(Wo)Man in Love, or When Gods Collide

Last night, I had a lovely conversation with WMFH about how in love he is with his girlfriend. It was amazing how his face lit up in this expression of pure bliss as he spoke of her. Love can make anyone beautiful, and every time he mentions her he becomes positively beatific. I know that look, because since my weekend of passion with my Paramour, I have been beamish and blissful myself. There is something so transcendent in loving and being loved. I used to think that my modus operandi with men was unhealthy, that my my propensity for hypersexuality and tendency to fall in love with them as easily and completely as I do was a sign of some emotional instability on my part. As I have gotten older and my spiritual quest has become more focused, I have realized that this is why I am here. This is what I do. My affections can serve a purpose. I have always felt that I failed at being nurturing, because I tended to only feel nurturing toward men I was in love with. Now I see that this can be beautiful. Sometimes giving love without asking for it in return can be the most fulfilling love of all. Rather than seeing my affections as being something I inflict upon someone in a desperate attempt to win their love in return, I can see now that I am giving them something, something that every person on earth could always use more of. The pain comes when you expect something in return. Adjusting your expectations is necessary to avoid this pain. Of course, it helps immensely that I have my husband now to ground me. There is little risk to loving someone if you know that at the end of the day you have someone to recharge your batteries and love you in return.
Me at college
Me, feeling a little blissed out, at college at 42, married, dating, and kinda loving middle age. It was test day, and test day means 2 things: cookies and cleavage. The cookies were apple almond cinnamon bars and the cleavage is front and center.

I feel that my relationship with the gods has been a critical part of recognizing love for what it is and what it isn’t. Love can transform you, but it shouldn’t be relied on to change you. Love can rescue you, but you can’t expect it to save you. Love is like gravity; the strongest force known and the weakest (is a physics reference too obscure? Meh, you all seem like a PBS kind of crowd). During music appreciation class, WMFH played some Gregorian chants while discussing the importance of monophony in conveying the sacred nature of the chant. My Little Inner Voice said to me, “music is how the god within us speaks to the god outside of us”. The conversation with him after class made me realize that love and sex are how the god within us speaks to the god within others. This is why the experience is so unique to each situation. Every relationship is a different conversation, a different interaction. I have learned that love, any love, is what it is and cannot be defined by anyone. It cannot be molded into something it doesn’t want to be. Because it isn’t about us, it is manifestation of the divine seeking the divine in the physical world.

My Paramour and I have been like lovesick teenagers for the last week, texting and Skyping and calling each other for hours on end every day, all giggling and pillow talk and future plans. There was a time in my life where all I would have seen was the inevitable entropy of our relationship, the gradual decay of our orbit ending in a crash landing back to earth. Now I feel that I am able to embrace my emotions as well as accept his affection for me without question. I don’t worry about if he thinks I am too fat, or that my breasts aren’t as perky as they once were (although they are still quite remarkable for a woman my age thankyouverymuch). The fact that he is as insanely hypersexual as I am, combined with our decade long history and friendship makes us uniquely suited for each other. He is everything I ever dreamed of having in a “lover”, as if he were custom made for me. I tease him that he is my male maenad, our encounters fueled by an animal abandon and savage ecstatic debauchery.

The love that I get from my husband is so lovely and unconditional, almost maternal at times. Ours is a relationship of deep and serious affection and respect, and a protectiveness that I had never known before I met him. He is the man I want to walk through life with, swords raised and battle-cry howling.

My love for my best friend is timeless, we have been together for so long and through so much that it is seamless and effortless, as much a part of myself as my right hand.

I consider myself so very blessed to be surrounded by men who love me and accept my love in return. Each man in my life is a different conversation, a different song, a different kind of love. It truly feels like I am talking to gods and the joy at being so fortunate to be able to participate in the conversation is exquisite.

At our wedding, we asked Co-Priest to read the story of the origin of love from Plato’s Symposium, but ultimately Hedwig said it best:

Love and the Art of the Open Relationship

One of the writers of one of the blogs I read mentioned something about having an open relationship and how a surprising amount of the drama comes from outside of the relationship. The judgement of others when you choose, like my husband and I have, to allow each other the freedom to date while maintaining a committed relationship can be more destructive than anything else. People make assumptions about the state of your marriage, about your moral fiber, about your trustworthiness. I know most people in the Pagan community are not new or unfamiliar with poly or open relationships, but I felt the need to assert my opinions on the subject (it is my blog after all).

1. There is a difference between “open” and “poly”. Poly tends to imply that a couple is actively seeking partners, usually for something more long term. Open tends to imply that hey, if it happens, it happens. My husband and I are the latter. We aren’t actively “cruising” for partners, just open to the possibility if we happen to meet someone we are attracted to. If that relationship turns into something more long term, then we cross that bridge when we come to it.

2. There need to be ground rules in order for it to work. Our rule is that the spouse comes first, and we don’t spend the night without prior agreement.

3. This isn’t about being promiscuous. This is about being open to love, affection, and/or sex with someone we care about if the opportunity arises. Both my husband and I were big ol’ sluts in our youth, we got that out of our system early.

4. This has nothing to do with the health of my marriage or my love for my husband. I give the big guy a hard time, but he is my love, and I don’t ever want to be married to anyone else. There are parts of my heart that I may want to give to others, they may even be others out there that I could love in a major and epic way, but none of them could take his specific place in my life. I made that man a promise on our wedding day, and I intend on keeping it. Our marriage is actually quite healthy and we are still very much in love.

What it all boils down to in my book is this; love is rare. Love is magic. Love is everything. Love is the most powerful and important thing on earth. When you have the chance at love, be it physical, emotional, passionate, romantic, visceral, frivolous, platonic, or otherwise, you should seize it and explore it. Life is short, and the idea that we only have enough love in our lives for one person at a time baffles me. If monogamy works for you, do it. But if it doesn’t…

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