Due to my holiday I asked the lovely and very thoughtful @KinkiNoNeko to write a guest blogpost for Delightfully Queer on Intimacy & Friendship. Below is her blogpost entitled: “L is for the way you look at me…Love and its Many Meanings”
Love. Four little letters with a slew of meanings behind them. We’re all extremely familiar with society’s vision of love; it’s enshrined in every romantic movie, every jewelry commercial and every picture of the perfect family. Love is commitment, love is a house and 2.4 kids, love is blissfully ignorant. It’s also typically monogamous, restrictive in nature, and can only belong to certain people and with certain levels of commitment.
If you’re ethically non-monogamous or polyamorous, or even just outside the normal bubble of society, you already know that love is so much more complex than that, and certainly exists outside the afore mentioned vacuum. Poly typically means opening your heart to having more than one relationship and more than one love, but what about all the other people in our lives? Is romantic love the only love that exists, even if you’re poly?
Love is one of those words that over time and throughout different cultures has had any number of definitions and meanings. Depending on the language, there may be any number of words for it, depending on the person we’re saying it to. We know we love our mother, and we even know that it’s different than how we love our spouse. Yet we still get stuck on the word often, and try to shove our love in boxes to try and help ourselves understand how we feel.
In my own journey into polyamory and opening my mind to the many concepts of love, I have found that in many cases, love can be broken down into four different sections; sexual, romantic, friendly, and familial. Some people fit into these categories easily, but most do not. In fact, most people can’t. These categories exist to be mixed and matched, to be represented in different amounts and to interact with each other differently. This is why your feelings about Person A might be completely different than your feelings for Person B, but no less awesome or intense.
Sexual affection is a pretty obvious one; it encompasses pretty much all lust, desire, and physical want for a person. It often complements the other feelings quite nicely, but can both exist on it’s own, or not at all. Romantic affection I think can be defined by the desire to pursue romance with an individual, however you envision romance personally. Friendly affection is the wide berth given to how we feel about people we connect with and get along with well; the people we can share our thoughts and ideas and explore the world with. Lastly, familial affection is that often unexplainable unconditional bond we feel towards individuals that we often consider to be our family, a connection shared on a different level.
You may have someone in your life that you feel extremely romantic about, and even a little bit familial, but don’t feel the pull of sexual affection. Or you might feel an extremely strong sexual draw, with friendliness off the charts, but nothing in the romantic category. I tend to think of them in my head as little bars that fill up the more that particular feeling exists. There’s no limits on it; no restrictions on how you can feel for a person. Embracing this way of thinking also helps let go of a lot of the competitiveness that can exist around concepts of love. Someone doesn’t have to be a certain way for you to love them, date them, sleep with them, marry them, live with them.
If you’ve ever found that you’ve struggled with reconciling yourself with the concept of love, try this method on for size. Think about the people in your life that you care about, and see if you can identify what categories your love contains. Reflect on their differences, and what makes them all unique and amazing. See if they stretch outside those categories even. Don’t stress if they don’t. No matter where it sits inside you, embrace it. For all the awful things in the world and all the time we give to thinking about them, it’s good to occasionally remember that love is simply brilliant, in all its many facets. 🙂