In ancient Greek, eros means desire. In Greek mythology Eros is the winged god of love and sex. If you’re struck by his arrow, you will inescapably fall in love with the first person you set eyes on. Modern Greeks use the word eros to describe a feeling of passionate love coupled with strong sexual attraction. On the other hand, to describe love Greeks use the word agape that implies a deep sentiment of affection — love which does not necessarily include sexual desire or passion.
There is no exact translation for the word eros in English, although people feel it, seek and long for it. When you feel you are in love, that is the moment when you feel eros for another person. It is passionate, sexual and at the same time entails enthusiasm and maybe love — agape.
Agape and eros don’t rule out each other. However, there is often, almost always, a point in each relationship when you stop feeling the crazy passionate teenage-like enthusiasm for your partner. After this point, all that remains is agape. Love, affection and care.
People approach eros differently. Some look desperately to find it and others fear it. You often hear people saying that you shouldn’t be overexcited after meeting someone new, and instead, should be cautious of falling in love. The depiction of god Eros as a young child implies that it is immature and irresponsible to feel in love. Sometimes he is also depicted blindfolded: being in love means that you cannot see clearly the other person and may be disappointed when you open your eyes to reality.
I can only speak for the first kind of people: the ones who look forward to falling in love. I am one of those people who are not scared of eros but of its abrupt loss. And this is exactly what happened to me. I found the eros I’ve been looking for and suddenly lost it. I stood there and witnessed it slipping through my hands.
I used to watch movies with couples who are unconditionally in love with each other and I always hoped that one day I would feel the same. I have watched all Nicolas Sparks movies, and The Notebook, in particular, over ten times. And indeed, at some point I fell in love and felt that we lived in a movie set for at least a few weeks or even months. But when eros was gone I started panicking and complaining or making tremendous efforts to attract the attention of my better half.
My impression was that if I am not in love for at least the first few years of my relationship and if I don’t feel that my partner is in love with me, this means that we have settled. It took me a couple of fights, a few depressing months and many hours driving sunken in my thoughts, to realize that this is the natural sequence of the stages of love.
All my concerns boiled down to one basic question:
Is the loss of the spark and its replacement with just love something that should worry us?
“Eros is not meant to last forever. Eros is a child, and children don’t remain children forever. You will not feel in love forever.”
When my partner was in love with me he used to express it every day very strongly through romantic — sometimes childish — gestures. He used to take photos of me when I was sleeping. He used to cook for me every day, twice a day. He used to just secretly gaze at me for whole minutes while I was studying or working. And when he stopped doing these things, I freaked out. He is not in love with me anymore. It was obvious to me. And I struggled a lot because I thought that was the beginning of the end.
But no! I carefully observed and started appreciating things he does that show that he deeply loves me. From waking up every morning at the same time as me to share breakfast, to his recent decision to leave his prospective career in New York to move in London with me. He may not be crazily in love as he was when he met me, but he loves me. The kind of steady and honest love. The love that won’t fade away as eros did.
Eros gave its place to agape.
Eros is not meant to last forever. Eros is a child, and children don’t remain children forever. You will not feel in love forever. But if your relationship is genuine, Eros will mature from a young boy that foolishly flies around throwing his arrows to unsuspected mortals, to agape — the long-lasting and fulfilling sentiment of love and care that is the fundamental basis of a relationship you should keep.
My experience shows that you should not hold on to your lost eros and stress over it but look for the signs of the love that is here to stay and become stronger day by day.
When you’re not in love anymore, you start feeling real love.
This post was previously published on Hello, Love and is republished here with permission from the author.
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