have you ever been in love?

I had a date last weekend with a woman that i found to be more remarkable than i had anticipated. While she asked the lions share of questions, it was her last question to me that has stuck with me.

“Have you ever been in love?”

Gods, yes. Too many times? Not enough times? Neither as far as i am concerned. But in her asking me this question, i had this really interesting epiphany. As i process the question, i realize that there are women that i know i was in love with at one time but now? It’s as though i look at my memories of them and think, “What was i thinking?” And to be fair, they probably feel the same about me although the ones i’m thinking of never were in love with me.

One person in particular came to mind. Good person. Smart and kind to be sure but judging from the posts she’s made, she’s about as exciting as paste. No unorthodox thinking, a desire to conform and someone that displays her domesticity with pride. She also occasionally posts her religious stuff. It’s usually the “Pray for me because I’m sick” type of stuff. I’ll get into my nutshell version of religion and faith in a moment. She’s a perfectly good, honest and intelligent woman but more into the culture of conform-and-obey and consumerism than i would be able to tolerate.

And i cannot imagine that we would ever have been a good couple in the long run. Not for her, not for the others that came to mind. This doesn’t change the genuine passion i felt for them at the time nor does it change the heartbreak that i endured when those relationships ended. But the question, “Have you ever been in love?” made me realize that i’ve evolved and changed so much that i have no physical nor emotional interest with those women anymore. It’s as though the love i felt for them is well past its shelf life and is of no use beyond trivia or recollection.

Of the women i have loved with that deep, furious, brilliant and terrible passion that i carry, one of them i should have married and she and i remain friends to this day. For my part, i’m glad she married someone else. I would have disappointed her and i don’t know that i could allow myself to live with that shame. The other two were deeply and profoundly broken. They often claimed to have loved me when times were easy, even both saying they considered themselves to be my “wife,” when we were together. They revealed their understanding of love and commitment when they simply walked away when the “new relationship energy” ran its course. No communication, no commitment, no effort whatsoever to work on things.

But that’s the content of their character, not mine. I do not envy their karma.

So, have i ever been in love? Yes. I have loved with the brightness that would make the heart of the sun look like a dark spot in hell. I have loved with abandon, with innocence and i have trusted a few of them with all that i had to give, including my hopes and dreams. But knowing now what i do and having gone through what i have, would i do it again?

Without a moment of hesitation.

I refuse to let my hurt and wounds from my past to darken that experience. Cynicism is one of those things that has absolutely no place in the world of love and trust and affection and all of their related facets.

Oh. About religion and faith- in a nutshell, i gave up my faith a few years ago for reasons i won’t go into here. If i have to identify with a given sect, i’m comfortable with being associated with being a Freethinker. But i do understand the power and need for faith and for years described myself as a diest or Unitarian or universalist. I believe everyone has the right to explore and find their own personal god and i have no problems with that. What i have a problem with are fundamentalists (even non-religious ones) who espouse a top-down authoritarian hierarchical view of matters and discourage critical thinking and/or are bullies.