Men's and women's roles are changing as we approach the new millennium. Many of you guys are becoming more relationship-oriented, and many of you women are becoming more independent. It's no longer true, if it ever was, that men are just out for "one thing" (sex) and that women are interested only in marriage. Even so, it is true that many people enter into the process of seduction with agendas that would seem to be more consistent with traditional sex roles:
• To some men, seduction is simply a means to getting a woman into bed.
• To some women, seduction is a means to getting a man to fall in love and propose marriage.
Obviously, there is enormous potential for trouble if either one of these agendas clashes with the partner's plans for the relationship. In a perfect world, both parties would have no agenda other than to enrich each other's lives with the experience. They would be open to whatever happened, without being unduly attached to the outcome. In reality, most people are rarely that detached. At the very least, partners should have compatible expectations for the relationship.
Sometimes, however, expectations change. One or the other partner in the couple who was in it only for the sex may find him- or herself falling in love. The partner who is marriage-minded may decide he or she would rather wait awhile longer before jumping into such a serious commitment. No matter how careful we are, and how well we think we know ourselves or our partners, the human heart is often unpredictable. Lust is bewildering enough, but when love enters into the picture too, it can really throw us for a loop.
So what do you do when love calls you by your name, as the old Leonard Cohen song puts it? For that matter, how do you know it's really love calling, as opposed to infatuation? Let's start by exploring what love is.
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