Caregiving as an Expression of Romantic Love
Caregiving is Love
Love isn’t always expressed clearly or in traditional manners. Caregiving is an expression of love in the most romantic of senses, where an adult willingly caters to fulfilling the fantasy realm of another for that other person’s pleasure, comfort, or general enjoyment. This gesture of love should always be met with appreciation and gratitude, fairness in reciprocating the romance, and an understanding that while the displays may not be traditionally thought of as romantic or overly loving it’s valid an individual feels they are expressing themselves romantically and lovingly.
Because caregiving is not traditionally viewed as a romantic gesture a caregiver may not be aware the feelings they experience from it and are communicating by it are expressions of their deepest love. This lack of personal awareness may cause a partner to not be aware of how crucial it is to acknowledge, openly appreciate, and reciprocate the emotional investment given. It’s first best both individuals establish that caregiving is an act of intense love and is emotionally charged in all of its existence, from not only physical acts and spoken word but also thought that is put into arranging an ideal moment of regression for a regressive partner.
If a caregiver and/or their partner denies the emotional expression of caregiving it may make fulfilling their mental health needs difficult in the romance. Both partners need to realize that this expression of love needs to be validated and prioritized. The caregiver should ideally realize that they will seek romantic fairness from the relationship outside of the caregiving/regressive experience, and that they should also embrace the acts of love their partner provides in exchange. Feelings of worthlessness may cause a personal conflict for the caregiver, and seeking a licensed therapist can help the individual to better understand their worth and accept exchanges of love.
A regressive partner must show gratitude for the care they receive even when the care seems trivial. The love received must be positively acknowledged to maintain the caregiver’s mental health and showing personal gratitude fulfills this need. Appreciation must be expressed in effort for the caregiver to feel their love was received well, validated, and found to be good. Acts of gratitude and appreciation may be as simple as a smile, hug, cuddle, the words “thank you”, and saying outright, “I love you.” Gratitude can be simple or complex but must always occur. A regressor has the moral responsibility to make good efforts to show appreciation.
There must be fairness in reciprocating the love that a regressor receives from a caregiver. Gifts, words, and acts of love and the time, thought, and feelings invested in caring for a regressor should be expressed back in fair equivalent from the regressor to the caregiver. This means that generally for each act of care received the regressor should extend an act of love back to the caregiver. This does not mean that the caregiver can dictate or demand how the regressor expresses his or her love in return. It is up to the regressor to develop ways to express their feelings toward the caregiver.
Simple acts of gratitude and appreciation are not necessarily sufficient in providing return love fairly. Consider the actions, amount of words, attention and focus, and time a caregiver provides to the regressor. While the regressor may provide simple words or actions of appreciation for their caregiver’s devotion their reciprocation of their love must be expressed more fairly in consideration to what the caregiver has done for the regressor. It may be helpful for the partnership to discuss how the caregiver receives and understands love best to help the regressor think of ways they express their love that can fulfill this need for the caregiver. Another activity the partnership may attempt in discovering how the regressor can better communicate their romance is to ask if a list of scenarios, such as receiving a gift or being taken on a date, would make the caregiver feel loved and specially cherished.
It is important to be aware that a caregiver who does not feel their care is being understood as love will feel under-appreciated, undervalued, and unloved in return. They may feel caregiver burnout and be unable to continue providing care. Ignoring their expressions by not reciprocating, appreciating, and acting with love in return can lead to mental health conditions, such as depression, for the caregiver and could ultimately end the relationship.
It is also to note that neither gratitude nor reciprocation of love can be done passively. The simple presence of a regressor does not communicate care to the caregiver. Some regressors mistakenly believe that by allowing a caregiver to express their romance through caregiving, including utilizing their decision-making skills on behalf of the regressor, that they are reciprocating the love but that is a false belief rooted in the idea that the regressor’s existence means something emotional to a caregiver. A regressor passively accepting care with no acknowledgement, direct appreciation, or effort to return the expression of love will not fulfill a caregiver in a commitment.
Regressive partners receiving care from there caregiver must absolutely understand that all care is romantic love. Regressive partners are expected to give love back to their caregivers. A regressive partner’s happiness or presence alone are not romantic gestures of love. The relationship may need to be reviewed and their individual expressions discussed to discover what is adequate and what may need to be bettered. Without the proper communication of appreciation and love in return not only the caregiver may suffer but it may lead to the death of the partnership.