, you felt insecure. You didn’t want to risk their wrath, so you did whatever you had to to make sure they were okay. You didn’t want them to abandon you, so you gave love so they understood that you needed them. We unconsciously repeat these and similar acts in our romances today. Heck, we even do this around friends and strangers.

Our parents/guardians aren’t perfect people. They made mistakes and probably still make mistakes. As children, we looked up to them but when we went unloved, we assumed that we were unlovable.

It is the mistakes of our caregivers or our first romances that give rise to the search for love. We were loved inconsistently or incorrectly. We want to right the wrongs of our past. However, there are two ways people approach this.

Firstly, and what I see most people do, people maintain their love for their parent/guardian or former lover but never acknowledge the pain that they caused. This is a problem because you’re the type of person to read this post and scoff at what I said earlier, despite the fact that you are searching for love.

You were right to maintain your love for them, but you must admit that they are fallible and that they hurt you. This will cause you to stop looking at people as if they’re perfect and you will begin to see them as the fallible, imperfect beings that they are.

Secondly, some people acknowledge that their parent/guardian or former lover hurt them but refuse to love them. These people remain stuck as perennial victims who could save themselves from the painful search for love but it would mean doing the very last thing they would’ve wanted — deciding to love their fallible parent/guardian or former lover.

Love, after all, is a decision. Yes, there are feelings that are associated with loving another, but again, people are not perfect. No one is perfect. The alternative to loving someone is either being indifferent or resentful, neither of which benefit someone who longs for love. But as I said, it is something you decide to give. When you do that, that’s when you feel the love.

Maybe you caught the implication of that, but if not, let me explain. What this means is, love cannot be located outside of you. It is not found in a relationship. It cannot be sought at all. The search for love is the search of why you refuse to decide to love.

I’m not saying that you stay with people who abuse you, ignore you or don’t accept you as you are. What I am saying is that love never had anything to do with being in a committed relationship. Love is looking at someone’s virtues and vices and accepting that they are there. You do this for others, you love them. You do this for yourself, you love yourself.

People find it strange to say that they love someone who hurt them. Of course they would! Love is usually about an amazing feeling about someone that is near perfect. In reality, that is infatuation — a temporary but strong affection.

If you have been on the search for love, undoubtedly, this will take some courage. After all, it’s a complete reversal of what you have been doing for years. Take your time with this but when you’ve admitted that your first love relationship (whether family, guardian or first romance) made mistakes and you decide to love them anyway, the search will be over.

Former Edu. Psychologist | Current Writer | Constant Learner | “By your stumbling the world is perfected.”

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