“Love is beautiful; however, it also has a dark side since it can cause one self-isolation.”
― Ehsan Sehgal
Love and desire. In a sense, the two are one and the same. Love is the desire for the other’s
desire for yourself. But what is desire? And does love create desire or does desire create love?
That is the hard part of looking into subject matters like these. They are so vague that their
meanings end up getting lost in translation.
Growing up, I enjoyed watching romantic films. From Woody Allen films like Annie Hall,
Manhattan, everyone says I love you to when Harry met Sally, Jungle Fever and things of that
nature. Stories that while did not provide cakewalks to their characters, did however show that it
was possible was a man and woman to meet and to fall in love. It is interesting when you dive
into it how Hollywood has made an effort to make films that contemplate what love is. The only
issue is that Hollywood has created more or less an idea of love in the process instead of diving
deep into what love entails.
There are but a few stories that a honest about what love is and these stories more and more
have greater meaning and value as time goes on. A big eye opener for me while still in high
school was the film, 500 days of Summer. This film starts out as a boy meets girl story with
Tom played by Joseph Gordon Levitt and Summer played by Zoey Deschanel. The thing is that
right off the bat we are told that this about how Tom lost the girl.
Tom is an everyman. Went to college and got a degree in architecture but became a greeting
card writer for a knockoff hallmark. He is a depressive, listening to the Smiths, longing for love.
He then meets Summer, a beautiful girl next door type who joins the makeshift hallmark as his
boss’ assistant. They with a friend of Tom’s who also works there go out on karaoke one night
where they begin to get to know each other. Tom reveals his idealism on love and Zoey reveals
that she is simply not looking for one.
Here is an interesting thing that intersects with love and desire. Tom’s desires to be in a loving
relationship with Summer. In essence, he desires for Summer to desire him. Summer basically
tells him that she is not interested in being within that kind of dynamic. She is not looking for
love and therefore does not have a strong desire within her.
Tom’s desire is shown to have come from watching, you guessed it, romantic films as a kid.
Not romantic comedies, but romantic dramas (which tend to be more realistic and better). Tom
watches these films and feels as though something is missing from his life. As though he is
lacking as a human being and needs to fill this desire for love. At that young age he created this
double problem for him. The desire for love which means that he is in fact loveless. So, in a
way he created a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Anyway, the two end up dating and Tom tries his best to weasel his way into a relationship
despite the fact that Summer makes it clear that she does not want this. Even after he punches a
guy who will not stop his advances at her and was putting him down, has a fight about it and
complains to her about their status and she apologizes for it, she still won’t commit to him.
They eventually break up as she grows tired of him, breaking Tom’s heart. In reality, Tom’s
heart should not be broken. He should have seen that Summer was not interested in a
relationship and backed off. However, he decided to ignore her feelings and sink into his own
and is left wondering why he is all alone.
What is funny about this is that there is a roles reversal going on. Mainstream media likes to
portray women as the ones who are seeking love and commitment and men has commitment
phobic pigs. While that is the case some of the time, in reality there are a lot of men who yearn
for love to only be discarded by the object of their desire.
I’m not blaming women or in this case Summer. I’m not even blaming the men. The fault
usually has to do with attachment styles. The people who tend to be obsessed with love and
falling in love are called love addicts. This is typically more common in women, but men
certainly had this too. A love addict is someone who has not had a fair shake at life. This can be
from several sources such as maybe a little girl’s father touched her inappropriately or there
simply was not enough affirmations.
This is where desire begins. Desire comes the idea that we are lacking in some way. Without
some feeling of lack, there is no desire. So, in essence desire is a strong feeling of lack that we
have. Some people say that love and desire are one and the same. I disagree with this. I say if
desire is an intense feeling of lack than love is when you an object that you can focus your
intense feeling of lack on in hopes to have those intense feelings of lack be fulfilled.
