In Limbo Lies the Love Languishing

Editor’s Note: This week’s featured article on relationships and sexuality comes from Mel Mariposa’s Polysingleish blog, where she writes about “Adventures in an Ethical, Anarchic, Solo Polyamorous Lovestyle.” We’d love to read your thoughts in the comments section below. — Amanda

By Mel Mariposa

The ultimate state of love is freedom, absolute freedom, and any relationship that destroys freedom is not worthwhile. Love is a sacred art. To be in love is to be in a holy relationship.
~ Osho

My heart feels heavy as I write this, aching in every direction. The self chatter in my mind talks about being foolish, rash, and irresponsible, and it’s fighting the deeply romantic part of my personality that wants to keep my heart open.

Mel Mariposa of Polysingleish
Mel Mariposa of Polysingleish

In every relationship, there’s a moment — well sometimes, oftentimes, it’s a recurring moment — where I find myself gazing with love and want to utter the words, “I love you.” But, I don’t. I hold back. I wait.

Why? Because we make such a big deal about the meaning of the words “I love you.”

I want to create a new way of dialoguing about love. Casual love is a thing. In the Greek language there are multiple means of expressing “I love you” — I remember vividly my grandmother tucking me into bed at night with the words, “kourichakimou, cartholamou, yagapoulamou, agapemou.”

Love is such a vast, transcendant, spiritual experience, why limit ourselves in the expression of it?

Sometimes I want to just use the Greek words directly. I am in Eros with you. I am in Phillia with you. I am in Ludus with you. I am in Agape with you. I am in Pragma with you. I am in Philautia with you.

Even just taking the time to think about what kind of love I’m experiencing can help me find clairty. It’s so enriching to engage in a way of appreciating the many layers of love that are possible.

I find that for myself, Eros (sexual passion) and Ludus (playful love) often give way to deep experiences of Phillia (friendship) and Pragma (Universal love).

I wonder if part of the reason I am Solo is that the way I love people tends to involve increasing levels of trust and connection until — I have to let go. When I hear of two people confess “unconditional love” for one another I wonder what that really means. To me, unconditional means without ownership, without expectation, and freely. I look at how my relationship with Orion has transformed — and I can honestly say that for both of us, our ability to love one another increased when we stopped dating. We dropped expectations of one another, and grew deeper in our friendship. It’s a really beautiful connection, one cherished greatly.

When you love someone in entirety, when you decide that they are someone you want to grow and evolve through knowing, there comes a breakthrough point where the next stage of loving them means letting them go, and remembering to stay true to your own self, your wants and desires, your own evolution. It’s a moment of selfishness that challenges how we are told to treat our relationships. We are told to be self sacrificing in service of a partner, when actually a healthy relationship starts with us having a healthy relationship to our self first.

Curled up with my dear friend Odin recently, talking about love, he said something that really hit home for me.

“Love is not as powerful as trust and acceptance; those are so much more specific in their ingredients. To me, acceptance is everything.”

Acceptance. Seeing another and being seen by another; seeing and embracing the shadows and not just the light. I feel like that’s the profound journey that love offers us.

I love in such a way as to feel free and to set those I love free. In other words, I want to experience love that is a celebration, and not an obligation. And sometimes that celebration means that, in freedom, they and I dance on, without attachment. I do not love seeking to own that which I love.

I’m in love with love, with feeling and sharing and expressing love, and I don’t believe that should be restricted to an expectation of behaviors. Love is something infinitely delightful to explore- whether self love, friendship, romantic, erotic, familial, or universal: the more we commit to engaging and being fully present to love (in whatever form it exists) the healthier we become.

Love is the four lettered glue that holds us together — as a community, as a species, as a collective of conscious beings sharing space and time cooperatively, love is the essential molecule. Without it we’d self destruct.

