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False Forms of Love: Meta Lust

Meta LustWith considerable, energetic puzzlement Lynette said of her new lover, “I just want to eat him up.  I want to be with him every minute.  I want to hear his every word.  It isn’t just sex, though that’s great and I like it every time we do it which is a lot, but it’s so much more than that.  It’s like I want to absorb him or soak up his being and everything about him.  It’s not like I want to lose myself in him because when I’m with him I’m intensely me, even more me.  I just want him in me every way I can get him there, sexually, emotionally, spiritually, intellectually – everything.  The trouble is I felt this way once before and it was wonderful, but it did not last.  So this time, is this going to last or is it going to fade out like it did before?  Can this be real and lasting love, or is it something else?

Joel, a member of Lynette’s personal growth and development group, replied, “Well, Lynette, I suggest you enjoy it while you can because in my experience the answer is yes, it is going to go away someday”.  Harriet remarked, “I agree because I’ve been through almost exactly what you just described and it did not last for me either.  What I don’t understand is why does it follow that pattern when it seems so good?  First, you think you’re deeply in love, or at least in deep lust, and then one day it’s all starting to fade and disappear.  It doesn’t seem right that it should work that way.  What is that all about”?

Some of the thinking about what Lynette and the other members of her group were talking about goes like this.  First, the dynamics are part of a false love syndrome or pattern that can be called “Meta Lust”.  Here, “meta” basically means big, all-inclusive and encompassing.  Lust means a strongly driven desire.  Together meta+lust means a big, encompassing, driving desire to experience almost all aspects of another person.  It’s sort of like having an enormous crush on someone.  It is far bigger, more complete, profound and total than simple sexual or romantic desire.  Fervent sexuality and intimate romance are usually intensely included although, curiously, not always.  Meta Lust occurs when a person desires to have constant and repeated, huge doses of experiencing another person in just about every way possible.  Meta Lust can occur mutually or in just one of two people in a relationship.  This intense desire seems to start disappearing when a person finally gets enough of that other person for their own satisfaction or perhaps for their growth and development.

Every once in awhile in some people’s lives there comes along a person that gives you what seems like everything you could possibly want for your own intense, pleasurable, stimulating, personal growth and life fulfillment.  It is thought that perhaps your subconscious has a natural hunger to experience that other person for the benefit of your own evolution because, at least for a while, there is a great but temporary, extreme compatibility occurring.  A person in Meta Lust becomes extremely enjoyably fascinated, intrigued and totally absorbed in experiencing the other person.  It is a little bit like some people do when they are utterly engrossed in a hobby, deeply absorbed in a fascinating book, a very intriguing mystery or captivating music.  Meta Lust for a time seems to fill all your needs, satisfy all your lusts, and bring out your own inner, undiscovered self at many levels.

For some people having a Meta Lust experience is somewhat like going to live in another culture and being enmeshed in the ways of another very different but highly enjoyable lifestyle.  For a time it can be very rewarding, enriching and it may revolutionize your life approach.  Frequently persons who have experienced Meta Lust are thought to be able to shake off their usual, but less useful, ways of being themselves and give birth to ‘outside the box’, new selves.  Some have described that after a Meta Lust experience they have become far more creative, more self-confident and more able to live thoroughly alive.

In working to understand Meta Lust please don’t be put off by the word ‘lust’.  In some circles ‘lust’ has gotten an overly negative connotation.  Think ‘lust for life’, ‘lust for adventure’, ‘lust for knowledge’ and ‘lust for enlightenment’.  Lust like all other feeling states has its beneficial purpose.  For instance, lust is very good at helping us do things big and with strong intensity.  Meta Lust sometimes greatly enriches because it can bring a person some of life’s biggest and most intense experiences, most impactful learning and most memorable events.  Like all forms of lust it also can bring some big ouches.

