Why romantic love is unique?

  • Smiling_Eyes

    Posts: 197

    Nov 30, 2010 6:02 PM GMT
    I'm taking a another stab at engaging RJ members on the topic of polyamory.

    In a prior post, I shared my personal story and how I came to view polyamory as right for me. That didn't generate much response so I'm taking the topic from a different angle in this post.

    The defining characteristic of polyamory is belief in the possibility of, and value of, multiple romantic loving relationships carried out with the knowledge and consent of all partners concerned.

    It's an ideology that openness, goodwill, intense communication, and ethical behavior should prevail among all the parties involved.

    We reject the view that sexual and relational exclusivity are necessary for deep, committed long-term loving relationships.

    Consider why it's not OK or even possible to love two people at once, because inherent in the idea of being in love is that it necessarily excludes all others? This isn't to say that you can't like or be drawn to or just want to fuck someone else while you're seriously in love. So, you can like them both, but you can't love them both, and loving somebody is better than liking lots of somebodies. If one of these men is emerging as a serious candidate, bet on him."

    What?

    Tell me, Which one of your grandparents did you love? Which parent? Which sibling? Which friend? It's only fair if you take a moment right now to fill out a form letter to let all the other also-rans know that you don't love them, and a personalized letter to the winner in each category know that they are the one and only recipient of your love.

    If you are a parent yourself, I sincerely hope you only have one child, because it would be very sad for the rest of the children that aren't the one that Papa loves.

    If you are a religious person then you must be very sad. After all your Deity can only love one worshipper, and given the odds it probably is not you.

    Do you enjoy reading? Which author do you love? Which book? Which single word in that book?

    Television? Movies? Which show? Which series? Which single episode or scene therein?

    "That's different," you'll likely say. I will reply "Really, Why?"

    Why is romantic love the only kind of love in which it could only be possible to love one person at a time? Romantic love does *not* cauterize something inside you. It does not cause you to be unable to conceive that kind of emotion for any other and it does not immunize you from being able
    to feel those special feelings for another. Why would only the sort of love that is generally associated with sex, be the one, the only, the single kind of love that is so fragile and crippled that it can only bear a single point of focus?

    Yes, new love often demands a lot of our attention as we discover a new special someone as all of those things that draw us, that make them special to us team up to force their way from our subconscious mind into a conscious, glaring "Holy smoke! I love this person!"

    But you know what? This does NOT destroy that same connection that you have previously made to someone else. The only thing that does that is pure human stupidity and social conditioning that says 'this kind of love can only have one target as a time, so if you love someone new, it must mean you don't love anyone else anymore.'

    How many sadly uninformed, naive, gullible people have thrown away a comfortable enduring love of months or years or even decades because they had been taught that it was mutually exclusive with the spark of new love for someone else? Or allowed guilt to smother a new love believing that it had to destroy an existing one? Or worse still embraced a new love without telling the existing one, and allowed lies, deceit and treachery to destroy both because they felt having more than one love was wrong and something that had to be hidden and be ashamed of?

    New love does not destroy old love, only shame, guilt and deceit does that.

    The vast majority of people that I've spoken to who say you can only have one romantic love are Christians, probably because they are conditioned to believe what they are told by those in authority without thinking about it or analyzing it, but let's take a look at what the bible says about love, specifically first Corinthians 4-8, perhaps the single most referenced piece of literature regarding love:

    4 Love is patient, love is kind, and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant,
    5 does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered,
    6 does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth;
    7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
    8 Love never fails;

    Love is not jealous. Love rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things and Love endures all things Nowhere in there does it say "one to a customer, old must be replaced by new."

    The key here, is truth. Love rejoices with the truth. We should be able to tell one beloved that we have another beloved, and they should be able to embrace each other as sisters, or as brothers, or as lovers. Love is not something you should ever be ashamed of, or something you have to hide. Your existing love should be joyous that you have more love; your new love should take nothing away from the old.

    That is the ideal.

    In the 'real world' humans are jealous. Jealousy is a sickness. Jealousy is possessiveness. The people that we love should not be considered possessions. Jealousy is something to be overcome. Find the reasons behind it, address those reasons and deprive jealousy of its power.

    If you have 2 boyfriends, and you lie to both, telling both that they are your 'one and only', then this is not love, not with either of them. Love is not sneaking or lying. Loving more than one person is only 'Cheating' if you have unnaturally promised to love only one person, or if you lie about one to the other(s). Lying is wrong. Loving is right.

    In the 'real world' loving more than one romantic love requires communication; you need to communicate with those who are important and special to you to make sure that no one feels slighted or neglected; the worst misunderstandings are the unspoken ones. Make sure that the earlier love knows the new love doesn't supplant or replace them, and that new love knows they are not in competition with earlier love, that you love them both.