And so it hurts so much when I find myself second guessing or trying to stop myself from loving out of fear that I’ll risk too much, and be brokenhearted again. I fear being taken for granted. I fear being not seen. And that’s why my heart is heavy as I write tonight. Several months ago a beautiful young man told me he was falling in love with me. And I dared to give myself permission to let that experience deepen, and to allow myself to fall in love with him too. As distance appears, as new chapters emerge, and uncertainty hangs over the evolution of our journey together, I’m looking for the courage to not just keep loving, but to be open again. To trust, believe, and share again. To live from a place of fearless authenticity, and trust that those around me are doing the same.

In a journey so tangled, the only way through is to dance.

16 thoughts on “In Limbo Lies the Love Languishing”

  1. I also think the very best thing I can do is three things: 1) Communicate my feelings gently and with compassion, even in the face of fear that all will be lost. 2) Trust in the energetic and vibrational workings of the Universe and know that everything will always work out for the best. 3) Allow the process to work by stepping away from it.

  2. Hugging scorpio, it is necessary to just ‘step’ one day – that is the way, and it isn’t hard, when you feel ready you’ll do it without effort.

    Probably with feeling trapped you need a relationship where it is a given that you are not trapped – then it doesn’t end if you feel trapped.

    I know when I met That Man I had got to the point where I was just willing to say yes to somebody without reservation (unless I deemed him an axe murderer). I decided to let someone choose me (if someone would) and I would see what I could make of it. I also opened myself to life and to the person appropriate to my journey this life time/to go forward with form/at that time.

    It wasn’t a piece of cake: ask him! Why did he stick with me? He would tell you I think that I was having difficulty keeping my head above water and didn’t seem to expect anyone to help me so he did. There was a sexual thing. I saw him walking down a field unselfconscious, thinking of nothing just being, trailing after 2 donkeys and the thought came into my mind – there goes the white hope of his generation. i started paying attention to him and my assessment was that he was 95% clever rather than true, he also had his back to the wall in a conflict and no one to stand with him. Over the years I have come to love him lots and lots – the relationship has shaped me, he is pretty much all true these days and so beautiful. He still loves to rock the boat – think Karate Kid – and I have got much more solid and balanced around him.

    Is it the Hindu where the husband and wife say to each other you are my guru?

    I have noticed also that where as Be said the other day about Regulus – Regulus is in the anaretic degree of Leo for me and many many others isn’t it – there has to be no revenge in the mix.

    Step out of feeling trapped into being, if someone says I give you this space take less and the leeway is your freedom, or find someone who is willing to give you more space than you need just because that is who they are, or someone who who they are will work out the kinks of any trap. Or maybe you are happy solo?

    None of this may be helpful since I’m a true vin ordinaire.

    Nearly 50 – sometimes you just see stuff – little stuff: some puppies that aren’t thriving because they aren’t loved. it isn’t about attachment or objectivity but action, doing/being as necessary. If you know how to set them on their feet, to enable them, to reassure, ease, comfort, boost confidence, set them up by interacting with them you just do it – an investment for the and their future. 3 women working together.

    Limiting yourself to what is necessary (needful) you won’t feel trapped. There is no such thing there.

    maybe start with what you see/feel and be open to easing the rest?

    Things also turn on a pin!


  3. Attachment, belonging, commitment, integrity, love – these are all calling out. They’re all abstract ideas to debate endlessly until one is truly in dialogue with something greater than oneself. I was single for a long time, happy some of it, unhappy some of it. I transmuted and sublimated my desire into a yearning and expression for love through my music and prayers.

    Then you take all that and apply it to another human being. Not a pair of tits, not a nice ass. But the human heart opens and reveals something beautiful and holds you in that space. It accepts you and all your flaws. That’s when your heart opens to it. I think it takes a lot of strength and courage for that to happen. Courage – because it reaches past the illusion of what we are fed what Love should be about and gives us something authentic. Our fears come up and turn it all upside down so you don’t know if you’re heading down a path that doesn’t feel good or one that simply requires you to trust as your own barriers drop.

