Love Hurts

• Love hurts! Is that true?
• No. But hurt and love pain are quite real.
• Love pain comes from fear and closing yourself off from love.
• Finding true love means letting go ...
• ... of fear ... and defence mechanisms ...
• ... and moving towards unconditional love instead.
• Get high-level insight about love and love relations here.

Love Hurts = Nasty Love?

Ouch! You experience discomfort (lack, pain, sorrow, annoyance, etc.) in association with love ...

Those feelings are quite real. They're not caused by love, however.

Love pain comes from fear and closing yourself off from love - in order to defend yourself.

When you rely on your usual problem solver the ego in your love life, you're setting yourself up for some unpleasant experiences. Those painful experiences have nothing to do with love and everything to do with trying to defend yourself ... from the very kind of pain that you're experiencing!

In other words:

Your 'solution' (defending yourself) is your actual problem. It's what causing the love pain. It's what's making you say that love hurts.

But don't worry. There's a (real) solution.

Types of Love in General - With Examples

Just like ice cream, love exists in a myriad of different colours, shapes, sizes and flavours.

One kind or form of love isn't better or more correct than another. But there are differences in how you feel and experience them. Some make you say that love hurts, some do just the opposite.

To put it simply:

Unconditional love feels good.

(Example: "I love you for no other reason than the fact that you exist. I love you for who you are, and I do not expect anything what so ever of you.")

Conditional love feels less good.

(Example: "I love you because you are intelligent and beautiful, and I expect you to love me back, and also help me get my needs fulfilled.")

Highly conditional love feels bad.

(Example: "I do not know whether I love or hate you. In any event, I am so very scared and there are so many needs I need you or others to fulfil for me. That is why I have to manage and control everything and everyone, including myself and you."

Highly conditional love - that's where it seems that love hurts.

Types of Love: A Bit More Precisely

Slightly more precisely, it might be expressed like this:

The experience of conditional love ranges (approximately) from 'very uncomfortable' (love hurts!) to 'neutral/acceptable/okay'.

The experience of unconditional love ranges (approximately) from 'neutral/acceptable/okay' to 'ecstatic/indescribably wonderful.'

We are talking about a love scale that goes from the most relative and most unpleasant to the totally unconditional and extremely pleasant. From depression, fear, hate and 'love hurts!' to unconditional love which feels ecstatic, or like happiness, or deeply peaceful.

Examples of highly conditional love: Depression, fear, anxiety, grief, hate

Examples of somewhat conditional love: Neutrality, okay, satisfactory

Examples of highly unconditional love: Happiness, Wholeness, Home, 'I AM'

And just in case you're wondering: Yes, grief, anxiety, 'love hurts!', fear, hate, etc. are ALSO kinds of love. They are just very limited, very conditional, very unpleasant kinds.

Is Hate Love? Yes!

How can something like hate be a kind of love? The short and funny answer is: It can't NOT be. It has to be love, because in fact, deep, deep down, there is only one emotion/feeling all in all: Love.

Love is the only feeling in existence and whatever you feel ... is a variation of love.

The variation comes primarily from the 'amount of love' present in the feeling. 'Not much love' in any given feeling (including 'love hurts!') feels 'not so nice'. A bit more about that later, although basically it's a story for another time!

If you want to see the love scale graphically illustrated, I've got a page coming up with just that (called Love Scale [LINK]).

'Normal' Love

The kind of love that most people consider 'love' (as far as I'm able to ascertain from talking to lots of people/coachees) is either somewhat conditional or a little bit on the unconditional side.

In other words: Most of the time their love feels okay or a bit better than okay. Other times it feels like love hurts.

Often, when people have children, the clearest example of a love that very unconditional is their love for their children. And people very rarely say 'love hurts' in relation to their children, right?

Yeah, people say 'love hurts' in relation to their 'couple love', their love relationship with another adult (or more adults in the case of polyamory [LINK]). Why?

Because usually there are 'potholes' of fear in their couple love - areas where their love is a bit (or very) conditional. Now THAT'S where love hurts.

Examples: From Love Hurts to Happiness

Our feelings/emotions are highly changeable. The version of the love that we are experiencing in one moment may be located anywhere on the scale, and just a moment later we may experience a version of love that is located somewhere else on the scale.

'I am scared of you, and I hate and detest you' ... This is an example from the very conditional end of the scale. These feelings are very unpleasant.

'I love you, but you should always stay at home with me and not go out with your friends' ... This is an example from somewhere in the conditional part of the scale. These feelings are mixed, but in reality they may be more unpleasant than pleasant.

'I just love you. No matter what you are, say or do.' ...This is an example from the unconditional end of the scale. These feelings are very pleasant.

Like I mentioned above, the strange and perhaps surprising fact is that even fear, hatred and disgust are actually kinds of love. They are merely very conditional. Read more about feelings/emotions here [LINK] and read more about conditional and unconditional love below.

Conditional Love: Fear, Expectations and Needs

Conditional love is often the same as love, which that has gotten confused with needs [LINK].

When the expectation of having your needs fulfilled from the outside is not met, this kind of love feels unpleasant. (You can read more about these subjects on the page Marriage Problem Advice about Everyday Love).

When the expectation of having your needs fulfilled from the outside is (incidentally) met, this kind of love feels neutral, acceptable or okay.

As mentioned above other (somewhat extreme) forms of conditional love are: fear, anxiety, hatred, disgust, depression, and the like. Like I said this may be a surprising fact as these feelings are usually experienced as being very different from love. In fact some teachers will even try to tell you that fear is the opposite of love ... but that is not the case.

