By Melissa Rainwater
People often ask me how I can love multiple people, or if I stopped loving Mark when I fell in love with Richard. I like to remind them that love is not a finite resource.
Just like I didn’t stop loving my first child when my second was born. I didn’t stop loving my BFF when she moved away after sixth grade and I became closer to other people. And I know that when my partners fall in love with other people, they won’t love me any less. When Randy met me, he didn’t stop loving his wife. Polyamory allows for love to grow and multiply without the conventional relationship rules telling us we can only have so much love in our hearts.
I used to be afraid to love people.
And I was definitely afraid to say it out loud. Because that makes us vulnerable, right?
What if the other person doesn’t love me back?
What if I scare them away?
What if they do love me and now this means we have to change our expectations or our arrangement and what if this person wants to control what I wear and where I go and who I talk to and….. *deep breath*
I was afraid of what it meant to open my heart to another person after years of doing so and being hurt by it. I was scared of being rejected, mostly.
When I told my husband, Mark, that I loved him for the first time, he replied that he would never love me because he didn’t believe in love. It was about a year after that that he changed his mind about love, at which point he said he loved me, but I don’t think either of us even knew what being in love really felt like.
When I first said it to Richard, it was in a text where I said “I have been fighting with myself over whether or not it would be okay to tell you that I love you”. His initial response was to worry that I was going to try to control him.
He then said that of course he loved me too, but he was afraid of what that meant.
What is it about love that makes people run away in terror? Love is supposed to be sweet and romantic and caring and soft. Love is beautiful and blind and generous and unconditional. I now allow myself to experience love freely and openly, and I encourage others to do the same. If love is painful or scary, there is a chance you are being abused - either by yourself or another person, but something isn’t right. Let’s normalize love and caring and openness.
Just a thought.