In a survey of 300,000 adults, one in five people claimed that they were “in love” with a different person than their significant other. The other person is most often a work colleague or close friend. Even in the happiest relationships, people still have a wandering eye. They tend to crave the attention and affection of others.
The human brain seems to be prewired to be lost in imaginative thoughts of being with someone else and being happier than they are with their current lover. As humans we continually make comparisons. We visualize ourselves living in different situations and wondering if it would be any easier. It seems we are destined to consider colleagues and friends and what life would be like with them over the people we have never even met.
Going back to the survey, one in twenty-five people claim they have been “in love” with someone else for longer than five years. One in fifty report they have loved someone else as far back as they can remember. Nineteen percent of women and twenty-nine percent of men say they plan to leave their lover in the future.
Those kinds of numbers aren’t inspiring when it comes to relationships. It is very sad to think that actually one of every five people actually feels their current situation isn’t good enough. Or even further disappointing when things are fine, they are still planning to leave. They are stuck in a “grass is greener” mindset.
When we think of being “in love”, you would think that your mind would be full of thoughts of your lover. It would make sense that you want nothing more than to be with that person every minute of every day. In truth, this isn’t an accurate depiction of being “in love” whatsoever. It actually just depicts lust.
The initial physical attraction between one person to another is lust. It can be completely overwhelming and powerful. It is powered by pheromones. Most people aren’t aware of that at all, nor do they even know what pheromones are. Being fiercely attracted to another person is because we have an unconscious sense that genetically they would be a good match. We can feel that they would be a good pairing for procreation and producing healthy and strong offspring. Lust is primal and only about the survival and procreation of our own DNA. It has nothing to do with compatibility in the long-term sense. It’s not about happily ever after.
Love, however is not a feeling that is immediate. It is an emotional response that takes time to develop. Love is more in connection with friendship than any sort of coupling. Love is the deep desire to further your dreams no matter what with a particular individual. It revolves around nurturing and growth. It is effortful. It encompasses personal sacrifice and it grows at a very slow rate. Love is not about one’s self. It’s about helping the other person have a richer life and contributing to that. Most people on a basic level just confuse love with lust.
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