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Need for affection: Why We Have a Need for Affection


What Lack of Affection Can Do to You

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Recently I wrote about Juan Mann, the founder of the “Free Hugs” movement who felt so deprived of meaningful human contact that he offered to embrace strangers on the street. Perhaps you can identify with Mann. How often do you find yourself feeling lonely, craving more affection than you get? Maybe you wish your spouse or partner were a bit more demonstrative of his or her love. Maybe you’ve tried without success to get certain people in your life to be more affectionate with you, so you go on wishing for more affection than you receive. If any of this sounds familiar, then you’re experiencing a common problem known as skin hunger, and you’re far from alone. Consider:

  • Three out of every four adults agree with the statement, “Americans suffer from skin hunger.”
  • More Americans live alone than ever before.
  • One in four Americans reports not having a single person to talk to about important issues.
  • Loneliness among American adults has increased by 16 percent in the last decade.

These facts help us understand the nature of skin hunger, which is both an acknowledgment that we don’t get as much affection as we need, and of our drive to get more. We normally associate hunger with food, of course—but we don’t feel hunger simply because we want food. We feel hunger because we need food, just as we feel thirsty because we need water, and tired because we need sleep. Our bodies know what they require to function properly, and research suggests that affection belongs on that list, right behind food, water, and rest.

Just as lack of food, water, and rest have their detrimental effects, so too does the lack of affection. In a recent study of 509 adults, I examined the construct of skin hunger—and the social, relational, and health deficits with which it is associated. The results were consistent and striking. People with high levels of skin hunger are disadvantaged in multiple ways, compared to those with moderate or low levels. Specifically, compared to people with less skin hunger, people who feel more affection-deprived: are less happy; more lonely; more likely to experience depression and stress; and, in general, in worse health. They have less social support and lower relationship satisfaction. They experience more mood and anxiety disorders, and more secondary immune disorders (those that are acquired rather than inherited genetically). They are more likely to have alexithymia, a condition that impairs their ability to express and interpret emotion. Finally, they are more likely to have a preoccupied or fearful-avoidant attachment style; they’re less likely to form secure attachments with others in their lives.

These findings don’t establish that skin hunger causes all of these negative conditions, only that people who feel highly affection-deprived are more likely than others to experience them. If you’re one of those people, though, these findings probably come as no surprise. Affectionate contact is so necessary for a healthy life that we suffer when we don’t get enough.

Fortunately, skin hunger doesn’t have to be a permanent condition. Each of us has the capacity to get more affection in our lives. In the meantime, put down your cell phone and share an affectionate moment with someone in person. For those with skin hunger, human contact—not the technologically mediated variety—is the cure for what ails.

Seven Characteristics of People Who Crave Love

People who crave love often do so because they grew up without affection or emotional intimacy. We’re talking about people who need to be held in someone’s arms and hear loving words or have simply never felt affection from those around them.

People who grow up with a lack of affection go through life waiting for the wound to heal. The issue is that they think they need others to heal. But only self-acceptance and self-love can truly help them heal.

These people often confuse those two things with love and acceptance from other people. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with wanting outside love and acceptance, but it’s more problematic when it comes to people who lack affection. This is because they’re trying to make up for a lack of affection and find self-love through other people.

We can live without religion and meditation, but we cannot live without human affection.”

-Dalai Lama-

People who crave love often create situations that actually just increase the emptiness they feel inside. This is a complex psychological issue that requires psychological help.

Here are seven characteristics of people who feel this urgent need for love.

The seven characteristics of people who crave love

1. Obsession with affection

People who crave love put a huge importance on affection. They may even think nothing else matters. Thus, a kind of fire lights up inside them when someone else shows them affection.

They have a really hard time letting affection come and go naturally. The mere thought of receiving it makes them anxious. They feel both excited and terrified by it and they often become obsessed with it. 

2. They try to control people

It’s also common for people who crave love to become possessive and controlling with people who show them affection. They’re not necessarily trying to control the other person’s life. They do this just because they want to avoid their own pain.

These people tend to have an unconscious belief that if they keep this person in sight, they’ll never lose them. The fear of abandonment and betrayal (a product of their emotional wound) makes them crave control. But this often leads to a falling out or a breakup.

3. They’re demanding

People who haven’t received genuine love have trouble believing in it later in life. So, they demand constant displays of affection. They can become very demanding with partners or anyone they have an emotional bond with.

For example, they might say things like: “I needed you to be there, but you weren’t” or “I was hoping you would do something special, but you didn’t”. They consider love something absolute and unconditional. But not even a mother can give you that.

4. They beg for affection

People who crave love are demanding but also tend to let too many things slide. To them, anything is better than losing the person they love. Consequently, they often ignore their own needs and well-being.

If they think the other person is becoming distant, they’ll do just about anything not to lose them. They feel worthless and think that the other person’s love gives their life value. This means they’ll even put up with abuse if they have to.

5. They make too many sacrifices

These people also make love out to be much more dramatic and painful than it needs to be. They feel so thankful someone loves them that they’ll make all kinds of sacrifices to please them. 

Love does mean having to make sacrifices at times, we aren’t denying that. But these people take it to the extreme. They act like the other person is the only one with rights and privileges, like they’re the only ones who have to give.

6. They don’t trust the other person

No matter how hard they try, people who crave love can’t bring themselves to trust others. They’re constantly suspicious, and that gradually weakens their bonds. They’re always expecting to be abandoned or hurt, so that’s what they see. 

Their mistrust is so intense that they can even start seeing good things as bad or vice versa. They look for ulterior motives, hidden agendas, and conspiracies everywhere. It’s all part of their massive fear of being hurt.

7. They accept the unacceptable

Abuse, in any of its forms, is unacceptable. Unfortunately, lack of affection often pushes people into a cycle where they’ll accept that kind of behavior from people they have an emotional bond with.

They can’t tell the difference between a disagreement or conflict and an abusive situation. They might get angry over nothing but also accept physical and mental attacks.

It’s a very paradoxical situation. People who crave love seek it from others to try to fill the gap inside them. But because they lack self-love, they run into heartbreak after heartbreak. That’s why professional help is so important in these cases.

Sacrificing For Love: An Exhausting Behavior

When it comes to love, you shouldn’t sacrifice everything, because sacrificing for love doesn’t mean total selflessness or forgetting your values. Read more »

When You Want More Affection In Your Relationship

Do you feel like there is enough affection in your relationship? Do you wish there was more affection between you and your partner?

There are many thoughts that might come to mind when you think affection in relationships. Maybe you think you don’t have enough in your relationship and you need more. Maybe you think it’s just for the beginning of relationships. Or you think you don’t have time for affection.

Why is Affection Important

Affection is the outward expression of our love. It’s the physical, verbal, and nonverbal expressions. It is more than just sex. Affection includes all the little touches, hugs, kisses, words, and looks we share.

While affection is visible on the outside, we often forget that affection starts with the internal intimacy. How we think about our partner, how we view our partner, what we tell ourselves about our partner. All of these things affect our ability to interact affectionately with our partner. Our thoughts affect our feelings and our actions towards the other person.

Everyone has a different level of affection they need and are comfortable giving in a relationship. There is no magic formula that says women need a certain type of affection or that men receive affection differently. What we do know is that everyone has a need for affection, whether it is high or low.

Affection is often used as a thermostat or measuring tool for relationships. If we have higher levels of affection, our relationship must be going well. And if we experience less affection or a decrease in affection, we start to think something might be wrong in our relationship. We may not always notice when our need for affection is filled, but we definitely notice it when it disappears.

What Happens When We Lack Affection?

When we have a healthy level of affection in our relationships, we feel more connected. We are more likely to respond with patience and understanding instead of frustration or disgust when we have disagreements.

The reverse is also true. When we don’t feel connected, it’s easier to jump to judgement and blame with our partner, which decreases our desire to be affectionate. Do you notice after an argument, it’s hard to want to hug or kiss or even make eye contact at times?

When affection is lacking, and you are the partner that needs more affection, you might begin to make judgements about yourself. You might think that you aren’t wanted or your partner doesn’t love you anymore. Affection becomes about affirming your self worth as an individual rather than about affirming and strengthening the relationship. (Which is why self love is so important in relationships!)

In our relationship, David is more affectionate in public than I am. In the beginning of our relationship, he was often bothered when I seemed to dismiss his affection in public. He felt rejected and a little embarrassed. We had to learn to find a comfortable middle that served both of our needs. I couldn’t ignore that this is how he feels loved, yet he had to acknowledge that I wasn’t always comfortable with affection in public.

