Originally Posted by River
Perhaps this thread is not the appropriate place to address my questions, but here they are, anyway. If you'd like to address them, perhaps you'll prefer to do so in another thread.
Wow, this passage really struck me, because it's so opposite to myself. (I'm not saying it is bad, just different.)
Being in love is such an exhilarating ecstasy / bliss for me that I have a difficult time understanding not wanting to be in love. And regular sexual contact with someone, for me, means we're at least somewhat in love, and going deeper.
I can't help wondering what "falling in love" means to you--how you understand it. And what, ultimately, distinguishes "good friends" with whom you're sharing sex from persons with whom you're also sharing love / "falling in love"?
Do you worry or fear that in "falling in love" you will necessarily lose your independence? Your freedom? Time to write?
Thanks for your reply, River. I'm glad you asked these questions, as I don't know the answers myself, and it's something I want to discuss!
My problem is that I really don't know what "falling in love" means for me. I used to think it meant "the desire to be monogamous with one person forever." Therefore, it seemed like something I didn't want to experience, something that went against my nature.
I know a number of people--including my own mother (before I was born!), a few friends, and a couple men I have dated--who spent long periods of time "dating around," having sexual relations with various people (whom they considered friends and were honest with) and not committing to anyone. Then they "fell in love" with someone and dropped everyone else except the person they were in love with, and committed for life to their love.
(For my mother, that's the story of how she met my father, and for one of the men I dated, that's the story of how he dropped me--although he did it very kindly and apologetically).
I guess my perspective is that I just don't get it. I can't imagine that I would want to drop my other lovers just because of "falling in love." But, as I no longer have any lovers, I'm sort of floundering to readjust my philosophy. Now I have no idea what I believe about love!
It's possible that my exploration of polyamory will allow me to open myself up to love, if it's in the context of non-monogamy.
A more specific answer is, the one time I was in love, I didn't particularly like it and I didn't feel like myself. It's not really a good example, though, because I had fallen in love with my first boyfriend only AFTER the relationship was over, sort of realizing too late that I did return his intense feelings. I wasn't sure at first that we wouldn't get back together--and I felt all that bliss and exhilaration, all the love-songs-on-the-radio-finally-making-sense feeling. Except I wasn't actually WITH the object of my affections--it was all sort of imaginary, and I ended up getting very, very hurt.
Then I convinced myself that he was my one true love, my lost love, and I spent a long time avoiding dating because I couldn't imagine that I wanted anyone else. Eventually I realized that my real problem was that I wasn't in tune with my strong sexual feelings, and I'd been using the excuse of an imaginary love to keep those feelings bottled up.
A single incident of casual sex totally cured me of my childish infatuation, and revolutionized how I thought about sex and love and myself.
And this may sound sort of silly, but the only other time I've felt that "in love" exhilaration was when I recovered from a deep depression and started at a new college. I kind of felt like I was in love with myself. I finally felt like I had BECOME myself. And it was pretty awesome! I still feel like my relationship with myself is the most important relationship I have (and in a good way, not a sad way).
As far as romantic relationships with others, I have a pretty messed-up track record. But I honestly have only felt frustrated and lonely while having a boyfriend--never when I am solitary.
I'm not sure what exactly I feel like I would lose if I "fall in love." My independence, certainly--I have plans to do a lot of traveling over the next decade, and I also have no wish to mix my finances/household living with anyone. And definitely, I worry about losing my time to write.
But part of the problem is I have seen so many people "fall in love" and end up in terrible, unhealthy, controlling relationships.
I also think our culture is too love-focused. We are told that something is missing from our lives if we are not in love. That's simply not true.