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  #71  
Old 10-29-2011, 09:23 PM
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What is love?

I have a feeling I have been doing deep, philosophical thinking on this one from time to time for a long time. I keep coming back to it, I don't think I've reached the logical conclusion on it yet.

I have gotten some insightful views about love from people around me. There have been similarities, but always differences, too. Also, I've read thoughts of some people on here that have described very well what I feel: some of the aspects you rarely see expressed in a more mainstream context. Somehow, even writing about love makes you feel/seem like a total hippie and freak (both of which I am happily, but it's impolite to rub it in people's faces too much ).

Obviously there is polyamory. That's an aspect in my way of loving, which I have in common with many people here. But there are other aspects, too.

One friend of mine is sexually monogamous and is in a partnership with her husband only. However, she has many friends whom she loves, and she sees no difference in the kinds of love she has for her friends and the love she has for her husband. I guess you could say she is polyamorous, but chooses not to have more partners than one. And her love is totally platonic for everybody besides her husband.

In many respects I'm starting to think I am similar to her, but there are also some major differences. Firstly, while she only wants a monogamous relationship (even as she loves many), I am open for more.

Secondly, in the sexual aspect we are the polar opposites. Her way of loving towards the people she chooses not to be partners with is totally platonic. I guess this is the reason she can feel quite free in expressing her love. There's no sexual energy coming from her, and when that's the case it's more "permissible" in the eyes of society. People don't get afraid when she expresses her love, because it is so clear that it's completely platonic, and somehow that makes it clear there are no expectations to it (sexual or romantic). When there is sexual energy, people easily see expectation even if there is none.

I guess here lies some of the reason it's been so hard for me to admit to myself how I love; it goes against all things that are generally seen as acceptable. You are only supposed to love your friends "in a different way", because that's what's supposed to make your partnerships special (what a idiotic assumption, btw, it's the unique people in them that make all relationships special!). It's seen a threat to your friendship if there are "feelings". Particularly, you're not supposed to be open to sex with your friends, and you definitely must not have sex with them. In fact, being platonic is in the definition of friendship, you're supposed to be "just friends". It takes time to get rid of all those beliefs; it takes time to believe that your feelings aren't a threat to anybody: not you, or your friends, or your partner(s), or your relationships. It takes time to see that indeed, there need not be any expectation linked to love, and you need not to act based on the feelings without any rational thought.

But here it is. I actually think I love all my closest friends, as well as my partners (obviously). With some people, with a certain kind of connection, I can begin to love easily, freely, and quickly. I just haven't been honest with myself about it before. I haven't used the word that actually describes my feelings: love. I am only admitting it to myself now: my love for my friends is not in any way different kind of love from the love I have for my partners; the things that differ in relationships are how that love is expressed and how deep it is.

The ways to express love depend on the person AND the relationship. In some relationships there are no sexual aspects, and that is just perfect the way it is. But, the love is still the same kind. In very many friendships I don't feel any need to express my love in words, it may not feel natural to the relationship, or there might be misunderstandings about expectations.

But from now on, I will try my hardest to be honest with myself about my love. And I will no longer be afraid of it, or hide from it, or try to deny it. I will (aim to) not have expectation linked to love. I actually don't think it'll be as hard to let go of expectation when I don't try to deny the love that exists, as I can see that I actually am in many relationships with people I love which don't involve sex/romance/partnership/etc., and I am perfectly happy and satisfied with that.

I wonder if this makes sense to some people. I am happy, though, to have clarity for myself.
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Last edited by rory; 10-29-2011 at 10:14 PM.
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  #72  
Old 10-31-2011, 06:11 PM
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I feel like at the moment we're in a sort of turning point, that from now on we can finally see how it really works out between the four of us. In a way I'm confident that me and rory are right for each other and our husbands for us. The three relationships are doing well. But what leaves me feeling a bit insecure is how all this is going to work, now that I'm regularly visiting them and all. I'm feeling vulnerable. I was feeling more stable a month ago than now for some reason. And at the same time both of my partners started talking about sexual feelings towards other people. Sometimes it's just too much at the same time and it all becomes overwhelming. I've been talking about love, feelings, sex and commitment so much during these last few days that it's starting to become all I can think about.

I think I need a break from thinking.
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  #73  
Old 10-31-2011, 06:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mya View Post
I think I need a break from thinking.
You should think about it.
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  #74  
Old 10-31-2011, 08:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mya View Post
I think I need a break from thinking.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rory View Post
You should think about it.
I think so!
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Oh, oh, can't you see? Love is the drug for me. ~Bryan Ferry
"Love is that condition in which another person's happiness is essential to your own." ~Robert Heinlein
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  #75  
Old 11-01-2011, 12:00 PM
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I'll write (again) about the issue that's hardest for me personally in polyamory. It's not exclusive to poly, of course, but like many other things it's magnified by it. That's acknowledging and taking care of my own needs and boundaries. That doesn't come naturally to me, and there are a lot of emotions linked to why it's hard. I think the most difficult one is guilt. Warning: this will be long.

