Do you fall in love all at once, or in a series of moments?
For me love has always been an unfolding series of emotions but often with a secure path. I recognize NRE easily, and feel it pretty readily as well. It’s the feeling of my breath catching and heart fluttering when I’m getting to know someone and they say something sweet. It’s the tugging sensation when I’m talking to someone and they express their values and goals and I see how they reflect my own, and I want to share more of my life with them. It’s the excitement of learning their favorite food, or what author has shaped their life, and this information being precious because it comes from them. New relationships have a particular electric excitement to them that enhances everything, those floods of brain chemicals making me want to think about someone constantly and spend all day talking to them and exploring their mind. I acknowledge the love and limerence I feel during that time as real and feel honest in the expression of it, while also knowing that it doesn’t always predict the shape of a long term connection or translate into a more deeply seated love.
Following the rushing torrent of NRE feels, my love often takes one of two paths. The first path is into a comfortable realm of cozy warm feelings of contentment and comfort with a person. I would liken my love to a warm hearth, stable and providing security, not full of intensity, but full of a consistent glow of enjoyment. This path often runs towards a slowly deepening loyalty and commitment to a person and exploring vulnerabilities together over time as we grow close.
The second path is almost a continuation of NRE, in that it mirrors those intense rushes of emotion, the overwhelming sensations of being caught off guard and reveling in the energy of it. Little moments become big electrical boosts in the person centered part of my psyche, thrilling me and driving me to focus intimately on those moments of exhilaration. This often included elements of the first path as well, but has a definite aspect to it of love gathering intensity and momentum in a series of defining moments.
This weekend one of those stark moments came into clarity. I was sitting in the backseat of Hoffy’s truck as he was driving and half dozing off, as we were coming back from hanging out with some other folks in the local poly community and stuffing our faces at the buffet. I was a bit at my limit for socialing, had been wanting to just have some space to relax alone. Being in the truck with Hoffy driving, Kelev in the front seat, Raichu in the back with me, and music filtering through the background with no need for conversation, was peaceful. I was thinking of how I was surprised at how comfortable I was, because I don’t normally feel comfortable with someone else driving. Then I looked at Hoffy and was watching him drive and sing softly along to the music, and it was one of those moments where I was just overwhelmed with how much love I felt for him. There was just this intense feeling of ‘yes, this person. This is my person, I am happy here, and this is the person I love.’ There is a feeling of certainty in those moments of intensity. And they are amazing moments in how they have the level of excitement of NRE, but also the sheer comfortable and stable feeling of love after NRE has passed. I was thinking about how falling in love with him is a series of moments, just ordinary moments that happen as we live life together, but that take on this intense special quality out of the blue.
It is interesting, how my brain in those moments goes ‘this is the person I love.’ It’s true, it is absolutely true in that moment, and as a whole. It certainly isn’t exclusive though, and that is the beauty of being a polyamorist relationship anarchist to me. I very rarely feel that sort of intensity of emotion past NRE though, with most people I settle into that comfortable hearth fire love of stability and warmth, and overwhelming moments are not a regular occurrence. Once in a while though, the path of my love with someone takes the more passionate and extreme route, with strong surges and surprising and startling moments of energy. I found it amusing and ironic, that the other person in my life that I’ve felt that with was sitting in the front seat beside the person I was having those thoughts about now. And it mirrored the experience I had when I first recognized I was feeling that intensely about Kelev, also coming when I was sitting in the back seat of his truck eight years ago, watching him drive. I always wondered why my emotional connection with him was so much more potent at times, and here I was feeling that again.
I don’t really feel passion for people easily. I feel NRE, I feel comfortable safe feelings of love, I feel extremely potent and intense loyalty and connection and vulnerability. But passion, that often escapes me except in rare circumstances. My passions are often directed to my efforts to create and intentional community and dreams of such, towards my activism which is one of the most important aspects of my life, towards art and music, towards my never-ending quest for knowledge and learning. Those things are where my passions lay, and my relationships with people are more a beautiful cozy place rather then an enormous ardent one. I’ve found another partnership in my life that has diverged from the usual path they take for me though, that has a more passionate quality to it that is unfolding for me in that series of moments. Those moments where I really see him, and I am quite overwhelmed and absolutely eager for that fiery intensity. I’m amused when those moments mirror previous moments in the series that has played out in my other partnership of a similar quality. But most of all I’m just grateful for them, and for how they show me the many ways we are able to fall in love and appreciate that multitude and the aspect of it that I’m in at the moment.