David Ludwig’s new book called Always Hungry? was released earlier this month. He debunks a lot of myths about weight-loss saying that it’s not about lowering your caloric intake because you naturally get hungry and then have a tendency to overeat. He advocates a high-fat diet rather than the high-carb, low fat diet that most people have been on for the past 40 years or so – because it simply doesn’t work. For decades people have been trying to lose weight by following the “rules” but the rule book is flawed. I imagine most people have experienced the hunger and deprivation of a “diet” and Dr. Ludwig gives us hope.
What does Always Hungry? have to do with love? The way I see it is that there is a “rule book” about love in our popular culture. It says things like:
- you need to be young and attractive to find love
- if you’ve met your soulmate you’ll recognize them immediately
- chemistry has to be very strong right from the beginning or it’s not “the one”
- don’t be your authentic self because you might get judged, dismissed and left
- you’re no one until someone loves you
- my partner should meet all my needs
I think that there are a lot of misconceptions about loved fueled by movies and other entertainment (similar to recommendations on eating from decades ago that suggested multiple servings of crackers and pasta daily) The portrayals in the media of couples who have perfect relationships which seem to require no effort give people such an unrealistic idea of what is actually required.
What would my new rule book for love include? One of my rules would be that you love yourself and having loving relationships with others rather than “saving” yourself to give love only to your partner – whether you currently have one or are hoping to have one.
Love is possible at any age, not just for the young and/or attractive. I know someone whose 83 year old step-sister found love in a seniors’ home with a man of 84. Never give up!
Another rule would be that you acknowledge that chemistry is not the only indicator of a successful relationship but that companionship and commitment are also integral. Once the sparks and passion at the beginning dim, what do you have left?
Be your true self. Sometimes it feels risky but whether you’re looking for a partner or married, you need to have a strong sense of yourself so you will be healthy and whole even under stress.
Believing that your partner will meet all your needs sets you up for disappointment and sets your partner up for a lot of stress! What do you need that supports, nurtures and interests you? Maybe it’s a service group or your church or good friends with whom to share activities. Be sure that you have a support system so you don’t expect your relationship and your partner to be everything.
Most songs about love and portrayal of love in movies and TV shows are about infatuation and romance, not about real love. Romance sells, unlike the daily investment it takes for self-awareness and for co-creating a healthy relationship.
If you do the inner work and hone the skills necessary for a healthy relationship you will have a much better likelihood of feeling beautifully satiated and no longer “always hungry for love.”