Multiplicities of Love

What follows is a FB note my friend Leah Symonds recently posted that is a much more articulate opinion that relates to one of my posts.. She is an amazing person and a living example of Matt Ridley’s view that “ideas have sex”. Every interaction I had with her was incredibly stimulating.

Multiplicities of Love

The prevailing presumption on love, developed as a seemingly natural byproduct of the purposefully constructed monogamist world in which we live, promotes the notion that love is interchangeable and also finite. That is, if I, or anyone, regale in the pockets of joy, comfort, even love, with one person, it precludes me from connecting with another — as if my ability to feel, to love, has been squandered, relinquished. This is the very basis of how today’s (female, to be precise) society handles love. We guard it. We keep it safe. We lock it away until “the one” shows up on the doorstep. After 15 years of picking apart “love”, and not having the wisdom or strength to shed the cloak of “victim”, I feel as though I’m beginning to unveil, peel away the layers of my discomfort with this false stage — a comedy of horrors, as I call it.

To challenge the norm is never a small feat. Many sing praises of living outside the box, but never do themselves. Our thoughts and words take us only part of the way. To challenge the current state of love and relationships, fortunately, is becoming easier. More and more people are questioning the sanity, the logic of signing one’s life away to one, and only one, other person. (On a side note, I realize I have a sarcastic and silver tongue when discussing marriage, which for me is synonymous with monogamy. That and procreation, neither of which are shiny objects for the likes of me).

I believe what solidifies most women in the cement of monogamy is the fear of exiting status quo. It means closing the door on the “safe” and “acceptable”. I’ll admit it takes a certain type of courage that may not make itself known to everyone. But once it settles, that courage draws back the curtain to myriad opportunities. Now that I feel I’m at this stage, I recognize the limitations of monogamy – selfishness, jealousy, anxiety, fear, sadness, (unwanted) solitude, anger – and I’m shocked that I did not see them before.

I’ll provide an example. If a young (or even older) girl sees her “boyfriend” with another girl, whether it be in a loving embrace or in a deep conversation, her immediate reactions are based upon the presumption that, “His love is MINE; therefore he cannot spend time with HER.” I see the unfairness of this statement on many levels. We can quickly skirt past the obvious retort that HE decides where to place his love, not his “girlfriend”. More important of a revelation is that the underlying current of the girl’s first thought assumes that love is finite and that we have only one proverbial, we’ll call it, “jar” to give. But what if we had many — an infinite number of jars containing love?

Now, I’m not suggesting that this is a new concept. There have been many people and movements to embrace love as a mantra and take it as far as the taboo but clearly known orgy. But I’m not just talking about physical intimacy. As in the scenario above, our ingrained presumptions of monogamy, set in at birth, frequently promulgate undesired negative reactions, which sometimes develop into momentary lapses of sanity! What I am suggesting is that we focus more on the notion that embracing multiple genre of love would erase emotional limitations. It may even create unlikely and satisfying friendships, rather than jealousy, betrayal, and pain.

Love, as I now see it, comes and is given in many different ways. A love fashioned between two people cannot be traded, bartered, or exchanged for another. Love is not a universal currency. One jar = one person. And these “jars” are dynamic, waxing and waning, expanding and contracting to coincide and correlate to the journey of the two people. As such, we have control over opening and offering a jar, as well as putting a lid on it, as the saying goes.

I’m most certain there are holes to consider. What if a woman’s jar is not the same size as a man’s? Do different jars interact? Can we destroy our jars? What would happen to the love contained inside? Does this indicate perpetuity? For me, it would mean the death of that particular love. But what would stop us from creating and offering an entirely new jar to the same person, months or years down the road? After all, love is predicated on timing, on the specific milestone each soul has reached during it’s journey, every minute, every hour, morphing into a new one. And love is the same. It is not permanent, but fluid. Nevertheless, the choice is ours. A jar could appear unwontedly, surprisingly, but we must remember it is our decision to open up and offer the love inside.

While I have lost my attachment to monogamy as a foundation, I am by no means urging everyone, or anyone, to let go of theirs. Everyone has their own path and exploring love outside of the box seems to be mine. For now…

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