Tuesday, May 6, 2014

What Does Love Got to Do With It

Tina Turner's words echo in my ear as an ear worm, just the one line over and over.

"Oh what's love got to do, got to do with it"

It echos not because the song itself is speaking to me, but because my thoughts brought me to the same line from a different direction.

I took a survey this evening, not one of those Internet quizzes that are so popular, but a survey about important things, things that can touch deep, things that can brush up against hurt or joy, strong emotions of one variety or another.  Several of my answers surprised me, and revealed things to me about myself I hadn't realized previously, but knew to be true as soon as I identified them.

The one that surprised me the most was a question about what is important in an intimate relationship.  It listed quite a few options, with ability to select as many as apply, and to list other things not listed, at the end.  Some of the options included emotional connection, non-sexual physical touch, sexual physical touch, love, and intellectual connection, plus a few others, and I included several things in the "other" category.

What surprised me is love wasn't on the list of things that are important to me in an intimate relationship.  Not that I don't want it, but that what I want is the emotional and intellectual connection and to feel safe and valued and important.  That sexual physical touch wasn't important to me but non-sexual physical touch was, is important, but not surprising.  I already knew that.  I desire to be held and comforted, not necessarily to have sex, not that I'm against the idea, it's just secondary to the other.  But, back to love.

Part of this of course relates to what I'm currently going through, a bit of jadedness in relation to love, a feeling that love didn't fulfill.  But that isn't the part of the picture I saw when I answered the question.  That I entered a relationship based an believing I was in love, and I won't begin to claim I know at this date years later that I wasn't, or that I was, it's too raw and painful now to say for sure looking back.  I just know I believed myself to be.

It was something different.

I realized I could be content and happy in a relationship where I didn't feel in love with the person but had that connection.  I got in both the relationships I have had because I presumed I was in love and that meant I should be in a relationship.  But being in love without the connection, is loneliness and pain even if with someone.  I can see myself being in a relationship where I could say, with no guile and no hurt or pain, that I am not in love, but am happy with the person, and they with me, and love is of secondary concern.  Just as non-sexual physical touch is what I desire, and sexual physical touch is secondary.

But where does that leave me?  Is it bitterness or pain speaking?  Is it that I don't understand love?

It might be that "love" for me is a construct I built to try to make the world make sense and as I know myself more, that construct feels less real.  That I made this "thing" in my mind I called love, and I presumed because I named it love, that that is what love innately is.  That "thing" in my head failed me, so I presume love itself is what was broken, not my construct I baptised as "love".  Maybe this is the case, maybe it isn't.

I think I need to find it without the word defining it, then redefine the word based on that which I find.  Once the dust clears from the current hardships, I think I need to set the word aside for now, forget what I think I know, and find that thing I need that contains the emotional and intellectual connection, that is safe and comforting, that include intimate touch without sexual touch.  And maybe sexual touch if it feel right, maybe.

And then, when I find that thing I desire and long for, and can then redefine love based on what I find.



  1. I agree with you Bethany, but for a different reason, I think its easy to love--but that doesn't mean I need to be in a relationship with that person. I will fall in a deeper love if those things are occurring in the relationship. The intellectual and emotional connection, physical intimacy sexual and non-sexual, and security and support. That will be a richer more encompassing love because of all the appreciation and safeness.

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