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I’ve been thinking about love today. This is unsurprising because I’ve been working on my next play and of course, like most of my writing, it is about love and all that goes with it – the good, the bad and the ugly.

The question of whole-heartededly showing up for love in a partnership is coming up and I wonder if many people still believe in that concept.

I see so many relationships that are not based on whole-hearted love. Instead they rely on obligation, financial security, fear of being alone, convenience, public image and even that old deluded adage about staying together for the children’s sake. Why people are still using that last excuse is beyond me – isn’t it abundantly clear that when people stay together for the wrong reasons they sentence their children to an adulthood where they will repeat and then try to break those negative relationship habits modelled by their parents?

But I digress. Back to whole-hearted love.

Whole-hearted love to me, means showing up openly and vulnerably. It means coming together with one other person and connecting in a way that is sacred to you both.  

My play explores this concept of whole-hearted love and more controversially, love in open relationships. I have to say, when it comes to whole-hearted love, I find the open and polyamorous dynamic problematic.

To be clear, have sex with whoever you want, with however many people you want and of whatever gender you desire. As long as it’s between two consenting adults – who cares. It is certainly none of my business or anyone else’s for that matter.

But it’s the whole-hearted piece that plays on my mind.

Whole-heartedly loving someone else, to me at least, means showing up for one person and proudly too. It’s not about giving a bit here then giving a bit over there and then returning back here. That isn’t whole-hearted love.

And before you say, but it’s just sex and only a physical act, I have to say no – that’s not all it is.

You can’t get any closer to someone energetically than when you have sex – there is a merging of your energetic fields and when you detach, part of that other person’s energy stays on you. Then you take it with you when you return to your other lover. Then you end up with someone else’s energy in your bed with both of you.

Is that whole-hearted love – to carry energy from one to the next and contaminate the sacred space between you?

I can’t believe that it is.

This brings me to my next question – do we not desire whole-hearted love anymore? Is it considered a mute point in society? Is it redundant and perhaps unneeded? Is it old-fashioned?

I can hear that song playing in my head by Iva Davies when he sings,

“I don’t know where to be begin
Don’t want to hear it again
I don’t believe anymore
This is all I know
I know I’ve heard it before.”

Have we simply stopped believing that whole-hearted love is possible?

Now, I’m not saying I believe whole-hearted love is easily found or easily kept. Sometimes it arrives for a limited period of time then disappears as quickly as it came. I’ve lived long enough in the world to understand that whole-hearted love doesn’t guarantee longevity.

But I do believe it demands through its very nature, exclusivity.

Part of me wonders if some people have given up on it altogether because they don’t believe they deserve it in the first place. If you don’t believe you deserve something then why would you expect it? Certainly, from my own personal observations and conversations, it’s clear that some people agree to polyamorous partnerships because their partner convinces them it is necessary for their relationship to survive. So one gives in to the other because they fear losing them altogether.

I even read an horrendous article recently that gave instructions on how to convince your “unwilling partner” to change their mind – it read like a narcissist’s handbook by encouraging the person to persistently undermine their unwilling partner’s values and beliefs until they finally gave in. I found this horrifying and deeply disturbing.

Now I’m definitely not suggesting this is how all people approach polyamory with their partners. But I have noticed people who give in or are pressured to be in these types of relationships because they fear losing their partners are devastated as a result. The impacts on their self-esteem, feelings of self-worth and being deserving of love can be emotionally catastrophic.

Sex is an amazing and wonderful thing. It can be liberating, fun, stress-relieving and great exercise. It can also be a divinely intimate and sacred act between two people who are showing up whole-heartedly for each other and that connection.

I can’t help but feel sex in a polyamorous dynamic, can’t co-exist easily or at all with whole-hearted love.

But perhaps it doesn’t need to.

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