13 October 2012

One Love or Many

The first question on the Saturday 9 meme is one that I can't answer with just a few sentences.  It's actually a topic very close to my heart.  The question is:

1) Do you believe there's only one person (and there ain't no other) for you? Or do you think we can truly love several partners over the course of our lives?

I firmly believe that you can truly love several partners over the course of our lives. I have.  And I probably will again.  Love is both easy and complicated, narrow and all encompassing.  Love is not a non-renewable resource.  You don't have a quota that you hit and then have no more love to give.  You can see it between children and parents, where the love between them is not lessened because of additional people in the family.  There is no difference, in my mind, between that kind of love and the love you can have for others in your life, whenever they may cross your path.

I think of love like a road.  You travel down it and sometimes, someone joins you for the journey.  They may be with you until the next exit or they may be with you all the way.  If they do need to stop traveling the road, you don't need to keep going alone.  Someone else may come and join your journey.  Or maybe even a couple other people.  But just because someone left the road they'd been traveling with you doesn't mean that they never traveled it.  It just means that they aren't on it any more.

When I was 16, I fell in love with someone.  We'd been friends for a year, then realized that we loved one another.  And I was convinced then that his was the only love I'd ever have.  My parents made me break up with him because of something that he'd done, telling me that if I didn't, they would move me to another school and make sure I'd never see him again.  My heart broke that day, and I cried harder than I ever had up to that point.  Over the years, I've been in touch with him off and on, and realized that the love never left.  It's been over 20 years, and I still have the love in my heart for him.  But it doesn't make me love my husband any less.

When I was 20, I met a man that became my everything for 7 years.  I wanted to spend as much time as possible with him.  The first year or so was good, but it became a bad relationship.  And I stayed with him because I loved him.  Eventually, love or not, I had to get out of the bad relationship and move on for myself.  Looking back now, while I don't love him still, I did truly love him then.  Love can fade and die, but that doesn't make the love any less just because it ended.

There was a time that I was a  practicing polyamoroist.  In the time I was poly, I had 3 different men that I loved (though more relationships than that). Everyone knew about everyone else, and because of that, I knew that I was loved in return.  My love for one did not diminish when I found someone else to love.  It increased, because each of these men were letting me be myself rather than trying to force me into a monogamous box (though each and every one of them was monogamous themselves).

Before I realized that I was polyamorous, I was miserable.  I would fall in love with someone new, which I was told meant that I didn't really love the first person I was with.  So I'd end one relationship, not because it was a bad relationship but because I was convinced that the love must have ended if I was having feelings for someone else.  So I jumped from relationship to relationship, unhappy when I fell for someone else because I'd have to give someone up.  A friend of mine told me that he was poly and explained what it meant.  And that's when I realized that every bit of misery was caused because I forced myself to make a choice that I didn't have to.  My love for one wouldn't diminish because I now loved another, any more than my love for Teddy would have diminished with the arrival of Peter.  For the first time in a long time, I was happy with relationships.

No one knows what the future holds.  There may be more loves in my future or it may be just Rich and I.  If something were to happen to him, I would hope to find someone else that I love as much as I love him.  If something were to happen to me, I know I would want him to find someone else.  Why travel the path alone when you have someone that wants to travel with you?