How to Increase Affection in Your Relationship

Start with forgiveness

If you are lacking affection in your relationship, the first step is forgiveness. It’s common for us to say, well if he would just help me around the house, I would be more likely to have sex. Or if she would just stop nagging me, I would be more interested in cuddling on the couch. When we think these things, we are essentially putting conditions on our love.

We can’t wait on our partner in order to start improving our relationship. But that doesn’t mean you have to ignore your own feelings. Forgiveness comes in when we can say, they may not behave the way I want them too but I recognize I probably don’t either. Forgive yourself, forgive your partner. When we start with forgiveness, we allow grace to enter the relationship and recognize that no one is perfect in the relationship.

Monitor your internal thoughts about your partner

Notice what you think about on a daily basis when it comes to your partner. Are you thinking, they should be doing more, they don’t notice me, they don’t love me? Recognize and take responsibility for how your thoughts can build an invisible barrier between you and your partner.

Change the narrative you have about your partner if it is negative. Most of our negative thoughts are based on assumptions and are not really true.


A common mistake is to begin a conversation talking about how you feel you need more affection. While it may seem like you are trying to have a good conversation about improving your relationship (by using the therapy trick to focus on your own wants and needs), this often sends the wrong message. It can communicate to your partner that they are not doing what they need to be doing in the relationship. You fail to recognize why there may have been a change in affection and taking into consideration your partner’s thoughts and feelings.

Instead, try to start the conversation with a question about their thoughts on the health of your relationship. Talk about your own perceptions without judging or blaming. The moment we start to blame the other person, communication will break down.

Connect in other ways

Physical affection starts with a feeling of safety. Most people wouldn’t hold hands with a stranger or want to give a long hug to someone they just met. When we feel secure and accepted by our partner, we are more likely to engage in positive affection. To help facilitate this, start connecting in other ways. Have a time period where you put your phones away and just have conversation. Take a walk or do something active together. Ask questions like, what was your favorite part of today, what are excited about for tomorrow. These things might seem cheesy but it helps to begin to repair those secure feelings that can lead to more affection.

If you have experienced a decrease in the level of affection in your relationship there is still hope. Most of the time it just requires the two of you to check in with each other. Be open and honest without blaming or being judgmental. Over time, lack of affection can build up resentment and that makes relationships difficult. Make intentional time to be present to each other.

The Need for Affection


> Needs > The Need for Affection

Need |
Example |
Related to | Discussion |  So what?



To be liked, viewed with warmth, and treated with care.

We seek affection particularly from our family and those who we want to be
our friends. We also constantly monitor the affection we are receiving as a
measure of the status of our relationships.

The opposite of affection is indifference, where a person is ignored or even


A mother shows great affection for her children, who
consequently grow up feeling secure and able to love others.

A manager shows affection for his team, although he is also
a hard taskmaster. Knowing that they are liked, the team work hard.

Related to




Affection is warmer than simple liking, although they are closely related. It
includes a closeness and concern that builds strong

Affection starts at a very early age with the infant and mother. It then
spreads to family and friends and even further. A person with a sunny
disposition has affection to share with everyone. A person who was neglected as
an infant may find relating to others very difficult.

Affection is a component of love but is not the same thing. For example you
can have affection for friends without loving them.
Love is a complex emotion that can have
strong components such as possession and desire. Affection can be viewed as a
softer form of love where the other person is accepted and liked as they are
without further complication.

Care is a component of trust. We trust
people who like us and care about us. Affection also implies trust and those who
have been betrayed may give their affection less easily as well as treating
displays of affection with caution and cynicism.

If people like you, then they are more likely to trust you and listen to your
propositions. A simple way to get people to like you is to like them first.

Show affection. Be a ‘people person’. Demonstrate that you care. Only then
ask them to agree or buy from you.

See also

Bonding principle

18 Signs Your Partner Is ‘Touch Starved’ And Needs More Affection From You

Humans are wired to need touch and physical affection — it’s science.

As embarrassing as it is to say, I spent most of my life begging and pleading for attention and affection. This, in turn, created a lot of social and romantic problems for me.

Though I realize it’s partially my fault for acting nuts, I also am very well aware that the people I surrounded myself with should have been kinder and more caring towards me.

It’s been a while since I’ve felt that way. However, that doesn’t stop me from remembering what a nightmare feeling touch starved can be. I’ve even felt touched starved in my last relationship and my ex ignoring my cries for help was a leading cause of our breakup.

Feeling starved for affection is gut-wrenchingly painful, and is often a leading reason as to why people cheat, act out, or otherwise behave strangely in relationships. Speaking as someone who’s been there, I can honestly say that it’s shocking how many people don’t realize when their partners are feeling this way.

RELATED: How To Save An Affection-Starved Marriage

When you feel this way, it’s hard to fully describe the hurt you experience. You feel taken for granted, invalidated, and, at times, maybe not even human. Partners rarely seem to notice the worst warning signs of touch starvation until their partners are out the door.

If you want to be a good partner, you need to pick up on hints your partner may be dropping about feeling this way and show them more affection. Not doing so will cause you to lose them.

Wondering if your partner no longer feels loved or appreciated enough? Look for these signs he needs more affection and you might be able to save your relationship.

1. They’re getting a bit clingy.

I realize that clinginess isn’t sexy in the least bit, but you should think about what it means if your longtime partner starts acting clingy.

If they are getting clingy, that may mean they want you to reassure them, that they miss affection, and that you want to be there with them.

2. They regularly bring up sex and physical affection as an issue.

Physical affection is, for most people, a basic human need. If they regularly tell you that they need to have sex or that they feel like you’re not attracted to them, they’re feeling starved for affection. They may also feel rejected by you, which, if you do too often, will make them eventually resent you and leave.

3. They beg for commitment or marriage, but you’ve given no indicator you’re on board.

This is never a good sign. Begging for commitment early on is a classic sign that you may be dealing with an abuser or a user. But I’m not talking about that “just starting to date” situation. I’m talking about dating for a year or more, with them regularly asking you why you won’t marry them.

A lot of people feel rejected when they don’t see the relationship going forward and a lot of people who feel love-starved may want commitment as a sign you love them. The continual rejection hurts, so if you don’t want to commit, it may be better to dump them before you hurt them more.

4. They regularly fish for compliments.

If your partner is doing whatever they can to get you to compliment them, they’re feeling insecure. They may also feel like you’re losing interest, and are desperate to try to get you to look at them in a loving way again.

Speaking as someone who felt love-starved in her last relationship, this is a sign they’re legit just looking for reassurance from you, about how you feel for them. The most painful thing you can do is to ignore them when they do this, and if you do this, then don’t be shocked they leave.

5. They’ve dropped hints about doing romantic things or have openly decried how they miss the days you put effort in.

If this isn’t a cry for help, I don’t know what is. Affection-starved partners may also try to “fill the gap” they feel in love by arranging romantic trips, dinners, and dates for you as a last resort.

6. You haven’t had sex in a long time, and you really don’t get to see your partner very often.

At this point, your partner probably feels incredibly rejected. They may even feel more like a roommate than someone you care about. Ask yourself if you still want to be with them. If the answer is yes, and you still love them, you need to look into couples’ therapy and learn to be affectionate again.

7. Your partner has gotten a lot less healthy-looking lately.

This shouldn’t surprise you, especially if you’ve ever gained weight during depression. Affection starvation can lead to depression, which can lead to binge-drinking, eating disorders, drug use, and weight gain due to increased cortisol levels.

If you notice your partner’s healthy lifestyle unraveling, it’s one of the signs he needs more affection and may be feeling unattractive or unwanted.

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8. They’ve stopped communicating with you when it comes to personal problems.

This sign can be an indicator of many things. It can be a sign of an affair, but it also can be because they simply don’t feel comfortable talking to you about issues because they feel like you don’t care enough to listen. If left unchecked, it can also turn into a sign that he’s checked out of the relationship.

RELATED: Why Touch And Affection Are So Important In A Healthy Relationship

9. If you were honest, you don’t remember the last time you helped your partner with the daily chores.

You’d be shocked to find out how many women and men end up feeling taken for granted when they notice their partners leaving all the housework to them. A relationship is a 50/50 partnership, even when it comes to work, to keep your lifestyles afloat.

If your partner feels like they’re doing an unfair amount of work, it’s very likely they feel unloved or used. So, show them more love.

