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Eros and Philia

Eros and Philia

Photographer:Fotograaf: Loraine Bodewes

Anonymous (25): “I have feelings for a colleague. However, he is married and I am also in a relationship, which by the way is good. What should I do with my butterflies?”

Ingrid: Practically everyone wants to share his or her life. In our culture it is customary to choose one person to do so. That is what we consider normal. When we have found the one, it does not mean that we no longer have contact with others. In fact, we constantly meet new people. At work, in the bus, in our local pub and in the queue for the supermarket checkout. During these meetings, feelings can be stirred up. If this is irritation, we can unload and get it off our chest and we try to avoid the instigator of that feeling. We don’t actually want negative feelings. But in this contact with another person, it is also possible that an internal fire is kindled. So we feel warmth, affection, love and maybe even have a crush. It usually becomes more complicated when that happens. We condemn ourselves for having those feelings. We simply find that it is not the right thing to do. Feeling embarrassed, we definitely don’t talk about it with others. It is also possible that we want to hold on to those feelings. After all, they feel so good and we always want more of something that feels good. In such a case we stoke the fire by coincidently being in the same place at the same time, to text with each other or maybe even arrange a date.

I don’t know what is best for you, anonymous. I have no idea what your partner means to you and whether you would want to risk your relationship. What I do know, is that you can also choose to do nothing. You can feed feelings by seeking contact with the person who is causing these feelings. If you don’t, the feelings will extinguish. The storm will pass or, maybe even more appropriate, the sun will disappear behind the clouds again for a while. So cherish the warmth that you are experiencing at the moment, without desperately trying to hang on to those feelings at all cost.

The ancient Greeks had different words to describe love. They had Eros and Philia. Eros stands for ardour, desire, force of attraction and passion. Eros can be blinding and go hand in hand with loss of self-control. Philia, on the other hand, is what remains when Eros has worn off. Affection and deep warmth. Enjoy Eros’ visit and know that he will leave again no matter what. At the same time, realise what Philia brings you before you decide to give it all up.     

Ingrid Candel

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