“What I’m looking for in a man is someone who fits like a glove. I want to feel so comfortable in his presence that I don’t have to put on an act for fear of him not liking who I am. I want to feel a rush of excitement and a burning desire to be with him all the time. When I first went out with Russ, I was constantly excited and on top of the world. Even though he wasn’t my usual type, the physical attraction was immense. I couldn’t get enough of him and felt nauseous when I wasn’t with him – I think that’s the definition of being ‘love sick’. Two years later a friend asked me if I still felt tingly when I kissed him and my answer was yes. I felt an animal magnetism towards him. I want to feel that again with someone else. As I have felt it with other men I know it exists. Ivan clearly felt it with me because he just couldn’t stop touching and looking at me. It would have been great if I’d felt the same but there again is it simply lust? How do you know whether you’re in love or lust?”
– Excerpt from The Man in a Haystack © Alice Huskisson 2012
Therein lies the problem. Do love and lust go hand in hand? Can love survive without lust? For many years I confused the two. I have felt excruciating emotional pain when a relationship predominantly based on sex ended abruptly and prematurely, but I have felt similarly when a relationship with a strong foundation of friendship topped with a regular helping of ‘sexy time’ has drawn to a close.
I really wish we could turn back time and experience courting in the 1930s and 1940s when people took things slowly and apparently fell in love before any ‘funny business’ or ‘how’s your father’ took place. It is those marriages which stood the test of time. How many people today actually wait several months (let alone until their wedding night) before jumping in the sack? Very few, I bet. I think that’s where a lot of marriages fail. They’ve been influenced by lust, get it confused with love, and then when the sex dies a death, the really important foundation of friendship isn’t there because the relationship was based primarily on lust.
Put the sex aside altogether – let’s not consider that for the moment. I think that the definition of love should be based upon:
How we feel together and apart;
How we show and demonstrate our love;
How comfortable we are talking about anything and everything;
Willingly making sacrifices or compromises to keep the other happy;
Being selfless and putting the other first;
Supporting the other during difficult times;
Rejoicing together in happy times.
If both people in a relationship display all of the above positively then this can go a long way to mould a strong foundation with a head start on longevity; then ‘making love’ should simply be the cherry on the cake.
I have only come to this conclusion in recent years and you’ll have to read my book to find out how and why, otherwise I’m in danger of divulging spoilers! This is just my opinion though – I mean, who’s to say it’s wrong or right?
A few of my readers kindly contributed their own opinions. Which do you agree with? Or do you have your own ideas?
“I’m looking for someone who will talk out ridiculous scenarios for emphasis and not feel silly, but connected, like adult games of OH I KNOW WHAT WE CAN DO! Imagine if…and Oh! What about!? ..as you pull the curtains down for realism…To dream silly situations up to make light of what most people term as a bad day…all the little, ridiculous nuances of everyday life that no one else could possibly understand but him. Someone that reciprocates every nook and cranny of my unbridled hold your horses affection. With all the rotten dates I’ve had, I know what I’m NOT looking for and it strengthens my will to only settle for what I DO want. My experience shows there is always love to be found, but how many do I turn down that could have been ‘him’ because he doesn’t look right for me? It can’t be won like a goldfish at the fair, it can’t be forced. It would be nice if I won the big panda that I see other women trailing around, all covered in sweetness and candy floss. All I seem to get is the goldfish and I don’t have a tank! :)”
– Sarah from Essex
“I was in love once. It happened within a week of meeting him. I felt warmer when he appeared. He coloured everything I did, even if I did it without him. In his arms felt like coming home.”
– Daisy from Ireland
“Love is the little things…
Touch~ Wanting someone so badly that you must touch them, if only briefly to quench that urge for their essence.
Taste~ Kissing to me is far more intimate than any other act…you allow someone to share your taste, your breath, in essence, your soul.
Giving~ When you love, you give of yourself freely, without reservation, without concern for yourself or your own desires. And in the giving, if there is love, you will receive.
Sacrifice~ When you love, you are willing to let go, to succumb to a death knell pain so deep, you fear you won’t survive…all because the emotion says to set him free…
I hope it’s not too late for me to have this one day.”
– Taylor from Ohio, USA
“I think that love comes in many forms and goes through different phases. The mad, passionate love that you feel when you first meet someone is far different than the love that you feel for a life partner. I also think that it’s possible to fall in love many times. I have probably experienced the crazy, passionate love that you feel at the start of a relationship about four times in my life. When you go through this phase it’s easy to overlook the flaws in someone’s character if they make you feel good in other ways. However, the difference with a long-term partner is that when the initial euphoria wears off you still have a lot in common. I think that to make a relationship work in the long-term you have to like the person as well as being attracted to them.
There’s a feeling of security with my husband. We share so many aspects of our lives – home, family, finance, hopes, trust, respect, fears and dreams. If I’m happy about something he’s the first person I rush to tell and if I’m sad or worried I confide in him, and vice versa. You could almost say that we have become an extension of each other.”
– Ellen from Manchester
“I can’t comment on the ‘when you want to settle down’ thing as that has never been my aim, as such… but I think you love differently each time, sometimes more intensely and lastingly than others, and that the person you fall in love with at 25 isn’t the person you will fall in love with at 50. I know I’m in love with someone when I want to be with them more than I want to be with anyone else, when I miss them most of the time I’m not with them, when being with them makes me happy, and the anticipation of this makes me feel that lovely excited sick feeling! That’s in the early stages – it moves on to being with someone you feel ‘right’ with all the time, and wanting to make them happy, too. And missing them most of the time I’m not with them!”
– Terry from North East England