Immature Forms of Love

  1. Clingy Love

 “I would do anything for you, if you’ll only love me.”  This form of love is usually expressed by someone with low self-confidence who is looking for a partner because they don’t feel worthy enough on their own.  They are therefore looking for a perfect “parent” who can be idolized and usually find someone who wants to be idolized as a spouse.

  1. Sadistic Love

This person actually feels bad and insecure, but compensates by looking for a partner they can belittle.  They will treat the partner in the ways that they feel they were treated earlier on in life and will usually choose a masochist (someone who consciously or unconsciously wants to be punished).  The masochist usually starts off clingy in the relationship, but later feels guilty about it and seeks to be punished through withdrawing.  The sadist experiences rage because they have been belittled in the process and then seeks revenge.

  1. Rescuing Love

The rescuer wants to save an unhappy person from a bad situation and strengthen him/her.  This results in a feeling of victory and the one rescued experiences a feeling of protection.  Later on this changes because the rescuer feels guilty for actually taking the person from someone else (whether this be their family or a previous lover).  The rescuer then becomes emotionally cold. The one who was rescued then no longer feels saved and once again feels unloved – like prior to the relationship. Both then feel done in.

  1. Compulsive Love

There is a great deal of self-doubt present and the goal of compulsive love is to repress anxiety.  Through declaring your love in every possible way and denying any hate or unhappiness, you are trying to strengthen your self-image. And you receive constant attention for it.  The partner is usually very dependent on the attention and compulsive love becomes like an addiction. Unfortunately, the partner only receives short term peace and later curses himself because nothing has long-term effects. The partner becomes sad and the compulsive one becomes angry. Both end up depressed from withdrawing from each other.

  1. Unattainable Love

Here one is actually looking for the perfect parent, but that would result in feelings of guilt.  Therefore one looks for the perfect partner – something that is actually unattainable. If the partner responds then it feels like an intimate relationships with a parent-figure and is not acceptable. Many rationalizations and reasons are found so that sex doesn’t occur.

  1. Celibate Love

The partner is almost like a parent so even if there are strong desires, these are rather not expressed erotically to avoid feelings of guilt. Sometimes this carries over into a marriage, but then one person becomes like the parent in the house and often becomes impotent.

  1. Critical Love

The critical person sees a quality in the partner that they can’t stand in themselves. There is therefore an overload of projection. The partner usually carries a great deal of guilt and has a need to be punished for breaking the rules. These roles often rotate. Both parties have a poor self-image and receive short-term satisfaction from breaking their partner down, because then they look better in comparison to their partner.

  1. Love for a Partner’s Parents

You are more drawn towards one or both of the partner’s parents and you want to be a wonderful son or daughter to them. The partner usually then starts to feel undervalued and then unconsciously identifies with their partners wish for a new / better / different family.

  1. Vindictive Love

You feel like the black sheep in your family and seek revenge. You then look for a partner that creates tension with your parents or siblings so that you are therefore punishing them with your choice of partner.

Source: Strean, Herbert S: Resolving Marital Conflicts: A Psychodynamic Perspective (Y-Leaf Series on Personality Processes, ISBN:0-471-82504-2)

About thatpsychologist

Clinical Psychologist in private practice in George and Mossel-Bay Kliniese Sielkundige in privaat praktyk op George en Mosselbaai.

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