Looking for love in all the wrong places

I have a theory, and it really is just a theory so feel free to pipe up and comment if you feel moved to add anything to the discussion, and that is that those of us who fall victims to love frauds do so because we’ve not got our minds in the right space, or really, part of our minds.

Our brains have developed over millions of years and with the brain the mind. Most creatures have developed some pretty basic mind functions and broadly speaking all creatures function with at least two mind functions to ensure their survival. Let’s call them “to approach” and “to avoid”.

“To approach” is the carrot if you like. It looks for rewards and opportunities that will help survival and comfortable living.

“ To avoid” is the function that looks for threats and pain so they can be avoided so that survival is ensured and the chance of living comfortably is increased.

Within these two mind function there are two basic states. Let’s call them “in stress” and “in wellbeing”.

If “to approach” is in the stress state we’ll perceive that there’s a scarcity problem. On a real basic level this would be a lack of food or shelter. In our Western world today it may be financial problems or worries related to finances (real or imagined). It may be our inability to get the job we want. It may be that we can’t afford to buy the car or go on the holiday we want. Anything that makes you feel that there’s not enough of a resource indicates that your “to approach” mind function is in stress.

If “to approach” is in the wellbeing state we’ll perceive that there’s an abundance of resources. We’ll perceive that there’s enough for everyone and there’s no need for greed. It’s easy to share and to find more resources.

If “to avoid” is in the stress state we’ll perceive that there’s a threat and we will feel fear and anger. We will feel anxious and expect the worst.

If “to avoid’ is in the wellbeing state we’ll perceive that we are safe, we are in safety, and there’s no real need to worry or feel anxious about anything. We’re alright.

As humans, being slightly more evolved creatures and highly social at that, there’s a third state. Let’s call that state “to affiliate”. This state makes us want to join and affiliate (obviously!) and to make “us”. It makes us want to belong.

If “to affiliate” is in stress we suffer from a feeling a loss and separation. This may be reasonable if you’re grieving the loss of close one. It’s not reasonable if you’re not grieving and it’s your general state of being (regardless of what’s triggered “to affiliate” to be in stress in you). When “to affiliate” is in stress we are at high risk of looking for love in all the wrong places. We will try to connect with people who respond quickly because we’re desperate to connect with anyone or anything. We feel a desperate need to be loved and perhaps to love.

If “to affiliate” is in wellbeing we feel connected and find it easy to forgive and act loving towards others. We don’t feel a need to chase love because we already feel that we belong and are affiliated.

This is of course a very basic explanation of our states but it does go some way to explain why some of us end up falling prey to love frauds, people who are unable to love but fake it and end up breaking our hearts.

What triggered “to affiliate” to be in stress varies in people but a lot of the time it stems back to childhood experiences but it can also stem from having gone through a major heartbreak in adulthood. To me it’s not really all that important what triggered it, you can go to therapy or spend time querying your mind about it if you want to find out what triggered it in you, but what really matters to me is how to move from having “to affiliate” in stress to being in wellbeing.

I think I mentioned this before, a few weeks ago I met a man who had spent 30 years meditating (and he was a very warm and loving person) and his advice to me was to practice gratitude. He’s not the only one who advocates that as a remedy to feeling that there’s a lack of love or especially lack of love for self. I have also been told that an unwavering focus on love, acting out of love and acting in love is a sure way to move your “to affiliate” into wellbeing.

Perhaps we could all do with more love in our life so please join me in practicing love here at Spilling Ink. If you won’t, I will love you anyway. So there.


(I’m not just saying that!)


  1. i suspect these theories also go for general belonging in a group and not necessarily a relationship. i have to ponder it a bit more...i have a feeling it may explain the cultural bewilderment i feel at times in the face of the danes...

  2. It does apply to any affiliation not just "a relationship" but then really "all relationships". It's my bad really because this was kind of a post the piggy- backed on the Don't go there sister! post.

    I know what you mean about the bewilderment you feel in the face of the Danes. I have a similar problem because they get real friendly real soon and as you may know Swedes (and possibly Danes) can spend years sussing you out before they let you into their lives.


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