So many of us talk about love as an infinite force. I believe it. More than that – I feel it –when I am passionate, when I am quiet, when I am a channel for creativity in motion.
I feel the force of love in so many ways – one is in a sense of loyalty and constancy of friendship. Essentially, if I loved you decades ago, I love you now. A friend with whom I feel this exact kind of bond called me earlier this week, distressed. In no way do I mean to diminish the impact he was feeling when I say he related a common trajectory along the polyamory emotional highway: He and his girlfriend, some time ago, confirmed with each other that their relationship was open. She has been fine with his connection with me. She met a guy she fancied, and he was fine with that. Now, the feelings between she and the new guy are deepening and my friend called me, feeling he was completely. losing. his. mind.
We talked for some time, and I hope I gave some comforting words to a friend who was freaking out. I hope the real, honest, and continuous communication I suggested will manifest for them. I hope he believes me when I said that his feelings are valid and can help him understand his needs, which may well not be a need to close the relationship, but to get to the essence of how he can be loved and know he’s loved in a way that feels so clear and present that the unmanageable fear will dissipate. I can’t say which logistics work best for anyone else but me. I can say more about my observations on the nature of love.
Love is. It does what it does. If left to its own devices, infinite ways of manifesting between and among people are possible. Why don’t we all spend more time letting love be rather than engineering it?
Case in point: He and I have a forever bond of true friendship, a significant aspect of which is a deeply erotic connection. We could embrace it, ignore it, avoid it, or act badly on it. Over the years, we’ve done all of those. Yet it remains. This is what our love is.
The arbitrary rules we place on love can hurt so badly. Why should I leave behind a friend I love so much when I fall “in love” with someone new? There was a time I did ignore one love for another, and that experience is one of my biggest regrets. I care little about breaking the social norm or someone else’s rules, but I deflected a sincere being and broke a cardinal rule of my own heart. These days, I am very intentional about opening to the committed, poly loves that feel right for my life. I want any rules to come from within, not without, to be about allowing love, nurturing its growth, fine-tuning its expression.
During the phone call with my friend, I recalled times of being quite angry with him. Years ago I thought: Why was I never considered a possible “girlfriend?” Always, there was someone taking up the majority of the time and energy, and that someone wasn’t me. Was I so much less than? Over the incarnations of our connection, it finally resolved itself in my mind: That is simply not who we are to each other. Leave love alone. It didn’t need to be made into what I thought it ought to be, either.
Does he place significantly more importance on romantic love than forever-friend love? He probably does, I surmise. That is not equivalent to how I feel. This morning, I noticed I felt some pain around that as I listened to his story. At the same time I felt glad to be the one to field his honest outpouring of fear and doubt, and yes, love. I am still not sure how much love relationships should be about equivalent sensibilities, rather than sensibilities that through it all, emerge compatible.
I don’t know how my friend and his girlfriend will fare as they venture into the gut-wrenching, insight-sparking, fiery refinement of the ‘working through it’ they have ahead. Intuitively, I have high hopes. They may create safety zones and discover boundaries which help them feel stable as they explore. My friendship with him might move back to denial or avoidance. I hope not, but I’ll remain prepared for change. She may discover she has a boyfriend and a friend, a partner and an occasional someone, “the new guy” could be gone next week, or what seems to terrify my friend the most at the moment – she may have found two profound loves. Love left alone, I know, is capable of such wonders.
I’m rooting for them, and for the best in all of us to come forth. Messy growing pains are ok. They happen. No matter what else happens, I believe listening to love first, then doing the emotional work set in motion are the keys to bringing all through strong and whole.