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On the Rarity of Mutual Need

September 28, 2010

I am obsessed with the passage below. I’m not sure exactly why, but in the past week since I read it on this blog (which I love by the way), I have sent this passage to my friends, family, strangers, anyone who would read it. I think it is so true … needing and loving someone is hardly ever completely mutual. Someone always loves the other person more. Which is one of the biggest challenges of being in a relationship. I hope you enjoy it too.

I hope to have a new post (actually written by me) up tomorrow. As a general update, I don’t plan on drinking ever again. Or drinking with coworkers ever again. Someone please remind me of this later! I suspect that I might forget it.

On the Rarity of Mutual Need
“I believed in her right from the first night I met her, in May, in a small cafe under the chestnut trees. Beautiful and romantic. Only she never fell in love with me. I was desperately in love with her. It’s a strange thing, how you can love somebody, how you can be all eaten up inside with needing them–and they simply don’t need you. That’s all there is to it, and neither of you can do anything about it. And they’ll be the same way with someone else, and someone else will be the same way about you and it goes on and on–this desperate need–and only once in a rare million do the same two people need each other.”–The Small Rain, by Madeleine L’Engle

31 Comments leave one →
  1. natasha permalink
    September 28, 2010 9:13 am

    That passage is amazing and so so so true!

    • September 28, 2010 9:21 am

      Thanks, Natasha! You are one of the ones I have now forced to read this twice now, LOL. This passage just really resonated with me… Next step is figuring out why it struck me so strongly 🙂

  2. Sam permalink
    September 28, 2010 10:02 am

    I really like this passage too…it’s beautifully written. And I’m struggling right along with you. I blame the damn lemon drop shots. Ughh.

    • September 28, 2010 10:07 am

      Lol!! Lemon drop shots… That’s right. That’s why I feel like crap! Thanks for helping me pin that down, Sam 🙂

  3. September 28, 2010 10:21 am

    GREAT quote. And I love Madeleine L’Engle – her books were my favorite as a kid. Thinking about going back and re-reading. Thanks for reminding me of what a great author she is. And thanks for sharing that quote. I might just have to share it on my blog as well and force people to read it!

    • September 28, 2010 10:36 am

      No problem! Thanks for your comment. I’ve never read her work before I saw this passage, and now I want to read more! You definitely should share it on your blog too. I think a lot of people can identify with it.

  4. September 28, 2010 10:23 am

    Love this. It reminds me of the book/movie/concept, ‘he’s just not that in to you.’ It’s hard to accept sometimes that it’s not personal, it’s nothing you or he really did or didn’t do. He just doesn’t feel it, he doesn’t need you. It hurts but it’s just a plan truth. Sigh.

    • September 28, 2010 10:48 am

      You are right… And it’s so hard. We have been taught since we were kids that we can be anything we want to be, that if we put the effort into something we will see the results. A for Effort stuff. But none of this matters in matters of love. You can try to convince someone to love you, you can show them how much you love them with thoughtful words and actions, you can show them the very best of you – all you have to offer – and sometimes, none of it matters. It still isn’t good enough. They just don’t love you the way you love with them. They don’t have that drive or purpose to be with you that you have to be with them. It’s sad, but there is nothing you can do about it. For me, that’s the worst part. I can convince anyone to do anything, hell I was on the debate team in high school. But in love – you can’t convince someone to love you who doesn’t. It’s like the song lyric, “I can’t make you love me, if you don’t. You can’t make your heart feel, something it won’t.” Corny, but so true. Wow, longest reply to a comment, sorry 🙂

  5. Megan permalink
    September 28, 2010 1:17 pm

    So true! It reminds me of a friend of mine who has a relationship “elevator theory.” She says even when you are in a relationship, the amount two people like/love one another is like two elevators right next to each other. The elevators go up and down all the time and rarely stop on the same level.

    • September 28, 2010 4:23 pm

      I’ve never heard the elevator theory – but that’s a good one! I really like that. It’s so true!

  6. Randy permalink
    September 28, 2010 2:35 pm

    Its always sad when this happens, its a very true and real thing. We always want what we can’t have, most of the time we only want it so much just because we know its out of reach.

    • September 28, 2010 4:23 pm

      Randy, you are right. We do always want what we can’t have. Why do we do that to ourselves? Do we all secretly want to be unhappy? Loved your comment, thanks.

  7. September 28, 2010 3:32 pm

    I’ve been in that position where I felt that I “needed” someone. It sucks. And never again.

    In my wise-ish old age, I no longer believe in “needing” someone. Jerry Maguire is full of sh!t when he says, “you complete me.” I believe that you have to be your own complete person before you can be with someone. I believe that you should love the person you’re with, but still be a fully functional person without them.

    And if you need them… well, that’s not love. That’s obsession.