10. You prioritize things before them.

My ex was infamous for this, and it ate away at my self-esteem until I had none left. I know for a fact that a lot of people feel neglected by their partners when their partners constantly prioritize work, kids, or the opinions of others over their so-called love interest.

If you find yourself constantly putting your spouse on the back burner, you shouldn’t be shocked if they leave.

11. Your partner accuses you of using them or regularly says they regret being with you.

Most people will never get to this stage and actually stay with the same partner. If your partner tells you that they think you see them as a walking wallet, or if they accuse you of using them, then you really messed up. This has reached a boiling point and it’s often a sign that they’re going to leave or cheat.

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12. Fights and blowout yelling happens on the regular, often over the smallest stuff.

This, in my opinion, is a sign that your relationship is no longer healthy. Though this is a typical sign of abuse, if your once-sweet partner has been displaying other signs on this list, it could be that they feel frustrated, hurt, and angry over the way they feel they’re being treated.

13. Everything sounds pretty business-like when you two talk, and it never used to be that way in the beginning.

When conversations always involve logistics with kids, bills, or maybe work-related issues, it’s a sign that your partner is fed up. At this point, they’re running the relationship like a business because they no longer feel like they can possibly get the affection they want from you or because they legit stopped loving you.

14. If he’s male, he’ll likely get very standoffish when he’s feeling attention-starved.

Men who feel unloved shut down and clam up. And when a man shuts down, it’s a sign that he’s feeling hurt or rejected by you. Ladies, if this happens with you, this is a good sign you might want to make him something special and ask him to open up.

15. You feel nagged.

Not many people actively want to nag others. It’s not a sexy quality to have, and most people who do henpeck are aware of this. If they are nagging you, especially about small things, it could be that they are trying to get you to act like a partner again.

Ask yourself if you’re ignoring their wishes or the role you used to own in your relationship. If you are, they might not be nagging you as much as they are asking you not to neglect them.

16. The relationship is boring.

Relationships take work and that includes getting out of a rut once in a while. If you aren’t putting in an effort to get out of that rut, you may be neglecting the relationship.

This is a two-way street though, so if you want to get things on the right track, talk to your partner about what they’d want to do. This way, you can work together on staying happy together.

17. In certain cases, your partner may also put in 110 percent.

A lot of affection-starved people will do whatever they can to get their partners to act loving once more. They may shower you with gifts, take you out on date nights, ignore things that used to grind on them, or pretty themselves up for you.

If you notice effort being put in, acknowledge it and you’ll get on the right track in no time.

18. You catch them crying after you reject them, or they start acting out like a child who’s hurt.

At this point, they feel neglected to the point that it could be considered abuse. If you want to stop hurting them, either start showing them affection or let them go. Doing anything to keep them in limbo is cruel.

RELATED: True Intimacy Comes From This Kind of Touching

Ossiana Tepfenhart is a writer based out of Red Bank, New Jersey who writes primarily about lifestyle, food, finance, and relationships. You can follow her on Twitter.

The Importance Of Love And Affection In Your Life And Relationships

By: Ty Bailey

Updated March 22, 2021

Medically Reviewed By: Dawn Brown

Human beings are social creatures by nature. Some of us may be more outgoing compared to others. At the end of the day, we’re all wired for engaging in social interactions with those around us. Sometimes a person needs to be surrounded by numerous friends and be in constant communication with others. Sometimes an individual is content with just their family members or a few select close friends. These needs vary depending upon the individual and their lifestyles, experiences, and preferences. To go without some form of love and affection in our lives, though, can cause problems along the way, especially if this lack of support and interaction begins at a younger age.

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How Neglect Can Shape A Child

One of the most important times in a human being’s entire life is their years as an infant and a child. During this period is when the most emotional, physical, and psychological growth takes place. From the moment they are born, a child begins to learn about the world around them, and this includes the people in it. You may have heard that “you can never hold a baby too much,” and this is true. Being incapable of actual conversation and deeper understanding until a few years after they’re born, babies relate to the world in the most instinctual methods of comprehension. They understand if their needs are being met or not. They crave physical attention and human touch. They pick up on verbal tones and learn to read faces before they can ever speak words in return. The experiences during the period in which they fully rely on others will shape them into the person they are as teens and adults. This is why consistent attention and care are so important.

A child that has irresponsible caretakers may be left alone often or not be fed or changed when needed. They cry and cry and hope for someone to help them. When no one arrives, or they arrive too late, this baby’s mind is learning that the world is a painful place in which there is not going to be anyone there to love or care for them. They feel isolated, lonely, and afraid, and this can severely impact their brain growth and development for years to come. They never learn at this important age to form bonds and to care for those around them because they don’t experience it themselves. They have to be shown by example. Those infants who are held regularly, played with, and cared for are able to experience deep connections with their parents or caretakers. They grow up with a far more positive world view. They also develop skills to form healthy and appropriate relationships as they grow older and make friends and find even more loved ones.

Those who have gone without learning how to form proper social relationships and who have impaired cognitive and emotional development as children often have difficulties. They have been found to exhibit antisocial and delinquent behaviors as children, teens, and even adults. They will often show difficulty in the areas of language development, intelligence levels, and other social and cognitive skills.

With support and treatment, many can overcome the instilled negative beliefs and responses stemming from their infant and child-aged years. The results vary depending upon all of the numerous factors at play in a person’s life experiences that can span decades. At the core, though, the lack of love and affection can cause potentially permanent and life-long damage.

Neglect In Adults And The Elderly

Needless to say, age does not always limit when the lack of positive social interaction can be damaging. Loneliness and social isolation in those who need to feel love as adults have been shown to coincide with chronic health conditions and a decrease in overall health for those in their fifties and above. Older individuals with less social interaction and support were shown to have a higher probability of being hospitalized due to health concerns, having longer lasting stays when in a hospital, higher blood pressure, and a higher rate of morbidity and mortality. The potential damage to older adults without healthy relationships and a support system was even compared to the health risks of smoking. The risks of depression were significantly higher as well as the risks of developing conditions such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

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Aging and becoming less healthy over the years is difficult enough as it is. Fortunately, the benefits of having loving and affectionate interactions with those around you can help reduce some of the stresses and negativity associated aging. Older individuals with families, children, grandchildren, or even good friends stand a much better chance at having improved health in their later years. Those who are lonely and isolated, whether by lack of a support system or their health concerns being severe enough to limit their mobility and interactions with the world, don’t fare as well. Having people around you to lend support, positivity, and friendship makes each day a bit easier to cope with. It also gives even an unhealthier individual something to perk up and look forward to despite any conditions they may currently be struggling with.

What Does Love Look Like?

Love can take many different forms, and these variations can intermingle or exist separately on their own depending upon the individual. In the context of coinciding with affection, though, the relevant types of love would mainly be romantic, platonic, friendly, or familiar. These are the types of love that involve the interaction of a positive manner with another individual. For some, romance is the epitome of love and fills their needs for a passionate form of intimacy with another person. For others, their friends may be the best form of love for their lifestyle, providing them with plenty of close relationships that are like a family they’ve chosen for themselves. Families are a fantastic example of familial love, which may not always be appealing in that it’s the kind of love where you feel strongly for a person but don’t always like them (think siblings or parents – they can sometimes drive you crazy!). But familial love can provide the strongest feelings of support when healthily maintained because the relationships are often lifelong and provide ample opportunity for deep bonds, trust, and understanding. Some people may even find the deepest feelings of love to be for their pets. Animals have long been proven to be beneficial to people’s mental and physical health regardless of age.

Why We Need Love

Human beings thrive off of social interaction and forming relationships, regardless of whether it’s with a friend, a relative, or a pet. People have an inherent need for experiencing strong bonds and needing love to avoid the detrimental effects of real or perceived isolation and abandonment. The type of love an individual craves determines the course of their entire lives. Without it, it’s very likely that a person will completely lack any drive to fully live their lives and may even experience depression and other health concerns.

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Those who desire families will be provided with a lifetime of experiencing the joys of parenthood and often marriage as well. Individuals who enjoy meeting others will pursue a lifestyle that allows them to come across many different people from many different backgrounds. They will have a variety of relationships and experiences expanding their understanding of other human beings and other cultures. Those who aim for finding romance are satisfying their physical needs regarding the inherent impulses to procreate as well as enjoy the thrills of passion and intimacy with another individual. People who love animals may not only be able to provide a loving home for a pet in need, but they can also reap the benefits of that often unconditional and loving bond. Pets have even been proven to lower stress levels, improve blood pressure levels, and help boost emotional and social development in children. Oddly enough, even a love of something material such as money has its benefits when it comes to inspiring people to work hard to achieve their goals and succeed in the financial world.

