Do some people equate attraction with love?

Discussion in 'Relationships, Discrimination, and Jealousy' started by AlteredEgo, Mar 21, 2011.

  1. AlteredEgo

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    THE BACKGROUND:

    Does this happen to you? I have observed that in my past, men have professed love for me that has seemed wholly inappropriate. I could see their sincerity in their eyes, in their body language, all over their faces, but it was just not possible for it to be real, at least to me. There was always something missing. Either there had been too little time together, or some other reason why there was no intimacy whatsoever. There was sometimes passion, in varying degrees. However, there was almost never any intimacy, and there was absolutely never, in the cases I'm talking about, any remote possibility of commitment. For me, for it to be love, especially in the beginning of a relationship, passion, intimacy, and willingness to commit all have to be present for it to be love. Without those three factors, I could never feel loved, no matter how hard the man professing it claims to feel it.

    Recently, for example, I have had what I thought was a completely harmless flirtation with a man who has been a friend for about a year and a half. We used to play an online game together, and though he doesn't play anymore, we have kept in touch. As far as he knows, I am very happily married, and completely satisfied in my marriage. I will admit to flirting shamelessly, especially in the last four or five months. He said something outrageously raunchy one day, I responded in kind, and it went on from there. Tonight, I received the most beautifully written, most thoughtfully laid out, bare, vulnerable, passionate, and intense poetry anyone has ever written for me. And I have no idea what to do with it. Reading it, I can see that he has clearly read more into things than I ever intended to be written into the history of our interaction. I am stunned, as I always have been when someone whom to me was "just an attractive guy" tells me they are in love. I will figure out what words to use to make my feelings clear, in the gentlest way I can. His words express and reveal an incredible amount of vulnerability, and I'm honestly deeply flattered, so I want to be careful with his feelings.

    This event caused me to reflect on my history with this kind of occurrence. I wanted to figure out if there was anything I was doing that would cause such a strange imbalance. Not to sound egocentric, but a dozen or so of men I didn't love have claimed to love me, and claimed it insistently; this is the third one in the last 12 months. On the other hand, I have been in love with two men who didn't love me back, but I knew it was one-sided, and never told them. Every man I have ever verbally expressed love to reciprocated. My question is, why is it this way? What do I do that makes some men misinterpret our communication this way?

    One of my friends is like me, but to an even greater extreme; so many men tell her they are in love with her, that she simply dismisses them all, and never believes any of them actually love her, unless she loves them too. On the other hand, I believe a small number of those men really felt... something. I don't know. I guess I don't believe them either. Then again, none expressed themselves as eloquently as this last one. I don't know if that makes what he claims to feel more legitimate, or if he's just the most articulate person who ever claimed to be in love with me. Nah. There is attraction, and I suppose a certain measure of passion, and there is a bit of intimacy, but zero possibility of commitment from either of us. So it's not love. Not to me. The main difference I see between us is that she is significantly more physically attractive than I am, and I am a much better flirt.

    A male friend of mine frequently finds that women tell him they are in love with him, or he discovers that some of the women he's sleeping with have begun to believe he is their boyfriend, even though he explicitly explains that he isn't looking for a girlfriend, just a female friend to fuck. He explains it over and over, and they keep explaining how much they love him. One woman bought him $40K worth of rims and sound-system improvements for his car as a surprise to demonstrate her love. How do people get to that point with someone who feels so much less for them?

    THE QUESTIONS:

    Is it flirtation alone? Is it finding common ground on unusual topics? Is it physical attraction? Is it an attraction to the conversation? I have noticed that some people I know are always involved in unrequited love. What is it about them that causes them so frequently to love people who will never love them back? What is it about some people that makes other people, people they may not even consider friends, think they have fallen in love with them?
     
  2. B_subgirrl

    B_subgirrl New Member

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    I think some people DO equate attraction with love. I've noticed it in a few different situations.

    When I was in my late teens/early twenties, I had a friend who used to fall in love at the drop of a hat. She only needed to have sex with someone once, or spend a TINY bit of time with them, and she would be professing undying love. Of course, before long she would find out a little more about him, and discover that he actually had flaws (being human and all), or she would realise that he didn't feel the same way about her. Which usually prompted her to fall out of 'love' with him and fall IN 'love' with the next guy. I think in her case, she was just trying to fulfill a dream. She desperately wanted to have a fairytale romance and be someone's everything. I also think she was fooled by the warm fuzzy sex hormones into believing she was in love, and she assumed that the guys she slept with would feel the same way after sex.