    • September 28, 2010 4:26 pm

      OMG! I could not agree more with you on Jerry Maguire “you complete me.” I LOVE that movie (one of my faves) but I hate that part. No one completes me. People may complement me, but not complete. And I’ve definitely learned that through my break up – you think you can’t live without someone and that they are your life, and then they are gone. And guess what? You recover. Because at the end of the day, you just have yourself on which to rely.

  8. Danielle permalink
    September 28, 2010 3:32 pm

    I keep telling myself I’ll never drink again either… or that I’ll drink in moderation BUT it rarely happens these days!ha!! It is sooo hard. 🙂

    • September 28, 2010 4:27 pm

      I know, it is so hard. It’s especially hard now that I’m dating and I’ve been meeting guys for drinks, dinner and drinks, etc. Lots of drinking. But then I hate myself for about 24 hours (I’m there now, miserable) and I say I won’t do it again. Maybe I should just say I won’t do it again, for awhile anyway. 🙂

  9. Chad permalink
    September 29, 2010 4:02 pm

    I think we want people we can’t have because we let them determine theirs and our value. We think if they don’t want us, then they must be of higher value. therefore we want them. it works both ways, people that like us show us that we have a higher value than them. so we don’t want them.

    • September 30, 2010 9:38 pm

      Chad, you seriously have some good points. You should consider being a dating/love guru :). I agree that we allow others to value us – but I personally want to push back against that. I want to value myself, and then find someone who I think fits me. Not be defined by who chooses me. Does that make sense?

  10. Chad permalink
    September 29, 2010 4:05 pm

    A good friend of mine’s wife just left him after 20 years. He’s had the upper hand throughout the whole marriage. She went through a midlife crisis and i think would have come back quickly. For the first time in his life, he bagan shamelessly kissing her ass and I don’t think they will ever get back together now. She’s lost total respect for him.

    • September 30, 2010 9:39 pm

      Wow, that’s very sad to hear. I’m not sure I can say anything about if they’ll get back together, because I don’t know their relationship enough. But I certainly hope that his efforts in trying to get her back didn’t push her away more. That would be very sad and unfortunate.

  11. Maggie Malam permalink
    September 29, 2010 5:00 pm

    Aww, Catherine, I’m so glad you liked this quote. I almost didn’t post it, but I realized it really resonated with me, and I’m glad it got to you too. It’s one of the hardest but most natural parts of life, I think, that you want or need someone and they’re busy wanting or needing (or thinking they need!) someone. But it also reminds us to celebrate when the passion and desire and need are mutual!

    Also, Madeline L’Engle is one of the wisest authors I’ve ever read. Please look for A Wrinkle in Time and her non-fiction, A Circle of Quiet. They’re wonderful.

    More quotes for you:

    Have you read any Rilke? His “Letters to a Young Poet” was just what I needed this summer. plus the next five posts with the right arrow 🙂

    Thanks for linking to me and for the love–I’ve loved getting to know you through your blog!

  12. September 30, 2010 11:21 am

    What’s more…people fall in love at different speeds. Even if you will eventually love each other madly and deeply someone almost always falls first and falls harder. (Which I don’t think is a bad thing — it just is.)


    • September 30, 2010 9:32 pm

      I definitely think you are right about that. Selfishly, I want to be the person who falls less hard into love. That way I feel like he loves me more than I do him, that gives me a strange sense of security. It makes me feel less like I will get hurt in the end. Very immature, I know. But true.

  13. October 1, 2010 1:00 am

    What an amazingly refreshing blog. *bookmarking*

  14. October 1, 2010 5:49 am

    This is SO true, needing and loving someone is hardly ever completely mutual.. which causes much heartache…

    By the way, great blog, like your writing 🙂

    • October 2, 2010 7:55 pm

      I wish it could be mutual… would make life so much easier, wouldn’t it?
      Thanks so much for your comment and kind words. I appreciate it!

  15. August 23, 2011 8:40 pm

    Hi, I’ve been a silent reader of your blog for a while… Reading through your old posts and the simply solo spotlight posts as well has made this whole moving on process much easier for me.

    Couldn’t help but comment as I fell in love with that passage. Thanks for sharing that. 🙂

    Thanks for being so open in this blog too.. Women empowerment it really is!:)

    • August 24, 2011 7:46 pm

      Thank you so much Margaux! Your comment means the world to me. I really appreciate the kind words and I’m happy my blog has been able to help you. I really enjoy it 🙂 And I still LOVE this passage!

      • September 8, 2011 9:14 pm

        You’re welcome!:) Reading your posts really make things so much better! I’m catching up on all your old posts first haha.. I’ll repost the passage on my blog.. I think some of my friends could relate to it as well. 🙂


  1. What I’m Reading – Beautiful and/or Inspirational Passages « Simply Solo: Single girl starting over – follow the journey

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