For the last four years, this guy and I have flirted. Recently, we decided to talk about our feelings. He’s in a relationship. When we met, he kept leaving because she called him constantly. During the course of three days, he saw me twice a day! It was as if he couldn’t stay away, but was afraid to lose his girlfriend if she found out. I didn’t give him the impression that I wanted a life of sneaking around. I’m looking for consistency and a permanent companion. I know it’s not him. What’s drawing us together? He tells me he loves me, and that he has strong feelings for me. Which is it? I laugh whenever he opens his mouth, because I feel like a lie is about to fall out. Yet I keep talking to him. What the heck is wrong with me?
Greetings, Carol. I certainly understand your frustration with this troubling predicament. We make ourselves crazy trying to define and label our relationships—as if relationships aren’t maddening enough all on their own. Passion and desire comprise the very essence of our life force, and their effect on us is often utterly disorienting. When one falls deeply in love, lust—or both—conflict will inevitably arise between our brain’s need to categorize and the pure chaos of our emotions.
You and your poor, sputtering lover are like characters in a Monty Python sketch; sneaking here and there, trying to snatch that stray moment, that sweltering snippet of paradise, where you can be close to each other. When those moments happen, the two of you communicate on the subtle reptilian level of energy and primal wavelengths. Eyes meet and signals are sent. The breath comes short, and the pulse quickens. You’re being called to unite, to dissolve the single ego self, and melt into the flesh off one another to the point of your own delirious destruction. This sort of melding is a threat to the logical, the knowable, and the status quo. Lust like that will force change. It will demand a vehicle for release. It cannot be played like a child’s game. To play with love is to play with doom itself. There are some dark paths in this forest. You must make certain you want to make that kind of journey or terminate the adventure right now.
You say you’re looking for a long term partner. There’s nothing wrong with that desire. I’m certain that with the right effort and sensible seeking you could find a suitable mate. Why are you so eager to either get this relationship to reflect a limited perception of so-called love or dispense with it altogether? It seems to me that you’re trying to bargain with your own inner nature. You give in to your love for this man but only as long as you get something that is socially acceptable in return. You’re trying to take the magic out of being passionately and hopelessly in love, and turn it into something that will conform to the staggering criteria of Western moral conduct.
I want you to search your heart. You said this man isn’t the one for you to have a long-term partnership. While the observation is true, it doesn’t change the fact that this is the man you have fallen in love with. Real love seldom fits into the tiny boxes society accepts. It has its own rules.
When I look at this man, I see that he is rather silly. I think you like his boyishness. I also see that he doesn’t want to leave the relationship he is in—nor should he. The woman he is with is the sort of person who will be good for him in the long run. You would not. You’re too spirited, and too powerful in your expressions. He needs someone quieter, who is more submissive, and will hold the rigid lines of convention for him. That isn’t you, and I think that, on some level, he senses that if you tried to be together in that kind of everyday partnership you would annihilate each other.
If this sexual tension between you two continues much longer, he may well begin suggesting that he might leave her and come to you. Don’t let this happen. Be wise and strong because, believe me, he is neither. Take this little boy by the hand, and lead him straight into the shadows. Let your passion sweep you away to realms of ecstasy and despair. Love him for the moment, because that is what your passion is. It’s a thing for now. Trying to hammer it into years would destroy both it and you. Allow yourself this surrender, and then send him back to the woman who will one day be his wife. She is the helpmate who will toil beside him through life, bear his children, and be his comfort. You’re the muse who will haunt his dreams. Your place is something she can never fill. You can never be what she is for him. Leave her to it. To have what you will, without regret or restriction, is a freedom few ever taste. Enjoy it.