This is where longing comes in and a good example is the Makoto Shinkai anime film Five
Centimeters per Seconds. The film follows Takaki from the age of seven to the age of 24. At
seven he meets a young lady named Akari. The two bond over choosing to stay in during recess
due to their seasonal virus. They use each other’s given names without any honorifics as a sign
of their deep connection.
By the time Takaki is ten it is time to graduate from elementary school. Finding that he will be
moving to Kagoshima, the other side of country, Takaki decides to meet up with Akari one more
time. He even writes a letter to her. The two meet up, share their first kiss when Takaki realizes
that he will never be as happy as this ever again. On the train ride home he decides that not
giving her the letter does not matter anymore. Akari has a letter of her own that she has prepared
for Takaki but withholds from giving it to her.
This is the beginning of a long, sad road for Takaki. Unable to let go of Akari, he carries this
weight with him. He longs for her, believing that he has missed out on some great love in his
life. The next time we see him he is 17, a senior in high school. His classmate Kanae has loved
him ever since they have been in middle school. Similar to him, she longs over him. The only
issues is that he is stuck in the past. For a while he had been writing back and forth to Akari.
But now all he does is write a text and does not send them but deletes them. He even hs
recurring dreams with her. Despite priming herself up for a confession, Kanae eventually comes
to terms that Takaki is looking for something that is beyond. Though she believes that she will
always love him, crying herself to sleep that night.
In the third and final act Takaki is 24 and is a programmer in Tokyo. He still longs for Akari.
This is now significantly ruining his life. He ignores calls from his girlfriend, effectively ending
their relationship, he is depressed and quits his job. Meanwhile, Akari is getting married. She
notices the letter that she had written to Takaki years ago. But leaves that alone as she continues
Takaki’s longing for Akari’s love, yet not even noticing a young lady being in love with him in
high school and ignoring his girlfriend is a sign of a love avoidant. A love avoidant being within
an anxious avoidant attachment style. He is so stuck in the past and his concept of love that he
will not give anyone else a chance. What should have been only the beginning turned out to be
something that has held him hostage for years.
He believes that without Akari he is lacking. In reality, he only sees Akari as an object. An
object to which he can project his lacking onto in the hopes to feel whole. A wholeness that he
only felt when the two shared their first kiss together when they were ten. A wholeness that he
has been clinging to since he was ten.
When you look at a lot of men in 2021, they have the inner conflict within them. They meet a
woman, have a connection, see this connection as something special and label it to be something
that it is not. Even though they have opportunities else where with quality women, they cannot
fully put themselves into it. But because of commitment phobia per se, but because they are
deep down love avoidants.
Anxious avoidant attachment styles comes from how your parents treated you while you were a
kid. Perhaps your father wasn’t around. Perhaps your mother condemned you constantly. In
some cases, perhaps both. This create a cocktail of lack where the child’s needs were not met.
So, they unconsciously go out looking for them in the world, usually to no avail.
I myself can relate to this. My father, while he did live with me, was not there emotionally.
My mother would either smother me or condemn me. Unbeknownst to me once I started dating
in middle school I would look for something that fill that gap. It became very frustrating. Then
when I was 16 I met a young lady. We both were into NASCAR and got along. We dated for
about two years on and off. She was the first girl to say that she loved me. Every night as our
text sessions ended I looked forwards to her heart messages. I was in love and it felt wonderful.
Unlike Takaki, it did not have such a nice ending as she kicked me to the curb, this had quite a
profound impact on me.
After that I dated some more, not really feeling satisfied, getting kicked to the curb even more.
Which at that point I realized that something needed to change. I then became a pick up artist for
a few years. Now, there is a debate on whether or not this something ethical, but I will say that it
got me out of my head and aided me with cultivating a ton of social skills that I would have not
One thing that has dawn on me that perhaps my high school love created a standard in my mind
that could not be reached. In Five Centimeters per Second the ending song is “One More Time,
One More Chance” by Masayoshi Yamazaki. The song, a masterpiece in its own right, has these
lyrics that are repeated throughout the song: It doesn't matter where I am because can't help but
look for you everywhere.
