Love kicks (your) ass!
One of my favourite equivocal quotes, coming from one of my very few mentors during the 35 years I so far walked on this planet. Even though I spent maybe only a month with this guy last fall, Greg Ehmka truly knows his stuff and he might have even saved my life after a serious break-up. Not that I would have jumped from a bridge, but my main-partner leaving me after years of the most intensive relationship I could have imagined, came so from out of left-field. I simply was shocked and struggled aimlessly to get back on my feet. But before talking about what that quote really tries to pinpoint, let me explain a bit about my past.
Roughly 3.5-4 years ago, and after an unsatisfying, monogamous relationship I simply decided to try Polyamory. Well, actually I had a 3-days talk with a good old friend of mine about love, relationships and freedom before that and thought it might be enough. At last, he was someone who was successfully living poly-amorously for nearly 20years back then so it couldn't be that hard.
His arguments sounded logical to me and for quite some time I was aware that there was something deep inside me that wanted to learn more about that deep mystery we call love.
Interestingly enough, two months later I fell in love with an amazing woman who was living poly for over a decade and it was absolutely made clear - If I wanted to dive into a longer experience with her, I had to become poly myself. Not just in theory, but universe now provided me with the perfect opportunity for the careless decision I made some weeks before.
And heck, was it a wild ride. She was great at taking my hand, introducing me to the huge Poly-community in Austria and especially Graz, which by the way might have one of the biggest and active communities worldwide in relation to its inhabitants. While she was living with her long-term partner, we were deeply in love and it was good to have someone by my side who really knew one or two things about the poly-process. We struggled, we fell, we stood up again even stronger. I fell in love with other women and she was not only okay with it, she was exited and happy about it. Most oft the time. Wow, what a mindfuck for me, who only knew jealousy as the only solution in such situations so far.
To make a long story short, I thought we would spend the rest of our lives together as companions, in one way or the other. Maybe I was a bit naive, maybe being overly romantic or stupid. Who knows, but I meant it.
Last summer she fell in love with a guy and was gone overnight. All the agreements we had, all the plans on how to deal with and include new partners into our constellation, thrown overboard in an instance for no obvious reason and without necessity at all in our poly-context. It really broke my heart.
But as always, there were lessons to learn from that. First of all, Polyamory will not prevent you from break-ups or from feeling love-sick. Well, duh! I knew that, but now I really know it. ;)
Poly isn't “better” than monogamy in that sense. It's just different. Let's call it a bigger playing field that makes it harder to hide your personal issues compared to classical, monogamous relationships. Simply due to the fact that living poly will by definition create situations in which you have to face them honestly without excuse, over and over again.
So, what about that “Love will kick your ass” stuff, then?
We all know those endless, cheap relationship-guidebooks and counselors, talking about “You have to love yourself, before you can love others”-bullshit. And if we're honest, while it sounds reasonable, none of us has even the slightest clue what it actually means. Yes, not even a single one of those editors of the magazines promoting that line day in, day out. BUT, there is truth in that saying, when you look deeper.
Love is strange. Love isn't that nice, fluffy, gentle, let alone romantically twisted emotion we have learned from Hollywood movies that gives you brain-worms and make you act stupid (That's mainly hormones.). Quite the contrary, my dear. Love is merciless!
And while that might sound strange, I really mean it in a positive way.
Love is truthfulness, absolute integrity and being totally honest with yourself and others.
I had to learn that self-love-thingy in a bittersweet way. It was astounding to see, that there's obviously an authority within myself that is willing to smash everything into pieces that's built from an illusion, without having any mercy at all or keeping pain away.
And then the revelation came over me. My first major poly-relationship was one of those illusions I still held onto after years of re-building my life in a more authentic manner. And damn, was I good at persuading my mind.
Never had I truly decided to be poly for myself, feeling it from my heart. I was dealing with the topic all the time, living it on the outside, but it was for her. Only because I wanted to be with her did I initially jump into those unknown waters and it kept rumbling and draining power from the inside. Man what a punch for my ego that was... And my heart. It stomped me into the ground, letting me reach into parts I never was aware they were there. I had to go into hiding, licking my wounds, bury myself under pillows in my bedroom shutting off the outside world for days, maybe weeks... I couldn't hide from myself anymore. Now that ambiguous quote started to make sense.
It was time to make a decision.
The sting in my heart was the wake-up call for finally learning about what real self-love is. It's both easy and the toughest challenge possible. Be radical! Dig deep! Throw all that crap out that you'll find and that isn't yours. All the “education”, that basically is just useless schooling, all the voices telling you what to do and what not, how to behave and what's taboo. All the fears of your parents, the emotional blackmailing and the shit media tells you all day long on how you should function and be a “valuable member of society”.
NO! I'm not saying be an asshole and stop caring about others. You'll see tremendous amounts of empathy will erupt, acting from your very heart once you are there.
I'm saying, stop making foul compromises firstly with yourself and then with your partners, with your friends and family. We do that all the time, just because others might be pissed, or because we want to protect or patronize them, to spare pain, or simply are lazy and stopped caring at all including us. Loving ourselves means standing up for our truth even if we are attacked for it, even if our dearest loved-ones might not like that (and I swear they will not ;) ), be scared to their bones and leave, cry or react angrily . But one of the major things we have to learn is, their feelings are their responsibility, like yours are your own.
Without being absolute true to ourselves, we will never be able to encounter any other human beings in truthfulness, which is what REAL love is - Opening up and showing the world who you really are.
No more hiding, no more lying! Be vulnerable, because by that you are making a stand.
THAT'S the most beautiful gift one can share within this world and by that, love becomes such a powerful force that we all rightfully shit our pants if we just start to feel a glimpse of it.
And my decision?
In the end, it was simple. I understood that the relationship had to die, so the old Rudolf, the old me could finally die and make room for something completely new. Something true and burning.
I'm not sure if there's a label for that. Yes, you might wanna call it “Polyamory” in that sense that I'm starting to face everyone around me out of a deep feeling of true love. They just might not like getting their ass kicked.