What Is Love?

Can you love more than one person at a time in a relationship? Can one person love another more than they are loved? Can we run away from it, lock our hearts and refuse to engage?

There are many types of relationships people engage in. I was recently watching a TV program where they interviewed three young people who were in a relationship together. One couple was married but had an open relationship. She had another partner, a boyfriend that she had a sexual liaison with and her husband had a girlfriend, but they were just friends. This new type of relationship has many versions and is known as Polyamory. According to Wikipedia “people who identify as polyamorous reject the view that sexual and relational exclusivity are necessary for deep, committed, long-term loving relationships”.

On another note I met a couple many years ago who had a child, but decided they wanted their own space and to live in their own homes. They bought side by side and looked after the child jointly. They spent time when they wanted together and were committed to each other. I have heard this story repeated many times with couples in a relationship enjoying each others company but not wanting to live together for a range of reasons but having homes within easy reach of each other. This provides them with the best of both worlds were they spend time with the ones they love and have their own space and capability to do as they want.

I can hear some of you thinking, but doesn’t that mean they don’t have to be faithful and can go and find another relationship. That is true, but it seems from those I have spoken to that unless the relationship fails, (just like getting a divorce) they are committed to make it work and are happy with way it works. One of the couples had been married for 30 years but he was a heavy snorer and it kept her awake all night and they had lots of arguments.  When the house next door became available they decided to buy it and the wife moved in. She said it was the best decision she made. One cannot judge what works for one, as it may not work for another.

When it comes to love, everyone has a different definition for what they think it is. Love of child is usually unconditional and often for the parents means being there for their child even when they are adults or do not see them often. It’s the giving and support that as parents we do not think twice about, giving with all our hearts.

Love of a partner on the other hand changes over time and that is natural. There are three phases of love, the chemistry and romance, the comfortable attraction and then the deep emotional attraction.   In the first phase it’s all about testosterone and estrogen and the physical attraction that one encounters. Gradually as you become more comfortable in the attraction,  you maybe trying to shape your partner into your ideal mate. This is where power struggles arise and you may have  disagreements . The third phase is where you have commitment and possibly children. You are aware of both the positive and negative traits of the other person but you decide to build a life together. It is important throughout these phases that one does not lose sight of oneself. Last week I reposted an article titled,  ‘What’s Your Pain’. No matter the relationship you have it’s always important to love yourself first and foremost because if you are comfortable with yourself then all else fits into place.You become love and can give it easily but if you are unhappy, you hold back and cannot share that special gift. It is no different to what you are told on a plane, if in an emergency first look to yourself before helping your child.

We hear so many songs about love hurting or being glorious, producing a range of emotions and we know from friends, work colleagues and material we read there are those who lock themselves away from love because they have been hurt sometime in the past and have put up barriers to prevent this from happening again. Time passes and things do change for some of these people for others they lose interest or remain angry and disappointed.

For couples who remain in a committed relationship to maintain a level happiness a 40 year study that surveyed 30,000 Americans, found in 2015, that couples having sex once a week were happiest but most were only having sex once a month. A McKinsey study however showed that sex generally declines with age and one of their studies which I recently saw, unbelievably only went to 50. Obviously they don’t believe that people over the age of 50 were worth reporting on.

Love runs from agony and ecstasy but as this quote says the best love for me is the kind that awakens the soul, may you find that.

© Conversations That Matter

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