Break Up and Divorce How I Found The Definition Of True Love

How I Found The Definition Of True Love

How I Found The Definition Of True Love

“What about love?”
“Overrated. Biochemically no different than eating large quantities of chocolate.”
—Al Pacino (The Devil's Advocate)

Have you ever dreamed of the perfect partner, the ultimate romantic love in the perfect relationship?

A partner who is your missing part, the one that fulfills you and makes you complete? Who's been waiting their whole life just to meet you, and by your bond, a door in heaven opens for you?

Welcome to the club. You are not alone.

Please read the following email from a dear reader:

Throughout my breakup, there’s a concept that’s been holding me back:

“The ONE.”

I’ve always believed it, but after this breakup, I’ve come to question it.

I was so sure my Ex was the one, and I was so sure she would never hurt me like this.

Still thinking about your Ex? Click here to take the test to learn how long it takes to heal... and how you can speed up the process.

If I ever find love again, how will I know if that person really is the one?

I had no doubt in my mind that he was the one, in fact, part of me still believes it, but how can I ever be sure of anything in a relationship if I was so certain last time and so wrong?

I too suffered from the same disease: believing in an unrealistic picture of “Love.”

The Concept Of “The One”

Since I was little, I believed in the concept of finding “the one.”

I knew exactly how this whole thing was going to play out:

I would accidentally run into a beautiful and charming girl one fine day, (or maybe she would knock at my front door), look into her face and immediately realize that we were meant for each other.

She would be “the one”.

The following life together would be one of fulfillment and eternal love.

Heaven on earth in the arms of a woman.

Please take a look at the following little story from the ancient Greek about the origins of true love which I read a long time ago:

The Origin of Love

There was Aristophanes’ Androgyny, Plato’s anecdote on the origins of love and mankind. The story recounts the primordial androgyny, mythical creatures with four arms, four legs, and two heads. They epitomized completeness and were able to do almost anything. However, their pride in their abilities angered the gods and caused Zeus to cut them. Separated in two, they were destined to drift alone, empty and incomplete, longing for their former halves. For Plato, the androgyny is the symbol of wholeness, and the pursuit of it is what love is.

Isn't this beautiful? This story always fascinated me.

The problem here was that I took the whole thing too much to heart. I was looking for my missing half.

Has it worked out that way for me? Do I still believe in it, and does it have to be a bad thing doing so?

I will tell you in a minute.

First, I have a question for you:

What do YOU think is the definition of true love, and is there such thing as 'the one'? Click to Tweet

Not so easy to answer, is it?

There is a scientific categorization from a renowned sociologist about the six types of love.

According to John Lee, there are six different types we can distinguish.

Six Types Of Love

Let's list them all:

1. The sexual love called “Eros”

The focus here is a sexual one where looks are more important than anything else. It is based on aesthetic enjoyment.

2. The love of the players called “Ludis”

These people tend to change partners frequently and are never attached to anyone. They like the game and the conquest.

3. The companionate love, the “Storge”

The warm and affectionate love you feel for a sibling or a best friend.

4. The obsessive love, the “Mania”

It's an extreme form of love where the lover possesses the other completely and wants their partner's attention constantly. This is usually driven by low self-esteem.

5. The love called “Pragma”

This type of love is realistic, the lovers are looking for a match referring to personality and values.

6. The altruistic love, the “Agape”

Unselfish as it is, it accepts people as who they are and does not try to change them without asking anything in return.

By looking at the list, you can easily assign what types of love you have felt in the past.

Let me take a wild guess: Was it one of the first four?

How I Found The Definition Of True Love

As you can see, the “Agape” is considered as the ideal love, compassionate, egoless and self-giving. If you are experiencing this type of love, then you will ask nothing in return from your partner.

Think about it – in order to experience this kind of true love, you have to be at peace with the world and yourself and this is ONLY possible IF you love yourself in the same unconditional way.

If you do NOT, then you are taking advantage of your partner to upvalue yourself.

In other words, if you are not happy from within, then you desperately need your partner to feel valuable and happy. The same thing happened to me.

This is not true love. This would be “Mania”, and it often leads to extreme suffering when the partnership ends.

My Definition Of True Love

The definition of true love, therefore – if you consider true as “real” and “honest” without self-interest – is altruistic giving and unconditional acceptance.

But let's be real, how many people in the world can truly say that they are experiencing such pure love?