What Does Affection Look Like?

Affection can be defined as “any touch intended to arouse feelings of love in the giver and recipient.” This can be anything from a kiss with your significant other or spouse to holding hands with someone close to you. A hug, holding a puppy or a baby, or even just stroking someone’s arm or back qualifies as physical affection. These are done with the intent to express our love for another person or animal. Even among friends, a hug or a pat on the back signifies positive emotions for the other individual. All of these gestures are necessary for building strong bonds in our relationships.

Why We Need Affection

To love and to feel loved is important. And, to express those sentiments and be the recipient of such actions confirming love are essential in cementing the love and the bonds with those close to us. Gestures of affection help an individual more easily feel the love that someone has for them. As stated in the studies referenced above, physical touch is practically a necessity for human wellbeing and meaningful relationships.

In romantic relationships, a lack of affection or intimacy can cause doubts and feelings of neglect in a partner and lead to conflicts and concerns. It’s okay to tell your partner, “I need love and affection in this relationship” because those two factors are the backbone of a healthy bond to last you a lifetime. Love and affection are expected when dating or exclusively being involved with another person, especially in more serious and long-term commitments. Family members have close bonds with one another when they’re comfortable with showing their emotions via hugs and other forms of physical contact. This especially applies to children, who learn to express themselves better as well as feel validated when receiving affection from their parents, siblings, and other relatives. Friendships may not always require as much affection to be strong. Yet, small gestures of an appropriate nature expressing your love and appreciation of someone close to you can go a long way in deepening the level of trust, comfort, and closeness you share with that other person.

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Further Information

Love may be the desired emotion itself, but affection is the key to expressing it to those important to you in your life. Sometimes, though, we have difficulty expressing our love to others or asking others to express their love to us. Online therapists and in-person therapists can help you learn tools that are most beneficial to you so that you feel comfortable giving love and asking for it.

How BetterHelp Can Support You

If you’re still curious for more information on love, affection, and how to properly express these sentiments with your loved ones, BetterHelp has online counseling resources available to guide you on how to process your emotions and the expression of them to better your relationships. With the convenience of flexible scheduling as well as being able to access the website from the comfort of your own home or from wherever you may be at the time, this resource is a great option for learning more about how to express yourself and form even deeper bonds with the most important people in your life. Below are a couple of counselor reviews from people experiencing similar issues.

Counselor Reviews

“Charlie is the greatest therapist I’ve ever had. He is unbelievably knowledgeable, incredibly hands on, and fantastically caring. He has changed my life in every way imaginable. From my business (150+ employees in 15+ countries) to my love life, he has made every aspect better. Charlie will be a part of my weekly agenda every day until he retires.” 

“I started with Amy back in June, I was a little nervous about starting to see a therapist, because I had never done that before. Amy immediately put me at ease. I was having a lot of issues in my personal life and issues with my family and Amy has helped me tremendously. I could not be happier with Amy. She is very kind, understanding and every single session we have had, I have taken something very helpful away with me. Our sessions have been more helpful to me than I could possibly explain here. Anyone lucky enough to get paired with Amy, will not be disappointed.” 

How To Meet Your Wife’s Number One Need: Affection

Women need to feel from their husband a gentle feeling of fondness; affection if you will.  They crave gentleness, tenderness, warmth, devotion, endearment, where they feel cared for.

Affection can be expressed in numerous ways.  Some of these ways can include: physical, non-sexual affection like hugs, kisses, holding of the hands, a gentle touch as you are near her.  Other ways can include a gentle tone of voice, words that create in her a sense of endearment.  Gifts given and helping out can express this as well but in a more limited sense when it comes to affection.  Affection needs to be intimate and emotionally connecting, meaning, it needs to be from sincerity of the heart.  (Find out more how you can have the marriage you dreamed of).

I have found that women generally desire and appreciate affection in one of three ways:

  1. Physical non-sexual touch
  2. Verbal words of love and affirmation
  3. Both of the above

Physical Touch

Few key points will help you to understand what your partner needs and how to meet it.  Some men have reported to me that their wife doesn’t respond well to non-sexual touch, there are numerous reasons for this.  A few of these reasons can be that your timing is off, for example she is in the kitchen getting supper ready and you approach her from behind and want to express affection to her but she rejects you or ignores you, your timing needs to improve as well as your communication.  Remember just because you want it doesn’t mean that your partner does at that moment.  Communication such as asking her before you touch, waiting for the right moment when she’s done her task then approach her.  Remember women do not like it when men just want sex or are emotionally needy and that’s why they are touching them.

Intimate touch can also include things like direct eye contact with a look of love.  A loving gaze into each others eyes is important, even a loving playful wink, or blowing of a kiss.

physical affection can also include:

  • kissing
  • nibbling on your partner’s ear
  • playing footsies
  • briefly rubbing your partner’s back
  • holding hands
  • sitting close to each other where you are making physical contact with each other
  • cuddling
  • hugging
  • ticking your spouse’s arm
  • walking with each other’s arms around each other’s waist

Physical closeness and healthy touches of endearment are crucial to igniting love in your marriage and definitely in your wife.

Words of Affection

Words of affection involve predominantly two areas of expression.

1.   Praise – Words of praise involve the expression of gratitude and affection concerning things that she does.  Things like, “You are an amazing cook!”  “You always dress nice.”  “You are always so good at organizing.”  “You are a good mother to my children.”  The list goes on and on, but the key point here is that these words of expression are directed towards telling her all the amazing things she does.

2.   Adoration – Words of adoration involve expressions of love for who she is rather than what she has done.  Such words can be, “I love your blue eyes.”  “You are so beautiful.”  “I love your cute smile.”  “The way you walk is so elegant.”  “You are brilliant.”  There are numerous choices of such expressions you can say to her.  Words of adoration are important because each woman wants to feel that she is the centre of your universe.


Just like sexual intimacy is a man’s number one need so is affection for women.  Without affection a woman will not respond well and her number one need won’t be met.  Yes, there are other key factors to meeting your wife’s needs but his one is number one.  Often men need to be coached along these lines which then helps them to succeed and end up with a marriage that is filled with passionate love.

For more on Marriage Counselling click here

90,000 Neurotic need for love. Why is it dangerous? | Psychology

Recently, we increasingly often hear from psychologists the concepts of “neurotic love”, “neurotic need for love” or a simpler combination of “love-addiction”. What kind of love is this and how does it differ from genuine feeling? Let’s look at a small example from life.

Helen came to me in the most upset feelings. She really needed to speak. Her relationship with Mikhail began three months ago. According to Lena, everything was great. Mikhail was immediately interested in the bright, very attractive brown-haired woman, and he invited Lena out on a date.

It soon became clear that young people have quite a lot of common interests.They started dating. However, by the end of the second month, Lena began to realize with alarm that Mikhail had somehow noticeably lost interest in her. Calls from him became less and less frequent. Lena herself was very worried about this and could not understand what happened?

When I began to carefully ask Lena about her behavior with Mikhail, many interesting things came to light. It turned out that Lena fell in love with her boyfriend almost at first sight.According to her stories, Mikhail is all woven from some virtues, and it was impossible not to fall in love with him. She immediately had a special feeling of affection for this man, and she did not hesitate to express her feelings. She could call him five or six times a day just to find out how he was doing. In the morning she wished him good morning by text message, and good night in the evening. She took care of him in every possible way, as if he were a child.

Photo: Depositphotos

And now I saw this beautiful girl, driven to despair by her own feelings for a young man.Lena absolutely sincerely did not understand, what did she do wrong? She tried in vain to find the reason in her words and deeds. She tried to remember where she seemed inattentive to him or offended with a word, but nothing came to mind.

Lena’s example very clearly reflects the concept of love-addiction. An addicted person cannot imagine his life without a soul mate.For him, the whole world loses its colors and colors if he or she is not around. The dependent partner dissolves in this relationship, forgetting about his needs and about his “I”. He selflessly serves another and expects the same manifestation of love in relation to himself.

  • But the paradox is that the other half, upon which this avalanche of feelings suddenly falls, simply begins to choke on this obsessive love.

