Saturday, February 23, 2013

Learning to Love: Valentine´s Day

Valentine’s Day, and I got a phone call from my ex-fiancé’s girlfriend challenging me and asking if I was ‘going out with her boyfriend’. Now I am almost sixty and he and I were programmed to be married, thirty years ago! I tried calming her, throwing light on the fact that he lived in a different city and I hadn’t even seen him for several months…but to no effect.
Now, she’s right. Not that we ‘date’ but that we love each other. We always have…and sharing a history of intimacy obviously gave her that gut reaction of feeling excluded. I was sort of excited after so many years of being out of the game, though not meaning any harm in being friends with her boyfriend.
Where does fidelity stand when the neat limits of marriage that stave off intromission, are gone. Nowadays, people live with their lovers, without the commitment of matrimony. So is it ‘adultery’ to befriend someone else´s friend? And how close is close? Do you have to have sex to be off limits or is simply picking the phone up and sharing everyday life, a transgression? Are you off bounds even when you are past the menace of reproduction and the natural possessiveness implied?
Why should love be made a sin? Why must we possess each other, tying each other down in fear of losing their love? Why love to cover up our insecurity?
I remember my mother telling us, five children, that there are always more ‘warm fuzzies’ where they come from; not to feel they would finish, and someone be left out from their share!

I tried calming her, saying that my love for him, encompassed anyone and everyone who loved him, and whom he loved, even if I didn’t know them. Knowing he was well and happy was enough. But of course, she knew better. She wasn’t making him happy. She wasn’t taking care of him; she couldn’t even take care of herself…(been there; done that). How sad that we women have to hold on to a man to guarantee economic safety . That was probably, more like it…and how comfy it sounds…but what a burden to a relationship.
It is hard to be true to love, because it requires that we be true to ourselves, first. I had a patient who held a fifteen-year-old love affair, through two marriages, feeling she was being true to her love for him, despite being married, because she had no sex with either of her husbands; one, for sickness; the other, for alcohol. Now, that is squizoid, but there is some truth in aligning one's actions to one's true feelings.
I find it hard to be self-sustaining with a 22 year old daughter, but the struggle is worth my freedom. I am mine to give and receive (I should hope so, at sixty…). They say that in love everything is valid as long as you don’t hurt yourself, your lover or others. So I hold fast to my right to love whom I love, at the cost of being hated.
(Not so nice on Valentine’s Day…)

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