The more people I can love, the greater love I have to give overall.
For years, I appeared destined for one of those single lives depicted in Hollywood rom-coms—that friend of the popular girl who can never seem to snag a man. A cursory look at my biological family, and one can surmise why I concluded that I’d rather be single than chained up in suburbia.
While I didn’t want a life of “Cinderella”-inspired coupledom, I didn’t envision myself aging into that crazy cat lady either. But I didn’t see any viable options for those like myself who wanted to connect with others but didn’t want to spend a life in search of that elusive perfect prince of a partner.
During my travels to the San Francisco Bay area and the Pacific Northwest, I soon realized that I wasn’t unique. Rather, I was joining an ever growing cadre of folks who rejected the fairytale notion of the one true love. I began to see how I interact with many people in various ways. Our energies connect at different levels, offering a range of potential experiences.
So instead of searching for the one to “complete me” à la Jerry Maguire, I began to see how I connect with a range of people in loving relationships. Here I am moving beyond the Hollywood version of love depicted in rom-coms that focuses exclusively on romantic erotic relationships. Instead, I’m taking a broader view that includes philia (friendship) and agape (universal love).
Here’s a very short synopsis of this idea, by blogger David Hare. Here he asks the overarching question, “How do you want to love and be loved?” He unpacks six types of love.
Physical: How much are we attracted to each other physically? Do we each want the same amount of cuddling, holding, and kissing? Also, if we don’t view finding our one true love as the end goal, then we can feel free to flirt with others (as long as we have consent from everybody’s partners) without trying to force a budding friendship into a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship. Within this category, include those whose physical energy we may enjoy as a platonic cuddle buddy. This allows us to enjoy their touch without the pressure to escalate into something that doesn’t feel right for either of us.
Sexual: How compatible are our sexual preferences and sex drives? While society tends to focus on actual sexual acts, sex can be expanded to include sharing of sensual energy via practices like tantra. A one-night stand or a no-strings-attached relationship can be redefined into two people forming a caring energy connection. Along those lines, do we wish to engage in solely monogamous sexual relationships or do we wish to open up our sexual relationships to include other individuals?
Emotional: How important is it to each of us to honestly share our feelings with each other and be listened to? Are we on the same wavelength? Can I say that my partner gets me? Here we are talking about a heart-to-heart connection. Mind-to-mind connection is next, though.
Intellectual: How important is intellectual stimulation to each of us? We can get turned on by those who share the same interests and activities, and enjoy these activities together without any added expectations.
Practical: How well do we work together on everyday domestic issues, such as housework and financial planning? This category applies primarily to those who choose to live together.
Spiritual: Do we share similar views about the meaning of life? How much are we looking together in the same direction in terms of our values and vision? Do we share a “soul” connection?
To me, the different love types explain how I was able to expand the circle of people in my life. I started this journey before reading about them, but since I have learned them, I no longer feel the need to walk away from a relationship because a particular person can’t fulfill every one of my needs. Instead, I’m able to relax and appreciate the energies that each person brings into my life.
Now, not every energy will prove to be positive. In my post for Grok Nation, I expound on my experiences in cutting the energetic cords when a relationship becomes toxic.
But overall, I’ve found that by refusing to limit my love to one person, I’m able to spread my energies around. This allows me to have a wider range of encounters with people as I no longer place expectations on anyone but allow our connections to evolve organically over time.
More importantly, I’ve found that my love is indeed limitless. The more people I can love, the greater love I have to give overall. So rather than restrict my energies, why not expand the bounty? Who knows what could happen if we choose to love as far and wide as possible? Maybe we can heal the world.
Becky Garrison is a freelance writer currently based in Portland. Follow her travels on Instagram and Twitter @Becky_Garrison