A dependent person suffering from a neurotic need for love seeks not only to protect his chosen one in everything, but also to control him. Hence, interrogations with addiction (where are you and with whom are you?), Outbursts of jealousy, often out of nowhere, and the constant fear of losing a loved one.

Photo: Takmeomeo, pixabay.com

The neurotic harasses not only himself, but also his partner with his suspicion, demanding more and more proofs of love from the latter.On the one hand, the addict himself is prone to sacrifice and to abandon his needs. But, on the other hand, becoming a shadow of his partner, the neurotic will most likely cease to be interesting for him. The only and fully justified desire of the partner will be the desire to quickly get rid of the one who loves him too much. That is why people with a neurotic need for love are very often left alone.

Women are more prone to manifestation of neurotic love-addiction than men.

Advice for women:

  • If even at the stage of acquaintance you feel in yourself an irresistible desire to protect your man, know that the initiative should always come from him. You run away – he catches up. You are the victim – he is the hunter. And not the other way around.
  • If your maternal instinct wakes up to him, suppress it with all your might. Otherwise, you will scare him off with your overprotection, and he will run away from you at the first opportunity.

It took me some time for Lena to realize her mistakes in her relationship with Mikhail.She stopped calling and texting him all the time. She just disappeared from his life. As it turned out, not for long. Mikhail called himself. He just wondered why Lena had suddenly forgotten about him. Their relationship is now developing in a completely different way, and it is possible that soon this couple will go to the registry office.

Photo: bdcbethebest, pixabay.com

However, Lena’s case can be called quite easy, since her consciousness was ready to accept a new model of behavior for her.In practice, however, one often has to deal with cases of severe psychological dependence.

As a rule, a neurotic has extremely low self-esteem. His partner may aggravate this situation with his constant remarks that without him he or she means nothing in this life. And the addict believes in it! Believes that without a partner, his life will lose all meaning.

And if the neurotic’s relationship has failed, his life really loses all meaning, suicidal moods are possible, and all this until the neurotic meets a new object for adoration.And everything will repeat itself again: all-consuming sacrificial love, constant fear of loss, obsession with control, jealousy – and as a result, the rejection of a partner from a person who is trying to limit his freedom, while losing his “I”.

Dependence on anything is, first of all, dependence. Addiction to love is no better than addiction to alcohol. Both that, and another poisons a person’s life.Psychologists say that if you love and cannot let go, then it is not love. Sounds pretty harsh, but fair. To love another means to wish the very best for him. And if a loved one wants to leave, he should be released. But the addicted neurotic cannot let go – this is beyond his strength. After all, he loves his love, his ideal, and not a real person.

Photo: Free-Photos, pixabaycom

You can get rid of addictive behavior and come to a healthy relationship. But for this you have to change your consciousness. It is necessary to clearly understand that your partner is not your property, not your toy, but a full-fledged, equal person who needs love, support, respect and freedom.

90,000 The need to love and be loved.Need for love.

Smiley Blanton writes in his book Love or Die: “For more than forty years I have hosted and listened to people of all ages and backgrounds who trusted me with their hopes and fears … Now, after many years, I have clearly realized one truth : there is a universal need for love … People simply cannot live without love, they must receive it, or they will perish. ”

Author: D. Vysochanskaya.

The need to love and be loved.

Dante said: “Love is the force that moves the world, and if we fail to satisfy our need for love, everything in our life suffers from this.” The Slavic word “love” comes from the Old Church Slavonic “shlyub”, which literally means “union, union, unity, harmony.” Echoes of this semantic meaning of love have survived to this day in some Slavic languages. That is, love is a mystical union of a man and a woman into a single whole. Connection of destinies, bioenergies, psychoemotional sphere.Thus, a qualitatively new entity appears.

* The desire to find and realize that very true love is inherent in the very essence of man. This need is inherent in every person from early childhood. Her normal development is expressed in the ability to reciprocate love. From the cradle to the end of life, we are all looking for someone who will love us and whom we could love. Indeed, love is simply necessary, it is vital. Without it, we lose the will to live, our mental abilities and physical energy weaken, resistance falls, and the meaning of what we do, what we live for, disappears.The unquenched thirst for human affection will haunt us. And the more we strive to close ourselves off from it, the harder our life becomes.

* And in the future life of each person there are moments of intimacy and unity with others, which nourish his striving for another. In moments of intimacy, a person experiences a completely special state – when time suddenly disappears, and everything temporary suddenly disappears, and eternity seems to touch the soul. Here man emerges from the entire chain of space and time, from all his connections with the world.Only one sensation of blinding power remains in him, which leaves a brighter trace than millions of his thoughts, concepts, habits, feelings, memories.

* Despite the fact that love brings not only the greatest satisfaction, but sometimes the most bitter sorrow, nevertheless, men and women do not cease to desire love. When love disappears, marriages fall apart, the person enters into a mortal battle with emptiness and a terrible hopelessness grips the former spouses and those around them. The consequences of such emotional breakdowns are child and adult crime, suicide, alcoholism and various forms of drug addiction.
* Being is incomplete and unstable if it does not carry in itself the desire for something outside of it. Love is a connection between people. Where such a connection appears, the life of an individual person outgrows the framework of his own, finite,
limited existence. Living among people, a person learns to love, understanding with all his being not only the necessity, the inevitability of another person, but also the deep meaning, the grace of this fact: the existence of another person.

* We all yearn for love, and the need for it is limitless; sometimes it seems that we will never get enough.In essence, love is the only thing on which our well-being depends. Under the influence of her life-giving power, we are able to survive the most bitter moments of life, to endure resentment and cruelty. However, we must be realistic in our desires, because it is unlikely that we will always be loved to the extent that we would like. If someone hopes for ardent love for the rest of his life, he wants the impossible from human nature.

* “Not to be loved is just a failure, not to love is a misfortune.”A. Camus.

* The need to fall in love and to fall in love is born from tense expectation (“The soul was waiting for someone!”), And the beloved himself is only an excuse for these feelings to fall upon him. Therefore, for a person who knows how to love, there will be no problem with choosing a worthy partner for himself. Only a person who is open to himself in his deepest aspirations, who knows how to give love, will be able to truly appreciate and preserve this gift (the ability to love another), revealing and affirming its high meaning, while a closed person begins with a distortion of the meaning given to him, and therefore comes to the conclusion about the meaninglessness of life.
* Because love is not a desire to learn something in exchange for your own feelings. It is the desire to give oneself. If you want your marriage to be filled with deeper love, start by loving more yourself. Rather than expecting your partner to show love for you, think about what your spouse’s needs are and start living them from today, from now!

* Trying to express in one word what at the same time gives meaning to life and constitutes its innermost meaning, Tolstoy always said the same thing: love as the source of a person’s moral connection with the world and the people around him.
* Love has the greatest value also due to the fact that it is one of the most powerful sources of positive emotions, pleasure and joy. And the importance of positive emotions can hardly be overestimated. They encourage, mobilize and, on the other hand, soften the effect of life’s trials.

* Love is a human activity, and any activity can be learned and creatively improved in it, this is given by the accumulation of one’s experience, assimilation of the experience of mankind, knowledge, research, trial and error, experimentation, daring.Creative people usually do not wait for inspiration, but set themselves up, bring themselves to this state. For example, PI Tchaikovsky believed that “inspiration cannot be expected, and even it alone is not enough: labor, labor and labor are needed”!).

Parental relationships greatly affect the ability to love.

Every person wants to love and be loved, to have a happy family. But there are some unconscious mechanisms inherent in childhood and strongly influencing the perception of the surrounding world. Thus, a child who was not loved by his parents always considers himself unworthy of love, and it does not occur to him that his parents may have a defect in the ability to love.
* It is difficult to argue that many of the ills of society are rooted in negative factors generated by marital conflicts and the breakdown of families. Without even noticing it, we learn to be a husband or wife from our parents, from early childhood adopting models of behavior and stereotypes of relationships from them. In our adult life, we continue to live according to these “parental prescriptions”, not realizing them and rarely noticing their manifestations. From the relationship of parents with each other, we learn to relate to the person next to us.James McHale, professor of clinical psychology at Clark University, says: “The best kids are those who feel warm from their parents, not only towards them, but also towards each other.”

* The child perceives and adopts not what the parents are trying to put into him in the “moments of upbringing,” but their attitude towards people, towards themselves, towards life, moreover a subconscious attitude. If then the grown-up person believes (due to his negative past experience) that love does not exist, then it will not be in the life of this person.If he believes that it is impossible to be happy in such a world, then he will be unhappy (until he revises his views). No wonder they say: if you want to be happy, be happy.

