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What is Love? And what is Infatuation?

This might be a long email that you are about to read. But I'd appreciate it if you did continue reading this and replying so that I might figure out what to do then just waiting for something to happen. Well, let me begin by introducing myself.

I am in grade 12 but I'm graduating as a 17 year old. My astrology Libra defines every bit of me. An exact definition. Now onto my story...

I met this boy in grade 10. And we became friends, good friends. He lives a 5 minute distant walk from my house. He did have long hair, and I mean REALLY long so that the people who didn't know him assumed he was a girl. Then, in summer school after grade 10 he finally cut his hair. And he looked handsome. So that's when I started liking him. But we didn't start dating until midway into the first semester of grade 11.

Everyone always tells us that we're a perfect couple, and literally a perfect couple. I had some dramatic moments and he was there for me, comforting me. He's ALWAYS there for me.

However, during our grade 11 year we separated into different schools, and I met up with an old friend of mine and hung out more often. And that's when I developed feelings for my friend, and he did too. I guess it was because of the attention and flirting I was getting from him. So I did go on a break with my boyfriend a little while, hoping that I might get a chance to date my friend, but I went straight back to my boyfriend. I still liked my old friend though, but eventually the feeling was gone.

Then it was around spring when I met one of his friends. And I started to like him. A lot. And I still do. We talk more often than me talking to my boyfriend. And we have more common things than my boyfriend and I. My boyfriend and I are like Yin and Yang. TOTALLY the opposite. Well I'd say %90 opposite and %10 same.

So it's been a year and a couple weeks now in our relationship. And I don't think we've rushed rushed a relationship like my past ones. Like the very first time for the both of us was holding hands and I kissed him on the cheek. It took us a month to finally kiss. Then on our six months we had sex. Well I guess it is kind of a rush. However, this is the farthest I've gone in a relationship.

We do see ourselves getting married. Moving into an apartment together. Having kids. Naming our kids. We talked about all of that. But you see. I don't know if my boyfriend's and my love is true. First off, because of my doubts and selfishness. And second, I'm technically his first girlfriend. I'm always nagging him to do some sports or exercise, even if he does have a good metabolism, not just stay in his house to eat, sleep, play video games, and watch movies. He's smart and everything but he doesn't DO anything. And every time we try to talk to each other over the phone or instant messaging, it seems like we've run out of things to say. Now, it's been a week not calling each other at all. And it's not that we're mad at each other or anything, but it's like there's no more love love. It's like before when I loved him as a best friend, and I think it's cause I love him more as a friend.

So I'm sick and tired of just sitting here waiting for fate to happen. And I want some advice as to what to do in the relationship between my boyfriend and me.

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© 2006 Robert Saltzman


As you said it would be, your letter is long and raises many different points, but I did manage to read it all, and to understand, I think, what you are really asking (which may be different from what you imagine you are asking).

You started off by inquiring about the difference between love and infatuation, but then finished your letter by asking what to do about the relationship between you and your boyfriend which involves talking about marriage and a family, but then feeling that the love part may be over already. (By the way, that would be a sad kind of marriage).

But what jumps out at me is neither of those questions, but something else entirely. It is this: you seem so fearful of uncertainty and ambiguity, so intent, that is, on resolving all questions once and for all so that no loose ends will exist, no open questions, much less any unanswerable ones. For example, you begin by introducing yourself by school grade and age, but then go on to say, "My astrology Libra defines every bit of me. An exact definition." So now every bit of you is already defined, and nothing is left to wonder about. Even if I thought that astrology had anything real or important to predict about individual personality (I don't), I would never imagine that a human being could be fully defined somehow by the hour and place of her birth. I would want to hear more, much more, before even beginning to think that I knew anything at all about her. But you seem willing to have yourself explained as a "Libra," whatever that means, and so now you need not be burdened with asking the eternal question: "Who am I?" You already know who you are: simple, a Libra.

To take another example, you close your letter saying, "So I'm sick and tired of just sitting here waiting for fate to happen." In other words, you want to get the whole big thing (life) over with right away, figure it all out right now, so that you can avoid being burdened with an unknown future filled with unanswered (and perhaps unanswerable) questions and pervaded with uncertainties. But "waiting for fate to happen" is just a longer way of saying "living," because the very essence of life lies in not knowing what will happen, not knowing what "fate," holds in store. The future is all we don't know, in other words. And the very day-to-day living of life by a human person, as one's journey unfolds unexpectedly and in unforeseen ways, is exactly how fate "happens"--the only way it can happen. So just as you want to have your personality figured out before you even begin really to investigate what that person called "you" is like and where her limits lie, you also want to get this love thing over with right away--not just leave it to "fate"--so that you can stop worrying about whether or not you "love" your boyfriend, or your old friend, or someone else, or no one at all.

I don't know if you have caught my drift here or not. If not, write again, and let me know what you don't get. But assuming that you did get the picture, then my advice, which you asked for, is this:

Forget about getting married. All that is just biology talking, mixed with, as I said, fear of the unknown. You're not ready to marry, not nearly ready. You are still at the starting line, in fact, and you will be pretty much stuck there until you admit to yourself that you know very little about yourself, nothing much about life, and nothing at all about love. All of that is what you will be finding out (such as the difference between love and infatuation that you asked me about) if you have the courage to remain open-minded.

When I say "the courage to remain open-minded," I mean the strength to live every day anew, to be open to what you think and feel right now in the moment. To live and to suffer having to feel that you are always making choices although you have no answers to the most important questions and you understand that some questions may never be answered to your satisfaction. And, most of all, when I say "the courage to remain open-minded," I mean the intelligence to stop accepting other people's beliefs and explanations and to go about seeking your own personal ones instead.

Be well.

p.s. Click on this link for more on What is the Difference Between Love and Infatuation? (part two)

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page last modified November 30, 2006

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