Aeneas, though he struggled with desire
To calm and comfort her in all her pain,
To speak to her and turn her mind from grief,
And though he sighed his heart out, shaken still
With love of her, yet took the course heaven gave him
And went back to the fleet.”
The Aeneid IV, Virgil
Sometimes we just have to turn back to the fleet. Even when every fiber of our being seems to say otherwise. Maybe we are already married; or maybe we are not ready to be pursue marriage. In either case, a new romantic attraction, in all aspects, must be rejected.
Aeneas was still in love with Dido. But the intervention of Zeus has shown him that his affair with Dido has been an infidelity to the divine plan—not to mention infidelity to Dido herself. Upon seeing his mistake, he responds with conviction; though belated, his ‘no’ to romantic attraction is fitting, and necessary.
Eros has an important place in life. But true love is always measured and directed by right reason. Eros too often pushes beyond the bounds of reason, thereby tending to destroy itself, or even us. Just saying no to eros is sometimes the true path of love.
Please see my longer reflection, Saying No to Eros, today at Aleteia.
Virgil (70-19 B.C.) is the great Roman poet, author of The Aeneid and The Georgics. In the Divine Comedy Virgil appears as Dante’s guide through hell and purgatory.