Love, Infatuation or Lust?

Discussion in 'Family, Friends and Relationships' started by freedom, Feb 28, 2011.

  1. freedom

    freedom Well-Known Member

    I stole the title from a wikiHow I've been reading along with a load of other related texts. How can anyone be sure they love someone? Lust is fairly easy to recognise, depending on self honesty. But how can someone be sure of the difference between Love and Infatuation for another, especially when they only have contact with the person somewhat long distance and are unsure of the boundaries of their friendship? All I -am- sure of so far is that it's -probably- not the best idea to throw a load of emotional baggage upon their heart by posting 'semper aeternumque te amabo' everywhere you think they might see it on the internet in flashing neon letters signed with name and address :s lol Emotions are fueled by desires, what desire fuels love? Would it be a passion for the person at the focus of this desire to have the happiest and most fulfilling life possible, regardless of -anyone- else's involvement in that perfect life? Pardon yet another of my rambles and many thanks to anyone that may read (or even reply) to this. I hope I can give as much to this forum as it has given me over the years. Thank you. freedom
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 28, 2011
  2. Sadeyes

    Sadeyes Staff Alumni

    I have been in all three states, and there is clearly a difference...and when all three happen with the same person...priceless...J
  3. me myself and i

    me myself and i Account Closed

    I agree with Sadeyes, but would add, they all have to be worked at and never treated with contempt.
  4. Rayne

    Rayne Well-Known Member

    Long distance relationships are tricky. I thought I'd fallen in love, but it was just the idea of that person. They weren't really what I wanted, but I was able to trick myself into thinking they were because we spent so much time apart - fantasy never lived up to reality.

    It wasn't until I actually fell in love that I realised I was wrong.
  5. Avarice

    Avarice Well-Known Member

    I felt this way about somebody once, too. I still struggle at figuring out if it was infatuation or real love (at least, real love for the person I thought the person was). I'm in two minds about it all.

    I think it is hard to figure out the difference between those two, but like Rayne touched upon, it isn't until you experience a bit more of life (such as perhaps falling in love for real) that you realise what those feelings were/are.
  6. Socialman

    Socialman Well-Known Member

    Can you state those differences for us who have yet to realize true love. Obviously lust is an easy one to separate, but how about infatuation and love?
  7. Isabel

    Isabel Staff Alumni

    lust= body
    infatuation= body + heart
    love= body + heart + head

    First of all, nobody is perfect, or even perfect for you. So its safe to think that if you believe somebody is, you are fooling yourself in some way. You're living a fantasy. You cant love unless you truly see the person for who she/he is. IMO, its really hard to separate love from infatuation until you've shared real intimacy and worked through some of the real life challenges any couple faces at some point. Infatuation is passive, its all about what you feel and about what you want to believe based on those feelings. And feelings can be misleading. Real love is active. That implies that you stick to your partner even during the dry spells and after the fog of lust has dissipated. If you can laugh together after a sleepless week because baby is teething, that's love. If you can save on your daily coffee so she can have a two days at the spa with her gfs, that's love. If you get him the new fly fishing rod he want for his next fishing trip with his buddy, that's love. If you can talk about infidelity, divorce, in-laws, morgage, without ripping each other throat, that's love. Plus, it cant be the real deal if you think you "need" to be with somebody to be happy. Children are dependent who need somebody to change their diapers. Adults choose to be with somebody because it enriches their life. And love implies choice and commitment to that choice. And the partners share enough common values that they can realize their dreams together, such as raising a family. Hubby and I had a long distance relationship before we married. My road test with my husband was going through a pain stacking process of writing our prenuptial financial arrangements, deciding where we would live etc... Because that implied discussing pragmatic, real life, bottom line stuff. It means negotiations, and working something fair and in the best interest of both. If you feel you have to give up everything that matters to you to be with that person, walk away. Nobody can make it up for not loving yourself first. So if you think by sacrificing everything for that person you will feel forever fulfilled, finally loved and cared for unconditionally, you are in for a tough landing. And if you cant talk about such things with a potential partner when the going is good, then, it will be a disaster when you hit a wall. If I had one rule of thumb, I'd say, when you meet somebody, no matter how warmth the heart (or other body parts) can become, keep your head cool and listen to it. After a while, if the head says no, its unlikely this will bloom into love.
  8. NoMoneyToPlease

    NoMoneyToPlease Banned Member

    Let me roll the three of love,infatuation and lust into one word.Commitment.

    You cannot separate all three or you just end up with a selfish need to be satisfied.

    Infatuation is merely the inability to stop oneself from thinking about the easy to think about.Lust is pure goodness for the soul,how would the body move in moments of intimate physical love without it?

