I'm thinking about a post by Genie a few days ago about her son's prom date, who was a tad overweight, yet wore the most skimpy, revealing dress imaginable. As I read the post I felt a wave of sadness for the girl.
Why did she dress like that? How could it be anything except that she wants to be loved? She wants to be loved and through lack of training and modern media/advertising she mistakenly equates sex with love. Does she think if she gets laid, she will feel loved? Does she think if she advertises her sexuality, she will attract love? How sad!
Recently my husband and I read The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman out loud to each other. The languages of love are:
Words of affirmation
Acts of service
Chapman's theory is that every person has one primary language of love and when spoken to in that language, they get it. Their love tank fills. But when love is given to them in the other languages, they don't get it as well (or may not get it at all) and don't feel loved. Chapman provides exercises and discussion suggestions that help the reader to identify their primary love language.
At first, reading his introduction, I thought mine was quality time. After finishing the book, I am convinced that my primary language of love is physical touch.
Now, as I look back at my youth, like prom age and a couple of decades after that, I can better understand and appreciate my behaviours, which until recently were a constant source of self-criticism. I used to have HUGE crushes... I'm not going into the embarrassing details of what I did when I'd get a crush on someone. But I will say that when I get around to making amends (Steps 8 & 9) in my OA program, I will need to admit to several men that I made some big mistakes and ask for forgiveness.
But now that I understand how important physical touch is to my sense of well-being, to knowing that I am loved, it's not so surprising that I sought "love" so desperately. Now I have more compassion for myself and certainly for Genie's son's date. Maybe her primary love language is also physical touch. Maybe, like me, she doesn't get hugged and touched very often by her family. And maybe, like me for many years, she tries to find somebody to fill her love tank by desperately seeking romance and/or sex.
I feel very sad thinking about this.