Love is a tricky subject for me. On one hand, it’s been a huge source (arguably the only source) of happiness in my life. I feel like that’s how love should be.
On the other hand, it’s been a source of pain in my life as well. Whenever I haven’t loved “the right person,” or loved “the right way,” it’s hurt me in some way or another. This painful kind of love, and how I feel about love in general, is what I’m writing about today.
When dealing with today’s society, there are people who will insist on love being done a certain way. One example of this is rigidity regarding opposite-sex couples; male and female only, not male and male, female and female, or anything else.
This would be an example of not loving “the right person” and it’s a form of pain anyone who has been shamed for being gay/bi/having other nonstandard sexual preferences has endured at some point in their lives.
Not loving “the right way” is more nebulous, but what this boils down to is that there are certain standard expectations for people in romantic relationships. “Be devoted to your partner.” “Be faithful to your partner.” These are the sorts of ideas that many people seem to have about “proper” (ideal) relationships.
These constructs are ingrained in our society. They’re a sort of thing that passes from one person to another because they’re just “the right way to do these things.” LGBT persons and relationships, at least, are being more accepted as today’s society (in the US at least) develops, but the more nebulous ideas are still not being fully considered.
For example, one expectation most people I’ve observed have when talking about relationships is monogamy – the idea that you will have one partner and your partner will have no other partner besides you.
Polygamy (or polyamory, multiple relationships, etc) is less socially acceptable right now (again, at least in the US) for several factors, mainly related to marriage (ideally done between only two people, even in homosexual/etc nonstandard relationships), but I think the issue runs deeper.
I’m going to digress for a bit to describe some personal events in my life.
My first romantic relationship had a few periods of being strained, and I personally feel like most of them were related to the concept of monogamy and polyamory. As I said, monogamous relationships have certain expectations and among those include security.
The idea of “security” is a very important one to monogamous relationships, since you’re pouring your heart and soul into one and only one person. You don’t want to lose that person, so you expect them to never want to be with another person the same way they’re with you.
I’m of the opinion that no person can be everything to you. It may be theoretically possible to find someone who shares all of your interests, supports you emotionally in a perfect way, appeases your intellectual and sexual appetites to whatever degree they need to be appeased, and so on… But even then, it’s incredibly unlikely.
What’s more likely is that you form a romantic relationship with someone who meets most of, but not all of your needs. For any other needs, you would need someone else to meet them. Friends, family, or even other loved ones.
This perspective I had led to me falling in love with someone else while already in a relationship. And I didn’t handle the implications of that very well at the time. I didn’t take care of the people I loved, and all of us suffered for it.
But I believe that it was mainly because of the negative feelings associated with our relationship(s) that it fell apart. Jealousy, possession, fear of loss. Our love wasn’t meant to be because we didn’t understand each other well enough to handle these issues.
If it wasn’t obvious, I’m not a monogamous person by any means, and I don’t see that changing even though I’ve been with Sylvie for over three years now and love her dearly. She does so much for me, more than I can easily list. But she’s not my everything.
I’m of the mind that love should be freely shared between people who experience it. It should be okay to express love for more than one person. It should likewise be okay to receive love from more than one person. It shouldn’t be exclusive.
I also feel that “love” makes a suitable blanket term to describe many kinds of affection and passionate gestures; pleasant conversation, flirting, physical closeness, sex – these are all acceptable expressions of love for another person.
I think that it’s natural for people to want to love, and want to share expressions of love, with multiple people. I think love itself, as a feeling we experience, is unrestrained and can strike anyone at any time. And it should be celebrated, not condemned.
And I think society, for all its attempting to teach us good morals, teaches us things which are contrary to our most basic nature as humans. Whether you agree or disagree with any statements I’ve made today, I still think the way I do and that makes me a deviant. It brands me as something abnormal in a society which still adheres to certain traditional values.
This goes all the way back to that “issue” I mentioned when I mentioned polygamy/polyamory as a less socially acceptable idea. Very wholesome bonds which involve more than two people each caring for each other on some romantic level do exist (I’m living in one such network), and yet they won’t be accepted by the average person if they’re continually branded as “abnormal.”
Whether or not such relationships are unusual, nonstandard, etc, is not actually the issue – just by the way. If polyamory is always less common than monogamy (monoamory?), that shouldn’t ever be a problem. The problem is the social stigma which can come with it. And, unfortunately, not everyone in the world is so rational that they realise “unusual,” “nonstandard,” and similar terms aren’t insults.
I believe more people should understand that relationships like this are perfectly acceptable. What I do in my life isn’t really anyone else’s business in an ultimate sense, anyway. But it might still feel strange until more social acceptance is reached.
But, stepping down from my soapbox just so I can close this entry, all I really want to express is that I feel love itself should be considered a very natural and unrestrained thing. Many of us live with a lot of self-imposed constraints – too many, in my opinion, and who we love and how we love them is definitely one of them.
But love really doesn’t care, you know? Someday you’re going to meet someone (if you haven’t already) and some chemicals in your brain are going to explode and you’re going to think “holy shit, I’m in love with you.” And that’s totally fine!
Since it happened once, though, you can safely assume it can happen again. And I’d love to live in a society where people don’t consider that second chemical reaction strange.