* Love and respect of a person for himself cannot appear simply from nowhere. Just like a child cannot speak if he does not hear the speech of other people, he will not learn to love – neither himself nor others, if he himself is not loved, if on his life path there are no people who are able to give human warmth.

* Human society, despite the millennia of its cultural development, has not learned to guarantee psychological well-being to each of its members.And this well-being depends on the psychological climate of the environment in which he grows, lives and works. And also – from the emotional baggage accumulated in childhood. And the psychological climate in the family depends on the ability of the parents themselves to give love and human warmth to each other and to children, depends on the style of communication between parents and children. The need for accepting and supportive communication, touch, and other signs of attention and love can be unfulfilled and lead to suffering and destructive emotions.
* “The general law here is simple: in childhood we learn about ourselves only from the words and attitudes of those close to us. In this sense, a small child has no inner vision. His image is built from the outside; sooner or later he begins to see himself as they see him others, – thinks the Russian professor of psychology Yulia Gippenreiter. – However, in this process the child does not remain passive. There is another law of all living things: actively strive for what survival depends on. A positive attitude towards oneself is the basis of psychological survival, and the child is constantly looking for him and even fights for him.He expects us to confirm that he is good, that he is loved, that he can cope with feasible (and even a little more difficult) cases. ”

* Despite the difference in the initial conditions set at birth, upbringing and education, any person has every chance to fulfill his human destiny. Each has its own. And the measure of happiness most of all depends on the fulfillment of what is conceived (by whom? – fate, God, the universe, – whatever you want) about a given person.

* Loving your children in such a way as to teach them to love the world is a very difficult task, but this is precisely the main purpose of parents in relation to children.Only under the condition of benign parental love can you help the child to assimilate all the previous experience of people living on Earth, without drowning out the creative possibilities of the new person.

© Vasily Pozdnyakov, Psychology of love. Psychologist’s site about the art of love.

Neurotic need for love, Psychology – Gestalt Club

It is very important for most of us to be loved. For
the child’s knowledge that he is desired is the key to his harmonious
development.But often our desire for love turns into pathological
a form that Karen Horney calls the neurotic need for

Peculiarities of neurotic love:

1. Obsession – it comes from
severe anxiety. Anxiety kills spontaneity and flexibility in
relationship. For a neurotic, love is not an additional pleasure.
in life, but a vital necessity. An example, a foodie who
enjoys food and can choose what to eat.AND
a hungry person who, having no choice, eats everything indiscriminately only
to satisfy your hunger.

This leads to a reappraisal of the importance of being loved. For
it is important for the neurotic to be loved by everyone he meets. Although on
really important is the love of people with whom we are constantly
we touch, live, work or for whom it is desirable to produce
good impression. Neurotic people may want to please all people,
or all women, or all men.

Such people are incapable of being alone.Staying
alone, they experience unbearable anxiety. Often there are people
who can only work in a team. They are terrified
loneliness, feeling of abandonment. Any human contact
brings them relief. Inability to be alone
accompanied by an increase in anxiety.

There is a paradox in such people: they may very much need
another person, afraid of losing him, wanting to please him. But
when this important person for them is near, they do not
experiencing happiness.Because the desire to be near, often
caused not by a feeling of love, but by a desire for comfort and

2. Emotional dependence and submission
neurotic is afraid to express any disagreement with
significant person for him. Any aggression will
displaced. He will not only be afraid to speak his mind,
but also letting yourself be bullied will bring yourself into
victim: their interests, their tendencies towards self-assertion, even if
it leads to self-destruction.If he nevertheless decides to express
some kind of dissatisfaction or do it your own way – it will
accompanied by great anxiety. Therefore, with all his might he will
try to please your object of “love”, express humility and

Emotional addiction occurs in
the result of a person’s desire to cling to someone else who will give
hope and protection. A person will depend on the other and become
helpless. With great anxiety to wait for the phone call,
feel abandoned if you couldn’t be with him today
meet.He will feel that it is destroying him, the relationship
he is humiliated, but he is not able to break this addiction.

Resentment is always present in emotional dependence.
The addict is attached to the other because of his anxiety. But not realizing
this, he will endlessly complain about his lack of freedom and accuse
that of another person. It is he who is the other who prevents him from living,
develop, be yourself and be free. The neurotic falls into
vicious circle. He is angry with another for his lack of freedom, but because of
fear of abandonment drives out their aggressive resentment.By displacing aggression, he increases his inner fear.

Anxiety increases and the addict has even more
cling to another person in order to restore your calmness.
Fear intensifies so much that a real breakup seems to him
the collapse of his whole life. In an attempt to avoid such fear and
anxiety, a person goes into counterdependence, i.e. tries to avoid
any affection. Example by going through one or more
unsuccessful attempts at a relationship, the neurotic tries to avoid any
a hint of affection, so as not to fall into painful

3. Gluttony – neurotic
insatiability can manifest itself in jealousy and desire for absolute
love. A healthy child raised in an atmosphere of warmth and
security, feels welcome and does not require constant
confirmation of their relevance and importance.

Gluttony called
If a person gets satisfaction,
success, feels that he is loved, performing his favorite creative
work, the gluttony is reduced.For example, the girl stopped
feel the constant feeling of hunger after receiving a robot that brings her
pleasure and enjoyment. Conversely, a person can start eating,
make a large number of purchases because he was rejected or
suppresses your anger and worry. Greed for food, shopping,
sex, hoarding money. Gluttony can also be repressed,
and then, in a state of anxiety, a humble person starts buying five
pairs of shoes or suits.

Neurotic jealousy differs from healthy jealousy
human in that it is disproportionate to the danger.It is called
constant fear of losing love from this person. Therefore, any
another interest in the object of “love” is regarded as potential

The gluttony of the neurotic gives rise to desire
absolute love
. It sounds like this: “I want me
loved for who I am, and not for what I do. ” Of course anyone
man has such a desire. But in the neurotic it turns into
demand. And this requirement presupposes: love me outside
depending on what I am doing; I want to be loved without giving anything
instead; to be loved by others and that at the same time they do not receive from
no benefit to me.If these conditions are not met in a neurotic
there are suspicions that he is loved only in order to
receive and satisfy.

Also, the neurotic wants to constantly receive sacrifices for the sake of love,
only then does he have the feeling that his
love. It can be money, time, beliefs, plans, and even
personal integrity of another person. Searching for absolute love
conceals a strong hostility that lurks behind neurotic

In contrast to the “vampire people” who deliberately can
use others.The neurotic does not realize how demanding he is.
to others in a relationship. Realizing this is difficult. After all, he
sure that he cannot live life using his potentials and
opportunities, he constantly needs another. And it is this other
or others are responsible for his life. Awareness will require
from neurotic changes in his ideas and way of life. it
difficult, but important stage on the path of recovery.

(based on Karen Horney’s theory of neuroses)

90,000 The need for love.Enea-typological personality structures: Self-analysis for the seeker.

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Why the need for security is more important than the need for love

You have probably heard about Maslow’s pyramid more than once. The American humanistic psychologist developed the idea of ​​a hierarchy of needs, ranking them in order of decreasing importance.So, the pyramid is based on physiological needs: oxygen, food, food, sex. The next level is the need for security.

It is assumed that the needs of a higher level are actualized when we have dealt with the previous level: if we have a roof over our heads, we are full, no one attacks us, just right to feel the need for love, for communication, for us heard and appreciated.

But if a certain percentage of humanity is more or less provided with food and water, then problems often arise with the next level.And they arise, as usual, in childhood. The fact is that security is not only the absence of a direct threat to our life and health. We need not only physical, but also emotional security, in the constancy of relationships (that is, the fact that loved ones will stay close to us).

When this need is met, we can build healthy relationships with family, friends, partners, and ourselves and feel loved. But what if it doesn’t? If we don’t feel emotionally and physically safe around those around us, we don’t feel loved.

We are constantly on the alert, or forced to defend ourselves, or we are fenced off from everyone by an impenetrable wall. Our relationship is not developing. And most importantly, we cannot love someone unconditionally.

We unconsciously continue to ask questions, will they love us further – or will they one day be abandoned? Do they love us just like that – or selfishly? Can you trust a loved one or not? Without feeling safe, we suffer and doubt instead of accepting and loving.

