[Two Pronged] Love or lust?
Rappler's Life and Style section runs an advice column by couple Jeremy Baer and clinical psychologist Dr Margarita Holmes.
Jeremy has a master's degree in law from Oxford University. A banker of 37 years who worked in 3 continents, he has been training with Dr Holmes for the last 10 years as co-lecturer and, occasionally, as co-therapist, especially with clients whose financial concerns intrude into their daily lives.
Together, they have written two books: Love Triangles: Understanding the Macho-Mistress Mentality and Imported Love: Filipino-Foreign Liaisons.
Dear Dr Holmes and Mr Baer:
I have a boyfriend and we have been together for 20 months. He is my childhood sweetheart, but our relationship is complicated. You see, we are both married. I have one child, he has 3.
But our lovemaking is unforgettable. Twice a week, we check into a hotel and make love anywhere from 3 to 8 hours.
Whenever we make love, he keeps on saying, "I love you, I love you." He even says it after we make love. Is his heart telling the truth? I mean, is it true that he loves me? Please help me. Thank you so much.
Thank you for your email.
I am sorry to tell you but there is no guarantee that what men say during or after intercourse is the truth. Furthermore, the limited circumstances in which you and your lover (let's call him Al) meet up make it difficult if not impossible for either of you to demonstrate much more than physical attraction anyway so there is not much scope for proving that lust is accompanied by love, however much you might wish to.
What you might want to consider is why evidence of Al's love is important to you. Is expression of his love supposed to reassure you that his interest in you extends beyond your body? After all, a relationship that is restricted to sexual calisthenics twice a week because you are both married is scarcely likely to grow unless you are both willing to leave your current spouses at some stage in the future.
You suggest indirectly that children are the main barrier to your relationship with Al developing significantly. Well, children grow up and if you and your childhood sweetheart truly have something that is lasting, then maybe a fair number of years into the future you will both find that the path to being together is no longer quite so full of pitfalls.
However, in the interim, rather than subjecting 3 words to endless analysis, perhaps you should try to expand your relationship with Al a little so that there are opportunities for each of you to express your feelings for the other outside the confines of the bedroom. That way you will have more to work with when attempting to establish whether Al is speaking from the heart or just from somewhere further south.
All the best,
Thank you very much for your letter. I agree with everything Mr Baer says though –ahem – I may not have shared my views in such a stark manner. He is correct when he says there is no guarantee that what men say in the throes of passion is what they actually feel in the long run – or even after they have showered and are on the way home (women, by the way, can also be just as duplicitous).
But perhaps duplicitous is too strong a word. It is possible – quite likely in fact, that people involved in a forbidden love actually feel everything they say. Forbidden love has been defined in many ways, but the one I like best is, "An amour forbidden by family, society, your conscience, etc."
Forbidden love, by necessity, involves subterfuge, pain, secrecy, and the guilt (or, at least, knowledge) that what you are doing is hurting other people you care for.
Thus, forbidden love is more likely to be full of undying protestations of love, symbolic acts of devotion, and little pockets of joy (or, in your case, many hours of glorious, unforgettable lovemaking) than is ordinary "run of the mill love" recognized by family and society. It would have to be, because how else can one convince oneself that all your love is worth all the tragedy which will inevitable ensue?
If the forbidden love lasts long enough, the other people you love the most are bound to find out. And if, in wanting to do "the right thing," you and your lover decide to stop seeing each other, your goodbyes will sear your heart in a way very few things can. Who was it that said: "Love that we cannot have is the one that lasts the longest, hurts the deepest"?
It is quite clear that, unforgettable though the sex might be, your relationship means so much more than the "sexual calisthenics" Jeremy described it to be. You love him, which is why you want to know if it is true that he loves you. I honestly do not know, dearest Ana.
I am sure, however, that he believes he loves you. After all, who are we to say that for love to be true, it has to be celebrated by institutions like the Church and family? Who are we even to say that love has to last forever? (Psychoanalyst Ethel Spector Person makes a compelling argument that our passions need not be forever to be real or to be honored as such. Please read her 1988 book Dreams of Love and Fateful Encounters: The Power of Romantic Passion if you are interested.)
I do not know what else to tell you, dearest Ana. I am sure you have your own reasons for continuing this relationship. I am also sure that you believe in your heart of hearts that this is true love. If only for that alone, I am happy for you and hope that the joy you get from it far outweighs any pain you and/or your loved ones may feel in the end.
With my very best wishes,
Need advice from our Two Pronged duo? Email firstname.lastname@example.org with subject heading TWO PRONGED. Unfortunately the volume of correspondence precludes a personal response.