Synopsis: A discussion starts with why you will want, and already need to think about real love and false love; then intriguing questions follow to start thinking about this; then it dives into the extremely important topic ‘Is real love life-giving and false love life-depriving’; then ponders ‘can real love ever be bad for you’, adding what this therapist sees; and ends with a personal request and a plug for what I think is the most exciting and useful book on real love and false love.
You probably have heard or read terms like real love, true love, and maybe false love and fake love. Maybe you have not given them much serious thought. Or you might have tried but just didn’t know what or how you could think about such a topic. For most people it is like being asked to think about geometry before anyone taught you anything about it. You might make two or three guesses but then you might be stuck. You would have to learn more first.
Just like geometry, there are lots of basic principles and major factors to consider, but unlike geometry thinking about real and false love could save your life, and will probably greatly improve, enrich and empower your life. You also are likely to find learning and thinking about real and false love totally fascinating. Not only that, it can make a great deal of difference in the lives of those you really care about. That is why you both want and need to think seriously about real love and false love. But it is okay to have fun doing it.
Startup Questions and Ponderments To Begin Your Thinking
We begin with the more personal. How might the presence or absence of real or false love be effecting your life right now? How might real love and false love effect the rest of your life? How have real love and false love perhaps already effected your life and maybe you didn’t even know it? How could real love and false love factors be affecting your sex and social life right now? How could real love and false love be significant in the lives of those people most important to you? And those are just the start of what’s possible.
Now, for the more practical and basic. How can you tell the difference between a real love and a false love? How many major forms of false love are there? Are there different kinds of real love? Can you change a false love into a healthy, real love? How do we avoid false love? If we are trapped in a false love relationship how do we best escape? If we were wounded by a false love how do we heal? If we are addicted to a form of false love how do we recover? Which are the more dangerous forms of false love? How do we grow a real and lasting love?
Now we go to the more general. Why do real love and false love exist? What exactly do the terms ‘real love’ and ‘false love’ actually mean, include, cover and imply? How do real love and false love effect people’s mental and physical health? Are real love and false love sometimes life and death issues? Can real love and false love factors make the difference between life success and life failure? Do real love and false love issues effect not only individuals, couples and families but communities, society, culture and the world at large?
You might want to ask yourself which of these questions interests you the most. That may be the best question to start your serious thinking about real and false love? Of course, you will not be able to find the answers to all these questions in this short mini-love-lesson. However, let’s help you get further along this thought-provoking path.
Is Real Love Life-Giving and False Love Life-Depriving?
Consider these 5 propositions:
1. The well and truly loved live longer, survive and recover from accidents, illnesses and also addictions better, and more often than do the unloved, poorly loved and falsely loved.
2. Those in healthy, real love relationships resist infections, diseases and aging effects better than the not well and really loved.
3. The richness of a person’s life is better measured by how healthy their real love relationships are, more than any other factor.
4. Giving, getting and living in a state of healthy, real love with oneself, one’s family, one’s friends and one’s world is the most important of all ways to live successfully.
5. Living in a false love relationship more commonly leads to life disasters like serious depression, suicide, spouse abuse including murder, highly problematic divorce, addiction relapse and serious career setbacks.
Admittedly the above propositions are arguably true and there is evidence to support them, but they are not completely proven.
Can Healthy, Real Love in Any Way Be Bad for You?
Do you think that real love can come to make you want to harm or destroy those you love? Some people think that love results in jealousy, and if you conclude that those you love are betraying you, or are acting against you in some big way, you are justified in hating them, hurting them back, harming them and even killing them. In some parts of the world family love and fidelity and a family’s faith counts more than personal love. In those places it is a grievous sin for anyone to go against their family, clan or the family’s faith. Therefore, love of family, clan or faith justifies and insists on you destroying the wayward person or people you personally love.
In most forms of Christianity, Buddhism, some kinds of Hinduism, and especially Sufi Islam, it has been taught that all real love is first of and from the deity, second is not jealous, third is not judgmental, and forth can forgive all. Therefore, real love is divine and therefore cannot be bad for you in any way. Compare that to this factoid. In 12th century France the best kind of love for a woman to have was the kind which would cause a man to ‘die for her’ in a duel with another man.
Then consider this. In addictionology there are books written on ‘love addiction’ and its supposedly harmful effects. I suggest that is a big misunderstanding of love, and what they are really talking about is ‘false love addiction’. It is true that insufficiently wise and careful love, of a seriously and actively addicted or psychotic person, can get you harmed or killed. So, in many different ways there are those who do think that, at least sometimes, real love can be bad for you.
Many others who study love, and its related factors, point to a growing body of scientific evidence which suggests that the behaviors which demonstrate what I would call healthy, real love are almost always healthy and beneficial for both the giver and the receiver of those behaviors. Also, healthy, real love causes, or triggers a great host of different, beneficial feelings. There is reason to suggest that thinking lovingly is both psychologically and physically healthful for the thinker. So, what do you think? Seriously!
What This Therapist Sees
As a therapist who specializes in love relationships and their problems, I see and have seen a lot of life-saving, real love and life destroying false love. I have worked with the suicidal who grow a healthy self-love, and then choose to love life and get beyond all sorts of difficult and terrible circumstances that originally helped lead them to become suicidal. Some of my most difficult work has been with sick, misguided parents who attempted to murder their children. Then, of course, there are the couples in which one tried to murder the other, and in a few cases the couples who both shot or stabbed each other; yet today they are living healthfully together with a whole different and real love of each other.
When I worked in medical psychotherapy at several hospitals, and especially at a wonderful general medical clinic with marvelously progressive physicians and nurses, I saw and participated in some amazing love involved therapy. There I saw healthy, real love make a huge healing difference in no small number of cases. I’m also proud to say, I have helped many a patient/client survive the many serious and terrible results of false love, and love relationships gone bad, or lost. I have assisted and seen many people overcome painful rejection, abandonment, betrayal, severe mental and physical abuse, neglect, destructive manipulation, dependency, ‘love malnutrition’ and ‘love starvation’, hate and self hate, ruinous serial affairs, and much, much more.
In every one of these cases love has played a major and important role. Let me add, it is really wonderful for me when I see individuals, couples and families turn around all sorts of difficulties and then create and grow a life of healthy, real love. I’m so fortunate that I get to experience again and again the joy of participating in people’s love victories. That is why I stay in this fascinating and ever so enriching kind of work. Added to that is that I get to think about and even write about this compelling, intriguing, mysterious and astounding world of real love and false love. I hope you find it that way too.
Now, allow me to make a request and put in an unabashed plug for an exciting new ebook, with fresh and delightfully useful ways to understand – what else but, Real Love and False love. I’ll admit I am a bit biased, prejudiced and opinionated about this book because it was written by ‘yours truly’ along with my beloved of 38 years, Kathleen McClaren.
My request is that you seriously consider getting it, reading it, enjoying it, using it and telling your friends, family, acquaintances, work buddies, and even strangers about REAL LOVE – FALSE LOVE, Which Is Yours? Answers and Solutions! It may change all your lives for the better, and I think it will be great fun for you to explore.
As always – Go and Grow with Love
Dr. J. Richard Cookerly
Are you now starting to think more seriously about real love and false love in your own life, and in the lives of those you care about?