A function of true love is allowing for the knowledge that we do not love perfectly all the time.
When somebody expects the other person in their relationship to consider the “love” they give as always flawless, there is a mono-dimensionality in their perception: they can only see themselves as either good or bad; they cannot tolerate feeling like a bad person.
But being “good” does not actually allow being loving, because it doesn’t leave any space for the true perception of other people’s pain caused by our behaviour (or even just our own pain).
In this scenario the person will always demand that their “love” is recognised as proof of their goodness.
They cannot afford to have “flaws”, because that would make them unlovable. This is the irony of trying to be loving: It suppresses, controls and misses real love instead.
On the contrary, a person who cares about being loving will be happy to acknowledge where their love’s limited, as that relieves the loved one from the confusion this conflicting experience brings :being told you are loved when your experience doesn’t match the label.
We have learned to accept fault for not having been loved.
But, ironically, only when we’re not focused on appearing loving, can the result ever be love. If we are able to say: “Friend/lover/family member, you are correct in feeling unloved because I have not loved you as you need”, we are saving that person from the inner confusion of feeling not fully loved, while being told otherwise by their loved ones.
Note that we are not saying we are obliged to love either, as indeed we never are. So we are also freeing ourselves from the expectation of loving perfectly and naming what is love, love and what is not, no-one’s fault. We are all growing in love, all the time. And we can only develop our love by seeing the reality of where it hasn’t expanded yet, always compassionately.
Where we recognize another’s unmet need, we open up the space for it to be met by anyone, including them and ourselves and we also allow ourselves to have free will in choosing whether we’d like to meet that need.
It’s like all elements of love are now individual expressions both in what we choose to give and what we desire to receive.
And isn’t that the truth of the matter anyhow: that we are all individuals and therefore our needs cannot be the same and we cannot expect everyone to generically be able and desire to meet all of our needs?
By the way, having only two parents also seems entirely wrong.
This is why we are both confused and restricted in our concept of love/emotional needs, because we’ve had to adjust to only two persons’ abilities and worse, their incorrect perception and evaluation of those abilities too.
Perhaps we would do much much better growing up in communities rather than households, extended families, perhaps even poly-relationships instead of one woman and one man. Heck, most of us don’t even get both of our parents to begin with!
If we had love available to us from multiple people, we would not be so easily conflicted about the supposed “love” we’re told we’re getting from our caretakers and we would not have to feel either guilty for needing what we need or angry at not getting it.
We are all correct both in what we need and what we want to give, but only if things are clear (love is love and no is no), and we actually have options to go satisfy our needs elsewhere.
The solution then is good pairing! But it all starts with each one of us learning about ourselves.
Our whole lives are about discovering what we want, who we are through each experience. So let us make that come into focus finally instead of being preoccupied with whether we look loving or not. We are not selfish for needing and others are not selfish for not giving. We all have the right to choose to be as loving as we want.
And no-one’s unlovable. We just have to be with the people that naturally want to give what we want to receive.