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
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.
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.
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.