Saturday, March 19

So many levels of LOVE

Most of us find it pretty easy to love in various ways and measures. I love my mom, I love my best friend, I love my sisters, I love children, I love cats, I love dogs, I love coffee, I can love so many things, and all the while, I’m using one word: LOVE. None of these are exactly the same, despite me saying I love my mom, AND I love dogs. You totally can’t compare the two types of love, and it’s almost more accurate to say I don’t have enough words to use because love for my mom is totally different than love for dogs.

Another type of love is one we kind-of say differently: it’s IN LOVE. When we feel Love and Attraction at the same time, we have a clumping of the words into this smaller version of “in love”. Some people easily forget that attraction is part of this type of love, and that is the reason I’m writing.

This subject has come up in conversations a few times lately, and since I have stories that apply I sit to write and share. . Maybe this is the sign of getting old… “I have a story where that happened”.

So, love, lets move to love of a spouse and that attraction thing we get... When we love someone bigger than most, and we find ourselves so attracted and feeling so much love we want to get naked with that person. (I know I’m speaking in generals… you don’t have to be in love to want to get naked with someone, but I have a point to make, so bear with me.) We say we are “in love”. The thing that has been the subject of conversations is that many people are confused by falling out of love and still feeling love. Things change, people change, and when there are enough changes that the level of love changes, people get so upset and confused. The reason I seem to have so much to say on this when that subject has risen is that I have wrapped my head around my love changing a few times in my life. It’s not about who does what to make that love change… it’s just not finite, and like everything in this world it CAN change.

Part of the confusion or upset is when you no longer want to get naked with them. It’s like a giant put down. We feel terrible, and even guilty that we could say on one hand we love them, and yet on the other, be saying you do not want to make love to them.

I was faced with this after being with an alcoholic for 12 years. At the beginning of those years, when I first met him, I was in love with so many things about him. His face, his body, his confidence, his humor, his love of me, and countless things in between. Over the years of his drinking so much, (and the resulting conditioning of my feelings) I reached a point that my IN love just became Love. So when I turned to him wanting a divorce, the first thing out of my mouth had to be, “I still love you. This isn’t about not loving you. I just can’t continue being married to you.” At the time I couldn’t articulate my feelings that my love had changed. I only knew I still felt love.

I don’t think there is anyone I could love and stop loving. Love will always be there when I’ve loved someone, it’s the type of love and it’s quantity that changes. We only have this one word. It’s not like the measures of cooking a steak, that it can be named for rare, med rare, medium, medium well, and well done... No, with love it’s just one word, and so deep inside we don’t think of it as being something we can feel differently, or as something we have in different stages.

No doubt you are seeing my point… People who fall in love don’t necessarily stay that way. If they change the way they speak to each other, the way they treat each other, the intonation they use, the attitude they present, and a million more factors like how many times a person tolerates being let down or put on the back burner. There are so many factors that can and will dictate how “cooked” the love is. When we reach well done, it’s too late. All you have is tough love you struggle to chew.

Would I have ever wanted a divorce if the man I found the most handsome in the world had listened to me the first time I told him I didn’t enjoy him drunk the way I did when he was sober? If he had listened to my feelings and upsets, and if we had worked together to keep both of us happy? Would my love for him have changed? I can’t say I know for sure, but all things point to no. If he and I were able to communicate in the beginning, to listen, to learn, and move forward in what we felt, I wouldn’t have lost all hope that one day he would finally drink less. When that day finally came, and he told me he was going to drink less, it was 12 years into our relationship. I was more than well done. I was so cooked I was no longer part of the meal.

Here is where I admit to the world…So much damage to trust and love can happen in 12 years, and if you need convincing of that you are a dumb shit. So if after 12 years of being in a relationship, you aren’t happy, and you have to question whether or not your love has changed, you can believe right now, IT HAS. It most certainly has, because it doesn’t even take ONE YEAR of upset or wishing for change in order for a person to change and then their feelings to change, and even if love is still present, it too changes.

Many people try to “erase” the evidence of change. To decide that the upset didn’t happen. To start over. To try again. To forgive. All of these are great ideas, but how often do you see them work? My personal experience is that once you break something, it’s broken. You can glue it all you want, but it doesn’t heal, it doesn’t disappear, and I have never actually met anyone who has “fixed” their relationship and moved forward 100% great after having broken it. I’m not saying it doesn’t exist. I’m saying it’s so rare I don’t know where it exists.

Now the advice to those who get on this subject with me:

If you are in a relationship of loving someone, or someone loving you…you need to ask yourself if where you are at is already broken. If your relationship is new, you need to ask yourself if you care and LOVE enough to make sure that no breaking happens. How you do that, is to look at whether or not what you are doing is conducive to adding love, building love, encouraging growth of love, or if it is detrimental to love. Is being jealous of their friends detrimental to how he/she sees you? Are they going to love you more for being jealous? Are you going to look more appealing for being controlling? Is your tone of voice as “bitch face” going to make you look prettier? No? shocking!! Sorry, I’m really not shocked that acting in an unattractive way makes you LESS attractive. If you can’t wrap your head around this you are stupid. These are basic facts, ones that are always staring you in the face, and if being in love with someone is where you are and want to be, you need to look at how you are perceived, how you are acting…and therefore whether or not you are changing the way they love you.

Here is the secret to love… and I say secret because nobody seems to know it!!!

If you want to love and be loved to the full extent, BE somebody YOU love. Act like somebody you are in love with. How? Don’t be jealous. Be secure, be genuine, laugh often, know yourself and be yourself, don’t be possessive, always assume good intent, enjoy life, be understanding. Have boundaries as to how you are willing to be spoken to and treated. YOU are #1 Babe. These are just some of the things that if you do you will like who you are MORE, and the person who is in love with you will ALSO like you MORE… it’s cause and effect!! Imagine the love if you BOTH do it.

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