Between love and lust

Joey Garcia

I was having sex with this girl and accidentally said, “I love you” to her. She teared up and said, “I love you, too!” That’s when I realized what I just said. Now she’s acting like we’re a couple and asking me to go away with her for the weekend, and I don’t feel that way about her. She’s a nice girl and I don’t want to hurt her feelings but she’s not it for me. How do I tell her in a way that won’t blow up in my face? I wouldn’t mind banging her again.

If you weren’t concerned about protecting yourself from experiencing this woman’s anger, hurt or tears, would you be honest with her? Sure, if integrity is important to you. So let’s break down what’s really true. You loved the sexual connection, right? Your brain was firing in an orgasmic rush and your body adored those sensations. Your mind associated that experience with love and with this woman because she brought you to that bliss, that moment when boundaries blur and there’s only ecstatic love. Maybe it scared you to let yourself go completely with someone you never considered for anything more than a hookup. Maybe you’re trying too hard to control your heart. Maybe your notion about who you should pair off with no longer fits the reality of your experience. Or maybe you should practice saying, “I love you” to more people before you die. Why not leave the planet seeded with joy?

There are a million perspectives about when, if or whether to tell someone they are loved. But there are very few smart ideas about how to receive those words. My advice? Be grateful that you touched someone’s mind and heart so intimately that they can say “I love you” in response. But don’t assume that “I love you” means “I want to spend the rest of my life with you,” or even “I want to be exclusive beyond this moment.” Love is a language with billions of dialects, and every phrase requires interpretation. The romantic view of love prefers that we remain unconscious about meaning and focus instead on our feelings. A spiritual perspective of love invites the mind-body-spirit to be in alignment. Translation: Receive the words, “I love you.” Savor the sweetness. Don’t assume that those words mean the same for the speaker as for you. Just appreciate being appreciated. When the time is right, have an honest conversation about your thoughts and feelings. Why? Because that’s what love does—bond through intimacy. In the process, we learn about ourselves, about others and about the nature of love.

Ready for the bottom line? I don’t think it was an accident that you said, “I love you,” to this woman. Think of it as a Freudian slip—the subconscious rising and interrupting your self-control. During sex, you were suddenly naked—physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Don’t try to tuck it all back in. Your subconscious is trying to school you. Take a seat. Study the material. (Yes, you are the curriculum for this course.) Take the test: Who would you be if your heart cracked open wide enough to embrace the love available to you right now? That’s one of the other fascinating aspects of love—it shows up in mysterious ways.

Meditation of the week
“To be nobody but yourself in a world that’s doing its best to make you somebody else, is to fight the hardest battle you are ever going to fight. Don’t stop fighting,” wrote e.e. cummings. Have you fallen in love with yourself yet?

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