Is the love for a child the only real love

(65 Posts)
Birdinthebush Sat 02-Nov-13 09:31:02

I have having a discussion last night about love and relationships with my friend. She has a grown up and daughter and I don't have any kids (through choice). I have often been told that I don't know real love as I don't have kids, that the love I feel for husband family etc is not the same. She agreed and said she would die for her daughter . I am not sure especially after reading the saving dog or person thread .

ThePitOfStupid Sat 02-Nov-13 09:32:04

Of course it isn't the only real love.

Ragwort Sat 02-Nov-13 09:34:28

I think that is a ridiculous (and very insensitive) comment to make.

Nobody can quantify how much another person 'loves' someone else.

Your friend might love her teenage daughter more than she loves anyone else in the world but that does not mean every other mother loves their children 'more' than they love their husband/mother/dog whatever.

But it's one of those discussions that no one can 'win' - best to just smile and nod grin.

Latara Sat 02-Nov-13 09:37:16

I agree, it's an insensitive thing to say to someone who hasn't had children; and love is a very subjective thing anyway.

Who can know how another person feels when they love someone?

MortifiedAnyFuckerAdams Sat 02-Nov-13 09:43:10

It is (imo) a different love.

I would die to save my DD. I would put myself through anything to make her happy. She is tiny and vulnerable and pure.

I adore my DH, but wouldnt put myself through heartbreak to keep him in this marriage.

If DH was no longer in my life, I would be distraught. But eventually a time would come when I could breathe again.

If DD was no longer in my life, it would kill me.

Bunbaker Sat 02-Nov-13 09:45:11

There are many different kinds of love and loving your children is only one.

I have to admit that nothing prepared me for the intense love I have for my daughter, so your friend is partly right in that it is different from loving your husband. However, she is wrong to say that real love is love for your children. Perhaps she is basing this on her own experiences and never really, truly loved a man.

LondonNinja Sat 02-Nov-13 09:47:08

It's rubbish. Look at how some awful women put their partners over their children's welfare...

LEMisafucker Sat 02-Nov-13 09:47:17

That is crap - would die for my children, i would die for my DP. I coudlnt live without any of them

CailinDana Sat 02-Nov-13 09:48:01

IMO the love you have for friends and partners is "real" love as it is a love based on who that person is. It's a cultivated love that needs nuturing and it needs generosity of spirit to survive. To find that connection with someone you just happen to meet is one of life's miracles - if you have it you are very lucky.

IME love for a child is much more visceral and instinctive, it holds you hostage to the fear that you might lose something precious beyond measure. It is a scary possessive sort if love. Wonderful but also terrifying. You are helpless in the face of it.

I adore my Dh but if he died I know I would eventually move on. If my children died I can't see how I would survive.

Gunznroses Sat 02-Nov-13 09:48:17

There are 4 types of love:

Phileo - friendship type of love, between friends.
Storge - love between families, parent child etc (your friends & dd example)
Erotic - romantic love between lovers
Agape - gift love or charity love, from God to man.

All of them are real love and your friend is talking nonsense.

FloozeyLoozey Sat 02-Nov-13 09:51:56

Yes definitely. Raised ds alone since birth, and I've never felt love as strong go anyone else. All my romantic liaisons have ended, but my love for ds will never end. However strong it is at the time, romantic love always has the potential to end. I can survive very well without a fella, but I would be devastated if I lost ds.

Dahlen Sat 02-Nov-13 09:53:48

I think perhaps your friend is confusing unconditional love with what she calls real love.

There are lots of different kinds of love. Most of them are conditional on us getting something in return and subject to acceptable standards of behaviour. So you may love your partner or mother, for example, but if they treat you badly consistently, eventually you may decide to end the marriage/go no contact.

For most people love for a child is different to that because they will tolerate much more unbalanced relationships or bad behaviour before giving up.

But that's a gross generalisation and there are many exceptions. Consider people who remain together despite catastrophic life-changing accidents that result in one partner taking over the role of nurse for the other. People who remain with a partner who beats them regularly but won't leave because they still love their abuser.