The (Seldom Recognized) Truth about Love

Love HAS no opposite. (Why? Because love in its pure form is absolute, and the absolute has no opposites, rather it includes all opposites - more about that later).

The closest thing to an opposite to love is: No love, the absence of love. And since an absence of something is not a thing in itself, it cannot be an opposite.

Fear, on the other hand, is just a very contracted, closed off, limited and conditional kind of love.

And that goes for anxiety, disgust, hatred, depression and the like, too.

All these (unpleasant) emotions are based in love, even if it may not feel like that at all. You could say that we are experiencing these emotions because of love for ourselves.

Why Love Hurts: The Purpose of Love Pain

When you touch a hot oven, it hurts. The hurt tells you what's not good for you (i.e. don't touch). That's why (it seems that) love hurts, too.

When we experience hurt, fear, anxiety, jealousy and other kinds of love pain, it is because (unconsciously) we want to tell ourselves that we have come to limit ourselves unnecessarily. We have come to close ourselves off from love.

In what way? In that we have come to BELIEVE in contraction, non-acceptance, fear and distrust ... which is not a good thing for us (and therefore unpleasant).

Love Pain / Love Hurts = Sign Posts

All our unpleasant feelings are like signposts or directional arrows:

They point to places where we have made life difficult for ourselves by believing in something non-expedient.

Our unpleasant feelings also point to the way we should go to get better - namely THROUGH our discomfort and out into a more absolute reality [LINK].

Typically these unpleasant feelings arise because of our own defense mechanisms. You might say that they are telling us this:

'Hey, you've become so busy protecting yourself that you can no longer feel yourself, others and life itself! You can't feel the ever present love anymore!'

In short: The intention behind the unpleasant feelings is good and loving, and the unpleasant feelings are rooted in love. But when we experience these very unpleasant feelings, it is because we have limited our love to something near the minimum.

Love Treated like a Commodity is Conditional Love

People often try to treat love like a commodity to be traded. This kind of love is conditional. 'If you give me X, then I give you Y'.

For example: 'If you give me attention, then I give you recognition.' Or: 'If you give me children, sex and a nice home, then I give you security, social status and money'.

Or perhaps: 'If you give me your time, your labour and your subservience (which in addition to meeting certain practical needs for me also lets me experience power and control), then in return I give you money, certain fringe benefits and a promise of more to come in form of a career.'

In other words: 'If you satisfy my needs, then I satisfy yours.'

(Note: This often takes place quite unconsciously, without people being aware of it. Maybe you would like to take this opportunity to consciously examine your love relationship; is it a little - or a lot - like that?).

Treating love according to the rules of trade will give you an experience similar to that of a trade relation: You may or may not get your need satisfied by the trade, but it doesn't really feel like LOVE. If you do it for too long, you'll be dissatisfied and start thinking that 'love hurts'.

More on Conditional vs. Unconditional Love

When conditional love is at its worst, it feels very unpleasant (painful, limiting, limited, deficient and the like - i.e. 'love hurts!').

When conditional love is at its best, it rarely feels decidedly nice, but more like acceptable or okay (or maybe: soothing, comfortable, familiar, safe).

Conditional love at its best may feel sort of like the state where you are neither hungry nor satiated. It may feel like the absence of unpleasantness.

This condition of being satisfied, however, may be the perfect springboard for more: More unconditional love, more happiness. Unconditional love is much easier to relax into when you experience that your needs are being met.

If your love is experienced as very pleasant or even ecstatic, then it is probably somewhere in the unconditional end of the scale.

Unconditional Love

Unconditional love in its pure form is love without demands or expectations of any kind.

It is a love that just is.

Why? Because you have opened up, and you allow the love to be there. The love is there all by itself. There is no identifiable cause of your love. You love ... because you love.

This kind of (unconditional) love has always been there, inside of you, and will always be there. You can put something in the way of it, of course, something that stands in love's light, so that you do not experience the love; things like fear, worry, defensive mechanisms, etc. In fact, most people do (hence the expression 'love hurts!').

The love is always there, though. This fact is proven by what happens when a person releases all that can possibly be let go; then what is left is: unconditional love.

When you love unconditionally, there is nothing the person you love can do (or not do) that can lessen your love or make it go away.

Like I mentioned earlier, most parents know this; that is how they love their children. Also, if you have a social pet such as a dog, that relationship is another way to experience a type of unconditional love.

Unconditional love is love in its purest form. Nothing needs to be said or done. There are no needs involved. The love is just there, and the only thing you can say is: 'I love.'

'Love Hurts' or Unconditional Love? Your Choice!

Well. Now you know a little something about conditional vs. unconditional love. How may that be of use to you in your daily life? The answer is that you can use this understanding to create the kind of experience with love that you prefer.

Would you like to get rid of the feeling that love hurts and have a more pleasant experience of your love relationship? Then you might want to remove some of the expectations and conditions you have put into it ... move yourself and your love relationship in the direction of unconditional love.

Practical Suggestions

Let go of your expectations [LINK]. They're doing you absolutely no good; rather they're harming you and your relationship. When you feel that love hurts, to a large extent that's because of your expectations.

Let go of your need for your partner to always be attentive (or beautiful or sexy or helpful ... or you name it). Let go of your need to control your partner. Let go of any and all needs in your love relationship. Start enjoying love, just pure love, instead.

In other words: Stop defending yourself against love. Relax. Open up. Be present with what is. Accept it. Love it, just love it.

If you have kids (or a dog that you love), use the unconditional part of that relationship as a role model for how your couple love can be.

Also, you can check out the page Couple Love: The Mature Love Relationship for more interesting information.

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