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Lust, passion and commitment

We often say that love is felt from the heart, not from the mind; but to prove this saying wrong American anthropologist Helen Elizabeth Fisher spent years studying the human brain using MRI and various types of brain scans. Helen Fisher has devoted half of her life to understanding the neuroscience of the brains fallen in love. The entire nexus of love and attraction is with the brain and the chemicals it releases. In her book ‘Why We Love: The Nature and Chemistry of Romantic Love’, she has divided the love that exists between human beings into three types or stages.
Helen’s relationship model is of great significance, and it is essential to read about it because all of us experience love at some point in our lives. Until now, we have relied on romantic poetry, philosophy, Bollywood and Hollywood films, and songs to understand love. However, human psychology and science has much to tell us about the origin and reality of love.
Lust – The First Stage of Love: The first stage of love is known as lust or infatuation. This particular feeling occurs in our reptilian brain, which is the part of the brain that handles basic functions like breathing, heartbeat, body temperature, etc. Lust, which in other words means to get attracted solely to the external appearance, particularly the sexual characteristics of the opposite gender, and engaging in purely sexual activities with that attraction is controlled by reptilian part of the brain. The natural response for procreation awakens in this part of the brain. It is very instantaneous and quickly fades away, without any desire to know the partner on a deeper level. This part of the brain is referred to as the primitive brain.
Passion – The Second Stage of Love: After lust there is second stage of love which is known as passion. Passion is an emotional connection that occurs in the part of the mind known as the mammalian brain. People who are in this stage of love feel very good when they think about each other and they remain lost in each other’s thoughts. This is the type of love that inspires movies and songs, where poets say things like ‘tujhesochtaho main shaam o subha, iss se zyaadatujheaurchaaho to kya’ (I think of you day and night, what more can I desire?). In this intense feeling of being lost in love, humans create an utopian future in their minds; everything feels new and wonderful, as if spring has arrived in life.
It is the special stage of love that leads people to make promises they may never fulfil. Under the influence of passion, the mammalian brain (emotional brain) has the power to dominate the thinking brain (mind with logic and rationality). Passion can’t grow without lust; it contains elements of lust but passion does not diminish when lust ends. It takes six to twelve months for passion to end. Then comes the time when men and women regret their decisions, express their boredom, and realize that those they had thought to be angels (free from mistakes) are, in fact, humans prone to faults.
This is where the real test of compatibility begins. If the two individuals share their new and non-traditional experiences and ideas with each other, understand each other, and explore new things together, then passion doesn’t end; instead, it takes us towards the third form of love, which is commitment. But if that doesn’t happen, then, after the end of passion there are often quarrels, regrets, and a sense of regret.
Commitment – The Third Stage of Love: Only few people reach to this stage, but this kind of love is very powerful and practical. When the people who genuinely like each other and spend a long time together, they find compatibility with each other. However, when at some stage of life, uncertain situations or unexpected events deeply impact you or your partner’s life, those who lack resilience often experience bitterness. The relationship ends because they are not prepared for such changes. As long as everything is going well, the relationship seems fine, but as soon as life shows its true colors and challenges arise, the relationship cannot survive. At this point, there is undoubtedly a need to test and accept deeper realities of each other.
Commitment comes into existence when both partners understand each other as human beings, accepting each other’s flaws along with their strengths. They celebrate success together and support each other in times of failure. When we understand others as human beings and accept each other with imperfections, it gives rise to the ability to love unconditionally.
Lust is necessary for passion, but even after the lust ends, compatibility keeps the relationship alive. For commitment, we need passion, but as time passes, when we accept our partner with their flaws and strengths, unconditional love can sustain the relationship even without lust and passion. Though third type/stage of love seems difficult but we must keep in mind that to attain anything valuable and long-lasting, courage is required that is why not many people reach to this stage.
When two individuals share new thoughts, experiences and ideas; in such cases, passion change over time in compatibility and the connection becomes stronger. When a person realizes the fact that every human in the world has both strengths and weaknesses and accepts them collectively, commitment comes into existence.
Merely lust and passion can not sustain a long-term relationship, as both attributes cannot control our minds for a long period. Our brain craves novelty, and this novelty or newness doesn’t solely come from new sexual experiences or passionate love with a new person (perhaps it may come a little). This novelty actually exists within our personalities; sharing new experiences and new ideas makes us more attractive, novel and refreshed for our partner.
Societal Scenario: In our society, there is no tradition of giving space to others or obtaining space for oneself where we can express our thoughts and individuality. Those who have space, whether men or women, tend to use it solely for entertainment, which is not wrong, but by not working on personal growth, they are being unfair to their own personality and intellect. The media tells us which cream makes our skin attractive, but it does not teach us what makes our personality and mind attractive. Taking care of our external appearances is not wrong, but we shouldn’t forget to take care of our inner selves, nurturing our minds, and beautifying them with new and attractive ideas. The pursuit of new experiences and seeking new values nourish our minds and gives us a purpose to live, as trying out new ideas makes us feel good.
According to me, the biggest obstacle in the path of perseverance and commitment is romantic philosophy. The media and romantic literature directly attack our mammalian brain which has the capacity to over power our logic and thinking. Once it happens, it instils unrealistic hopes in us and we expect our partner to always keep us happy and make us feel good, but it doesn’t teach us to accept our partners with their complexities and flaws. This ideology neglects the scientific laws and principles, structure of the human brain, and its evolution and development through time.