This post was inspired by a blog by Karen. I thought about just re-blogging the whole thing and writing my own separate post, but I wanted to comment specifically on some of the things she said, so it made the most sense to provide you with the link to her awesome blog above and to cut and paste sections I was referring to here below. The specific blog post of hers that I am addressing is “What does it mean to have a skeptical view of love?”
First, she differentiates between skepticism and cynicism, which is a good point to make, and then she gets right into the meat of the thing. (A fact of her writing that I love). She says:
“I’m thinking about the whole idea of soul-mates, and romantic destiny, and there being one perfect love for you in the whole world. All of which I think is a load of dingo’s kidneys. And I don’t think I’m being unromantic. First]… [I don’t think there’s an invisible hand pushing people together…But maybe more to the point: The “soul-mate/ romantic destiny” vision of love puts the focus on love as something you feel – rather than something you do. It puts the focus on love as something that happens to you – rather than something that you choose. And I find it much more romantic, and much more loving, to see love as something we do, and something we choose”
I wholeheartedly agree. I think the concept of a hand of fate that plunges us together puts the onus for everything on some outside force and it takes away our power of choice, which is part of the most romantic part of love to me. It’s romantic to me, very romantic, that I choose the people I love and invest in them and them in me. With the billions of choices in the world, we picked each other. Maybe in Polyamory I’m not choosing only you and you aren’t only choosing me, but it makes it no less precious. We talk about love as being infinite and I can see the truth of that, but time and attention and energy and focus are so very limited. I physically and emotionally cannot love everyone and everything, even if I wanted to. I make choices about how to invest my precious resources. We put ourselves out there in a way that is fairly unique. I don’t find my one and then invest everything in them and they everything in me, at the expense of all else, attempting to insure we’ll have this precious little thing we’ve created forever. No. We invest knowing that we do not have ownership or squatters rights to the places we fill in each others lives. No matter how amazing we are to each other, no matter how wonderful, we’ve left that door open and we aren’t the only amazing thing in your life.
Fate doesn’t draw me to you.. your worth does. I recognize that you are special and unique and I want you. I don’t love you because you will end my loneliness or will be my one-and-only. I love you because of who you are. I don’t want you to change to fill my relationship needs and I don’t expect that when I lock that down you’ll be different. I know that this is you and I want you. I find this choice deeply romantic and I’m so flattered and touched and honored and fulfilled that the people in my life chose me too.
“When we see love solely as something that we feel… then what happens when those feelings change? As they inevitably do. And when we see love solely as something that happens to us… then what happens when the going gets tough?”
This to be honest scares me about some people who practice polyamory. You have to trust that partners will not only pursue new connections and exciting oxytocin bliss.. you have to take a risk that they will see the worth of the less flashy and deeper connection of actual love, and that’s responsibility. It’s such a Disney Fairytale that we will fall in love and then feel super googly every day or every week for the rest of our lives. Love, like gratitude, is more of an action emotion. The googly bit is wonderful and exciting and so very brief. Of course good relationships occasionally have the googliness here and there and bring happiness and joy for sure, but the steady tap does turn off. Expecting unending firehoses filled with googly giddy love is a recipe for disastrous broken hearts and personal loneliness. Lasting love isn’t completely a feeling and it’s not only the thing you fall into or that sneaks up on you and happens to you.
“of course a huge part of love is the feeling that something has hit you out of the clear blue sky. If love didn’t have the power to knock us out of our tracks and into a whole new life, it wouldn’t be what it is. And none of that has anything to do with fate. I’m intensely aware of the massive role that pure chance plays in our lives. Not fate, not destiny, but pure dumb random roll-of-the-dice luck.”
If it wasn’t at least somewhat about the feeling we get from our love we wouldn’t do it. We get our precious oxytocin bliss for a brief wondrous time as we go through the difficulty and fear of vulnerability and forming a connection. If we’re wise and control our infatuation a little (at least enough to slowly connect to people that are good choices) and maintain the other aspects of our lives, we emerge from our fuzzy headed relationship beginnings to real and meaningful connections with our new and existing loves. I think the power love has, as Karen says “to knock us out of our tracks” is a good thing. One of the best arguments for love in my opinion is the way that intimate relationships expose us to things in the world and in each other and in ourselves in ways and at a depth that we never would have experienced otherwise. With great risk comes great reward. I’m all about balance and I seek it in myriad ways, but sometimes a little unbalance is good for the soul.
Having said that.. yeah.. I’ve had a bit of a tough morning with the insecurities. I’m peeling back those fears though and I’m beginning to understand that every time I do this I benefit. I also tried not to dwell and talked to Hubby about the insecurities I had with him. I’ve said it before.. I don’t always like this process of growth and change but I like the benefits and the freedom it brings me. That’s part of love too and part of why I choose it even though I’m terrified of it about half the time and I think there is something in me that will never fully relax and trust it to be there. Even though I agree it’s pure dumb luck to stumble across the people I do, I know scientifically it’s a complex of things that attracts me to people. There is something in me that reacts to something in them, but I choose how I respond to this and the paths I pursue. I know I’m learning, whether I’m picking wisely or not. I choose my loves and invest in them and I find that terribly romantic.