Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Economy of Affection.

     There is a saying which is pretty prevalent in the poly community: "Love is infinite, but time and energy are not."

     I don't actually buy that.  I don't believe that love is infinite.  Sure, I can love all humans in a general, theoretical, sense.  But to actually be capable of loving all humans the way I love my partners? I don't think that is a real possibility.  And really, even if I accepted that it theoretically was possible, there is no practical application for that theory.  So as far as practice, and reality, love is not infinite.

     Love takes time.  It takes energy.  Each relationship has its own needs, as far as time and energy, but it is necessary to invest some amount of both to maintain a relationship.  Sure, I can spend time with someone I haven't seen in months or years, and we can still have a good connection.  But chances are, we spent a lot of time and energy building that relationship previously, and built that connection which was able to stand time apart. 

     For me personally, romantic love wanes as I spend less time and energy with someone.  Quality Time and Physical Touch are the Love Languages I speak best, so I require more presence than someone who values, say, Receiving Gifts and Words of Affirmation.  So... since I require time in a person's presence to feel love, and I can't possibly spend that kind of time with infinite people, love is not infinite.  Since I'm sure that assuring that love is not infinite will offend someone, we can pretend that I think it's just not infinite for me.  :)

     So, having accepted this theory for myself, we then come to the practical application of "How much love can I reasonably experience?" Which I'd prefer to have some idea of before it actually becomes an issue, because a miscalculation can conceivably result in a reduced amount of affection on all fronts.  And as I value maintaining the relationships already in my care, I do not wish to create a starvation economy by overextending myself.

      If I take into account the things I have to do, like work, and the time I need to have free to do whatever I want, in addition to my relationships and the time and energy they take from me... then I can possibly support one more relationship.  This relationship would have to fit into my existing life, and into theirs as well.  The idea of "the right person" hasn't disappeared for me with polyamory, it's just that the parameters of what that means have changed.

     I'm not closed to new possibilities, I'm just open with caveats.


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