By Linda White Dove
While I was talking with a friend the other day about physically loving more than one person, she asked me if means diluting the love that I have to offer. Thinking about it later, I realized the difficulty in sharing physical love with more than one person has nothing to do with the limitations of love, but rather the expectations we place upon love and our lovers. After all, we think nothing of having more than one friend, why would lovers be any different?
In this society we expect certain behaviors from those with whom we share physical love that we do not expect from others. These behaviors are supposed to bring certain benefits, such as security, nurturing, a sense of partnership and belonging. Some of the behaviors we expect in exchange for the benefits are well defined, others are vague and vary from person to person based on life experiences and family beliefs. Often we are not consciously aware of our expectations as we live them out with each other.
When people meet and "fall in love," the expectations come with them. Much of the lack of trust between men and women and between those of the same sex, is the accumulated weight of these expectations and the resulting behaviors. Some of the more common and often more comical of everyday behaviors, the way in which the expectations play themselves out, have become the focus when discussing relationships. However, while these behaviors do come up in relationships, they are merely surface indications, symptoms, of the underlying expectations. Likewise for the more "serious" difficulties that come with relationships. Each of these can be traced to a particular belief or set of beliefs about how relationships are supposed to be and how people in relationships are supposed to treat each other.
While understanding, communicating and healing these beliefs are essential to healthy relationships, these beliefs are not the love itself. They are things that happen when people come together in physical love relationships because of the expectations we have created that love changes and fixes things, that it creates security, nurturing, and takes away the fear and pain that come up when we have to face our own issues alone.
Love is an experience, a permanent state of mind and heart that is independent of all expectations, self identity and life experiences. Love is not about the limitations we place on it based on unmet needs. Love is about freedom and self _expression. It is about experiencing the pure joy of living, of being human and sharing that joy with others because we want to celebrate the joy of them. Love is a constant, internal approach to living that is ever available for anyone who chooses to experience it. It has nothing to do with the appearances of things.
The beauty of physical love relationship is that it brings to the surface all the expectations and limitations we have placed upon love and each other so that we can release the expectations (baggage) and be free to know the joy, beauty and sheer exhilaration of being alive with each other. When we can recognize this baggage for what it is and know it is a separate experience from that of love, then love becomes an infinite and liberating experience. It is no more draining to physically love one person than to love more than one person. In fact, love then multiplies. Such is the nature of celebration. Carrying the weight of expectations around is draining, but joy is contagious!
To love more than one person is a life affirming experience but it is not always easy! To be fulfilling for all concerned, it requires courage to know our own needs and express authentically. It requires trust in the ability to meet these needs, even if the way to do it is to let go of the relationship. Most of all, it requires an inner knowing and trusting in the power of love, not the love that comes from a particular person, but the overall experience of love itself. This is the primary benefit of loving more than one person, it becomes a path of learning and inner healing that, over time, changes how love is defined and how it is lived. It allows love to be freed from limiting expectations and makes it easier for everyone to love and be loved, in the true sense of the word.
Linda White Dove
Linda White Dove, M. Ed., RMT is a healing facilitator and writer with a teaching and healing practice in Northampton, MA and via distance. Her writing has been bringing healing messages and energy in many publications including Continuum Magazine, Kaleidoscope and Many Hands as well as in her "Book of Healing Transmissions." She is deeply committed to creating loving space for inner healing as a framework for planetary peace. She can be reached at 413-527-4526, WhiteDove or by e mail at email@example.com
"Intimacy is not contingent upon life circumstances, promises of love, partnership or forever. It is about daring to bare your heart and be true to yourself in the presence of another."