by Neal Fowler via Flickr Creative Commons

by Neal Fowler via Flickr Creative Commons

Sometimes I feel like English breaks down for me and people are speaking a foreign language.

Had dinner with a friend who is going through a break up. They said, of their now ex-partner, something to the effect of, “I love this person, but I am not in love with them. I mean, I care about them.” I’ve heard similar sentiments many times. I’ve even had ex-partners describe their feelings towards me in that way.

But I’m not sure I’ve ever understood it.

I’ve never once felt less love for anyone. Only more.

I’ve logically understood that I was in a toxic pattern with someone, or that they were acting in an abusive way towards me and that it would be healthier for us to no longer interact.

But even then, I still love them.

When someone says to me, “I don’t want an intimate relationship with you but I miss our friendship,” I also don’t know what that means. Friendship is an intimate relationship.

Does it boil down to sex? Is being in love wanting to be sexual? Is an intimate relationship a sexual one? (For these people who are framing things in this manner).

In this framework, is loving someone platonic while being in love is sexual? And if sexual feelings stop, then you stop being in love?

Love and sex aren’t dependent on each other for me, but I could understand that for some people they are.

I really don’t understand the choice to place a sexual relationship higher on a relationship hierarchy than a non-sexual one. If I love you, I love you. If you matter to me, you matter to me. I think this is why I identify with relationship anarchy.

Is this a demi thing? Do I not understand this because I am on the asexual spectrum?

I seriously cannot think of a single person that I ever loved whom I do not love now. There are some people I choose to not interact with, but that is not based on any lack of feeling. It is based on their behavior towards me. That is a choice regarding my own boundaries and mental health.

I have never loved less. I have only loved more. Even people I haven’t seen in years, my feelings don’t change. If I saw them today, we could pick right up where we left off. I’ve never wanted to end a relationship outside of abusive or toxic situations.

I also don’t think love can be compared. Each love is different. I love my sister. I love my best friend. I love my datefriend. I love my metamour. Each love is different, but once that love begins, it doesn’t change for me. It just grows deeper and stronger over time. I don’t love any two people in exactly the same way. But the frequency of our love is as unique as a fingerprint, and that frequency has never changed for me once it was activated.

There are some people I feel a stronger connection to or with upon meeting them. Whether because we have a lot in common, or because of their energy. But that connection doesn’t go away with time. I don’t mean that all love is equal to me. But I do mean it cannot be compared. It’s all unique and diverse and irreplaceable. Each person is unique, so the love I feel for them is unique, based on who they are. Love to me is seeing and appreciating the beauty and full humanity of an individual. The moment can be brief or lifelong. Likewise, the amount of love can be modest or deep. But once deep, how could it ever become shallow?

I honestly don’t think I’ve ever stopped loving anyone and I wouldn’t begin to know how that is possible. I accept that it is for some people because they say so, but I don’t understand it.

Is it infatuation? Is being “in love” new relationship energy? Of course that fades over time. But love remains.

If a relationship is the time, intimacy, information, energy, and authenticity shared between two people, then any two people who meet have a relationship. I have a relationship with the bank teller. I have the relationship with the grocery store cashier. I have a relationship with the homeless person on the corner I waved to this morning.

If friendship is the choice to deepen relationship intimacy consciously through the development of shared history, connection, and mutual vulnerability, how is that different from other kinds of intimate relationships….except for sex?

If intimacy is shared vulnerability, emotional honesty and authenticity, affection, connection, and trust which deepens over time, then I strive to be as intimate as possible with everyone I meet. Intimacy is a choice to connect in a moment. Intimacy is something which grows over time.

So then what would a non-intimate friendship look like? How would that even be possible?

Once you’ve seen a human being fully, how could that ever make you love them less than when you didn’t know them at all? People are complicated, messy, and imperfect to be sure. And if someone has maladaptive coping mechanisms, it might be better for me to not be around them. But again, that isn’t from any lack of love. If anything, loving someone means loving all of them – even the parts you don’t like.

But to lose interest? Never. Timing has shifted. My life has taken me in different directions. But growth and change doesn’t have to amount to love lost. My life has pulled me away from people I love, but that doesn’t make the love we shared go away. Even betrayal doesn’t stop love for me. It just mixes it with pain.

Is there any distinction between loving and being in love which is not related to sexuality and sexual feelings? The presence of sexual feeling or behavior has never changed the depth of feeling I have for someone, except perhaps to deepen it more quickly. And the absence of the same has never made me love anyone less.

I feel genuinely baffled, so please feel free to comment.

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