..baby don’t hurt me…
But really, what is it? What are you expecting from it? Everyone has a different idea of what it means when you tell someone that you love them. In my mind, people believe that once you say “I love you,” you are now attached to that person. Through hellfire and brimstone. You are already entertaining the idea of marriage, even if it’s far off in the future. You are willing to go through a lot more shit for that person now that you officially love them. You’ll compromise for them (that word comes up a lot).
You want to move to LA to take a job, but they like Portland better. Well, you love them, so you have to figure out who wins, and who moves to LA. Because love means sacrifice. Sacrifice everything and everyone so long as you stay together.
At least that is my perception of love. Once people decide that they are in it, they have made this huge commitment that now takes precedent over most other things. Right? Why else would saying “I love you” be such a big deal?
I would say it a lot more often if I didn’t think that it was going to take on unnecessary weight. If telling your partner that you love them was just another form of describing emotion, strong emotion, I would be much more likely to say it. To me, loving someone does mean that I feel more strongly towards them than most other people. I am willing to put more effort into working through problems and devote more of my time to them. But I’m also going to break up if something better comes along for either of us. I won’t spend time agonizing over whether that new job is really worth moving away from a boyfriend. It is. Because it’s my career. And if the boyfriend is a good match for me, he wouldn’t ask that I stay. We’d make it work. Or we break up. And that’s okay.
I had always assumed that this was a different way to frame the idea of loving a partner. A selfish way to go about it that most people wouldn’t be on board with. I’m still not sure that it isn’t. But I was just talking to someone who challenged this beliefs. We were talking about what my boyfriend and I were going to do when he moves four states away (we’re staying together but opening the relationship), and she asked if I loved him. And I went through the whole spiel. Yes, depending on your definition. I would break up tomorrow if it were a better decision for both of us. Etc…
She is a self-identifying romantic. Just got engaged. Super happy. Love is great. Blah, blah, blah. So I’m waiting for a response about that not being love, or something similar. But she says that she thinks it’s a better definition of love than most people.
No, no, no. She must have misunderstood me. How can someone who is so romantic be on board with being ready to jump ship so easily?
She says that wanting what’s best for someone is the best indications that you love someone.
I say what if it’s what’s best for you and not that person? Isn’t that just selfish? At least that’s what I’ve gleaned from society and everyone around me saying to just wait for the right person and then I’ll understand.
She says that it’s healthy. Not selfish. That it’s easy to just give and give to someone and not car about yourself. You have to take care of you while also sharing the number one space with the other person. And sometimes that means recognizing when it’s time to cut the other person out of your life. Upon realizing that, it would be selfish to string the other person along.
And that sounds perfect. And reasonable. And maybe not quite how I look at relationships (I don’t share the number one space in my life, there’s only room for me on that seat). But it is also much more rational than what I believe that most people think about love.
So now I’m not sure what to think. Do most people see this? Do they think that it’s acceptable to look out for yourself first in the relationship, but then get so tangled up in feelings that it becomes too difficult to be rational? Or is it like I originally thought and I am still the outlier? And what does it say about me that I don’t get tangled up in the feelings part?
Basically I’m looking for a psychologist on the internet. Now taking applications.
Sex immediately complicates a relationship. Not by a little, by a lot. This isn’t me advocating for a sexless life. Far, far from it. But I am saying that when your sex life starts to fail, so does the relationship. What if you share a house, finances, children, etc… and your partner decides that they’ve lost all sexual attraction towards you? But you’re still attracted to them? And they’re still attracted to others? What happens then?
Maybe, maybe, you’re comfortable enough to open up the marriage. But that isn’t traditional. So scratch that. You either suck it up and go on in a sexless marriage —for the children— or you divorce and find someone else you want to sleep with. Fuck the children. And neither of those options really appeals to me.
I know myself well enough to know that I’m fickle. I’m currently happy in a sexually monogamous relationship, but years down the road? I’m going to get bored. And that doesn’t mean that I want to break up. But when that happens to most people, you do break up, and move out, and figure out finances, and split parental rights, etc… It’s awful. Just because you want to go out and get your jollies for a few hours and then come back home.
One of my professors once told me that he and his partner’s stance was “it’s not who you have sex with, it’s who you make your home with.” Or something similar. And that was pretty integral to me figuring out where I stood on relationships.
The idea started me down the road to where I am now. There are people out there in happy relationships that can sleep with other people. And it works. Who knew? Maybe I could date someone and know that they would cheat on me and just not think about it. Or be okay with it. I wasn’t familiar with the ideas of polyamory or open relationships at that point. Or at least I hadn’t put much thought into them. That came later. But now I knew that not every relationship was full of people deluding themselves about the fidelity of their partners. There was hope.
I want to go into a little about me and what my life is to give some reference to all of my future posts. Yes, I do have an “About Me” page, but there’s only so much I can go into there. So this is where the rest of it is going to live.
Hi, I’m Hannah. I’m 24 and I don’t believe in monogamous relationships.
At least not for me. I know that there are some people who it works out for. But I have a lot of step-parents and step-grandparents. And I have been propositioned by enough people in serious relationships to believe that traditional relationships don’t work as well as everyone says.
And who is everyone to say anyway? How many people actually stop and question the traditional dynamic? I know that most people I’ve encountered don’t, because they are always surprised at how much thought has gone into my relationship.
But that’s what I grew up knowing. Marriages don’t work, and when they do, both people seem to spend a fair bit of time miserable. I’ve been told countless times that these bouts of misery are called compromise. You just clench your teeth through the pain until everything is hunky-dory again. Maybe you came through the other side with a few of your life goals flushed down the toilet, but at least you’re still together. This “compromise” is to be looked up to. And I call bullshit.
If that is what the marriage game is all about, I don’t want anything to do with it. So I went off to college and I met people and I “saw” them. I was never in a relationship. We were never dating. Dating was bad. And for people with feelings that wanted to get hurt. Because it was always going to end. Everything has an expiration date. Or it doesn’t, and you’re going to get cheated on.
No one else was in my boat. Sure all the guys were fine with it. A string-free relationship. But that’s not the same as agreeing. They all knew that they would settle with (and maybe for) someone eventually and that would be that. Surely there were people out there, outside of my small scope of Indiana experience, that didn’t think that traditional marriage was the way to go?
And I found them. Well, I’m in the process of finding them. I had no idea there were so many different ways to go about relationship. Not just different lifestyles, but everyone does each lifestyle differently. I would say that I am poly, but I don’t plan to have an open marriage. And I might end up being sexually monogamous. I’m still learning about different ways to go about life. Through reading, and talking, and trial and error. But I’m sure whatever it is, is out there.