    I've also had several guys claim to be in love with me, when I didn't return that love at all (except as friends).

    Personally, I don't think you can be truly in love with someone unless you are extremely emotionally intimate. I don't think it can really be love until you've been together through the bad times and the good. And it's certainly not love just because you fucked each other, no matter how often that fucking happens or how intense it is. Love is more than that. Love is when you are totally committed to the person (not necessarily sexually). That's what I think anyway.
     
  3. AlteredEgo

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    I know a man who is like your friend from your twenties, and he is already into his 30's! In his case, he totally romanticizes his lust. He is always in love. We are friends now, but he was my boyfriend for six years. We broke up mostly over his infidelity. Back then, almost 8 years ago, I told him he was in love with being in love.

    Do you think that was the case with some of the men who claimed to be in love with you? Were they in love with being in love, or are you able to pinpoint any reason at all for those uneven feelings?

    I suppose, in some of my cases, these were men who just loved romance. Some just really liked fucking me. But others? Their confessions came as if out of right field, and totally blind-sided me. I not only didn't know that's how they thought they felt, but I didn't know what to do with what they felt, and hadn't prepared any soft, pretty speeches to make the rejection go down easier. Goodness, I can handle any confrontation but rejecting a nice man.

    Anyway, I'd like to isolate personality types that tend to love unrequitedly, and any traits of my own that attract these people. Someone recently started a thread asking women if they ever get the urge to run away after sex. Not me. I just want to sleep after sex. The fastest way to get me out of a man's house when I was single, was for him to tell me he was in love with me. Is it possible that they were trying to scare me off? Did they just want me to leave, and didn't know how to just ask me if I wouldn't mind going home?
     
  4. Gecko4lif

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    Of course. Hasn't happened to be though. Im strangely rational about things like this.
     
  5. Endued

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    Yeah, loads, I suspect. And plenty more who are just want to have sex.
     
  6. helgaleena

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    Think of yourself as a work of art. They 'love' you that way! Many people sell themselves an illusion that the person they admire has qualities they equate with a 'perfect' match, when that has not been actually demonstrated. But if they are myopic, that is not the work of art's fault. You are as you were made.

    AE, I don't think being friendly with others is leading them on. Please don't stop. Simply find some ways to help others with a reality check now and then. And if you are not actually in fact happily married anymore, that is not their problem, is it?

    I have fallen too swiftly for people, and had them fall for me too swiftly as well. This is how our hearts learn wisdom, and it can be painful. It takes your whole life to get wise.

    And I think it is ALL love. Every person loves differently. Be glad you are loved by so many, even if you don't love each of them the same way in return. Say Thanks, and that you are honored.
     
    #6 helgaleena, Mar 21, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2011
  7. B_subgirrl

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    I used to tell my friend the same thing, word for word! I think my friend would have been still behaving in the same way now if she hadn't found a guy who loved her back some years ago. Well, that and she got pregnant pretty early on in their relationship.


    Most of the ones who claimed to love me, did so when I was very, very single. Single as in actively not wanting a relationship. So maybe I had extra appeal for them because they knew they couldn't have me (in a relationship sense). If it wasn't that, I have no idea what was going on. That could be what happened with the guy who recently told you he loved you. He knew that you weren't available, so it made you more appealing.


    I feel just the same way!


    I bet Petite would have some insight on this one. Unfortunately, I'm nowhere near as insightful as she is.

    However, I do know you to be a very kind and caring person, with a strong sense of fun and playfulness. It could be that those are the traits that are drawing them in.


    I'm a sleeper as well, and I'm also likely to run if things seem to be getting too soppy. But I've NEVER interpreted a declaration of love as an attempt to get rid of me! I think it's unlikely that this is the case for either of us :smile:.
     
  8. Ramsey

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    Well, exactly what kind of love are you talking about? I love my brothers, but I'm not in love with them :tongue:

    I'll just assume you mean being in love the romantic passionate way :smile:

    One of my girlfriends was like this. It's very immature love, and very strangling. As soon as she discovered I wasn't perfect, her love soured, and she became very petty and destructive. I never cheat, I know how much it hurts, but yet every thing I did she was suspecting it, because she didn't have the emotional maturity to love in a real fashion. And she "fell in love" very quickly.