    And as for love as a whole,the very complete thing you seem to not be experienced enough to know if you are feeling it or not,well that is love,everything plus confusion.

    The fact alone that despair can happily attach itself to any three of your chosen words signifies that all is not dealt with as separately by the heart as it is by the mind.

    I am a victim of love,of the three words you presented,words that could be argued as being only two but in reality do not stand alone.Love has broken me,physically as well as mentally.
    You will not know by the power of your feelings alone,only until you are either accepted or rejected.

    it is more than just picking out words or thinking someone needs you,it is being needed,wanted,being near.
    Distance and words will teach you nothing.
  9. Isabel

    Isabel Staff Alumni

    I am not sure if you were referring to me. Its a tad bit presumptuous to assume I don't have any experience. I would say, with a whack of lovers, 7 boyfriends, 3 serious committed long-term relationships, my best friend and lover dying of brain cancer on me and one husband of 8 years, I have some mileages under my belt. I would infer that your confusion comes from lacking a frame of reference, not knowing what the real deal looks and feels like. Actually, when I finally met the right guy, it was not confusing at all, either for me or for him. It was all very simple, and still is. We took a bet that what we shared was enough to build a life. And simple does not mean easy. When you both look at each other over the breakfast table, wondering if it was worth leaving your family, your friends, your career, your home, so that you could build a life together, if love justifies all those sacrifices, you can still answer yes, but you cant say, this was a walk in the park. When your partner gave up his home for you, and you left yours and your career for him, maybe that's not love deep enough for you, because one is not waking up every day in despair or crazy with lust, but it sure is just enough for me. I really don't need for John to write me poems about how much it hurts to love me when he sold his beautiful house in California, left his business, to move in the boondocks of Canada, in a 600 people remote fishing community to be with me. And after 4 years of him being miserable there, when I left my permanent professional job to find a place where we could be both happy, I expect him to get the point that I care deeply about him without me rolling on the floor, pulling my hair of, crying that if he dies its all over for me. Love is as love does, not as it feels in the moment. And true love always enriches you, never diminishes you, even when its painful. If you care for somebody, you want them free of being with you by choice. How can you pretend you care about someone if you tell that person: without you I will be miserable, desperate, I wont make it? What a freaking burden to dump on somebody shoulders. Sorry, but that's BS. What you say, and mean it when you do is: I will miss you, I am sad you left me, you died, you don't want to commit, but I will be okay, my life has been better by knowing you.

    No matter how difficult it could be at some times, and unrequited love always is, I never perceived myself as a victim, only as learning some of life most difficult lessons. When one is rejected, and suffers, what is the pain really about? Loneliness, fear of abandonment, insecurities, all of that get mixed up and at the end of the day, you just don't know if you truly miss the person you thought you loved or its just the illusion that suddenly all your emotional and physical wants would be filled by that person that got shattered. Intensity of emotions does not necessarily translate into depth of emotions. If you take rejection as a reflection of your worth, you don't really miss the real person, but the validation that person gives you. It still hurts, but it has everything to do with you, and nothing with the person you feel you love. Lust is intense, but it usually is not deep or lasting. Every year my rams, when breeding season arrives, turn half-insane chasing the ewes. While it lasts, nothing else exists but lust. When its over, they much prefer hanging with their buddies and the ewes go their merry way, pregnant and busy taking care of their lambs. Not a very strong basis for committed relationships. Geese and wolves mate for life. And 90% of their life is taking care of their offspring together. That being said, I still don't know much about love and I expect more surprises down the line. I am just sorting through the jumble of my life to make sense of it without much illusions that I will figure out anything. At the heart of every significant relationship, there is always an element of mystery. As Montaigne wrote a long time ago:

    "If a man should importune me to give a reason why I loved him, I find it could no otherwise be expressed, than by making answer: because it was he, because it was I."
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 1, 2011
  10. NoMoneyToPlease

    NoMoneyToPlease Banned Member

    Ahaha,oh fuck no,I did not mean you. :)

    I was talking to the original thread starter.

    Let me try and answer you though,fuck it,why not. ;)

    I have no idea what your first paragraph was all about,very emotional,very personal,touching on the prospect of loss.I am truly sorry.

    Now on to the second paragraph.I am not talking about unrequited love or real deals or eater holiday special offers or buy one get one free offer ends Monday.I was talking about how love may be made up of constituent parts but one cannot judge love itself by breaking up those parts in order to individually study them.Would you study a map with only one country displayed on it and hope to gain any knowledge of geography?I hope not.