Some people coming out of a Meta Lust experience seem to end the relationship more OK than commonly occurs when ending many other types of romantic involvements.  Sometimes two people enter and exit a Meta Lust experience together and then become good, possibly lifelong friends.  Apparently, at least a small number of post Meta Lust people seem to look back on their Meta Lust experiences with fond nostalgia and satisfaction.  This certainly is not everyone’s experience.  Especially hurt and disappointed are those people who counted on their Meta Lust experience to be a lasting love.

The ancient Romans seem to have known about Meta Lust, except they apparently named it ‘Lustus Profundus’, although this term may also refer to some other false love states.  Since ancient Roman times, down through the ages, there appears to have been repeated descriptions of Meta Lust.  Many people seem to have understood that it was not real, lasting love and gave it various other names.  Descriptive words like “enamored”, “enthralled”, “enraptured” and perhaps even “twitterpatted” may have been used to indicate people in a Meta Lust state.

For a time what seems to have been Meta Lust was thought to have meant that a person was being temporarily influenced by a lusty sprite, and at other times inhabited by a particularly enticing demon.  It also was considered to be symptomatic of being bewitched by some witch’s or warlock’s romance spell, and in time, or with another witch’s help, you could eventually exit from a Meta Lust, bewitched state.  Religious exorcism also offered hope for escape from being bewitched and, therefore, freed for true love.

Why does Meta Lust exist?  Meta Lust is suspected of having evolved as a sort of efficient, rapid-fire way to personally and interpersonally learn a lot from a consonant and concordant other person, while developing intimate, personal strengths and preparing for more lasting, serious relationships in the future.  Meta Lust might be one of evolution’s ways to help get a child started, and then turn off and end the relationship, so that the participants can go on to mix the gene pool more thoroughly via new relationships.  Thus, Meta Lust might have a fair amount of survival value for our species.

Are there problems with Meta Lust?  Well, of course, there are problems with every type of false love and actually with all types of interpersonal relating.  When people confuse Meta Lust for real, lasting love and get married, or conceive a child all sorts of problems may arise.  When the happy, good feelings of Meta Lust go away, or the lover or spouse of Meta Lust departs, the left lover or spouse may suffer strong depression, disappointment and despair may result.  Sometimes one person is in a state of Meta Lust with the other in a state of real love.  The aftermath of that may be seriously difficult in a number of ways.  Those people in Meta Lust who rush into marriage and pregnancy, and then come out of Meta Lust usually divorce wondering what in the world went wrong.  Thus, the children of Meta Lust couples are likely to experience either their parents staying together only out of guilt and obligation, or they may experience  separated parents – who hopefully work at good co-parenting.  Sometimes that turns out quite well, but sometimes not.

What is to be done about the false love called Meta Lust?  Perhaps first, just to know about it.  Of course, if you suspect you’re in a state of Meta Lust abide by Paul’s teaching that “love is patient”, and don’t quickly make any life-changing moves like getting married, and avoid pregnancy, plus be very careful about sexually transmitted diseases.  Don’t work at fooling yourself into believing that Meta Lust will turn into healthy, real, lasting love; that possibly could happen but most of the evidence seems to suggest it probably won’t.  Enjoy it and learn everything you can from it, while not taking it too seriously.  Generally going slowly in a relationship situation is most likely to be helpful in avoiding the possible destructive pitfalls of Meta Lust; and the other types of false love (see all the entries for types of False Love in the Site Index under ‘F’ ).  Naturally if you’re getting into anxiety and depression, or any other set of strong, unhappy emotions some counseling, hopefully with a love knowledgeable counselor or therapist, is advisable.
If I’m in a Meta Lust experience what are my chances for it turning out well?  Like so many things in life some people have a relatively exciting, mostly good experience with a Meta Lust relationship, at least at first.  Others have a terrible time, often not long after the relationship begins.  Highly healthfully self loving people handle it better than those poor at healthy self-love – as would be expected.  Likewise, those people who are otherwise well-nourished with love from many people and from many directions seem to get through the experience a whole lot better than the love-starved and love-malnourished.  For some, Meta Lust seems to be a ‘crash and burn’ experience, and for others a wonderful life adventure but almost always with some severe bumps.  Those who are really good at interpreting the guidance messages of their emotions, and those who understand the difference between healthy, real love and false forms of love do best   (check out the entry “A Dozen Things Love Is and a Dozen Things Love Is Not”).

