What Is Love?

What Is Love?

It’s such a mystery. We yearn for something, get a mushy feeling about it, and pursue it at great lengths. But we often hear that love hurts. Our hearts can break through the loss of love. Wars are waged when love gives way to hatred, or even can be the reason for war…

People love material things, wealth, social status, animals, their families and friends, and the majority of us want a lover.

But what is thing thing called love? How can we love and be loved?

I’d suggest love is an act of giving selflessly to another, to bring them peace or happiness or something else entirely, placed at the feet of those we adore, illuminating from a deep part of us. But the way I love my shoes is very different to how I love my friends. How I love my job is very different to how I love my sport. English is a very limiting language like that.

To love a romantic partner is the most significant to me. I choose that partner and they me. I didn’t choose my family. I don’t sleep with friends. It takes an extra act of courage and a willingness to feel a deeper sense of vulnerability to love a romantic partner. But thats just me. We’re all different.

I attended a class on love by Dr TammyJo Eckhart recently. I really enjoyed her perspective on this, as an experienced dominant and historian. She spoke of how love was described by the Ancient Greeks, and I took part in exercises to discover how those principles would illuminate a previous D/s relationship. I found it very useful to apply these terms, that I was already aware of, into my kink practice.

The Ancient Greeks defined love in 5 separate terms:

Agape – feeling contentment, safe and secure. Built on respect and developed respect.
Eros – an intense passionate feeling of desire, lustful of sex and/or kink.
Philia – based on shared interests and habits.
Storge – a desire for structure and functional roles.
Thelema – the desire or will to complete something, striving for goals.

Which of these do you need most in a romantic partner? What are the benefits of these in your current or ideal relationship? How are these challenging to you? Interesting questions aren’t they! Hopefully ones that you can learn from and think about in your relationships.

You may be more aware of the 5 love languages in popular culture. People express their love and feel love in different ways…. here’s another list for you:

Words of affirmation – some people need to hear words of affection and appreciation.
Phyisical Touch – some people need to be touched to feel loved.
Receiving Gifts – some people want you to take the time to buy something they want or need.
Quality Time – some people feel loved by uninterrupted physical presence doing something enjoyable together.
Acts of Service – doing things to make your lovers life easier can make them feel loved.

As kinksters, as people, our self awareness is really important here, especially if we engage in power play or S&M. For example, a masochist may feel loved if you hit them, a dominant love that you organise their paperwork, a sensualist love a back rub. But you won’t know unless you ask. They won’t know your needs unless you tell them. It always comes down to communication, doesn’t it.

In reality, though I love lists and conceptual representations of love, what I’m most concerned about is if the person I’m drawing close to gets me. Will they see my hidden sexuality and reject it? Just how much can I trust them with who I am? At what point do I stop the course of the relationship if I just don’t feel that connection is sufficiently there? How do I know the person I see in front of me, is who they truly are?

It difficult to be clinical when those bonds are forming, but I do most definitely know love should never be rushed. Love gives space. Love brings warmth. Love never pressurises or deflates your spirit. The love that lasts, anyway. I know this because I practice self love, and i love those I trust with warmth. It feels good.

People cling to the idea of love with someone. They excuse poor behaviour or incompatibility for the good they see in them. That’s where love hurts, because sometimes sacrifices are made, and those sacrifices are too much to burden. Instead of seeing the person they are and their needs, comparing that to the person in front of them and their needs, they get caught up in social conformity and fairytale fantasies. They want to be loved, to fill a hole inside them, in a way we’re socialised to accept, but it leaves us lost.

When you cut away the misconceptions and allow love to breathe within you, then you can love others and they love you… if they did that work also. Thats what I truly believe. If someone loves me, I notice, because it feels right and I feel safe.

So, what is love? Love may be a huge challenge, take many forms, be felt in different ways, but it is something that brings people together and is a source of tranquility. So, love will always prevail, I’d say.

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