    Loving only one person allows you to be complacent and neglectful. It allows you to be lax in communication and take them for granted. "This is my lover, and I am theirs, there can be no other for either of us" so now there's nothing further to discuss, and frequently monogamists have needs that go unmet, and problems that go unaddressed, because they don't bother to make sure everyone is okay.

    Because those in polyamorous relationships HAVE to communicate, they tend to be better at it; not through any special virtue of the participants, but simply through practice, the practice of communication that is required by having multiple participants in your love life.

    The human capacity for love is limitless. It is one of the great strengths of the species. Granted there is the physical limit of time; you eventually reach an upper limit of beloveds where you can give each all the time and affection they need from you, and while that limit varies from person to person, that limit is substantially higher than 'one'.

    Loving more people is more effort, but it grants more rewards, and it's far, far from 'impossible'.

    IMHO it is possible to love more than one person at a time. Rather than letting this aspect of human nature lead to intense pain, insecurity, and emotional trauma, polyamorous people choose to embrace this capacity and celebrate what they regard as the full depth and breath of human love.

    I look forward to your comments and questions.
  • commoncoll

    Posts: 1222

    Dec 03, 2010 1:21 AM GMT
    You can love multiple people romantically at one time, but it will be to various degrees. It just may not work out. Once you share lives and are expected to live as a single unit, too many independent personalities can not negotiate well.

    Romantic love is different from platonic and familial love. Often with those you share your entire life times with. It is difficult to love one sibling or one child less than another, all things being equal. We are also conditioned to love them equally as intense. Additionally, single persons from families are expected to exhibit individuality and freedom that partners in romantic love simply can not. You may favor your time with one family member over another, but love them just the same.

    A romantic partner enters life at a certain point, under certain conditions, while you are going through a certain stage of your life. These feelings make it difficult to love all romantic interests equally.

    You can also love your platonic friends to various degrees for precisely the same reason as a romantic partner.

    If you want to pursue romantic interests with multiple people, by all means, please feel free to do so.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 03, 2010 1:40 AM GMT
    I actually know quite a few people in 3 way relationships. They have 3 times the income, three times the fun, three times everything. Some have been together for more than a decade. I don't think its uncommon. I don't think it would be for me, but you never know. I think it would be fun to be in a 3 way relationship !

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    Dec 03, 2010 6:06 AM GMT
    CaliBoySwag saidI actually know quite a few people in 3 way relationships. They have 3 times the income, three times the fun, three times everything. Some have been together for more than a decade. I don't think its uncommon. I don't think it would be for me, but you never know. I think it would be fun to be in a 3 way relationship !



    This would be more than three. Perhaps a lot more.

    Go for it if it suits you, OP, but for some reason it doesn't suit many. To say we've all been programmed for certain types of relationships and have missed all kinds of opportunities is making a pretty big assumptions about our histories. I tried a couple of multiple participant relationships and watched lots of heartaches that were a lot more complicated than just between two people. For me, two is enough. For Bill the same. It's our choice, not our forced compulsion. icon_wink.gif

    -Doug

  • Smiling_Eyes

    Posts: 197

    Dec 15, 2010 3:48 PM GMT
    MuchMoreThanMuscle said

    From my experience people who have open relationships have not been honest with their partners. I know of people who have gone to Canada to get married as a way to profess their love for one another and then they have these loose boundaries as to what it means to have sex with other people on a casual basis. They withhold information regarding their sexual liaisons with other people and then it becomes this "don't ask don't tell" relationship. One guy I met (after having slept with him in his own bed where he sleeps with his husband) told me he was married 'after' the dirty deed and then tells me not to say anything about the hookup. As if I was going to shout it from the rooftops. How is this honest? This is more typical of what open relationships are like as opposed to someone claiming their polygamist lifestyle is all about love and true honesty.

    And to Tennisjock. I think your universal comparison of love for everyone is not very well developed. You are not just talking about love, you are talking about sex also. Is that what this is really about? Your post starts out with the focus on sexual exclusivity being something that you do not agree with and then you end your post with your definition of love being limitless. What are you really wanting? The freedom to have sex with more than one person? You cannot compare the love you have for your partner(s) whom you have sex with along with the love you have for your brother, mother or sister. It is not the same thing. Dynamics of love that you have for friends, relatives, siblings, your partners are not one in the same.


    Thanks for the post. My turn.

    While I agree that there are all kinds of "open" relationships, the kind I have described in this thread is not the DADT kind. I too have an issue with this kind of "open" relationship. It seems dishonest and prone to failure and heartache. What the married man did to you is vile IMHO and if I were in your shoes I would be angry.

    I think you misunderstand my comparison. Romantic love is obviously different than familial love; I still challenge others to explain why romantic love is the only kind of love that can only be focused on one person. It's something we've all been raised to assume and repeat BUT WHY IS IT SO?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 15, 2010 3:55 PM GMT
    I agree it's unique, and it's what I ultimately want.
    I am stuck with dating around until I find it. It's hard, and I don't know the rules that well...but you can't play if you can't lose, and you can't win if you don't play.