22nd August, 2012
Love & Lust
Before I begin my entry this week, I want to look at the definition of the following words: lust & love.
Oxford dictionary: ‘strong sexual desire’.
Urban dictionary: ‘often confused with love, it is purely physical attraction and has no lasting effect.’
Oxford dictionary: ‘a strong feeling of affection’.
Urban dictionary: ‘the most spectacular, indescribable, deep euphoric feeling for someone.’
We are now 33 weeks into this year and I’m now starting to see certain things about dating and relationships. I’ve always believed that the best way to start a relationship is to have strong feelings for the person you are entering the relationship with and there should be butterflies in your stomach and you should always be filled with glee when you think about the other person. I was quite young when this idea entered my head. From what I remember I got it mainly from the media. Films, music videos, books, adverts and I always assumed that most relationships started this way. To be honest I didn’t think much about what it took to keep the romance going in a relationship and I didn’t realise until the past few years that romance and love are choices that people who experience it make. They are not God given rights. It doesn’t just happen automatically like lust. It takes time and conscious effort.
In the past few months I’ve listened to several videos and read a number of books and blogs, which I believe have really opened my eyes and heart to what love is. The verb ‘give’ in essence is the main signifier of love. When I first heard someone talking about how love is not about what you get from the other person, and those in relationships for what it offers them are simply in a contract and they’ve agreed with their spouse to do something in return for something else and are simply fulfilling the terms of the contract and not in love; I realised for the first time that my internal definition of love has been wrong all these years. Love is not selfish or self gratifying. I literally had a light bulb moment. It’s not that I haven’t come across this new definition of love (new to my spirit) before because I have. I listened to Destiny Child’s song, outro (thank you), where Michelle explains the characteristics of love. At the time, I didn’t see love as something I had control over. I thought it just happened naturally. I didn’t realise that I have to actively show love. I thought whoever I end up with will just love me for me without me making much effort.
I think I’ve subconsciously subscribed to the love at first sight theory without realising it, because whenever I go on a date with a guy I never focus on what I should really be looking for in a potential life partner. I always hope to meet the guy and really like him to the point that I’d want to think about him all the time. Not until after watching the vlog: Dating and courtship – do you understand the real purpose of dating? did I realise what I should have been asking myself whilst dating. This whole time I’ve been focused on my list which was more concerned with my wants. Not once did I ask myself whether I have or could develop genuine admiration and respect for any of these guys. Even the ones I liked, looking back now I can’t say I admired them. I was just on an emotional high (lust) and once the high cleared off I didn’t really have the respect that I have for some of my male friends for these guys. If things had gone my way whilst I was on an emotional high I would have probably found myself in a relationship and months later realised that I don’t even like the guy because I don’t admire who he is and how he chooses to live his life. Not to talk of wanting to love him.
As much as that vlog has revolutionised my thinking of what to look for in a potential partner I can’t say that I will be giving up my list just yet. I now subscribe to the definition of love being about giving and it’s a choice that people make. But before I can give my all to a guy and choose to love him whole heartedly and unconditionally, I still need him to meet a certain standard. I’m not saying that if over time he loses some of the attributes on my list I will stop loving him, I’m just saying to begin with I need him to have certain qualities that I believe will make me respect him before developing long lasting respect and admiration for him. This is not to say that I don’t respect guys who don’t meet my criteria. I will have the type of life that I want by meeting a guy who meets my criteria and when we make a choice in life we take a number things into consideration and don’t blindly decide to do things and then deal with the consequences. My criteria is one of the things I will consider before choosing to love a guy. I may compromise on some things but not on some. For example I want a guy who is ambitious. Not completely for my sake but for his too. When you are ambitious you see possibilities and you ooze positivity, more so than those who lack ambition and people who have a positive approach to life tend to have happier lives.
I realise that this love that I’m talking about is not going to be a walk in the park to fulfil but if I diligently focus on finding a guy who meets my criteria and is highly respectable and admirable in my eyes I’m sure I could develop love for him over time, even if I don’t have the intense rush of emotions at the start. The definitions of love above don’t mention attraction as a component to love. They mentioned affection and euphoric feeling but neither of these words translates to attraction.
Readers do you agree with my new understanding of love or do you think this way of thinking is unrealistic and if attraction is not there from the start it may never come? Should love be about attraction?