    A lot of my fear is about being trapped. I was trapped with my father; I was for a long time trapped with my mother; I was at many times feeling trapped being a monk. Now, I have no reason to feel trapped and many to feel free. I consciously try to communicate my feelings and guide any feeling of tension to a better place.

    One can go on and on fueling desire and curiosity in a way to conceal our own fears or to shield against a calling to be authentic with life and with someone other than oneself. One can also very inadvertently become an extension of consumerism, moving from one endorphin relationship to another. I just don’t want to wake up one day thinking about how careless I was when all that I needed and asked for showed up right in my lap, and that I was too immature to realize it.

  4. Dad and I are reading the Margery Allingham Campion series. fabulous crafting. I read them as a pre/very young teen from my ps’ bookcase and am astonished by their quality and wit and craft – The Fashion in Shrouds has a scene in a restaurant that is typical – interesting and surprising and then aside something which impresses and another that stuns. One broad sheet critique commented that Albert Campion is probably the first sleuth to grace a serious novel. You get a real glimpse of lovable people in her mysteries: Lugg, Amanda, Charlie Luke, Avril. And Albert Campion! Well! What a guy. In the later books he has become quite serious but still infused with something. MA said she always worked out her plots very carefully and he arrived uninvited. And kept cropping up. She had a perfectly good hero but he dropped the ball once or twice and Campion saved the day, but she still didn’t know what side he was on. She intended to include him another time but in the next book he just cropped up in the first chapter, and after that she never plotted his part but just relied on him to turn up.

    That’s just plain interesting isn’t it!

  5. Is it ok to bypass ‘attachment’ and go for ‘belonging’. Where do you belong, who do you belong with (even to?), who belongs with you (even to you – King Lear in the Dean’s watch – Adam and Job recognising that part of love which is that you belong to each other and with each other).

    The heart goes out.

    And if that is inappropriate – nobody has to love you back! then you love who you love and that love becomes a resource to put into life where ever that seems appropriate or called for?


  6. Hugging Scorpio, do you have something strong in Aquarius? Your story reminds me of an Aquarius/Scorpio friend….he had a passion for his freedom no matter what…

  7. I loved this piece so much when I saw it because it mirrors so much of my experience, especially recently. Balancing the contrast between love as no-obligation celebration while recognizing my heart’s need for attachment and comfort has been making me twitch and writhe – holding the tension while hoping something will shift.

    What I love even more than this piece are these incredibly honest responses. Thank you so much for being so open. So much of what’s been written in this thread resonates deeply. Thank you for sharing!

  8. Alexander and Hugging, thank you for this beautiful exchange. Good for you for daring to love and to open your hearts, no matter how difficult it is/has been.

  9. Articulation: Thank you for presenting some words to help my head brain find language for shades of experience that have no place in the version of English I grew up with. I’ve been solo for so long sex with others seems like a past life. I used to cling and whine and whip up tantrums in futile efforts to get my way. I wanted really badly to stop doing that so I stopped chasing after sex with women. So far if I don’t chase I don’t get. Well, one chased me but she wanted to possess me like I used to want to possess. I have Venus in Aquarius and a Gemini Moon airing out the stuffy Capricorn caves of my solar expressions. When my love light turns on I want to share whatever it is we have with joy between us. Too many people then want the whole thing: if I love eye gazing with you then we also must be soul mates and now you must marry me. How about if we just eye gaze for awhile and see where that goes? If I don’t like the way you kiss you’re not getting in any deeper. Sorry.

    I often imagine that I’d like to share sex with women again, but really I don’t need to. In solo practice I sometimes experiences dissolution into bliss without even involving my sex organs, or actually they are involved they just don’t shout to be on center stage when my whole body opens to the waves of orgasmic qi that fill the cosmos. Maybe I don’t need to plug in anymore cause I can feel immersed in another person just by sitting close and looking eye to eye. I can feel my qi field and it’s a real experience for me.