Why we don’t feel safe

Toxic environment, emotional or physical abuse, inconsistent behavior of parents (when the same action of the child could cause completely different reactions), neglect of our basic needs – the reasons why we don’t feel yourself safe, mass.

Many in childhood did not feel solid ground under their feet, but rather a shaky moving platform, and this could not but affect the perception of oneself, the subsequent choice of partners and the outlook on relationships.

Have you ever doubted the sincerity of declarations of love addressed to you? An annoying voice of an inner critic sounded in your head, convincing that in fact no one needed you? If so, chances are good that your basic need for safety was not met as a child.

Perhaps the fact is that your parents showed you their love irregularly or only loved you at all under certain conditions (when you were a “good” boy or girl), and now you find it difficult to unconditionally trust your partner and generally trust people.

Neurotic need for love | Psychology of relationships

Few would dispute the thesis that love is one of the main human needs, without which it is difficult to imagine life on our planet.
However, there is a neurotic need for love, when love is perceived by a person only as his own reflection in another person.
The following signs of a similar need can be distinguished:

1) A tendency to various manipulations, the purpose of which is portions of love and attention.
As examples, blackmail and threats (if you leave me without love, I will commit suicide), bribery (you give me love, I will give you everything), demonstrative helplessness (if you don’t give me love, I will die), appeals to conscience ( I gave you a lot, you have to love me).

Photo from open sources

2) Fear of loneliness. A person is afraid to be left alone, experiencing severe discomfort from such a prospect.

3) Obsession of character. The need for constant evidence of self-love, or at least sympathy.

4) The requirement of absolute love for oneself, sacrifices from a partner (habits, beliefs, character, time, money, personal and professional goals can act as victims).

5) Endless jealousy (all the time and attention of the partner should belong only to the suffering love).

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6) Inadequate reaction to objections, and even more so to refusals (in such a case, anger and resentment are inevitable, but this does not lead to a break in relations).

In any case, people who feel an increased need for love have not received this very love in the past, they are trying to correct that course of events in the present tense, having “obtained” a sufficient amount of it. Without knowing love, it is impossible to identify love in others; one can only reflect the attitude towards oneself in others.

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Karen Horney. Neurotic need for love

Karen Horney

Neurotic need for love

The neurotic need for love and affection often takes the form of sexual passion or an insatiable need for sexual gratification.In light of this fact, we have to raise the question of whether the phenomenon of the neurotic need for love in general is caused by dissatisfaction in sexual life, whether all this desire for love, contact, understanding, support is not so much a need for reassurance as an unsatisfied libido.

Freud was inclined to look at this question in this way. He saw that many neurotic people impose their attachments on other people by clinging to them. He described this attitude as arising from an unsatisfied libido.This concept, however, is based on certain premises. It assumes in advance that all those manifestations that are not in themselves sexual, such as the desire for advice, approval or support, are a form of expression of sexual needs, weakened or “sublimated”. Moreover, it also presupposes that tenderness is the result of a forbidden or “sublimated” manifestation of sexual desires.

Such assumptions have no confirmation.The connections between feelings of love, affection, affection, and sexuality are not as close as we sometimes think. Anthropologists and historians argue that individual love is a product of cultural development. Briffault believes that sexuality is more closely related to cruelty than tenderness, although his claims are not entirely convincing. However, from observations from our culture, we know that sexuality can exist without love or tenderness, and love or tenderness without sexual feelings.For example, there is no evidence that the affection between mother and child is sexual in nature. All we can notice, and this is the result of Freud’s discovery, is that there may be sexual elements. We can observe multiple connections between tenderness and sexuality: tenderness sometimes precedes sexual feelings; a person is able to experience sexual desires, while being aware of only the presence of tender feelings; sexual desires can stimulate or pass into tender feelings.Although such transitions between tenderness and sexuality definitely indicate a close connection between them, it nevertheless seems more correct to be more careful and allow the existence of two different categories of feelings, which can coincide, pass into each other or be replaced by one another.

Moreover, if we accept Freud’s assumption that an unsatisfied libido is the motivating force in the search for love, then it is hardly understandable why we find the same passionate desire for love, with all the described complications of a possessive attitude, demands for unconditional love, feeling of rejection, etc.in persons whose sex life is completely satisfactory from a physiological point of view. However, since there is no doubt that such cases do exist, you invariably come to the conclusion that an unsatisfied libido does not explain this phenomenon, but its causes lie outside the sexual sphere *. / * Cases like these, where certain emotional disorders coexist with the ability to obtain full sexual gratification, have always been a mystery to analysis, but the fact that they do not fall under the libido theory does not prevent their existence./

Finally, if the neurotic need for love were only a sexual phenomenon, it would be difficult for us to understand the manifold problems associated with it, such as possessiveness, the demand for unconditional love, the feeling of rejection. It must be admitted that these various problems were identified and described in detail: for example, jealousy was traced right up to the rivalry of children in the family or the Oedipus complex; unconditional love to oral eroticism; possessiveness to anal eroticism, etc.But at the same time, there was no understanding that in reality the entire spectrum of relations and reactions described in the previous chapters appears as an integral structure. Without recognizing anxiety as the driving force behind the need for love, we will not be able to understand all the conditions under which this need increases or decreases.

Through Freud’s skilful method of free association, analysis can be made to trace the exact relationship between anxiety and the need for love, especially when you pay attention to the patient’s fluctuations in the patient’s need for love and affection.After a period of joint constructive work, the patient may suddenly change his behavior and begin to make demands for an extension of the time allotted to him by the analyst, or passionately desire the analyst’s friendship, or begin to blindly admire him, or become overly jealous, start to show possessiveness, his vulnerability, complaining that he is “nothing more than a patient.” At the same time, his anxiety increases, manifested either in dreams, or in a feeling of persecution, or in physiological symptoms such as diarrhea or frequent urge to urinate.The patient is not aware that he is experiencing anxiety or that his increased need for analytics is due only to his own anxiety. If the analyst identifies this connection and shows it to the patient, then together they will establish that just before the sudden fall in love, problems were raised that caused the patient’s anxiety; for example, he may have perceived the analyst’s interpretation as an unfair accusation or as a humiliation.

The sequence of reactions appears to be as follows: a problem arises, the discussion of which causes strong hostility directed against the analyst; the patient begins to hate the analyst, to desire his death; he immediately supplants his hostile impulses, he becomes fearful, and because of the need for comfort he clings to the analyst; when these reactions are carefully worked out, hostility, anxiety, and with them an increased need for love recede into the background.An increased need for love, apparently, is so constantly a result of anxiety that it can well be viewed as a signal of trouble, indicating that anxiety is close to going out and requires reassurance. The described process is by no means limited to the analysis process. Exactly the same reactions take place in personal relationships. For example, in marriage, a husband can compulsively cling to his wife, be a jealous owner, idealize her and admire her, although deep down he hates and fears her.

It is justifiable to speak of excessively strong devotion, masking hidden hatred, as “overcompensation”, while realizing that this term gives only a rough description and does not say anything about the driving forces of this process.

If, for all of the above reasons, we refuse to recognize the sexual etiology of the need for love, then the question arises whether the fact that the neurotic need for love sometimes goes hand in hand with sexual desires, or is presented entirely as sexual desire, or there are certain conditions, in which the need for love is felt and expressed sexually.

To a certain extent, the sexual form of expressing the need for love depends on whether external circumstances are favorable or not. To some extent, it depends on the characteristics of the culture, differences in vitality and sexual temperament. And finally, it depends on whether a person’s sex life is satisfactory, because if it is not, he is more likely to respond in a sexual way than people who are satisfied with their sex life.

While all of these factors are self-evident and have some influence on the individual’s response, they do not sufficiently explain underlying individual differences. In this category of people, showing a neurotic need for love, these reactions fluctuate from one person to another. Thus, there is a certain category of persons whose contact with others immediately, almost forcibly, takes on a sexual connotation of greater or lesser intensity, while in most persons, sexual excitability or sexual actions are within the normal range of feelings and behavior.

The first group includes people who continuously move from one sexual relationship to another. A closer knowledge of their reactions shows that they feel insecure, insecure and extremely unstable when they are out of any connection or do not see a direct opportunity to establish one. The same group, although obeying a larger number of internal prohibitions, includes people who have limited connections, but tend to create an erotic atmosphere in relationships with other people, regardless of whether they feel special affection for them or not.Finally, this includes a third group of people with even greater sexual inhibitions, who, however, are easily aroused sexually and obsessively seek a potential sexual partner in every man or woman. In this latter subgroup, compulsive masturbation may but need not take the place of sexual relations.