I did neglect some of my needs (most importantly alone time) when Mya was visiting, ignoring them while riding the emotional high, and that has really bitten me in the ass after she left. I had really low energy for the whole of last week, and I'm only now coming out of it. No harm done (I'm not too behind with studies), and that can happen in other situations, too. And the week-long-low has had one really good side-effect: I finally went to see a doctor about mental health, which is something I probably should have done some years ago. (Not getting into that topic right now, I'll update on this front if they diagnose me with something, but that'll be a while.)

However it's important to address these issues, needs and boundaries, as thoroughly as possible both before and during Mya's next visit. Obviously I don't think I'll suddenly be perfect at something I've worked on for so long. But I will aim to pay extra attention to this. The immediate goal is to decrease worst of the impact (i.e. prevent me from extreme low afterwards). We/I need to do some brainstorming about the practicalities later (I actually think we should talk about these things together with all three of us; Alec, Mya, and me), but I now want to write about the emotional side.

One need of mine I did address during the week: the need for more sleep. We had talked about the sleeping schedule in advance, and deemed it fair that I would sleep every third night with Alec and the others with Mya, making it 5 nights with Mya and 2 with Alec. They have different sleeping schedules, and, thus, I would get about 8 hours of sleep on the nights I spent with Mya and 11 hours with Alec. Had we a bigger apartment, everybody could obviously go to sleep at whatever time they wish. But now, Alec sleeps in the living room, and Mya sleeps in the bedroom: so if I want to go to sleep at 9pm I can't do it in the bedroom because Mya's still awake and she can't go anywhere else since Alec's sleeping in the living room (and we have no other rooms). Therefore, if I need to go to sleep before Mya, it means I will go to sleep with Alec. I'm getting dizzy describing that, is it understandable? The point is, anyway, that because I felt I needed more sleep, and for the practical space limitations, I had to ask Mya if it was alright to her if I slept that one night with Alec instead of her. She was pretty fine with it and the issue was resolved.

However, while it wasn't a big deal as such, emotionally it was hard for me; and now that I have some energy again, I want to analyse why. It makes me quite anxious to deal with guilt, because I don't like to remind myself about all the baggage I have, but I will write despite that anxiety. Here are some of my thoughts.

A Because of internalised monogamous socialisation, habits, and my commitment to him, I feel (but do not consciously believe) that Alec is entitled to my time. Therefore, I feel guilty for not sleeping with him. I realise the irrationality of the guilt, and the fact that it is based on beliefs which I don't subscribe to, and that makes me feel angry towards myself for feeling guilty without doing anything wrong. Because I hate feeling and can't accept the irrational guilt, I overcompensate. Thus, I feel the need to prove to myself that I won't give into the monogamous conditioning. Because of all this, it is hard for me to balance making boundaries while still taking into account Alec's needs. I tend to do too much of one or the other: if I follow my natural response, I tend to ignore my own needs, but if I fight it, I may end up putting all my own needs and wants before any needs of his, creating a situation as unreasonable and imbalanced. It is hard for me to evaluate them objectively with all the emotional stuff going on.

B It is important to me to strive for equality. I am strongly opposed to primary/secondary in my own relationships (others can do whatever they want and what fits them best: there's no judgement here! ). I am doing a lot of processing to truly internalise that equality is not sameness, but it is easier to believe in some instances than others. I feel like I need to prove to myself that my relationships are as important, and that I don't put Alec's needs before Mya's just because I've been in a relationship with him for a longer time. To a lesser extent I also feel a need to prove it to Mya (through no fault of hers), and because I am very conscious that to the general opinion it looks like we're just two married women "having a little fun on the side" while our marriages will always be the top priority. Rationally, I think absolutely no decisions should be made because of a need to prove something to somebody, but it still works on the emotional/unconscious level. So, because of all this, and the goal of equality, and my commitment to her, I feel (but again, do not consciously believe) that Mya is entitled to my time.

Conclusion: There is something essential I need to learn to believe: my time is my own; I don't owe anybody anything but it is mine to spend freely to whatever I want. I could add the disclaimer about the need to care for the feelings of others, but seriously I don't need it. I'm so far from the balance that there is little risk of neglecting others. It is my responsibility, and should be my first priority, to take care of my own needs. It is actually pretty clear that my partners will take care of defining and expressing their needs (and that is good!); I need to prioritise my own for otherwise it won't get done.