Those lyrics hit home as when you are a love avoidant that really what it is. You are constantly
searching, usually like I mentioned unconsciously, for that person who is no longer in your life.
In way, you cannot help but be stuck. In a lot of ways I was fortunate to get into pick as it
allowed me to not get into relationships that were unfulfilling and I stopped thinking of myself as
a pickup artist about three years in. But even now I wonder if that search is done.
There is also love outside of romance. The love of what you do. You can see this in some
many walks of life. The arts, literature, sports, etc. A man who I believe has always participated
in what he does out of love in Tony Stewart. Tony Stewart is one of the most versatile drivers in
racing history having won three Cup series championships, an Indycar championships, the
USAC triple crown (three of the USAC’s top division championships in the same year), a great
deal of wins on dirt and has won two Cup championships as a car owner.
He started out racing go karts at age eight. He then went into dirt racing, running USAC Silver
Crown, Midgets, and his favorite, Sprint cars. He then got an opportunity in Indycar and then in
NASCAR. He then got other opportunities such as owning dirt tracks, a dirt team, and then
eventually co owning a NASCAR team while he still was a driving, winning a championship as a
driver/owner in three years.
His ability to not only race, but excel in anything he has raced (he has won a championship in
any series that he ran fulltime in and has won race in anything that he has raced in period) has
impressed the whole racing world and people who do not care about racing for decades. I
believe it is quite obvious as to why.
Smoke (his nickname) obviously loves racing. Dirt is his main thing, but he loves racing. He
will get into anything with four wheels and an engine and give it a go. That love has allowed
him to be able to compete at an elite level for his whole entire life. That love has propelled him
ahead of other competitors who desperately wanted to beat him.
What is also interesting is that while Stewart has been engaged twice, he has never been
married. People like Stewart have already found their great love of their life. For Smoke, it is
racing. I remember Guillermo Del Toro in interview saying that film is Quentin Tarantino’s
mistress. I would dare say that racing is Smoke’s mistress. While he is now with Leah Pruett, an
NHRA dragster and it appears as though Stewart has found someone to share his life with that
understands him, I believe that this relationship is working because she knows that Tony’s heart
will always belong to the track.
I believe that this is something that is missing in society. We are taught that we can only
experience love from another human being. Usually, romantic. Parents and siblings second.
Friends and extended family a distance third. However, no one ever talks about loving and being
in love with what you do. Perhaps it is because most people work in jobs and careers that they
do not love and hate their lives.
This hatred of everyday life makes one search for something outside of them. Something that
they are well…lacking. Instead of finding love and fulfillment in their work, they search for it in
other people. This is a common thing and is very misguided. This is also why a lot of
relationships fail. When you have both parties coming at it for selfish reasons this leaves little
room for a true connection. So, when the trouble that is inevitable happens the couple finds their
relationships skills to be severely lacking. Then the relationship becomes toxic and the two split,
looking for someone else to fulfill that lack.
The worst of this is some with narcissistic personality disorder or someone with borderline
personality disorder. Most people lump men into the NPD category and women into the
borderline category, but it can certainly be vice versa. Anyway, people who suffer from these
mental illnesses are usually people with severe childhood trauma.
Someone with NPD is usually someone who is looking for “true love”. These people are going
to keep on searching for as long as it takes. Not surprisingly, these people are going to probably
be serial monogamists. While they are not looking to “play the field” they cannot help but to in a
way due to no one being good enough.
I dated a woman like this for a few months. She love bombed me and would pull away, then
come back, and then leave, and then come back and cyber stalk me. People with NPD do not
know what they want which in reality is narcissistic supply. So, when someone does not meet
these requirements, they bounce, looking for the next person who can supply them. This is what
people with NPD call love.
A borderline is a little different, but similar. Borderlines are triggered by relationships. Most
people with BPD have heavy abandonment issues which leads to an insecure attachment style.
On the flipside, people with BPD can even feel smothered and complain about that. What people
who are borderline are searching for is security. The problem is that they see security as love.