This group is characterized by numerous variations in the degree of physical satisfaction achieved, but a common feature of the representatives of this group, in addition to the obsessive nature of their sexual needs, is a certain promiscuity in the choice of partners.They have the same characteristics that we have already found in the general examination of persons with a neurotic need for love. In addition, there is a striking discrepancy between their willingness to have sexual relations, real or imagined, and the profound impairment of their emotional relationships with others, a disorder that is more significant than the average in a person pursued by basal anxiety. These people not only cannot believe in love, but become completely confused (or, in the case of men, become impotent) if they are offered love.They may be aware of their defensive attitude or be inclined to blame their partners. In the latter case, they are convinced that they have never and never will have a chance to meet a good girl or a virtuous man.

Sexual relations mean for them not only the relief of specific sexual tension, but also the only way to establish human contact. If a person has developed the conviction that it is practically impossible for him to receive love, then physical contact can serve as a substitute for emotional ties.In this case, sexuality is the main, if not the only, bridge connecting him with other people, and therefore becomes overly important.

In some people, the lack of intelligibility is manifested in relation to the gender of the potential partner; they will actively seek relationships with both sexes or passively succumb to sexual claims, regardless of whether they come from the opposite or same sex. The first type does not interest us here, because, despite the fact that its representatives also put sexuality at the service of establishing human contact, which is otherwise difficult to achieve, the fundamental motive is not so much the need for love as the desire to subjugate, or, more precisely, conquer and suppress others.This urge can be so overbearing that sexual differences are obliterated. Both men and women must be subdued sexually or otherwise. But the persons of the second group, who are inclined to give in to the sexual claims of both sexes, are pushed to this by the unrelenting need for love, especially the fear of losing another partner due to their refusal to offer a sexual plan or if they dare to defend themselves against any, fair or unfair, claims on relation to them.

In my opinion, it is a mistake to explain the phenomenon of promiscuity in relationships with both sexes on the basis of bisexuality. In these cases, there is no indication of genuine attraction to persons of the same sex. Apparent homosexual tendencies disappear as soon as healthy self-confidence takes the place of anxiety, in the same way promiscuity disappears in relationships with the opposite sex.

What has been said about bisexual relationships may also shed some light on the issue of homosexuality.In fact, there are many intermediate stages between the described “bisexual” and actually homosexual type. In the history of the latter, there are certain factors responsible for the fact that he does not recognize a person of the opposite sex as a sexual partner. Of course, the problem of homosexuality is much more difficult to understand from any one point of view. Suffice it to say here that I have not yet met a homosexual person who also did not have the factors characteristic of the “bisexual” group.

In the past few years, some psychoanalysts have pointed to the possibility of an increase in sexual desires due to the fact that sexual arousal and satisfaction serve as an outlet for anxiety and accumulating psychological stress. This mechanical explanation may have a reason. However, I believe that there are also psychological processes that lead from anxiety to an increase in sexual needs, and that these processes can be identified. This view is based both on psychoanalytic observations and on the study of the life history of such patients in combination with the study of their character traits outside the sexual sphere.

Patients of this type may fall madly in love with the analyst from the very beginning, ardently demanding reciprocal love. Or to maintain a pronounced aloofness during the analysis, transferring their need for sexual intimacy outside, to some person who resembles an analyst. Or, finally, the need for such a person to establish sexual contact with the analyst may manifest itself exclusively in dreams or in sexual arousal during the session. Patients are often extremely surprised by these clear signs of sexual desire because they feel neither attraction nor any sign of love for the analyst, nor any attachment to them on the part of the analyst.In fact, the analyst’s sexual attraction does not play any significant role, just as the sexual temperament of such patients is not more ardent or uncontrollable than that of others, and their anxiety is greater or less than that of other patients. What characterizes them is a deep disbelief in any sincere love. They are deeply convinced that the analyst is interested in their problems and themselves only because of ulterior motives, that deep down he despises them and that he will probably do them more harm than good.

due to neurotic hypersensitivity, in every case of psychoanalysis there are reactions of anger, anger and suspicion, but in patients with especially strong sexual needs, these reactions form a permanent and persistent attitude. It seems that there is an invisible, yet impenetrable wall between analyst and patient. When these patients are faced with their own difficult problem, their first urge to give up, to quit psychoanalysis. Their behavior during analysis is an exact replica of what they have done all their lives.The only difference is that, prior to analysis, they were able to avoid knowing how fragile and confusing their personal relationship really was. Easy sexual intercourse contributed to the confusion of the situation and led them to the idea of ​​good human relations in general.

The relationships I have described meet together so regularly that every time the patient, from the very beginning of psychoanalysis, begins to discover sexual desires, fantasies or dreams in relation to the analyst, I am ready to find especially profound disturbances in his personal relationships.In accordance with all observations on this score, it can be argued that the gender of the analyst is more or less indifferent. The successful work of the analyst with the patient may have the same result for both. Therefore, it would be a gross mistake to take at face value their homosexual desires, expressed in dreams or otherwise.

Much of what appears to be sexuality has very little to do with it in reality, but is an expression of a desire for comfort. If this is not taken into account, the role of sexuality can be overestimated.

A person whose sexual needs increase under the unconscious influence of anxiety is naively inclined to attribute the intensity of his sexual needs to an innate temperament or freedom from generally accepted taboos. In doing this, he is making the same mistake as people who overestimate their need for sleep, imagining that their constitution requires ten or more hours of sleep, while in reality their increased need for sleep may be caused by various who do not find release emotions.Sleep can serve as one of the means to escape all conflicts. The same goes for eating or drinking. Food, drink, sleep, sexuality are vital needs. Their intensity fluctuates not only with the individual constitution, but also depends on many other conditions: climate, sources of satisfaction, external stimulation, the severity of work, physical conditions. But all these needs can also increase as a result of the action of unconscious factors.

The connection between sexuality and the need for love sheds light on the problem of sexual abstinence.How easily a person can tolerate sexual abstinence depends on culture and individual characteristics, as well as on various psychological and physical factors. However, it is easy to see that a person who needs sexuality as a means of relieving anxiety is especially unable to tolerate any kind of abstinence, even a short one.

These considerations lead to some reflections on the role that sexuality plays in our culture. We tend to look with a certain amount of pride and satisfaction at our liberal attitude towards sexuality.Of course, things have changed for the better since the Victorian era. We have more freedom in sexual relations and more opportunities for satisfaction. The latter is especially true for women: frigidity is no longer considered a normal condition for women, but is generally recognized as a disadvantage. However, despite this change, the improvement is far from being as extensive as it might seem, because at present, a very significant part of sexual activity is more an outlet for psychological stress than a genuine sexual desire, and therefore should be considered more as a means of calming. , not as genuine sexual pleasure or happiness.

The cultural situation is also reflected in psychoanalytic concepts. One of Freud’s greatest achievements is that he helped to give sexuality its true importance. However, many phenomena are considered sexual, which in reality are the expression of complex neurotic states, and mainly the expression of a neurotic need for love. For example, sexual desires in relation to the analyst are usually interpreted as a repetition of sexual fixation on the father or mother, but often they are not at all genuine sexual desires, but serve as an expression of some soothing contact to reduce anxiety.Of course, the patient often expresses associations or dreams (expressing, for example, the desire to lie near the mother’s breast or return to the mother’s womb), which involve “transferring” to the figures of the father or mother. However, we must not forget that such a visible transference can only be a form in which the patient’s need for love or care is expressed.

Even if desires for the analyst are perceived as direct repetitions of similar desires for father or mother, this would not be proof that infantile attachment to parents is in itself a genuine sexual attachment.There is ample evidence that in adult neuroses all the traits of love and jealousy that Freud described as traits of the Oedipus complex may already exist in childhood, but such cases are not as common as Freud assumed. As I already mentioned, I believe that the Oedipus complex is not a primary process, but the result of several processes, different in nature. Rather, it may be a simple child’s reaction to the sexually tinged caresses of the parents, or his observation of sexual scenes, or the behavior of one of the parents who makes the child an object of blind affection.On the other hand, it can be the result of much more complex processes. As I have already mentioned, in those family situations that provide abundant soil for the development of the Oedipus complex, the child usually has intense fear and hostility, and as a result of their repression, anxiety develops.