“Where there is love, there is life.” Gandhi
Love…Just saying it could bring up all types of emotions for yourself.
Love seems to be a complicated thing for most of us. Does she love me? Does he love me? Do they love me? How much, to what intensity?
I had a wonderful conversation the other day with my youngest, 23-year-old daughter, about relationships and love. Directly relating to ethical non-monogamy, polyamory to be more specific. During this conversation, a beautiful dear friend of mine that lives 4,582 miles away from me, that I love very deeply and very much, who identifies as ethically non-monogamous-specifically polyamorous-was brought up. Talking about the ethically non-monogamous lifestyles that many people including her dad and I subscribe to, is a wonderful chance to expand understanding and acceptance. And then I received the curious question, “how can you love more than one person romantically at a time”? And that is where we spoke about love…
My beautiful friend knew from an early age that she didn’t want to be confined to loving just one partner for life, as she was seeing all around her. She wanted to love more, period. That meant sharing her love with multiple people at once. Her younger self was just wanting to love, show love and be loved and the more love, the bigger the love grew.
I delight in her younger-self thinking. YES, LOVE MORE LOVE BIGGER!
When we are young we are absorbing everything around us, yes everything. We start forming our ideas of what love is, looks like and feels like to us individually. When we have a lack of what love feels like or not being able to see and experience the love signals it can be hard to show others or cultivate love feels for yourself. Or, you may have been showered with love from every angle and some type of obstacle got thrown in your path to dampen that capacity.
This love we feel and see forms our capacity to accept love and to show love and how we interact or don’t with the people around us.
Think about how many different people, in general, you have in your life. Mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, children, life partner, friends, neighbors, acquaintances, service providers, colleagues, etc. A lot of people around you each day. How do you feel about those around you? Do you love them? On some level, I would hope so, if they are part of your life.
Different people, different types of love. If you look at the theory of six love styles that was developed by John A. Lee in his 1973 book, Colours of Love. He used Greek words to describe the different individual approaches to love in relationships.
Eros: Romance- This love style is the one most commonly portrayed in Hollywood movies. It is based on “chemistry” and a strong physical and/or emotional attraction.
Ludos: Conquest-This style is used by those who see love as a game and want to “win” as many partners as possible. The focus is on having fun in the moment and therefore relationships of this sort tend to be very short.
Storge: Friendship-This style of love grows slowly out of friendship and is based more on similar interests and a commitment to one another rather than on passion.
Pragma: (Ludos+Storge) Practicality- This love style is very practical and realistic. People who prefer this style approach their relationship in a “business-like” fashion and look for partners with whom they can share common goals.
Mania: (Eros+Ludos)Obsession-This style usually flows out of low self-esteem and a need to be loved by one’s partner. Lovers of this sort usually become very possessive and jealous.
Agape: (Eros+Storge)Selflessness-In this style of love, the individual is willing to sacrifice anything for their partner. It is based on an unbreakable commitment and an unconditional, selfless love.
Back to my daughter’s question, “how can you love more than one person at a time”? First off, it’s a choice to love or not to love. Love is there, it can grow or be restrained. For this conversation, I am choosing the path to love often and love more. I see all love styles above could be interwoven at some point dually together or slightly overlapping with each other, and/or moving through one then another at different moments in time.
So how do you love romantically with more than one person? You do. The love you have for one doesn’t subtract from the other, it adds to the equation. Remember, each person is different so your romantic love will be different for each of them. You will be excited by their differences, they will each light you up in different ways, you will love differently even within romantic love.
“Sweetheart, I have you and your sister to love as my daughters, you are two different people, each with your own gifts, insights and the yummy stuff that makes each of you, you. I love you both equally but different, as I can not love you the same because you are different people and I love different things you each hold for yourselves. My love for your sister doesn’t subtract from my love for you. It lifts it up, loving each of you more.”
This is my way of showing it isn’t love subtracting it is love multiplying!
Now go back and take a minute to re-read the six love styles, with certain people in your life in mind, and see which type of love style you may be loving that person with or receiving from them. Is there room to expand your love? How could that look for you?
Seeing that there is love enough for everyone because love can look different for different people will help us cultivate more! Love often, love more.
In erotic breath, love & hugs from my heart to your heart, Dragonfly