Honestly, this sounds more like a philosophical kind of love to me, which most people will aspire to achieve their whole lives. This is the kind of love Jesus, Buddha, and Gandhi practiced and taught.

So, keeping that in mind, what is my personal definition, and do I still have the same view of true love I used to have before my breakup happened?

In a nutshell: I've developed a realistic, not glorified view, of love and relationships, which helped me tremendously to concentrate on what I really want and what I don't.

The definition of true love for me is loving yourself and thereby giving love without asking for anything in return.

Is there “the one”?

Honestly, I don't think there is such thing as “the one”, I think there are “many”.

A relationship is good if both are compatible and willing to make an effort to make it work. This takes experience, inner balance, and daily commitment.

The concept of “the one” will not be of use, especially if the relationship should end one day.


Abandon a glorified, unrealistic view of 'true love' and 'the one'. Click to Tweet

The takeaway message from this article, therefore, is the following:

Abandon a glorified, unrealistic view of “true love” and “the one”, which love songs, poems, and chick flicks are propagating. Especially when you suffer from a breakup or divorce, you need a realistic view of your former relationship, and a down-to-earth outlook towards future ones.

The mindset that true love is something that starts within you – and that is something on which both have to work at constantly – will help you to find the kind of relationship you are looking for.

This has helped me to find a fulfilling relationship where both partners can thrive without restraining each other.

I'm not saying that love is not important in a relationship, it is. But we must constantly be aware of what our motives are, is it selfish or unselfish?

Only by knowing that we can aspire to the highest, purest form of true love.

What do you think is the definition of true love for you? Please share in the comments section below.

Your friend,
Eddie Corbano

  • Also it would be nice to know the name of the ‘renowned sociologist’ and of the mentioned article/book.

  • I enjoyed this text very much, wise and sensible.
    It would be great if you corrected the doubled texts, which get a bit in the way. 😉
    Greetings with Portuguese love!

  • Well, I am in love with somebody now which I would consider to be “true love”, because even with all the “defects” of the person, I still want to see her happy and I still want to do everything for her and be with her. Her defects includes being with me since 5 months without her wanting an exclusive relationship, and sleeping with her ex.

    Of course I love the person, so its true in the sense that I want to giver her everything thing.

    But I love myself too, and I am trying to find a mindset for me where I dont suffer with it. Because even if I love the other person, I love myself too, and I will not inflict on me more pain than what I am able to cope with.

    Currently, it works for me to tell her that I am not kissing or having sex with her until she can have me as her boyfriend. Maybe in some months I will feel different about it, but now it is good for me. Because otherwise I know I would regret later.

    So, right now she could be thinking of her her, or calling him in the hope that they will get back, but I dont get so hurt about it, because I know I am not having anything sensual with currently. If I was having it with her and having hopes about our future, knowing that she is still chasing her ex would hurt me a lot, as it did in the past.

    I am also not sending her surprises all the time as I was before. She really loved it, and always told me that her ex never cared about her (thats why she broke with him), and that I care a lot about her and this is very swett. She also says that I am much more nice to him, etc… But it doesnt matter. As long as I feel that I would regret doing her some surprises and later finding out that she still has hopes on her ex, I will not do those surprises. I will no do anything that I know I could regret later. If she leaves me because I am not doing surprises anymore, its sad. But if I do those surprises, and she leaves me later anyway, I will suffer A LOT. So I dont do it!

    So, for me is good to always think: For the next weeks, what should I NOT DO in order to avoid getting hurt? Now, it is no kissing, no sex, no calling, no surprises. Maybe in some months it will be different. Maybe in the next months it will ok to have sex, but it will not be ok to try helping her psychologically with some problem.

    So, even if you trully love somebody, you should always be aware of your emotional limits, and stop doing things that will hurt you, as long as they hurt you!

    • Ps: Being aware of your emotional limits with a person requires experience with the person. If after five months of relationship I have a list of my “most serious emotional hurts” with the person, I try to figure out what I shoud start doing (or stop doing) in order to prevent this hurt for happening again. I call it my “actions list”. I try to only perform actions which help me whatever her reaction to my action is. If I see tha the success of an action of mine is depending on a certain reaction of her, I wont go for it…its just too dangerous for me.

      In the future, maybe some of her behaviours will change, or some of mine will change too, so what was a frequent hurt before might be much less frequent on the future, and maybe another type of hurtings will come to the surface, so I will have to update my “actions list”.

      I think that unconsciously, that is what we are all doing. We would never hurt us more than what we are able to cope with. I would never suicide myself for this girl, and if I did… its because somehow I decided it was worth the risk.

