Christian Counseling: The Trouble With Not Feeling Loved

Every person that has ever lived (or will live) knows something about not being loved romantically and/or by people, generally. Some know it as a most desperate, intolerable and excruciating experience; a maddening loneliness, accompanied by feelings of alienation and even annihilation. Some know the heartache of feeling unacceptable, undesirable, ignored and not belonging. For an unfortunate few who have never been loved or had it only once and lost it, it is a tortuous existence for which there is seemingly little to no hope of ending. For the majority of these, they feel it is not better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. (Sorry Tennyson!)

Rightfully so, we all grow a little more cautious about love and relationships after knowing the depth of the pain of loss or betrayal. It is tragic that some self-protect by grossly limiting intimacy or completely avoiding it for the remainder of their lives, never being able to find a sense of recovery from their deep wounds and great distrust. On the other hand, being without love can easily result in a person becoming preoccupied with getting it and keeping it. In turn, that often tempts and drives people to make poor choices and engage in bad behaviors.

Commonly, they expect others to prove their love for them, over and over. It burdens friendships, families and marriages with having to be the source of healing for their woundedness caused by others. It strains the normal and healthy relationships with the added role of a friend or partner becoming one's therapist. It doesn't work in the long run. It leads to guilt, anger, feelings of failure and a ton of relational conflict. This type of underlying, sometimes unconscious, want, need and expectation is at the heart of why most couples separate and divorce. As the Song of Solomon says in 2:15, there are foxes that need to be captured before they ruin the vineyard. Looking to another to heal our wounds is a fox that will destroy the vineyard of good feeling and love in a relationship over time. It is deadly.

What is the alternative, if not looking to a new love? Embracing the powerful, past pain of loss for as long as it takes you to work it through. Do this with God and a friend or two, or a therapist if there is no one who is there for you. Suffering with the intensity of  a lost love wound need not be a life sentence. There is a way of escape in this life. What are you willing to do to make that happen?      

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