Can Love and Lust Coexist in a Relationship?
Love keeps you together and lust keeps the relationship alive. But what happens when "respect" gets in the way?
What Is Lust?
- An overwhelming desire or craving.
- An intense longing.
- A very strong sexual desire.
The Dilemma of Love, Lust and Respect
I have a theory: If you love someone, and you have a strong respect for your partner, then you may have trouble experiencing lust.
Love in a relationship can keep two people together and lust can keep the relationship alive. However, what happens when "respect" gets in the way? Somehow lust and respect don't work well together.
You might be thinking that lust is only the desire for sex and not caring for your partner’s feelings. Maybe that's true, but before I go any further, I think a definition of lust is important...
According to Webster’s Dictionary, lust also has less appalling meanings than you might think at first.
Let’s examine some definitions of lust along with my comments on each:
1. An overwhelming desire or craving.
Not so bad, right? This could apply to anything you ever wanted in your life, such as a craving for chocolate. A lust for sweets. This could imply “enthusiasm”, such as a lust for life. It’s nice to be enthusiastic about something. You might have a lust to succeed.
2. An intense longing.
This could be an intense longing for someone, or for anything at all. There’s nothing seriously wrong with this either.
3. A very strong sexual desire.
Webster goes on to say “An intense or unrestrained sexual desire.” Okay, now we’re getting closer to the dark side. We might say that lust is a physical need for someone.
So what is love? Can we say that if we love someone then we have no need for lust? Maybe. Many relationships function like that, two people loving each other and respecting each other.
Oh, there’s that R word! No, not relationship. I’m referring to “Respect.” The premise of this discussion is to determine how respect can hinder the strong emotional feelings of lust that can help make a healthy relationship romantic.
How Respect Affects Things
Some people are wired in such a way that they can only lust after another when they don't respect them.
I have found some agreement about this among both men and women, and I have found others who deny that lust has anything to do with a healthy relationship. You be the judge.
Allow me to propose this idea to contemplate a while. When a man respects a woman, he can't love her with a full feeling of lust. That is a strong statement for me to make. It certainly does not apply to all men. However, from my observation, it does explain the mental attitude of some men.
In my opinion, those who function that way are wired in such a way that they can only love a woman who they don't respect. Can this be a healthy relationship?
How do they interpret love? Are they confusing love with lust? I think so. A man will find it difficult to respect a woman who he lusts after. (This can go for women's feelings towards men too, but I'll focus on this from a man's point of view for the sake of this discussion. Women readers who can relate to this discussion are welcome to share your comments below.)
Thinking this way, a man will never have the enjoyment of lust in a healthy loving relationship. Is it really correct to say that a man can only feel lust for a woman when he has a lack of respect for her?
Now that we both understand the concept, I'll elaborate on the dilemma I came up with.
The Confusion of Having Lust with Respect
If a man who is in an emotional affair starts to fall in love with a woman who he respects, then he finds himself confused with having the thoughts of love and lust at the same time.
He finds himself treating her with total respect. He treats her as a princess. He wants everything for her. He wants to make her happy.
But with all this respect and caring, can he still lust after her? Can he be totally open with her and share secret lustful joys with her?
He is either sheltering her from this dark side of himself, or he is afraid to share this dark side with her due to the respect he has for her.
Now this brings me to an important consideration. It is simply a normal sexual behavior that adds fun and amusement to a relationship. This dark side I refer to is nothing bad. Review the definitions above again that I took from Webster's Dictionary.
Every good and healthy relationship includes this kind of sharing. It opens the door for sexual expression between a man and a woman.
Why, then, is there an issue with opening up emotionally with a woman with whom the man has total respect?
Is the respect creating a brick wall? Is it actually hindering any ability to make a full emotionally united partnership out if it?
Is it correct to say that love and lust are mutually exclusive? That is to say that we can have either one but not both? I know many men who have chosen a life with a woman who is not right for them. They married out of lust, not love.
In some cases, that works because love develops from it. Well, sometimes it does, but it's not my cup of tea. I want the love and lust along with respect.
The Power of Lust
If you have lust with someone and you fall in love, the love will keep you together and the lust will keep it alive.
Lust is important for a relationship to flourish. We certainly need love, no question about it. Without lust the romance in a relationship can dwindle over time.
It’s lust that keeps some types of people from seeking other partners. Other types of people have the desire to remain faithful simply because of the love they feel.
I believe that "lust" has a lot to do with having a deep-felt loving relationship as long as one can combine it with respect.
In a healthy relationship, if you love each other, the love continues to feed on itself.
If you started out with lust and discovered later that the person is someone you can respect, then love may follow and you stay together. However, if you respect someone before developing lust or love, then when you do fall in love, the lust is difficult to discover. Does that make sense?
It’s fine if you don’t need it. Some people feel it's part of romance. Then what? You love and respect one another, but you can’t move forward with the relationship.
The trick is to start with lust, then fall deeply in love, and let the respect develop later. However, there is no way to control the order of things. It's all part of life.
It's clear that we want to spend our life with someone we truly love. If it’s only for lust then something is wrong, but lust can be an enjoyable component of a relationship.
If you're in a loving and respectful relationship without lust, that's fine if the love is strong enough. If lust is desired but missing, help one another create it with honest communication.
What best describes your situation?
© 2012 Glenn Stok