Why do I crave love? Craving love is a form of emotional hunger that indicates emotional emptiness and an absence of self-love. This is often caused by a lack of affection during childhood.
Why We Crave Love
Most of us tend to confuse our need for love with emotional hunger. But this hunger is not a need for love. Love is something we share with others driven by our own self-love and compassion. However, when you seek to love to fulfill yourself, then it is simply a strong emotional need that makes you engage in desperate behaviors and actions to fill your inner void. This hunger for love is a result of deprivation, abandonment, unhealthy attachment patterns, and lack of affection during your childhood. It is an instinctive condition of longing based firmly on emotional pain. Psychologist and author Robert W. Firestone, Ph.D., explains “Hunger is a powerful emotion, which is both exploitive and destructive to others when it is acted out. People identify this feeling with love and mistakenly associate these longings with genuine affection.”
Emotional craving can be a deep and painful feeling that significantly affects your self-esteem. You may feel like no one loves you which makes you constantly reach out to others for affection and external validation. However, this emptiness inside is not caused by a lack of a loving partner or family. This primarily is a result of not loving yourself enough. Due to this confusion between self-love and emotional hunger, you tend to get desperate for love from others, get entangled in unhealthy relationships, and become incapable of leaving toxic relationships.
Signs Of Emotional Hunger
Are you someone who craves love all the time? Here are a few striking features of people who crave love that you need to watch out for:
1. They’re obsessed about love
If you are an emotionally hungry person, then it is likely that you value love a lot more than you should. “People who crave love put huge importance on affection. They may even think nothing else matters,” explains ExploringYourMind. Hence, when they receive any attention or affection from someone then tend to get obsessed about them and become clingy. Receiving affection can lead to anxiety as they have trouble accepting and letting go of love in a natural way.
2. They manipulate others
A person who craves affection can often be controlling and manipulative. Emotional hunger can make someone become possessive about people who love and care about them. Although they may not have any negative intentions nor do they wish to dominate the other person, they do this out of their own anxieties, fear and insecurities. They believe that by controlling the other person, they can keep the relationship going and avoid betrayal and abandonment.
This is usually caused by emotional wounds and unhealthy attachment styles in childhood. Ironically, such behavior often leads to the end of a relationship. Manipulation is undoubtedly one of the common signs you crave love.
3. They are difficult people
Difficult personalities can often be demanding, reactive, and have trouble controlling their emotions. These types of people constantly demand affection and attention as they have difficulty in accepting healthy attachment styles or genuine love. “They can become very demanding with partners or anyone they have an emotional bond with,” adds ExploringYourMind. They expect love to be perfect and unconditional, which is not realistic. Hence, they are more prone to heartbreaks and disappointments.
4. They are desperate for love
This is perhaps the most obvious emotional hunger signs. Emotional hunger can not only make people controlling and demanding, it can also make them desperate as well. They cannot bear the pain of losing a loved one as they are incapable of coping with abandonment, rejection, or breakups. They can often beg for love as it is easier for them than dealing with the pain of ending a relationship. They tend to be pushovers and can often become a “doormat” in a toxic relationship. They can bend over backward and ignore their own needs to please their partner and keep the relationship going despite how badly the other person may treat them. People who crave love often feel worthless due to low self-esteem. They believe that affection from their partner gives value to their life.
5. They act as martyrs
Altruism is one of the most common traits of people who crave love. They are often disinterested in their own emotional and physical well being and have a selfless concern for making the other person happy. Hence, individuals with emotional hunger never shy away from making sacrifices even if it comes at the cost of their own happiness. Relationship martyrs constantly make sacrifices which leads to chronic unhappiness. Yet they never speak up or share their true feelings due to their fear that the relationship might end. According to ExploringYourMind, “They feel so thankful someone loves them that they’ll make all kinds of sacrifices to please them.”
Yes, love and relationships do require making sacrifices and compromises at times. But it never means that you avoid your own needs and well being for that to occur. You have the right to be happy too, not just your partner. Relationships require mutual sacrifice and respect.