    Lust,yes lust,It does not evaporate and disappear from our lives forever after a certain measure of time,lust cannot be viewed as something we once had like baby teeth or innocence.We cannot control this wild animal,so why should we come to think that as individuals we have the ability to use it up completely?Lust is not fire,it is an energy,an unstoppable and natural reaction to stimulus.Not something that can burn out and leave trace of ash.
    Lust is nuclear,it is the reason lids on coffins are nailed shut,even zombies who works in the outcrops of Haiti eventually wander home on autopilot for a tumble with their naughty lady.Lust is the end of life for a salmon.

    Rejection IS a reflection of our worth.

    "you don't really miss the real person",I don't understand this limit of understanding.Part of mourning the death of love is that you never got to know this incredible person to begin with.I do not judge a book by it's cover nor,do I go on first impressions either so this idea of wanting to move forward with someone based on them displaying the exact qualities that drew you to them in the first place is a bit baffling and a bit Mills and Boon.
    Should i expect someone to behave a certain way,say certain things or be a particular type of person who does things that are pleasing to me just because I have fallen in love with them.I have no more control over the person I love than I do have over the feelings of love themself.
    Love is not an illusion,I think you may have mistaken our primal inheritance for the classical invention called romance.
    Like I say,I do not understand what you are trying to say or make me understanding by this "you just don't know if you truly miss the person you thought you loved or its just the illusion that suddenly all your emotional and physical wants would be filled by that person that got shattered. Intensity of emotions does not necessarily translate into depth of emotions"
    It seems very inorganic,toxic with the cold logic of afterthought.A bit like a self defense plan.
  11. Isabel

    Isabel Staff Alumni

    I think part of maturing is learning how to control and harness the sexual energy. How can long term couples remain faithful to each other otherwise?

    Nawwww...Single people are as worthy as people in couple. There are tons of good people who for whatever reasons are single and tons of people in couple who are so so. Who knows why one person is not attracted by another one? Who knows why life circumstances never lined up for one to be in a romantic relationship.

    I dont think love is an illusion. But I think many people have illusions about what it is. They do believe its the ecstatic state you get at the beginning, that crazy cocktail of hormones, which never lasts. Then when its over, they just jump to the next relationship, thinking they made a mistake to begin with and this time, the crazy rush will last forever.

    What I am saying, is that if you are not a mature, independent person, who is happy being by yourself, who is able to take care of your basic emotional needs, like self-esteem and self-love, than, you cant really love another human being. You are a codependent. You say: I am with you because I am miserable alone. And that is truly toxic. You just shackle the person you pretend to love with a 200 pounds iron ball. That person is not in there with you because she chooses to, because he wants to, but because you put on him/her the burden of making you happy. Lust is enough to have fun, that's it. And call it whatever you want, logical, calculated or what's not, but I would run away from anybody who think love is like romance, or lust is enough to commit. Cause that bubble would deflate the first time the basement get flooded at 3 am or baby has a bad case of diarrhea. Romance thrives in fantasy, love lives in reality. Salmonds don't give a rat ass about what happened after they kick the bucket, baby spawn is on its own. Parents have to look at 20 years of hand-on parenting and then a lifetime of concerns for their children. So you better get your head in gear when you are considering somebody to share that kind of responsibility. Because divorce of not, that person will remain part of the life of your children. Its not a self-defense plan, it's realism. It's what worked for my grand-parents for 60 years, its what works for the couples I know who've been together for 10, 20, 40 years and still love each others, still treat each others with respect and care. If you want to know what's the secret of people who have been happily together for years, well, better ask them directly.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 2, 2011
  12. NoMoneyToPlease

    NoMoneyToPlease Banned Member

    Somehow I don't think we will see eye to eye on this.

    We are both talking about two completely different things.

    You are talking about love,whereas I am talking about love.
  13. Isabel

    Isabel Staff Alumni

    Probably not. But what's interesting is that you wrote:

    I interpret my experiences, the whole lot of them, very differently. No matter how difficult it has been at times, no matter the pain, the longing, the hardships, love, the whole journey, has been positive for me and conducive to personal growth and eventually, leading me to an happy marriage (hubby is still very much alive). Yea, I lost somebody I cared very much for, but I have no regret he has been in my life. Even if his loss was the breaking point who got me to the psychward at the time. So I'll stick to my version as you are free to stick to yours. And we are probably talking about different things, because we don't have the same definition. To me, you cant really love until you cant see through the fog of lust and infatuation the person as he is, not through the filter of your desires and fantasies. I am with Erich Fromm on this:

    "Love is a decision, it is a judgment, it is a promise. If love were only a feeling, there would be no basis for the promise to love each other forever. A feeling comes and it may go. How can I judge that it will stay forever, when my act does not involve judgment and decision."

