There are many points of similarity and dissimilarity in how the male mind perceives love and how the female mind perceives it. Amit Shankar Saha discusses perceptions of love with Pragati Gupta, a friend.
Amit: Pragati, since you have read my earlier article where I explained about my polyamory, you must be aware that I’ve fallen in love romantically, and that too without any sense of guilt, with more than one person at a time. I’ve had varied experiences of love, though not all of the same degree, but each unique in its own way. What is your take on this?
Pragati: Love is simply unique. It carves its own niche despite the stormy tears and shaking wails. I did experience diversity in love that came at different points in my life till now. The lessons I learnt are vast. While I loved one at one particular time and kept on shifting the tag of Mr. Perfect from one to two and two to three, I guess I shouldn’t be judging them. Yes. All are well and good and special in their own way.
A: I once loved someone who didn’t love me to start with but on discovering that I love her, started caring for me, became quite protective of me and would get disturbed if there was any prospect of harm or insult coming my way. I think that too is a kind of love. Don’t you think so?
P: Yes. But I would take it as a love that might just remain there and not end in social union or consummation of any kind. Again, consummation is a relative term. I could possibly have consummated with my first lover and still not have accepted him as my husband. Your experience might also be termed as friendship.
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A: Yes, it can be special friendship when there is no consummation. Sometimes I love someone so much, especially if I am much older, that unwittingly I start behaving like a parent or guardian. This can sometimes become quite overwhelming and one tends to intrude into the personal and private space of one’s lover. Later when one realises it, too much water has flowed under the bridge. Have you had any experience of this kind?
P: Yes. I had an experience like this where unknowingly I tried to intrude into the private sphere. With women, attention works in a weird way. When somebody in love with a woman stops attending to her, this urge to revert to the days of attentive love impels her to opt for a nincompoop as her lover.
A: That’s well said. Some time back I’d intruded into someone’s personal space and having realised it I actually transgressed further by apologising so profusely that she blocked my personal messages.
I immediately had an uncontrollable urge to throw up. I lost appetite, had indigestion and loose motions. I couldn’t understand what was happening to me. I didn’t expect this, because I thought love was in the mind.
I called her and explained my condition and expressed my astonishment about the physiological symptoms. She fortunately understood and unblocked me and the symptoms subsided. D. H. Lawrence rightly said that one’s body is so much more exacting [than the soul/mind]; what it won’t have it won’t have, and nothing can make bitter into sweet. What about this physiological aspect of love?
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P: Physiological symptoms I’ve never experienced. Being apologetic is sensible but to a point that it drags the worst out of someone who till then was idealised in my heart and soul is something I wouldn’t want. But again absurdities do exist. Love can make things sweet if it is rightly channelled. I have seen people in loveless relationships just for the sake of being in love. This has to be controlled and I certainly practice this. When this reality of ‘being in love’ subsides, I make a decision and that has to be it. Obviously fears and apprehensions keep dragging me back. This is the struggle of love and the fight one has to undertake.
With me, attention was the trouble where I proved to be a troublemaker in the weirdest way. When you are in love, such absurdities are expected, you see.
A: I do see. Love has no age but it does require a maturing period to know the absurdities one is prone to without realising it at the time of succumbing to them.