The second thing I have on my mind is love. I have been thinking recently about how I tend to view romantic relationships as a barrier to connections with others and as something that lessens the amount of love in many people's lives. (when I say romantic, I mean an emotionally significant relationships that involves sex - for me, no sex = no romance).
I know too that this feeling is grounded very much in my experience of being in a romantic relationship for 10 years during which time I found myself isolating myself more and more from my friends until I reached the end of it and felt I had nobody to turn to for help. Very lonely time.
Also - experiences with friends. A friend and one of her friends have a very strained friendship now because one of them started a romantic relationship and the other one felt left out and jealous and couldn't deal well with those feelings. I have had more than one close friendship become distant or dissolve altogether because the friend became romantically involved. I understand, of course, why this happens and I am absolutely supportive of it. I want my friends to be happy and if being happy means spending less time with me because they are in love then I wholeheartedly support them.
Then there are the difficulties over friendships with previous sexual partners. It seems to me that people struggle. Friendships can be lost because a new partner can't deal with worry they feel about their partner once being in a sexual relationship with a friend.
Or existing friends can struggle with meeting new partners because they've long had a crush on their friend or have slept with them and hoped it might turn into something more and now their friend has a partner. These ones I struggle with if I happen to be the new partner. I don't wish to be a barrier to anybody's friendships and I hate it if I ever find myself in a position where my presence hurts somebody else - in the past I've felt bad for days over that sort of thing.
Anyway - it may be that I am hyper sensitive to these things as a result of my experiences but those sorts of situations were partly what kept me out of romantic relationships for so long. I don't like the isolating tendencies that come along with romance.
I know that I can't control other people's behavior so if friends want to stop seeing me because they have a romantic partner, that's their choice. I might be hurt and miss them but I want them to be happy so I am okay with dealing with that sort of hurt.
I can control my own behavior and I chose for a long time to make sure that there wasn't a romantic partner in my life taking me away and also that my presence in somebody else's life wasn't taking them away or causing pain to people in their life.
I also make sure that now that I am in a romantic relationship that I continue to make time for my friends and family. I'm lucky I was so passionately and committedly single for so long that there is nobody in my life who is hurt just by the fact of me being in a romantic relationship now. Nobody pines over me and I have no feelings of guilt to deal with there.
This remains a real difficulty of mine with polyamorous relationships. As I see romantic relationships as likely to act as a barrier to love and friendship, I can only think that adding more romance into a situation is likely to make that worse. More chances to become distant from family and friends, to be a source of pain in a complete stranger's life, to end up losing friendships altogether if one of your partners finds another partner who isn't okay with what has gone on.
I turn it over in my mind sometimes and look for other ways of thinking about it. I'm not anxious about it - there is no panic to get over it. I'm very happy to know that I can manage one romantic relationship without it being a significant barrier to experiencing lots of love and if that's all I ever manage, I'll remain very happy.
Still - I think that being open to more romantic love one day would be a nice thing to experience so I do examine my feelings on this matter sometimes and see if there is a way of changing them.