    And yes subgirrl, it was very much like I wasn't as important as just someone to fill a dream, a status place with her. Sadly things did not end well and I still have to deal with her to this day and no matter how kindly I explain things, her hatred of me will not let go. She equated attraction and emotional insecurity with love, and thought that I filled that gap. Trying to be someone's everything is a bit scary when you think about it.

    As for myself, I have only loved a handful of times in my life. I'm "picky" with my girlfriends (that previous one was a real learning experience for me that I should have seen coming) so I haven't dated much. For me, attraction is a factor with being in love, but I would agree that there needs to be passion, intimacy and a bonding/connection through time and events. That can happen quickly however, depending on the circumstance. There does need to be that chemistry where even the thought of getting together with that person excites you and makes your heart skip a beat, as corny as it sounds, for romantic passionate love.

    As for the previous girl again, we had spent enough time together and I am mature enough that despite all the shit she has done to me, I still love and care about her (but I am NOT "IN LOVE with her). When I am angry I may say otherwise, but I know her, we've been through enough together. I don't wish her any harm. I wish her the best and I am willing to forgive and help her if need be. That is also love.
     
  9. rob_just_rob

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    They sure do. That, or endorphins.
     
  10. SeeDickRun

    SeeDickRun New Member

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    Then there are the guys who really "want" to find love, and will attach themselves passionately to anyone who pays attention to them. I've had that happen several times. I like to think that I'm a kind person, and although I don't think I'm playing games with anyone, I'll let a couple of comments pass that should be warning signs, and need to be nipped in the bud. After that happens, the other thinks that I've returned their "true" affection, and that we're quickly becoming seriously in love with each other. Nothing's further from the truth. I think it's sometimes an act of desperation that's not that uncommon in the gay community. So many want to be in love that they will grasp at straws and think they've found the lifeline. Then, there are hard feelings when you have to assure them that you're not the kind to get permanently hitched. It's always easier to nip it in the bud, and get it over with before it starts.
     
  11. willow78

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    I do to a point. But for me it's a 'crush' rather than 'love'. I'm quite emotional and romantic, so when I see someone I'm attracted to, I don't think, "Mmmmm - want to HIT THAT!", I think, "I would love to be with him". I just want to be around him all the time. I'm constantly thinking about him. I'm not unhinged to the point where I start planning the wedding within 5 minutes of seeing him, but I do fantasize about being 'a couple' rather than just having a 'good old fucking'.

    In the past I have gotten 'attached' to guys who I wouldn't normally be attracted to, but because they've showed me personal (but completely professional and non-romantic) attention, I develop a crush on them. I know it's unhealthy, but sometimes it's hard to stop. Luckily I've got enough sense that I've never done anything stupid about it.
     
    #11 willow78, Mar 22, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2011
  12. Drifterwood

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    I have been pondering your question AE. I think SDR has a point, and I would add that there are many who want to give their love. I can't see that you wouldn't be a worthy recipient of someone's love, but of course that isn't the same as two people being in love.
     
  13. B_subgirrl

    B_subgirrl New Member

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    This sounds a lot like my friend, only my friend didn't express it quite so negatively (as far as I know). Except to me! I got to hear all the complaints of 'But why doesn't he show me he loves me' and 'But I thought he loved me'.

    I'm sorry you've had such a difficult relationship with your ex.


    I was that to my first ex. It was terrifying. Although the highs were amazing, the lows were horrible. Once was enough for me.


    Good sex alone is enough to start that response in me :biggrin1:. Lucky it wasn't your only criteria to make it love :tongue:.
     
  14. AlteredEgo

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    I promise I am not ignoring these responses, and I will respond to them soon. I'm thinking. Thanks for your input, folks.
     
  15. Ramsey

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    Take your time, no rush.
    "You want a man with a slow hand, you want a lover with an easy touch"...
     
  16. rob_just_rob

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    Feel free to ignore my superficial response. :biggrin1:
     
  17. earllogjam

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    How many words do Eskimos have for snow?

