Styles of Loving
In matters of partner selection, it hardly needs saying that different men pursue different qualities, but can be worth remembering that different people desire and love in different ways. Reflecting on how you love, and how others might love, can be beneficial when seeking a partner, or merely a date.
The erotic lover has an ideal image in his mind to which any prospective partner must conform. It might entail being blond, smooth, fat, hairy, tall, short, clean shaven… And when that person isn’t there, as the chances are he rarely will be, he’ll look around the crowd in the bar and see no-one. The erotic lover has his ‘type’.
When he does see a match, the rush of hope and anticipation sets in, so much so that he might fumble it, pushing for too much too soon, failing, perhaps, fully to appreciate the other person’s thoughts, attitudes, experience and needs.
If seeking a type, adaptations may well become necessary, as the lover seeks to make himself attractive to those he desires.
This isn’t about casual sex: it is more closely tied into a system of friendship, courtship and the rituals of any given scene.
Ludic lovers retain a high degree of independence. In their relationships, they come first.
This is the classical Greek term for the love which grows slowly between people, arising out of long term acquaintance. Looks are of far less importance than personality and long term contact and trust. The beloved will typically offer the lover a sense of security, which may not be there in more image and scene-driven relationships.
Cultivating such love is a long-term project, the reward for which is a relationship more likely itself to stretch into the long term.
These are the bunny-boilers. A manic love-style typically develops in those who have low self-esteem, a sense of void or absence within themselves, and have most likely ‘had it’ with the ‘shallow’ and ‘insincere’ people who populate, as they see it, the club and bar scene.
The manic lover becomes obsessed, often with an unwilling or entirely inappropriate person, becomes jealous, possessive and frequently violent, developing love-hate relationships, where relationship develops.
They are desperate – frequently having internalised the homophobia they have experienced – though may gloss their dysfunctions as ‘wildness’, ‘recklessness’. ‘passion’, a ‘dark side’, thus representing their love style seductively.
Still, if that’s what you want, it can indeed be a dark, wild, reckless ride.
The pragmatic lover takes most account of social and personal compatibility. What are the partner’s interests? What are his background, his education, his job, his goals? Such questions far outweigh issues of physical attractiveness – though fat, flab and stubble may still be rejected as being socially undesirable.
Pragmatic love may seem hard to find on the man scene, in which looks can be paramount. Internet profiling does offer men the chance to compare interests, occupations and the like before they meet – though there is no guarantee that these will be of overwhelming importance to the other man.
Factors which are traditionally held to make for successful relationships are valued most highly. This might be worth bearing in mind, if a long-term relationship is your goal.
Finding The Match
The recognition that there are different styles of loving can provide a valuable way of assessing oneself and other people – and of playing the scene. People are, of course, rarely exclusively following only one style – the pragmatic and erotic might meet, for example – but a sense of how other people might categorise can help the prospective lover decide if they might be for him – and how he might have them.