Some users on this site don't want a LTR and they are quite vocal about their intentions. I understand that not everyone sees a LTR or marriage as a desirable goal. Some people would not be comfortable “tied down” to one partner and some people just aren’t suited for monogamy. Some users deny that they want an LTR but they aren’t being honest with themselves; they’ve been hurt and now they are afraid and pretending; hopefully, their wounds will heal and they will get back "on track."
I am 62 years old and I have had 11 long term relationships in my life. Each of them lasted at least 4-6 months and the longest lasted 17 years. My current relationship began two months ago and it seems to be strong but it is still very new. Some of my previous relationships were ended by me, some of them were ended by my partner, and one was ended by a mutual decision.
These experience have been a wonderfully effective teacher
and I have discovered a few things about relationships. There is a saying about learning more from failures than from successes so perhaps I am qualified to render some advice on this subject.
Anyway . . . here are the ingredients of a successful LTR:
L = mutual Love and Lust
T = mutual Trust
R = mutual Respect
I intend to write three myTakes in which I will discuss each of these ingredients. In this myTake, I will talk about love and lust.
Lust is the animalistic desire for sex.
It is not an idea that you discuss and it is not something that develops over time. There is no need to think about whether you feel lust for someone; if you feel lust, you know it.
For a guy, lust is the urgent desire to drag a woman back to his cave, rip off her clothes, and plant his seed deep in her womb. Lust is a desire that may immediately give a guy an erection, or at least a feeling of the early stages of arousal. Some women have told me that lust makes their nipples get hard or gets them wet and they fantasize about having sex with a guy but the only thing that I know for sure about sex and women is that each one is different. In any event, lust is an urge that is biologically driven. It is not justified by any logic. It is simply a desire to engage in sex with a desired partner. Lust is what tells us undeniably that we are animals and our cerebral functions cannot overcome the power of our lust.
Lust is usually an essential component of a long term relationship. Without the desire for a sexual relationship with your partner, a relationship is a friendship with a smattering of physical affection on the side. For most people, a relationship without sex is unsatisfactory and unsustainable. You may want to argue that people “shouldn’t” be that way and that would be an academic discussion of little merit, because I’m telling you that, in my world, this is the way people really are.
Of course, if a relationship is established and something happens to one partner so that they can no longer engage in a sexual relationship, it is quite common to see that couple stay together. Frankly, I don’t know if the healthy partner learns to be satisfied with masturbation, maybe they have some understanding that allows the healthy partner “permission” to seek sex outside of the marriage, or some other option, but this discussion really isn’t intended to cover those situations.
As married couples get older, women may develop a medical condition which requires a hysterectomy or the woman eventually enters menopause. Either event can trigger a drastic reduction in the female desire for sex. It is not uncommon for this to lead to some marital problems unless and until the couple reaches some compromise that satisfies the needs of both partners.
As couples reach their 60's or 70's, their libido may decrease significantly and sex may become a less frequent activity, but it is not unusual for a couple in their 80s to still be having sex. Yes, your grandpa and grandma are still "doing it!"
Lust is not romantic. Guys can feel a lustful attraction to a woman with whom they would never have a romantic relationship. Most guys don't act on every lustful feeling that courses through their body. If they see some hot looking girl at the grocery store; they don't attack her in the parking lot; instead, they just go home and surprise their wife with some afternoon delight!
So, lust is not romantic. LOVE is romantic.
I see questions occasionally asking about love at first sight. How could you possibly love someone who you have never met? What is it that you love about them? They could be a mass murderer, or the world’s champion castrating bitch, and you wouldn’t know it.
When people talk about "love" at first sight, they are not really talking about love. Maybe these folks are thinking about lust and using the wrong word. When they get older, they will discover the difference between being lust and love.
Like lust, love is a feeling. It is not a thought. It is not logical and it defies explanation in rational terms, but . . . in the words of one modern poet, "Love's the finest thing around!" What is love? Well . . .
Love is not simply lust. When you feel romantic love for someone, you do feel a passionate desire for a physical relationship with them, but it is more than a desire of the flesh.
Love is selfless. When I am with my girlfriend, I am thinking about her needs, protecting her, bringing happiness into her life. I don’t drink if we are out and I am driving because I want to keep her safe. If she has a maintenance need in her house, I try to help her with it. Her home phone goes to answering machine after three rings and she can’t understand how to change that, so I get out the manual and change the settings for her. I don’t think about doing anything amorous if there is any possibility that her 17 year old daughter will come home and discover us in the act. That wouldn’t be a problem for me but it would certainly be a problem for my girlfriend. I don’t consider any of this to be a burden or inconvenience; it is what I want to do because I love her.
I think about what I can do to help her have a good life, to be a better person, and to find peace and happiness. Yes, if I do that for her, I will probably benefit. Hopefully, she will feel love for me - and gratitude - and she will want to help me to have a good life, be a better person, find peace and happiness, etc.
When you truly love someone, you make their needs as important as your own. If you have a conflict and you think the issue is more important to them that it is to you, you yield. You let them have things their way . . . and you know that when the roles are reversed, they will do the same for you.
For a good LTR, both lust and love must be reciprocal. One person being in love doesn't make a relationship; at most, it makes a bad country-western song.
True love will lead you to want what is best for your partner, even if that means your partner no longer being with you. If you truly love someone and they are not happy with you, then you thank them for the good times, you say goodbye, and you don't stand in their way as they are leaving. But hopefully, when you sincerely tell your partner "I love you and I want you," they tell you that they love you and want you. If those statements are sincere, you have two of the four ingredients necessary for a successful long term relationship.