    Maybe I fear that I’ll become possessive if my genitals get involved with anyone ever again. Maybe it’s an illusory fear, but then the world of genital sex is full of exploding hearts and landmines. When I’m not playing the possession game other people still do. Do I really need sex with women when I have whole body orgasms alone? Maybe I only want to have sex with others who have whole body orgasms. Yes, that would be best. This kind of energy makes the monsters dance and sometimes explode in the citizens of Consumerville.

  10. Thank you Alexander, I’m sending out to you much love and peace as well. Please make a wish on that 9 of Cups – please keep your heart open and watch what comes in for you!

  11. Hey Hugging Scorpio! Thank you too for your true courage in exposing your heart in turmoil. I’m the guy who got dropped by the gal after incredible experiences were shared. She got past my defences. I began to love her in all the ways she had never before been loved and at that point (once it became real) she lost interest and ripped my f*cking heart out 🙁

    But thing is we are usually too close in to our own pain to see objectively. You cannot love out of obligation. Sometimes an intense experience is just that and nothing more.

    Sending you much love in your confusion. This is your path. You may bleed but you do not have to bleed out. Honour this young woman’s love and articulate that to her, without feeling obligation. I pray you find love beyond the level of personality.

    Alexander <3

  12. I really enjoyed this article, thank you. It comes at a good point.

    Alex, thank you so much for your honesty, it made me very emotional reading it.

    I have been blessed with a young women who has given herself to me so freely, who has made space for me as I fumble around. I have been there for her, I know, and I celebrate the love we are sharing. And I am slowly recognizing that it is indeed Love.

    I was in a lot of pain yesterday and today as I brought my feelings to her attention of how I needed more balance and perhaps space as I’m feeling that maybe things are too fast, and that somehow my inner commitment is getting lost or smothered. It was taken rather hard and a lot of tears are being felt. I’m just not sure I see the future as she sees it and I wanted to express myself about that. Now I wonder if it’s a line that has been crossed and that it’s now too late.

    This morning, I find myself trying to meditate on why when something comes so easily and with very happy experiences, do I contemplate ending it. And then, why am I attracted to situations that are more difficult. As if the need to “pursue” someone even when painful, is somehow where I “look” for myself. And all I can indeed think about in terms of analyzing this feeling is how similar it was to me being away from my mom during a turbulent divorce. How I would cry as she left me at my Gr.1 class. This need for love. An attachment that lingers.

    I want healthy attachment. I want healthy freedom. I want to express and feel Love in all its manifestations. Right now, I want clarity. And I want this feeling to go away that I have hurt the first person who has loved me so deeply, simply because I desire something else. I feel like I don’t even understand Love, just when I thought I did.

  13. Hi Mel. I can truly relate to your last paragraphs. I have been in Hell since mid-July.. and now I quote you:
    ‘…and trust that those around me are doing the same.’

    This is the problem; you can’t trust that they are, sadly. There is no question this whole shebang comes back to childhood attachment issues and so that is what the heart longs for – but the head tells us something different.

    I lose count of the number of folk who intellectualise non-attachment as a defence against encountering adult pain, due to their childhood attachment complexes. Many are the folk who use non-attachment dogma to preach to you about your ‘mistakes’ in experiencing heartache – ‘You got attached!’ they gleefully counsel.

    But when you look at their ‘relationships’ you see denial in their either complete absence of contact, or casual and non-enduring liaisons.

    Three cheers for those who can own ‘I WANT to be attached’ without feeling like an abject failure or victim. Is it so wrong to long for attachment? Not if you can own your childhood wounds. My feeling is that those most vocal about this subject are most in need of healing – and that includes me!

    If secure attachment is not integrated within the personality, we may wonder if there is hope. Certainly, theories of non-attachment by adults to side step the feelings of pain, are NOT the answer.

    All the sophistication of thought in the world cannot suppress attachment needs. Maybe, rather than the prevalence of theories, denials and suppressions, we would all be helped by honest reclamation of the territory.

    Perhaps it is okay to say ‘I would like to practice attachment with you right now and maybe later on, non-attachment for a while. And maybe later still, attach with you again’.

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