A lot of people fall in love not realizing they are actually experiencing a dangerous emotion masquerading as love.
Fatal Attraction was one of the most shocking movies of the 80’s. In the movie Dan Gallagher, a married man played by Michael Douglas, is drawn to Alex Forrest played by Glenn Close.
In the movie the attraction is strong and overwhelming for Dan. It’s intense and seemingly irrepressible. He succumbs to his desire and has an affair. Afterward he realizes it’s a mistake and tries to move on.
Unfortunately Alex has no intention of moving on. She is holding onto something of which she can’t let go. Like many people, she has a dangerous emotion masquerading as love, and in the movie it leads to some horrible consequences.
Love and Desire
Many people mistake desire for love. It’s understandable. We want something and so we become overwhelmed with it. Unfortunately, desire can become a dangerous emotion masquerading as love.
Desire by itself is fine. Desire is normal, but it’s not love. It’s when people apply something to that desire that it becomes dangerous. When this happens, It’s not only dangerous emotionally, but is a major factor in most of the abuse* and mass shootings that we see. It masquerades as love, but it’s something much, much different: possession.
Love says “I want to see you fulfilled.” Possession says “I want to see me fulfilled by having you around.” Love says “I want what’s best for you.” Possession says “I want what’s best for me and you will give that to me.”
The desire for possession is a dangerous emotion masquerading as love. It doesn’t care about the other person any more than it cares about a fancy car. In the same way the car is simply there to fulfill a desire, the person is only there to fulfill that person’s perception of what they want in life.
Possession says I want you all to myself. Love says, “I want you to be happy and fulfilled and I will do what I can to make your life better”. Love doesn’t expect reciprocation, but selflessly does the things that make them want to reciprocate.
To some degree we all have to fight with this desire for possession – this dangerous emotion masquerading as love. We often look at our partners, frustrated by what they don’t give us. Sometimes it’s understandable when they also are operating out of possession looking to what we should give them and making us feel overwhelmed.
So how do we focus on love and not on possession? How do we know which is which? There are three simple ways to build love and avoid possession:
- Equality: Possession thrives when one person is valued more than the other. Make sure that you value your partner and they value you as equal members of the relationship. Beware of definitions that limit; make sure you are able to do what makes you fulfilled regardless of anything that defines you.
- Positivity: Positivity about the relationship and your partner fosters love over possession. This requires equality: if one person is being positive while the other is telling the other how worthless they are, that’s not positivity, that’s denial.
- Thankfulness: Be thankful for your partner. Be thankful for the challenges your partner brings that allow you to improve yourself. Be thankful for those moments when you are alone in life and have time to focus on you. Be thankful for the times you are with a partner and you have someone to share it with. Thankfulness focuses on what we have been given, not on what we have taken or possess.
If you want to live a life full of joy – a life full of wow – then avoid this dangerous emotion masquerading as love and simply love. Love without possession is more freeing, more enjoyable, and more self-confidence boosting.
Run away from possession. Instead choose love.
* If you find yourself in an abusive relationship, don’t wait. Contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline (1-800-799-SAFE). You need to get out. Trust me. I’ve been there.