This post I will continue to answer questions commonly asked in lectures on the subject of love. Before we get into the questions I wanted to start with a poem. I believe poetry is the window into the intensity and beauty of the human mind. I like these poems from sites like thepoetrypad.com because everyday poets like you and me write them, but they also highlight the highs and lows that being in love can bring. My goal to end this five-part series is to show how love can last and how with some work and true concern and care for someone else everyone can find that forever.
Questions for today:
Q: Is it possible to be in love with different people at the same time?
A: The answer is both yes and no. This is where we should not mix up the difference between romantic love and sexual drive. In American culture, we assume the two are one in the same, however, this is an error. Our sexual drive is not wired towards just one person. Its purpose is to assure we survive and propagate our species. However, when we look at romantic love, especially the beginning phases, it does seem we have an intentional draw to a singular individual. We become obsessed and experience tunnel vision towards that one particular someone. This drive can last and persist.
The mistake we make is, we assume because we fall in love with someone that all of a sudden we should not find other people attractive and desirable. Sexual fidelity is a choice, and once we understand it as a choice, we can reduce the anxiety of feelings and thoughts that arise. But because it is such a powerful drive, when one makes the choice of fidelity, he or she is proving his or her love for the other, making the person more important than the satisfaction of sexual desires. This, above all, is an act of true love.
Q: What if two people who are married are madly in love, but one dies? Are there any studies on those who remarry? Do people generally remarry because they are lonely, or do they remarry because they have really grown to love someone else?
A: The answer to this question is both, and a lot of time is dependent on age. For example, a young adult is more likely to remarry by falling in love and experience sexual desire again, whereas older individuals are more likely to remarry to thwart loneliness. The fact is, we are made to develop close intimate bonds with other people, and when we fail to, we fall into chronic states of loneliness that can lead to both severe mental and physical problems.
Interestingly, and specific to men, elderly men are most likely to pass away within 12 months of his spouse’s passing, for which we attribute to loneliness and the loss of his greatest pleasure and companion. Whereas because women maintain many more social connections and friendships, women can live well beyond their husband’s passing.