Meta Lust may be more likely to occur between underlings and superiors like bosses and their assistants, mentors and protégées, ministers and a close congregant, health providers and patients or interns, and in general between the higher ranked with the lower ranked.  Meta Lust is thought often to start with a lower ranked person highly admiring and becoming enamored of a higher ranked person.  Frequently it seems the relationship itself begins after the lower ranked person bravely instigates some personal, more intimate connecting action with the higher ranked person.  Then if the person in the superior position responds positively a more full-blown Meta Lust relationship may soon spring into life.  Of course, if either one of these people are currently in committed relationships or marriages, or the ethics of their profession prohibit such a relationship, all the many problems of a deceitful affair may soon destructively afflict everyone involved.

Can Meta Lust experiences turn into healthy, real, lasting love?  Yes, this does seem to happen to some people.  Healthy, real love can begin to grow between two people who get started in this, and many other forms of relating, but in regard to Meta Lust it seems to be a fairly rare experience.  This, along with many other questions about false forms of love have yet to be well addressed by research psychology.

Meta Lust experiences seem to have a large variety of mixed outcomes.  Among the more liberal minded, nontraditional, loving people Meta Lust relationships sometimes transition into a real, ongoing kind of friendship love, encompassing each other’s mates and other family and friends.  In the modern Western world the more rigidly traditional are suspected of having a harder time with Meta Lust relationships.  That possibly is because they have no special standard, identifiable, labeled category or role by which they can think about this sort of transitory relationship.  For them there may be only two acceptable categories, singleness and marriage.  For some, all other categories are nonexistent, illicit or wrong.  Being friends or having any other involvement with former ‘lovers’ or ‘lust mates’ is either unthinkable or unacceptable.  Really destructive outcomes apparently occur when one or both people in a Meta Lust relationship keep trying to force the relationship into a traditional, pair bonded form like engagement or marriage.  This may fight the natural way Meta Lust relationships evolve, end or transition.  In cultures and subcultures where there are more accepted romantic relationship categories, than just single or married, those in Meta Lust may have an easier time of it.

Now, a reminder is in order.  Research into many of the false love forms is in its speculative stage.  Thus, we are dependent on less than fully verified field observations, clinical conjecture, philosophical inquiry and analysis, and the best guesses of the people who think about these sorts of things.  A great deal of good, solid scientific research is yet to be done in this area, so all we have to rely on is the thinking of the hopefully experienced, intelligent and wise who try to understand these phenomena of the heart.  That, of course, is what we mostly have done for the eons before science became the way to know things.  The good news is that this sort of thinking about Meta Lust and other forms of false love is proving rather useful at the practical application level for those who apply it.  In time science will most likely learn a great deal more about all this, will give us new and better comprehension and might reveal new, higher level mysteries needing further research.  Until then we can work with what we have.

If you think you might be in a Meta Lust relationship hopefully you will enjoy it, and grow from it but not depend on it over much.  If a Meta Lust relationship starts giving you one type of trouble or another, or troubles anyone else for that matter, I suggest you seek out a good, love-knowledgeable counselor or therapist and grow from it that way.

As always, Go and Grow with Love

Dr. J. Richard Cookerly

♥ Love Success Question
Have you thought, or been led to think, that Meta Lust was what healthy, real, romantic, lasting love was supposed to be like?  If so what will you do about that?

False Forms of Love Series
False Forms of Love: Limerence and Its Alluring Lies
False Forms of Love: Meta Lust
False Forms of Love: Shadow Side Attachments
False Forms of Love: The Devastating IFD Syndrome
False Forms of Love: Unresolved Conflict Attraction Syndrome