There is a Beatles song called “All You Need Is Love.” Catchy tune to be sure. However, this
is not the case. Love has never and will never be enough. If it were then there would be no
wars. There would be no civil unrest. Politics would not be the mess that they are. People and
people in relationships need much more than love to not only survive, but thrive.
So then, what are the love addicts, love avoidants, people who are dedicated to their field, and
people with NPD and BPD all searching for? They are looking for themselves. Their true
selves. Deep down with anyone who is yearning for love this is an identity crisis. Even an
existential crisis. They believe that love will solve the answer. And that this love is outside of
themselves. The problem is that they themselves are the answer that they have been looking for
You can say that the search is in reality the search for identity and purpose. The search for the
truth in a sense. When one stares into the eyes of their beloved and feels love, what you are in
fact feeling your love being reflected from you through the other person. In a way, you can only
feel love to the degree to which you love yourself.
That is another thing about society, we are not taught about loving ourselves. Well, some
people believe that if you love yourself then you are a narcissist. Funny thing is that when
editing the words self-love what comes up in the word definition is egotism, selfishness and
egocentricity. That is simply not true. A narcissist is someone who actually lacks self-love.
Self-love is when you do things that feel good. When you are not so obsessed with filling that
lack within you because you know that you can fill yourself up.
The people who need self-love the most are the people who are desperate for a relationship. I
have noticed one thing, the men who are longing for love never get it. There are a few reasons
for this such as wanting love is more of a feminine trait versus a masculine trait and when a guy
enters his feminine around a woman he cannot create sexual polarity. But also just from the
standpoint of these men putting themselves in a position of wanting versus having.
I remember that when I first started doing pick up I dated this girl. I got advice off the internet
(most dating online is garbage) and followed it. Basically, I tried to get the girl into a
relationship. It of course scared her off. I realized after that it is better to approach women just
looking to have a good time rather than to approach them wanting to make a relationship happen.
There is way less neediness, way less expectations and I am more open to different kinds of
women versus narrowing down and looking for the “right one.”
The question is how do you measure love? Be it “love” or self-love. Love is truly a social
construct. There is no way to measure how much love one has. There is no way to know how
much someone love you. The best way to see this would be our love languages. My love
language is acts of service so when someone does something for me out of the kindness of their
heart that says a lot to me. Basically, I am an “actions speak louder than words” kind of guy.
At the beginning of this I defined love to be the desire for the other’s desire of yourself. To go
a bit deeper to that, love is when you use the other to find yourself. In a lot of ways,
relationships are distractions. High quality distractions (well not always), but distractions none
the less. Most people would consider video games, social media and things of that nature to be
distractions and they certainly are.
But what the majority of people don’t realize is that we use the most important things in out
lives to distract us. Money, career, food, sex and of course, relationships. What are we
distracting ourselves from? We are distracting ourselves from finding ourselves. From
understanding ourselves. From full self-actualizing.
Bringing it back to 500 Days of Summer, Tom is wreck after Summer dumps him. He drinks,
he eats junk food, complains to women who are interested in him about Summer, and his work
slips (I have done all of these things as well). He got one more chance at Summer, or so he
thought when he was invited a party that she would be attending. The film did a great job with
the split screen of reality versus expectations. Within his expectations he expected Summer to
greet him with a warm embrace, they would hit it off again and he would get her back. Instead,
she just acknowledges him in a friendly way, ignores him during the party, and he finds a huge
rock on her ring finger.
Distraught, he is stuck until his little sister tells him that Summer never was the girl for him.
After giving her reasons, he quits his job, goes after his dreams of being an architect, has one
more final meet up with Summer where she is now married and they gain closure, and while
waiting on an interview, begins to chat up a woman.
What I find so interesting at 500 Days of Summer is that is bucked the typical Hollywood
Romance trope of the “and they lived happily ever after, the end” and substituted it for a strong
dose of reality. Tom does not get what he wants. While he begins to talk to someone new, he is
single at the end of the film. He is also a lot happier than he was when he was with Summer and
is sure as hell a lot happier than he was before he met Summer. This is because he began to
focus on himself. He began to love himself.