    "Care and responsibility are constituent elements of love, but without respect for and knowledge of the beloved person, love deteriorates into domination and possessiveness. Respect is not fear and awe; it denotes, in accordance with the root of the word (respicere = to look at), the ability to see a person as he is, to be aware of his individuality and uniqueness. To respect a person is not possible without knowing him; care and responsibility would be blind if they were not guided by the knowledge of the person’s individuality."

    To each is own.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 2, 2011
  14. freedom

    freedom Well-Known Member

    Thank you so much for such passionate insights :) I appologise for bringing up a clearly sensitive and possibly somewhat inflammatory subject. Again, thank you so much for the honesty and depth of your replies. Hopefully this discussion has been as valuable for anyone who has read it as it has for myself. I'm in my early twenties (approx. 10 years younger than NoMoneyToPlease? and approx. 20 younger than Marijo? I assume), clearly experience (not just that of years, but also of depth and richness) is most valuable in these matters. (T.B.C. {time out on internet})
  15. freedom

    freedom Well-Known Member

    Using terms that deminish from the idea as a whole wasn't intended to be over analytic, but doing so is one of the main sources of the confusion I so often find myself drowning in. I tend to be too 'digital' ('black and white') in the way I look at everything, too scientific, too... analytical :) And, as with scientific method, end up losing the -essence- of the subject under examination. End up catagorizing something which cannot be split into individual elements and still considered -truely- the same when reconstructed. Confusion is something I know too well, an enemy as a child, to be eliminated with facts, through to what's now a familiar part of my thought process. I digress, greatly.

    Thank you again to all who have read this and thank you all the more to all who have replied. 'Love' (I try to use the term loosely :) ) appears very much a matter of personal opinions and views on a great deal of what makes us the conscious beings as we understand ourselves to be. All our emotions are defined in a very personal manner and 'love' is one of those we keep closest and most personal. Partly due to many things, but recently accented by the medication I've been on for some time, I am somewhat lacking in emotional depth and range. I see emotions far too objectively and overly defined with very little 'grey' area knitting them together. I hope experience will broaden my conprehension of how all emotions are so linked and interwoven. 'Lust', as it were, is a foreign idea to me by nature and choice, hopefully this does not distance me too greatly from the 'norm' of human emotional understanding and cohesion. 'Infatuation', again by nature and choice, is the way my mind takes on the world as a whole, I always find myself 'over-involved' in simple things that most take fully for granted. Whereas what 'matters' to the majority seems distant and somewhat unimportant. It feels like being 'socially handicaped' almost, for lack of better descriptive terms. I've always had a problem with self worth and loving myself. But how can anyone love anyone, if they cannot see anything in themselves to be loved. 'Love yourself before others, but never more than.' :) I've always found it hard to live for myself and my own reasons, rather than for others and their own reasons. Hopefully, begining to understand this will allow me to intergrate with humanity a little more 'wholely'. Thank you again all, thank you.

    |- freedom
  16. NoMoneyToPlease

    NoMoneyToPlease Banned Member

    Oh,there is nothing wrong with what you said.The problems were with my perception of what you were trying to say,you may have noticed that also happened to me in relation to Marijo as well. :)
    In both cases the fault lies with me.I can assure you of that.

    Experience is relative,specially in matters of love,where one can at best,if lucky,only define their experience with one familiar personality type out of many and see only the wisdom of their own situation,though many different do exist on an almost unrecognisable gradiating scale.
    An outsider may judge a situation as trivial or abusive but truth be told,unless they are involved in that situation themselves they will never know of the love contained within.

    I want to understand,I do not want to be right.Minds must become as close as bodies when talking about love.As close as two bodies must to be for making the love.

    Understanding love requires more than experience,a virgin could possess the ability to know of it while a ***** never will.

    You are doing just as well as anybody in your attempts to explain the unexplainable. :)
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 2, 2011
  17. Socialman

    Socialman Well-Known Member

    The problem I have with this quote here is that you are saying that people with symptoms like Dependent Personality Disorders, Borderline Personality Disorder, and more cannot truly feel love. That fact alone leads to poor self-esteem and a lack of self-love needed to heal. It's a vicious cycle.

    Yet there are many cases in which loved ones helped people heal. Does this mean that the BPD person truly loved their significant other during their problematic period?

    Seeing how psychologists helped define similar guidelines for love and most of these disorders. I find it counterintuitive that there are contradictory stances on this subject during research despite these set guidelines for certain disorders and love being almost international among the professional mental health community.
  18. Isabel

    Isabel Staff Alumni

    Since I really don't now much about BPD, an answer is way beyond me. Totaly clueless and speechless.