      I think that nobody will suffer more than what they are able to suffer. Once it happens, we stop suffering immediately and fix it. Nobody is stupid, we just need time to learn our lessons!

  • Hey,

    I have a small thing that I honestly don’t understand.
    Is the fact that I desire in a relationship to have my emotional needs met a selfish love ?
    I mean why will I be in a relationship in the first place if not to receive what I seek and what makes me happy.
    For example, I have the need to be touched a lot . Does it mean I shouldn’t have this met

    Thanks for everything and by the way, what you do is amazing,

    • No, to desire to have your own emotional needs met in a relationship is not selfish love, I’d say it’s prerequisite for a fulfilling relationship. If your needs are not met, you will be very unhappy without really knowing why…

      • Hi Eddie,

        Thanks for your answer!
        I still don’t really understand you.I’m struggling to understand this definition of real love. In the article you wrote “The definition of true love for me, is loving yourself and thereby giving love without asking anything in return.”
        But the fact of asking them to fulfill our emotional needs isn’t selfish ?

        Thanks again and Happy New year 2015,

  • Vivien Shore says:

    I love this article. I also used to have an idealistic view of love and ‘the one’. I am now divorced and have a couple of relationships behind me too; currently single.
    I now have a much more realistic idea of love and the kind of relationship I want with a man.
    For me, it’s deep understanding and acceptance of one another, unconditionally. I also agree that it is unselfish; giving and expecting nothing in return. This to me used to seem impossible; how can one give with out expecting anything back? But that showed me that I had not experienced love in it’s rawest form. For me the Bible’s definition of love is the truest being that it is unselfish, kind, bears all things, hopes all things, does not envy, is not proud etc.
    I believe it’s rare but possible to have a close, connected relationship with another person based on unselfish love. And I know it doesn’t come easy but takes work from both partners. I look forward to finding that someone with whom I will have such a relationship.
    Thanks for your blog Eddie, I really enjoy and appreciate it.

  • Dear Eddie,
    as you saw my email, I was confused with my semi break up, but this post made my eyes open. I understand, what I had was not true love, it was #4, so it ended and hurt me badly. I feel I now I took a big step in order to heal and get over my Ex(I think I am done with him now).
    Thank you so much Eddie.

  • Is it possible that “true love” is defined by the two in the relationship? I believe that true love is a combination, to one degree or another, of all 6 forms of love. We all want to be loved unconditionally. We all have needs within us (possible driven by unmet needs during our years of formation as children). We all want to love and be loved. It is part of the human condition. We are also relational people. Relationships and love go hand-in-hand, not just sexual relationships. I believe there are very valid points in all of these posts but I believe love is more about desiring what is best for the relationship as a whole rather than what’s in it for me or you. Back to my original question. Can ‘true love’ be defined by the two in a relationship? In every relationship there is “you” and “me” with the relationship being about the “space” created between the “you” and the “me”. That space is a give and a take from each party. When one side takes more than it gives then you have an imbalance and the relationship becomes distorted. Does this make sense to anyone? Just curious.

    I happen to be involved with a man who is everything I had ever dreamed of in a man. I have been married twice, the first time at 17, divorced a year later. The second time to a man whom I met, married within two months at 18, and had three beautiful children with. That lasted for 35 years. Separated for 5 years now and finally divorced 2 months ago I have been with this new man for a year…today. There is a sweetness to our relationship…one that has a tenderness, caring, loving, affectionate (not just sexual), I would do anything for him and he would do anything for me kind of relationship. I was just diagnosed with breast cancer and he has been there with me through it all…and has not changed the way he treats me, talks to me, or loves me in any way. We both have been through terrible marriages and both feel this is the truest love either has ever known. We both are very respectful of one another, both very considerate of one another…and I feel we both love each other, agape love. But, back to what I said earlier…isn’t true love a part of each type of love in one relationship? I am open for discussion…thanks for taking the time to read this. I love these types of discussions…very subjective, yet based on experience, and very philisophical. 🙂

  • “Agape” love actually destroyed my last relationship. Accepting people as who they are is great and all, but sometimes not trying to change your partner (or yourself) is more detrimental. Had we been harsh and told each other what changes HAD to be made, our relationship would have lasted… a little longer.

    • Thank you for commenting, I know what you mean… having your personal needs met is definitely a precondition to happiness.

      And meeting the needs of BOTH partners is the foundation for a lasting relationship.

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