This is not too different with my encounter with the NPD woman. I wanted to take things up a
notch and she ghosted me. This was on New Year’s Day too. Even then, she began to stalk me
on Instagram. It was not until months later that I had enough and blocked her (I had blocked her
once before, but then the Pandemic happened, and I caved in). Looking back, I can see that she
did not want to commit to me, probably had someone else in mind that was more into drugs than
me, but wanted to keep me on the “hook” in case things went wrong. If she had just flat out
rejected me, that would have been great. But in her narcissistic mind, I needed to be kept as an
option until she was good and ready to come back.
As I began to love myself more, I lost any desire for her. I began to really see who she was.
Did it hurt? A great deal. I cried a few times. I thought that I had found a “good one” and that
after my years of pick up I could “retire”. But instead, I found someone who was reflecting the
wounds that I needed to give attention to. And once I began to do that, a lot of things in my life
began to change. A year later, I am not who I used to be.
Does this mean that we need to not be in relationships? Not necessarily. Though, most
relationships are more or less lessons rather than these destinations that we would like for them
to be. I cannot help but to think about how in the Celestine Prophecy how people who long and
grasp for other people to be half person. Not being whole inside of themselves. You cannot
search for happiness in other people. We have and are being lied too. At the end of the day all
we have are our experiences. We come up with the other person in our mind. It is a great
illusion that more often than not leads to disappoint and dissatisfaction once the truth changes.
Be it a breakup, a divorce, death, or that person changing physically, mentally or otherwise. It
all will end in suffering. Instead of making them one of the top if not the top priority of our
lives, but not make becoming awaken, understanding the nature of reality and the truth of your
life the top three motivations of your life. And everything else can be icing on the cake.
Valuing things outside of ourselves that we cannot control is a surefire way to suffering. That
value usually stems from an attachment to pleasure. This is essentially what Buddhism teaches.
In the Karma Sutta from the Sutta Nipata the Buddha speaks on how the craving of sexual
pleasure is a cause of suffering: “If one, longing for sensual pleasure, achieves it, yes he’s
enraptured at heart. The mortal gets what he wants. But if for that person-longing, desiring-the
pleasures diminish, he’s shattered, as if shot with an arrow.
The Buddha went on to say: So one, always mindful, should avoid sensual desires. Letting
them go, he will cross the flood like one who, having bailed out the boat, has reached the far
The flood is human suffering. The far shore is nirvana, a state where sensual desire cannot
exist. A state in which you are free. Alas though, we all have human desires and even
Buddhism states that one does not have to abstain from sex. But one can use this to become
conscious of their relationship with sex and the desire for a relationship. One can use this to
realize just how much suffering they cause themselves in pursuit of these things. I am convinced
that it isn’t not having a relationship that causes suffering, it is the wanting of it that causes the
I believe that the big issue is society. People feel pressure to get into relationships “to find
love”. In a lot of circles men and women are shamed if they do not get into relationships. The
reality is that it is okay to not be in a relationship. It is even okay if you consider yourself to
aromantic and asexual. A relationship is not going to make your life better. Especially if you are
entering one to fill a void.
The first love that I have was a good lesson. What was that? That there is no one who can fill
the void. Contrary to pop music, there is no one who can be a light to my darkness. It I and I
only who can do that. Some find this to be sad, but the truth is that it is freeing. Not having to
feel that I need to get love out of someone else is freeing. That the ultimate state of love is but
one breath away.
When one can master the art of being alone, one can achieve true happiness. One can reach that
far shore. Everything that is simmering usually never turns out to be the gold that you want it to
be. Be it that booty thong model on Instagram that you are dming constantly or that relationship
that you believe will fix all your problems. That is getting caught up in the flood. The goal
should be to reach that far shore. And the only thing that will fix all your problems is you. But I
guess the question then is…
Who are you?
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