by Jennie S. Bev
Love and lust are addicting and intoxicating. Friendship keeps things grounded. In a good marriage, all these elements are present with friendship as the underlying principle, a lot of love as the building bricks, and a few dashes of lust to spice things up.
Things can become a bit too lethal when lust dominates a friendship or even in a lovingly romantic relationship.
Infatuation is probably best described as a low-grade, momentary, unfulfilled, lusty obsession between people of opposite sexes —straight— or of the same sex —gay.
At one point, I asked a friend who seemed to be showing such an indication and he said, “What we’re having is a temporary infatuation with things we both know we can’t have.”
Romantic love may grow out of simple and innocent friendship, which is something beautiful between two single people.
It may pose a dangerous element when this type of love, when sprinkled with lust, occurs between married people or those in other types of long-term partnership relationships.
And it is likely to start with a deep and mutual admiration.
A few years ago, a friend wrote, “Love, like admiration, is a blessing. It is the voice of the heart that no one can reject when it speaks.”
The notion of togetherness and having someone who completes us is probably what we all seek throughout our lifetime.
We know that we are in a good relationship when we are the happiest and the calmest and whatever we do is multiplied in a manner that only a miracle can explain.
On the contrary, we know we are in a bad relationship when things are spiraling down and our peace of mind is compromised.
Jerry Maguire, played by Tom Cruise, gave birth to an extremely popular pop culture, quote, “I love you. You complete me.”
Ever since, we have been infatuated by the notion of infatuation itself. We have been trying too hard to find the one true love who completes us. But is this “soul mate” even a valid notion?
First of all, is there such a thing as a so-called “soul mate”? What if the spouse or the partner we have today isn’t our soul mate?
What if there is someone out there who is our true soul mate? Those are the questions we ask whenever we are attracted to someone other than our own partner.
After all, a heart is fluid. It doesn’t stop searching just because one is married or in a long-term relationship. But then, of course, a solid friendship makes all these temptations look trivial.
A friendship should override any temptation of a short-term fling, because after all, being good friends is what matters.
Friendship keeps us grounded, while love and lust give us an illusion of grandeur. Recently, a friend who was infatuated wrote me a beautiful love letter, “It is very hard for me to love you without owning you. I can only imagine making love to you, embracing you, and kissing your lips.” Friendship evaporated as soon as he expressed his erotic love, because it was a desire to possess, an instinct to mate, and an impulse to encage. An obsession masked as devotion.
The Bengal poet Rabindranath Tagore said it well, “Love is not a mere impulse, it must contain truth, which is law.” Romantic love comes with responsibilities.
And the highest of all is committing to fidelity. By being loyal, our gift of love to our partner is immortalized. Being loyal is not a sacrifice, but a privilege.
I may be infatuated with many men. I may even love them in my own way. But loyalty is both earned and given whenever we make the promise to be together.
I love that friend, who is now infatuated by a mirage that looks, sounds, and feels like me, because his love is innocent and powerful. He simply couldn’t stop the direction in which his heart was flowing, but I had to.
The lifetime love for a friend is more valuable than a short-time infatuation with things that we
both knew we couldn’t have. No matter how hurtful and aching our hearts are.
We might not have met our real soul mate in life. And we might continue to search for him or her throughout our lifetime. But we should remember that life is a series of decisions.
Whenever we have chosen, we have promised to be loyal. And it is more than about romanticizing a relationship, be it with our soul mate or not.
Friendship and love are about honor. Lust is about betrayal, unless it is placed in a marriage or any other long-term relationship with a partner.
Infatuation is about an urge to own, a desire to possess, and an impulse to encage —briefly.
As a woman, I guard my fluid heart.
The Jakarta Post, February 8, 2010