“What’s love got to do, got to do with it?” ~ Tina Turner
A very good question Tina. Let’s see if we can answer it
Childhood and love
For many year I thought love, that girl meets boy and falls in love stuff, was the thing of books and movies. I didn’t really believe it worked like that. I think some of that might be down to my parents relationship.
Now in my 40’s I can see that, despite the surface signs, they do love each other in their own weird way but growing up my Mum seemed to be mostly irritated with my Dad. Reader she still is, hugely irritated with him most of the time but it just seems to be their way. My Dad, well he is definitely not a gregarious man. He is not a hugger and whilst now and then I have seen him reach out the touch my mum, usually a tap on her back, it is not their way. It is not his way. I don’t ever really recall seeing them being physically affectionate to one another. I don’t think I have ever seen them hold hands.
All that romance in movies and books. Well real people didn’t actual do that. Yeah I was fairly jaded about it all but also it seemed to be what I was supposed to do. Find a mate, get married, have babies. I followed the script perfectly. I didn’t even think it was particularly odd that the man I married rarely told me he loved me.
Children and love
When you have a child the love you feel for that helpless little creature is almost overwhelming. (Yes I know for some people that is not the case but this is about me) I remember bringing him home and spending hours smelling the top of his head, he smelt intoxicating to me, and just watching him. There were moments when I totally understood why some animals eat their young, that desire to hold him so insanely close, to almost consume him. I felt that at times. Suddenly here was love, intense consuming love. It literally knocked me for six. I think it took me nearly four months to recover from it. That might sound odd but I don’t mean recover from the love I mean recover from the intensity of it, the power of it. To put some perspective on it I guess. But I would be forever changed.
In time their would be another baby. More love. Then a divorce. I won’t go into the details of that but love, or lack of definitely played a role. I came out of that relationship and I was fairly confident that monogamy was not for me. But was that about sex or love?
Sex and love
I have had a lot of really fucking great sex with people I was not in love with. During my summer of swinging I had a lot of sex with people I barely even knew let alone had feelings for.
For me sex and love don’t have to go together. Those two things can be totally separate but they can also be intertwined. When I first started exploring non-monogamy during that summer I actually thought that maybe it only extended so far as sex but that I might potentially be emotionally monogamous.
When I met Michael and fall in love with him, that was a huge eye-opener to me about what really being in love with someone felt like. How powerful and intense those feelings can be and also how sex with someone you are in love with does have a special potency to it.
Non-monogamy and love
For a fair part of our relationship I continued to think that I was emotionally monogamous. I knew I wasn’t sexually monogamous. I still desired other people, even though I never acted on that, the desire, the lust for others, still bubbled away. But emotionally I felt content, until I didn’t. What changed? I fell in love with another person. Maybe non-monogamy and love were not as separate as I though they were.
The relationship with Michael eventually ended and this last year, despite bloody Covid, I have started to really explore what non-monogamy means for me. How it works, what it feels like, what I want my relationships to look like. Having a partner who is not only comfortable with my seeing other people but is actively encouraging, supporting and engaging with me as I do so has been such a revelation and this year I have learned that being able to share that with him has not only bought us closer together but has also intensified my love for him.
I have also confirmed this year that I can be in love with more than one person at the time. My non-monogamy includes being polyamorous.
Kink and love
I don’t need to be in love with someone to indulge in kink play with them but I do need to know them. I could never engage in any type of kink play with someone I didn’t feel a connection with. I need to be able to trust someone to let them hurt me and likewise I need to know someone to be able to hurt them. Kink play requires knowledge, well for me good kink play does. You need to know what a partner likes and does not like. Sure there are always discoveries to be made but there need to be a base to start from. Love is not necessarily that base but trust absolutely is.
Friends and love
I love my friends and I tell them that often. When I was younger I thought love was something for family and partners. Friendship was somehow apart from that but over time I have realised that is not true. I have friends I like and am fond of but I also have friends I love. Telling your friends that you love them is a wonderful thing. Hearing from your friends that they love you is bloody awesome. Friendship love is so very special.
Love and in love
I love my parents and I love my children. The love for a child is something special, there is an unconditional nature to it that it fairly unique. There is also an intensity to it that I guess nature wove into us so that we don’t tend to go around abandoning them for a very long time. Human babies, unlike many other species are fairly helpless for a really very long time.
I love my friends and some of those friends are also lovers/partners. I am not in love with them but I do love them. They are very special people in my life.
Then there is being in love, I wish I had the words to explain the difference between the two but I don’t and as humans have spent centuries trying to give words to love and mostly fallen short it is not surprising but I guess love is one of those things, you know it when you feel it, or in this case, experience it.
The perfect love
“We waste time looking for the perfect lover, instead of creating the perfect love.” – Tom Robbins
This was the quote this week on quote quest. I didn’t start the piece with this because I don’t actually like it. I can’t quite put my finger on why but I think it might be because in my mind it seems to equates monogamy with love. Also the phrase, perfect love, just gives me the creeps. It sounds a bit toxic monogamy to me. That one person should be your everything, should tick all your boxes and meet all your needs forever and ever. I don’t believe that. That is not how it works for me.
I love you
Love is both simple and complicated. Or maybe we just make it complicated by attaching all sorts of other things to it, like obligations and expectations on people and relationships. Just accepting love and giving love without those things can be tricky but it is something I think I am fairly good at. If I tell a partner I love them it doesn’t come with an expectation of anything other than what we have now. Love is not a pathway to increased relationship obligating. Stealing and adapting slightly a phrase from E.L Bryne, love is not an escalator.
If I say I love you it doesn’t mean I am expecting you to move in with me or meet my parents it just means right now I love you the person that you are and what you bring to my life.
So, what’s love got to do with it?
A great deal it would seem. I could have written a post on each of the sub heading I have included here. Delving deeper into each subject. It has taken me a long time to really understand what love means to me, how it works with regards to different relationships and how important it is to me. I am always learning and evolving but I have learned to be more confident with love as I have aged. To say it when I feel it, to not over analyses it (or try very hard not to) and to not attach false expectations to it. Just let it exist as it is within me and embrace it and enjoy it. To love, love.