6. They have trust issues
People who have emotional hunger in relationships are often unable to trust the person they love. Although they do want to trust their partners, their insecurities and fears keep them from doing so. This leads to persistent suspicion in the relationship which adversely affects their emotional connection. As they constantly expect their partners to betray, hurt or abandon them, that is what they experience in reality. In a way, they manifest their own thoughts and feelings. Their fear of emotional pain and desperation to avoid it can make them develop a negative perspective about everything.
7. They tolerate abuse
People who constantly crave love are highly likely to tolerate abuse. The thing is, abuse is not always physical. It doesn’t always leave bruises. Emotional and mental abuse can be as damaging as physical and sexual abuse. Sadly, these individuals believe that accepting abuse and toxic behavior will make the other person love them. But it can only weaken the emotional bond. “They can’t tell the difference between a disagreement or conflict and an abusive situation. They might get angry over nothing but also accept physical and mental attacks,” explains ExploringYourMind.
Do not allow the lack of affection in your life to accept toxic or narcissistic behavior. No matter how broken or empty you may feel inside, you should never accept any kind of abuse.
Emotional Hunger & Self-Love
Nobody likes heartbreaks. But when you crave love, you set yourself up for just that. Emotional hunger can need an intense craving for love that can make you emotionally needy and cloud your judgments. For most us, love feels like a driving force. We want to love others and we want to be loved by others. We want to be appreciated and valued. However, when we have low self-esteem and poor sense of self worth, we can intensely crave love from others, instead of giving love to ourselves. We seek validation from others instead of being content with internal validation.
You crave love when you are unable to understand yourself. When you are unable to love yourself. When you are unable to heal your emotional wounds that you’ve been carrying since your childhood. Desperately seeking love from others is a sign that you need to practice self-love. It is only by appreciating your strengths and embracing your shortcomings you can truly stop craving love. By overcoming your emotional hunger, you will realize that your happiness lies within you and you don’t need to crave love from others to feel fulfilled and satisfied in life.
How To Stop Craving Love and Affection
Do you crave affection? If you want to stop craving love, overcome emotional hunger and fill the void inside you, then the first thing you need to start doing is love yourself. Here are a few tips on how to stop emotional hunger and helpful ways for you to get started with self-love:
1. Seek what makes you happy
Identify the things that you love and invest more time in enjoying them. It can be a hobby, reading, exercising, watching movies, eating good food or anything that makes you feel happy. If you don’t have any specific interests, then you may make a list of all the things you’ve always wanted to do and start with those.
2. Acknowledge your weaknesses
All of us are unique and have certain strengths and weaknesses. That is what makes us human. Accepting your flaws and weaknesses will not only help you overcome emotional hunger and work on improving your shortcomings, it will also boost your self-esteem and sense of self.
3. Identify your strengths
You should write down personality traits and characteristics that you love about yourself and focus more on them. This will help you stop the cycle of craving love. Knowing your positive attributes will enable you to value yourself and help you understand what you bring to a relationship.
4. Make yourself a priority
Your loved ones may be important to you, but that doesn’t mean you will ignore yourself. Instead of trying to please everyone, start by pleasing yourself. Focus on “you” and your own needs first and foremost. Unless you are happy yourself, you can never make others happy. Unless you love yourself, you can never love anyone else. Make yourself your top priority. It’s not about being selfish, it’s about giving yourself the value you deserve.
5. Build connections
Instead of craving for love, focus on connecting with others. Step out of your comfort zone and interact with more people. This will help to boost your confidence as you will realize that you are a likeable person. Let them enjoy your warmth and positive energy. Focusing on yourself will empower you to better deal with emotional hunger.
What To Do If I Crave Love? Understanding Yourself Is The Key
Once you know who you are, what your needs are and what makes you happy, you can put in the effort to focus on them and take the steps to build your self-esteem. When you learn to love yourself, your emotional hunger will be satiated. Stop the cycle of craving love by acknowledging your weaknesses and identifying your positive traits. Learn to love for yourself and share love with your friends and family. Loving yourself and others is how you win love.
Here is an interesting video that you may find helpful: