Yesterday, I focused on the agony after breaking up with my first polyamorous partner. That agony continues, but one step at a time, I am dealing better with how much I miss him and I’m crying just a little bit less every day. For years, the love I had for X stayed in my heart. When we reconnected two months ago, I was able acknowledge it, nurture it, and it evolved into something so amazing. Now, I’m trying to put that love back into its compartment in my heart, so that I can move on.
That got me analyzing the way I think about love. Many people who don’t agree with polyamory say that it’s not possible to love two or more people romantically. They say that you love romantic partners differently than you love your children or your family or your pets or that particularly good piece of chocolate cake.
I say that LOVE is LOVE is LOVE. (Stay with me here, I’ll explain it).
I think that we have an infinite capacity to love. If we had enough time, we would all be excellent at it.
This is how I think love works inside us.
First, when we are born, we have our clean, untouched heart. We have never loved.
Then, when we grow into a small child from an infant, we start to develop love and compartmentalize that love into different sections of our heart. One section can correspond to mom, one to dad, one to a sibling, one to food, one to a favourite toy, etc., etc.
As we grow and learn and develop relationships, we continuously add compartments where our love sits for different people and things.
But our love isn’t divided. It isn’t rationed to each person based on how many things we love.
When we love, it’s like we recall that love from that compartment and it fills our whole heart. So if this red square is where I kept my love for X for all those years, it just resided there. It wasn’t recognized often. It just sat there.
Then when we reconnected, it filled my heart, was recognized, and every day for two months, it resided there permanently.
Now, it’s not just one type of love at a time that can fill our heart. At the same time, the established love that I had for my husband, shown in blue here, was also filling my heart.
And my established love for my children, shown in green, was also filling my heart. Because there is an infinite capacity to love.
The great thing about this grid system, is that every time you begin to love someone or some thing, you add another spot. But that love you feel can take your whole heart.
Now wait, I don’t love chocolate cake as much as I love my kids! Model break-down.
Or is it?
In the moment I eat chocolate cake, I love that chocolate cake. But that love fills my heart and then leaves. My love for my kids? It never goes back into that little square it could be compartmentalized in. But my love for chocolate cake sure does. Certain types of love are filling my heart at all times. The love for my hubby and my kids, my parents and my sibling, those are always filling my heart. Other loves aren’t out as often like my love for my career, my love of yoga, my love of running, and my love of chocolate for example. Others pop out when I need them, like my love of chick flicks or popcorn.
Still others just sit there, waiting to be brought out again. Some of them never will surface again, like the love for the boyfriends I had before I met hubby. I truly believe, however, that there is a bit of that love stored as a memory in my heart.
What we do with each love is our choice. I show my love for my children through all the things I do for them. Through hugs and kisses and providing food and clothing and shelter. Through talking and spending time with them. Through disciplining them and being there for them. I show my love for hubby by washing his dirty underwear and smacking his ass on the way by and cooking him amazing meals. I also show my love for hubby in intimate and sexual ways. I certainly don’t do the same with chocolate cake. I show my love for chocolate cake by eating it and enjoying it.
I think part of the love that continuously fills our heart, is that it allows that special connection between us and the people we love. It’s like a special string connects our heart full of love to the other person’s heart when it’s full of love.
What I did when I broke up with X was cut that string. Leaving both our hearts full of love, but cutting that connection. And the heartache I feel is that my heart is full of love, with no way to show it. And I have to get this love back into its square so I can move on with my life.
Currently, my heart is still full of love for X. As time goes on, I’ll think of him less and less and the love I feel for him will fill my heart less often. At the moment, this thought is heartbreaking. As I process and deal with this all, that love will eventually stop filling my heart and stay in its box.
Once it’s back in its square, then it will be kept there for the rest of my life. My love for X will never die. It will be available to fill my heart at any point if he chooses to come back into my life.
Maybe someday soon another square will fill with love for another man, who is available to me in the way I need him to be?
But in the meantime, I have a heart that is full of love and has so many compartments for all the other things that fill my heart with love. Right now though, my love for X is filling my heart and it hurts. It hurts because I have to push it back into its box.