April 26, 2014
I received your email this morning. You wrote to tell me that you were in love, and of course, that is wonderful news. You asked me to help you understand what you are feeling and if you should pursue the love that you have found. Of course, while you know better than anyone what you feeling, allow me to give you my point of view.
You say that you have found love, yet you have trouble accurately describing what love means to you. Of course, there are many kinds of love and it would be difficult to expound on the many different types of love, but to give you a few to consider…
Like - Intimacy Alone
Infatuation - Passion Alone
Empty Love - Commitment Alone
Romantic Love - Intimacy and Passion
Fatuous Love - Passion and Commitment
Companionate Love - Intimacy and Commitment
Consummate Love - Intimacy, Passion and Commitment
There is intimate love, and by intimate, I am not strictly speaking of intimacy in the all too common expression of intimacy in a sexual nature. We can be intimate with a friend, such as what you and I have between us, sharing a deep feeling of intimacy in sharing our thoughts. Intimacy can leads to attachment, to the point that you do not want to be separated from the person that you have become intimate. It creates closeness, connectedness and a bonding between two people. The intimacy between two people grows first by spending time with another person. Then it grows deeper when the two people find that they can trust each other and begin sharing every aspect of their lives. Trust is the very foundation of intimacy.
One cannot love without a feeling of intimacy between the two people. It is key to every relationship. Far too often individuals will skip this step and become immersed in a relationship that will eventually fall apart. In many of today's societies people jump into relationships all too easily only to break their heart when they find that the person they thought they were in love with is dishonest in some way. It is impossible to have intimacy between two people if there is distrust and suspicion.
Since intimacy takes patience to develop, many are not prepared for such task. It is work. It implies spending a lot of time together, requiring both talking and disclosure between the two. Often one will be more open than the other and may create a feeling of suspicion by the more open of the two, while in truth the other person may only be shy. If a person has been hurt in previous relationships, then they will have great difficulty finding closeness due to previously existing walls of distrust. The tendency will be to project past hurts on the present relationship.
Given time, energy, and an open mind, intimacy can be developed, but it will take work. Be prepared to give the other person time to come around and catch up with your level of intimacy if you really care for them.
Becoming passionate can include includes either physical or sexual attraction. It is quite possible to be passionate about another person without being intimate. Every person has felt passionate about a screen idol, an athlete, an entertainer or other high profile person. Being passionate about another does not mean that you are in love with the person, only that you feel passion. We often use the word love when we are only passionate about another, but we should not become confused to mean that we would actually commit ourselves to that person that we may not even know in a personal manner.
When we feel passionate about a person that we have actually met and spent time with the attraction can often become overwhelming. This is especially true when both individuals possess the same passionate feelings toward one another. As pheromones rise, the electricity and chemistry between two individuals can often outweigh common sense and they can impulsively take their relationship to a higher level, without regard to the need for the trust of intimacy.
Without the trust that intimacy provides, one partner can begin to obsess about their personal needs and require that their feelings be reciprocated. Of course, it the other person does not have the feeling of trust, the relationship will begin to disintegrate. It would be wise to build on intimacy before pursuing a physical relationship with another person.
Commitment implies the ability of two individuals to remain connected no matter what. The test comes from considering if both individuals remain committed if the other gains weight, lose their hair, become ill with a chronic disease, become disabled, or their economic status changes. Far too many find the loss of another a deal breaker. We rush into a relationship with another based on physical beauty, status, economic reasons, or perhaps only to avoid the feeling of loneliness. In addition, when one or more of the traits that we enjoyed are removed from the relationship, our feelings change. This, of course, is self-serving and belies the commitment that is necessary to sustain a proper relationship.
Life has a way of throwing obstacles in our path. We should understand that two individuals would not always agree on every detail. And, yes, sometimes words will be spoken that will hurt another person. Working through misunderstandings and hurts a level of maturity for both individuals. The key to keeping the relationship going is to always believe the best of the other person, and not judge them with your own, and perhaps misguided motives. Both must work in a positive manner at all times to resolve issues. If one or the other possess negative thoughts, this will prove difficult. For a couple to stay together they must consistently break through the barriers of being hurt while if the other person wants to resolve the issue also.
Commitment involves the ability to pacify and pursue the relationship no matter how you feel. That is why we have social contracts such as engagement and marriage. Sure, these can be broken, but it will make you think twice before breaking them, especially when you have a lot of “equity” invested into the relationship. Commitment is not for the lighthearted. Commitment does not mean you have to agree with everything, just that you can respect the others differences.
True love is consummate love and has all three of these components. I hope that you have found the kind that possesses all three; intimacy, passion and commitment. That you have only good meanings in your heart, full of kindness, consideration and respect, not only for what you desire most in life, but also the respect for another in knowing that they are unique and valuable to you.
True love can help you find strength that you never knew you had courage to move forward, goodness in all that you experience, and become enlightened beyond belief. The object of love is the greatest feeling one can have and if what you are feeling is there for all the right reasons for both parties involved, then be grateful that you have found what escapes most.
Know that most times, what you are feeling may not be returned in exactly the same manner, for one reason or another, as we are all unique in our thinking that is derived from our past experiences that cannot be easily changed. That does not make what you are feeling any less valuable or good. Understand that the feeling of love is not stagnant. It is in constant movement reaching extremely high points one moment and crashing down the next. Have no fear of true love, as it has the ability to get up, brush off the dust and reach the heights again quite quickly.
Moreover, do not worry about failing. If the love that you feel is truly right for you, it will persevere. The only way true love can die is to push it away. If you really want anything in life, such as this love you have found, you must embrace it and hold it close.
Having only two of these traits or only a percentage of each will show that the relationship needs work before it can work well. The famous wise king Solomon once said, that “many waters cannot quench love” True love is like a flame, that the heaviest rains, hurricanes, and floods cannot extinguish. What is your love made of?
With Much Love,
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