Following is an excerpt from a samvaad (dialogue) session with Acharya Prashant.
Questioner (Q): My question is about relationships. As a boy, I might get attracted towards a girl, but eventually, that girl may become a close friend of mine. How can I know whether the feeling I have for the other is true love or just physical desire, like infatuation?
Acharya Prashant (AP): Aren’t you the best judge? Don’t you already know? You must be having male friends as well, so you know what a relationship that does not involve physical attraction feels like. I am assuming here that you are not physically attracted towards your male friends. Now, here is your female friend, and if you are thinking a lot about her physicality, then this in itself is clear proof that the relationship has a strong physical dimension. So, that is sufficient.
What are you relating to the other as and what is it in the other person that you feel attracted to or related to? What is the direction of your thoughts? What are you wanting from that person? When you think of that person, how do you think of that person? And if you think a lot of that person as the body, then you know that the relationship has a strong bodily component; that’s all.
Q: If I am not able to differentiate between these feelings, I might end up with a breakup. How do I deal with that breakup and come back to the original state?
AP: See, one doesn’t break up with friends. Have you ever heard the use of the term ‘breakup’ between friends?
AP: If the relationship is really healthy, a person-to-person relationship, then the relationship may change course, the relationship may change color, the strength of the relationship, and the warmth in the relationship may increase or decrease. But this sort of a thing like a total breakup is hardly a possibility. If a breakup involves a total severing of the relationship, “I will not speak to you, you will not speak to me anymore,” then why would anybody want to do such a thing? After all, there was something in the person — I am assuming there must have been something in the person — that you recently found valuable, right? How is it that that valuable thing is no longer of any value?