Love is a complicated emotion and one person's 'real' love is another's 'brief infatuation'.

Howsuper Sat 02-Nov-13 09:55:48

Totally agree with Dahlen.

The difference is that it's unconditional love.

Your love for everyone else is - or absolutely should be - conditional.

Must be extremely irritating though for friends to say this to you - I'd never say such a thing even if I thought it.

(Save for your pets! I love my cat like crazy blush)

FreudiansSlipper Sat 02-Nov-13 09:55:56

It is a different love you have for a child

I still love ex partners but it is not unconditional my love for ds it is

your friend is talking rubbish and being smug

WooWooOwl Sat 02-Nov-13 10:00:42

Unconditional love isn't the only type of love that is valid enough to be described as 'real'.

No, I don't think love for children is the only real love.

scaevola Sat 02-Nov-13 10:03:26

Love doesn't come in unchanging form and limited amounts.

I really don't see the point in making up a competitive-style ranking system.

kikid Sat 02-Nov-13 10:03:45

I don't think your friend is talking rubbish, it can be very hard to describe feelings especially one' so intense.

I don't think personally I have felt anything on a par with the feelings/emotions I have for my children.
not smug, just true...

PresidentServalan Sat 02-Nov-13 10:12:10

What your friend said is a typically superior comment from the 'smug mummy' types. I have only known a couple of these and they give me the Rage!

Is she jealous of your life, by any chance?

PresidentServalan Sat 02-Nov-13 10:14:38

Howsuper definitely - I love my cats unconditionally despite them being little sods! grin

From what I am told parental love is a different kind of love than that for other people. It is certainly not the only love!

sunshinesue Sat 02-Nov-13 10:16:46

Your friend is incredibly patronising. Of course your love for your husband is "real". I'd say the love you have for a child is very different to the love you have for a partner but one is not "bettrr" than the other.

To some extent you choose to love your partner, you asses their qualities and decide whether or not you want to share your life with them, they are your partner and support. IME there is no choice with your child, you put up with and forgive any flaws and you search out their qualities, my son could hurt me immensely and I'd still want him in my life I don't think I'd allow my husband the same.

my son will never love me as much as I love him buy I don't care! grin

needaholidaynow Sat 02-Nov-13 10:18:37

The love I have for my children is stronger than the love I have for other people, which is why I do question why people say step parents should love their stepchildren like they love their own children.

The love you have for my children is just so effortless and unconditional. Anyone else in my life, such as DP and SD, it's definitely conditional

sooperdooper Sat 02-Nov-13 10:19:08

I think your friend is being very self centred and insensitive tbh, I hate people who have kids trying to make out that it makes them somehow better than someone who doesn't

Yes, people love their kids, great but that doesn't mean others are incapable of understanding deep love

RevelsRoulette Sat 02-Nov-13 10:20:01

love is a crap word. It describes a whole range of emotions and it describes them poorly. It creates this misconception that you can have a hierarchy of people you love, when the truth is that you have as many different 'loves' as people to give them to.

And some people seem to confuse love with priorities. Your priority in an emergency situation is your dependent child. But the love you feel for your child is a totally different emotion from the love you feel for your partner. Or your siblings. Or cheese. grin

manicinsomniac Sat 02-Nov-13 10:24:34

You can love lots of different people in lots of different ways and in different strengths.

I actually love my sister more than anyone else in the world. The idea of losing my children is unimaginably painful but if I lost my sister I honestly don't know how I could function. For a long time I felt guilty about that but I don't any more - I've known her a lot longer than my children, she knows everything about it me and we've been through a lot of good and bad together.

I don't think love always has to be an emotional reaction anyway. This is one of my favourite quotes:
"Love is not a feeling, it's an act of your will.
It's devotion, not emotion, and it really will fulfil."

thegreylady Sat 02-Nov-13 10:25:15

I agree that love for children is unconditional though from some of the threads on here I'm not sure the reverse ias always true (children for parents). However to use a word like 'real' in reference to an abstract like 'love' is a bit misleading. The love you feel is different but no less 'real' according to context.

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