There are a few different kinds of love I want to talk about. The last few days have been instructive in some ways, and I want to share some of what I’m thinking.
First off, watching The Holiday, just for shits and giggles. But, the opening – when Kate Winslet has her little screed about unrequited love – really did bug me.
You see, to me, I look at love in the way that Robert A. Heinlein looks at it (see the quotes to the right – particularly the first one).
If I love someone, it doesn’t matter if it is romantic love, platonic love or familial love, that person’s happiness is just as important as my own.
In the case of a romantic, unrequited love, it doesn’t make me sad or upset if the person chooses someone else. Why? Because, that other person makes him or her happy. And if I love them, their happiness is just as important to me as my own. It is essential to me that that person is happy.
I’m not going to mope around and whine that I’m not good enough. I have enough places where that particular feeling pops up, I don’t need to make up another one. Because the truth is, loving someone else doesn’t mean that there is something wrong with me. It just means that the person has needs I don’t fulfill. And that’s OK. I wouldn’t want them to be with me and be miserable.
Then, there is the actual requited romantic love. That’s a bigger issue. Because it requires an entire slew of mature choices, beyond just whether someone else’s happiness is as essential as your own. It involves trust, respect and the ability to allow someone else the freedom you yourself expect.
The reality is, it doesn’t matter if you are monogamous or not. Jealousy is NEVER a healthy emotion in a relationship. Jealousy is a matter of control and power. It is possessiveness and territorialism. If you can’t accept that the person you love is a separate individual, and has their own needs that may not mirror your own, you probably shouldn’t be in a relationship.
Jealousy is a sick emotion. It is what happens when someone allows their fears to rule them, and gives them the excuse to attempt to control the life of another adult.
Is it possible to never be jealous? I used to think so, because I very rarely felt it. But, sadly, that says more about my own issues with emotions and relationships than about the healthy interaction in my relationships. Now that I have had real romantic love in my life (with the current boyfriend, and with previous ones), there are points when jealousy rears its ugly head. But that doesn’t mean I have to give in to it. It doesn’t mean that the emotion is reasonable. It really is just my own insecurities and fears rising. And I do my best to not allow it to affect my relationship with my boyfriend.