To be honest, the thought of doing this raises such anxiety. I know it's really fear. Fear of not being accepted, fear of not being good enough, fear of abandonment, of not being loved. That same anxiety, fear, is there every single time I enforce a boundary; each time I express a need that conflicts with something I know somebody I love wants from me. The magnitude of the fear is irrational and in no way in relation to the thing in question; and the relief I feel when the other person doesn't react badly is similarly out of proportion. Irrationally, it is actually relatively easier to ask for something really big, i.e. something that's more likely to be a deal breaker, because the amount of fear is the same, but if it's something I really can't ignore, the possible abandonment would be easier to handle than with something not so essential (as in, something I can live with even if it makes me miserable, if the misery is easier to handle than the irrational fear of not being loved).
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Last edited by rory; 11-01-2011 at 12:14 PM.
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  #76  
Old 11-01-2011, 01:29 PM
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Senga Senga is offline
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This blog is really inspiring! Thanks for writing about your story. I find myself agreeing with a lot of the things you two feel. Your situation & how you make it work is really interesting to me because I hope to create a similar situation some day.
Best wishes to you all
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  #77  
Old 11-01-2011, 02:03 PM
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@Rory - You worked out this sleeping plan, felt guilty because it wasn't what you would consider a fair split, then felt even worse when it was effecting your need for sleep and you had to change it. I have a suggestion, stop trying to be in control of the entire situation. Next visit, the three of you sit down and work out the sleep schedule together (everyone gets a voice), after Mya gets there and leave room for sudden changes, like figuring out you need more sleep or such.
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  #78  
Old 11-01-2011, 02:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mya View Post
I think I need a break from thinking.
Quote:
Originally Posted by rory View Post
You should think about it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by nycindie View Post
I think so!


But I can't do that now! Rory started another interesting topic to think about so after this one I guess.

And also, meditating helps. I meditated quite a while yesterday and immediately felt way better, so my brain doesn't feel as clogged anymore.
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  #79  
Old 11-01-2011, 02:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Senga View Post
This blog is really inspiring! Thanks for writing about your story. I find myself agreeing with a lot of the things you two feel. Your situation & how you make it work is really interesting to me because I hope to create a similar situation some day.
Best wishes to you all
Thank you very much! That felt really nice.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SNeacail View Post
@Rory - You worked out this sleeping plan, felt guilty because it wasn't what you would consider a fair split, then felt even worse when it was effecting your need for sleep and you had to change it. I have a suggestion, stop trying to be in control of the entire situation. Next visit, the three of you sit down and work out the sleep schedule together (everyone gets a voice), after Mya gets there and leave room for sudden changes, like figuring out you need more sleep or such.
Thanks SNeacail for your input. This isn't the first time rory feels like she's responsible for everything and tries to keep the control to herself:

Quote:
Originally Posted by rory View Post
I've mentioned control issues, right?
I think what you suggested is exactly what we need to do. Discuss this all three of us and not make any definite plans, go with what feels right each evening. Or we could have a loose plan but keep it open for changes.
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  #80  
Old 11-01-2011, 03:31 PM
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Hey there,

I can so relate to most of your worries And I have found an indicator that helps me put them away when they occupy my mind too much. If you worry about not splitting equally, about being to focused on Mya/Alec/your needs, about any possible situation or cause for the situation you can think about: wait for someone to complain about it. If no one actually IS unsatisfied, meaning, coming forth to tell you about the neglect of some needs of his/hers, don't worry about it on your own.

Our sleeping arrangement is similar, expect the fact that we rotate nightly, and it's impossible for Lin, who sleeps on the couch, to stay asleep when one of us leaves the bedroom to do something in the flat. Or the other way round: when I stay with Lin for the night and Sward gets up in the morning he is bound to wake us up. This been our deal for 5 weeks now, really unnerving sometimes. And I worried if Lin could be mad because his time with me is always interrupted and if Sward felt uncomfortable because he sits right next to us when he drinks his coffee in the morning, watching us cuddled up and such. I got stressed out more and more thinking about it. End of story: No one was bothered as much as I was by my constant worries.

To sum this up: None of them complained. I was too occupied thinking about the negative possibilities to hear my own complains. I neglected my own needs. My needs being that I should have been able to enjoy every moment that I spent with each. I spoiled my own fun there. I know how hard it is to change this routine of thinking about stuff to make sure that all is sorted out completely and that all negativities are taken care of before they actually arise. And stop thinking of “this is how it has to be” role-model. It's all about feelings and comfort levels and such. They are individual. They are in fact that different, that I could never compare mine to Sward's or Lin's. (What I tend to do most of the time, what leads to assuming that they can't feel satisfied with this/that, what brings me back to the starting line... )

I mean, to be honest , I am in no position to talk actually. I do exactly the same all day long But that is what I have found to be the case most of the time. And it's mostly more damaging than it's doing any good for me or us. And let me guarantee something: We will never be able to stop worrying completely. Therefore it can do us some good to stop the process of thoughts from time to time if we have brooded over a topic too long and wait for them to come to us. They are all grown ups, they will tell you when something needs to be adjusted. Grant yourself the same freedom and rest assured that it is OK, when you do the same and ask for things that you would like to work differently. You are eager to fulfill their wishes, they are as well, if I am allowed to make a guess here

This has gotten quite long, but as I said, I have had all these thoughts already more than once. It's great that you have been able to come a similar conclusion as I have. I can even relate to your fears. It was on my part mainly caused by them loving me so much and unconditionally that I couldn't stomach it intellectually. I was wondering how this could be possible. Twice even. I have kind of simply accepted it. I am sure it's the same for you and them. Allow them to love you in the way they do and don't doubt it or feel pressured by it. Not meaning taking them for granted of course, but have a bit more trust in them. Sward said, that he would feel hurt if his partner was constantly in fear of expressing her needs. He would start to assume that he wasn't trusted enough to be able to fulfill them.

I will shut up now; good luck to you and your loved ones
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