    I think it's the same problem to describe or communicate the various levels and nuances for the word 'love' in the English language. Therein lies the problem. There are lots of different kinds and levels of love but we don't have the words to express them.

    They are all bundled together in one word unfortunately. Everyone has a different understanding of the word, so love to you isn't the same as love for another person. Personally I think the word is overused so it's rather dumbed down and become more ambiguous. As in I 'love' this chocolate cake.

    People use "I love you" to communicate that they are attracted to you and have some kind of desire to be with you. It is often said by people who've never been in love before - so how the hell would they know what it is? They use it often and lightly. I suspect say it because it's what popular culture has taught them to say when they are with someone they are attracted to and want to keep.

    So the weight of the words are different depending on your experience with love. I suspect the word 'love' means much more to you since you have had experience actually being in love than for a man who has never felt that emotion in all his life even though he has been with women before. Or has confused attraction for being in love because he has never experienced true love before and doesn't know the difference.

    Personally, I think the main element of love is being selfless and not really understanding why you've lost your ego when with another being. It's not about desire which is what attraction is.
     
  18. AlteredEgo

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    You know, I never thougth of it that way. Thank you.
    I am ecstatically married! I may not be fully satisfied with one aspect of it, but overall, I am really pleased with my choice in partner.

    I don't know if I can agree with that. I don't think it is all love. I think some of it is self-delusion, some is lust, some is just a crush. We may all express love differently, but love itself, romantically speaking, absolutely requires intimacy, passion, and a willingness to commit. Anything else is something else. It may even be love, but in that case one cannot be said to be IN love.

    My friend did impregnate a woman, and she is still his girl, but he is still in love with being in love, and frequently finds himself exploring his impulses with other women (cheating).

    I suspect he's not really available either. My unavailability would then be extra appealing in that case, right? It's a thought.

    Maybe, but I feel it has to be something else. Everyone likes to be treated well, and to have fun, and most people try to be that way.

    Yeah, you're probably right. Hahaha!

    I'm only talking about romantic love; all other types of love are completely irrelevant to what I need to explore. I think I made myself clear in my original post, but if not, I hope I am making it clear now. I doubt anyone has written much flowery, vulnerable, sexy, love poetry to their brothers, and if they have, I don't want to hear about it. But I thank you.

    I have encountered one such soul in the past year. It just broke my heart to reject his offering of love. It seemed to come from such a sad, and pathetic place. He's like a dog someone tossed out after it stopped being a cute puppy. I was kind to him, and then...

    I think crushes are usually harmless, and fun to harbor. I have always had a crush on this particular admirer. Always. Maybe he cottoned on, and misinterpreted it as love?

    You know, one of my closest friends said something similar to me the other night after I read the poem to him. He said the guy sounds like a romantic, much like my friend is also a writer and a romantic. He went on to say that one problem romantics have, in his experience, is that they tend to use unrequited love to find love. He said they love, and make very romantic overtures, and if the love isn't returned, it fuels the creativity for the next time they fall in love. If it's returned, then, so much the better. That seems like an over-generalization to me, but an interesting one.
     
  19. AlteredEgo

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    Societies usually make more words for things that are important to them, and so it does not surprise me that with only one word for love, our careless application of it within our lexicon indicates that we do not place overmuch value on the concept of love. Some of what you wrote is exactly what I have been thinking. Some people equate attraction with love, if the attraction is sufficiently intense.

    As for the feeling of love to a person who has never previously felt it: There must be a first time for everything. I remember the first times I believed I was in love. I was not. I was not even capable. There was intimacy, passion, and commitment, but they were in the wrong proportions, and when I really did love a man later, I knew the difference, and have known since. How though, did I guess that what I felt for the first two was love? Observation. I may never have been in love before, but I had a pretty good estimation of what it might feel like, and how it could manifest based on watching other people who were in love.

    This particular man has been in love before. He should know the difference, and he should know when it is and isn't reciprocated. It's confusing.
     
  20. earllogjam

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    I forgot to add that in general from all my experiences, men are particularly inept at communicating their feelings. It's just not valued or taught in most of our upbringing as boys - at least in my generation (I'm middle aged).

    There is always a fuzzy line between attraction, infatuation and love as a relationship moves forward.

    Maybe it was love at first sight! lol. You didn't have a chance to thwart it!
     
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