Elusive Obvious: Is It Love or Lust?

Dimmed lights, leather sofas, and swing music in the background. Been here before and it is always a treat, this time around was different. Friend calls and as long as I’m available, I’ll be there. “Hey, hey… Gigi, you’re spilling your drink!” I shout as she was holding it in her hand tipping the glass without noticing. “Oh shit, sorry I got distracted” she replied.

“No, you weren’t distracted. You were day dreaming… Care to tell me what’s up?” After taking her time and pausing for a moment she asked: “How do you know when you’re in love?” 

Since she put me on the spot, the only thing that crossed my mind was to tell her that she was asking the wrong guy. If anything -as vague as it may sound- I believe anyone in love would know without a shadow of a doubt that they are in love. I told her that it’s a feeling, the good-feel jitters, something that it’s actually hard to put into words. Bottomline, if you’re in love, you just know.

To a degree, what I said at that moment was accurate, as it resonates with most people yet it didn’t fully click to her. She ordered another drink, a stronger one, she clearly wanted to forget or drown the feeling with as much alcohol as possible. I told the bartender that this would be her last drink, to close-out the tab and give me her card. She looked at me and started tearing up, I knew she felt frustration because she was in love, I didn’t know with who but she was and her incapability to understand and cope with the feeling was non-existent but I understood why. How can you possibly know if you are in love when you have no frame of reference whatsoever. She has always been the party type girl, falling in love was not part of her plans but it happened.

“Elusive Obvious is the truth that lies just under the surface of imagery, or facade that distracts us from seeing things for what they truly are rather than what we want them to be.”

Many many moons ago when I first started getting into the world of Social Dynamics, a book fell into my lap by pure accident and became one of my favorites. The Elusive Obvious by Moshe Feldenkrais. This well crafted, comprehensive but digestible masterpiece is one of a select few that changed and refined my thought process on a particular concept that applies to life in general, even though it mostly addresses the human body and its biological aspects, many of the theories that are presented in this compilation book have one concept in common, that concept happens to be the title of the book.

The Elusive Obvious -which to keep it short and simple- is the truth that lies just under the surface of rhetoric, imagery, or facade that distracts us from seeing it, from seeing things for what they truly are rather than what we want them to be. I find this concept to be fascinating because even though this can be applied to any facet of life, and Feldenkrais uses it specifically when explaining how you can overcome bad habits by recognizing and replacing them with new ones. The one that I believe truly matters is love and all the things that are directly affected by it: relationships, desire and lust.

We don’t always know if what we feel for that person is love, lust, pure infatuation or -to take it a step further- if we are in love with the idea of love and not the person in front of us. When we get into relationships, we don’t actually know what we are getting into because we fell for the person at a certain time, during a short amount of time that it makes it very difficult to know if we are compatible with them or not. There are no wrong choices when it comes to relationships, every single person -whether the relationship works or not- leaves you behind with a gift, a new perspective. Ultimately, what it comes down to is one word: compatibility.

“At some point if there is no compatibility, it will inevitably hit the dead end wall and it will be the time to disengage and quit the relationship.”

Compatibility is the most important or at least the one component which holds most of the weight when it comes to a connection with someone. Everything else may click and fire all cylinders but if compatibility does not match, it is a matter of time before the relationship fizzles out and ends. Can it be enjoyable? Sure. Looks, adrenaline rush, commonalities, etc may extend the life of the connection but only for awhile and in the short run. At some point if there is no compatibility, it will hit the dead end wall and it will be time to disengage and quit the relationship.

The key to all of this is being able to identify it in a timely manner. Sometimes it takes one day, one week, sometimes a couple of months to test the waters as much as possible to make sure if it is the right decision but unfortunately -in many cases- a lot of couples go through years and years without knowing it and finally when they find out, they don’t want to admit the lack of chemistry and compatibility because that would lead to a world of pain and loneliness. Who wants that?

Most much rather suck it up, stay in it and live a lie because it provides comfort, it provides a safe blanket, someone to fall back on and more than anything avoid getting out there to start anew. And for those that realize it’s time for a change, they make the mistake of molding in their head the perfect scenario/person and try to project that onto the next person available so they can ease the pain of disconnection and loneliness as quick as possible without taking into consideration the other person’s feelings.

“How do you know when you’re in love? It is when you simply care for that special someone so much that their happiness is more important to you than your own.”

As we are wrapping up at the lounge, all I could tell her is that this too shall pass, it is painful when you’re not in full control of your feelings and they start shooting up like crazy, all of this for a person that may or may not feel the same way about you. This is why our society is broken, because of jumping the gun, the lack of awareness and missing what’s right in front of them but refusing to see it.

Love is an elusive obvious. Thinking that we are in love when we are only infatuated or lust badly for that person. We don’t see it, we can’t identify it with ease, we can only feel if it’s right at the high cost of also being wrong because of misreading our own feelings.

I guess the best way to answer “How do you know when you’re in love?” I believe it is when you simply care for that special someone so much that their happiness is more important to you than your own. To love, give, and care without expectations. To fucking do it because you feel like doing it, not because you have to. To do it because you want to see that person smile, giggle and be happy that she is with you.

And that’s how you know you are in love without falling for the elusive obvious.

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