So how do we define love? Either there are a whole bunch of different kinds, or there are different degrees, or else it's a really broad term. Do we love our children the same way we love a partner? I'm assuming most people would say no, but when you strip it all away, is it just another version of the same feeling?
I remember when I first started learning about my polyamorous orientation that I categorized some love as "real" and some as "not real". At the time, it made sense; it was my way of categorizing between relationships that had longevity and those that were just fun. But now it makes me wonder- does that mean that the requirement of real love is overcoming obstacles? Does it mean that a passionate but brief relationship that flames out isn't love? Does it mean that someone we share fun times but not problems with isn't love?
For me, I think that I've come to the conclusion that it's all love, in so many different ways. I have loved some of my secondary partners dearly, even though I would never want to build a life with them. We haven't conquered any specific adversities, nor have I had the mundane drudgery of daily life. I don't think that should be a requirement for love because that means that people who choose to live on their own but still be partnered (which is a growing percentage of relationships, surprisingly) and hence avoid most of that boring stuff don't experience true love. I think that as long as you know the person so that you love them and not an image of them you have created in your own mind, that it's real. So, as nonspecific as a definition it is, I've decided that I believe that if it feels like love to you (and it's past the lovely brain chemicals phase of NRE!), then it is, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Enjoy your love, whether it's for a day or a lifetime, a friend or a spouse.
A few nights ago, I got to revisit some passionate intensity of love and desire with Henry. We've been together for almost two years now, and while that isn't really very long as relationships go, we've felt some changes in our feelings and how we relate to each other, things that are normal. Less of the fiery passion and more of the companionate love. I wanted to try and describe the feeling so that when I need the memory, I can come back and remember the way I felt in that moment.
It was so similar to how I feel during NRE. My mind is normally going with several trains of thought at once, but when we were holding each other, my brain was quiet and I was in a haze of contentment and only thinking of him and how right it felt to be with him. I felt so full of love, and so loved. I was relaxed and not worried about my problems and completely present in the moment. I think that was the critical part, actually. In so much of my life, I'm thinking about other things or focusing on what needs to be done or examining how I feel, rather than simply feeling. It was good to lose myself for a little while and know that he was feeling the same way about me. It's good to feel loved like that and not just as a functional partner.
It was about as perfect as it gets. And we need that, sometimes. Henry and I have had a lot going on in our lives and haven't felt that perfect connection in a while, and it helped bring us closer together. Sometimes, we have to forget the functional and enjoy the little moments that keep us happy and in love.