There is a psychoanalytic myth called the lamella. This is a word used in biology, botany, and anatomy to refer to a thin membrane or casing. Lacan used it to metaphorize the idea of a narcissitic shell, a myth employed to illustrate the stakes of love in the games of erotic passion and commitment. If we allow our desire to puncture this lamella, moving toward another, a piece of it is lost to us that we might seek to recuperate. Narcissistic love wants to get this little fragment back, to be compensated by another for having emerged from the safety of our membranous enclosure. The contract is set up: if I love you, then you must consent to give back to me what I have lost in doing so. Love becomes a system of mutual favors in which loss is ultimately avoided.
Happily, there is another way. What causes us to desire— to leave the safety of an insular, lamellar world— punctures a hole in the very heart of our being. Through the other we can come closer to what we have lost. Love makes this absence present. To love passionately is this commerce of nothings, which is why love is defined more by the little nothings whispered between lovers than any bodily union.