The first time my boyfriend told me he loved me, he started the conversation with something to the effect of, “Have you ever been in love before?”, and then, “What do you think it means to be in love?”
He does this a lot. Asks me to explain my thoughts/thought process about something as opposed to just telling me. I both resent it and appreciate it: on the one hand, I feel like he never gives me “the benefit of the doubt”, or respects my opinion for its own sake, whether he belives it or not; on the other hand, he forces me to be articulate and put words to the mash of emotion and disjointed monologue that normally makes up my deep contemplation.
Anyway, I told him that, for starters, I had only maybe been in love once before. That relationship was with a much older man, and in hindsight it occurs to me that a lot of those feelings were probably based on some kind of delayed reaction to my grandfather’s passing, as he was the primary male role model in my life. While I think he was in love with me (he told me as much, and certainly treated me as though he cherished me), my moral unease with the whole situation prevented me from freely “loving” him back. But, it was the most I had ever felt for another person, and the first time I had become even remotely physical with a man (we did not have sex, however, but I doubt I would have been as comfortable with being touched by my current boyfriend were it not for the ‘foreplay’ I participated in with him).
What it did help me begin to recognize was the huge amount of emotion that it evoked in me. Normally, I’m pretty closed down and I rarely have any desire to spend time with other people – I’m not overly shy, and I do have a few friends, but I’m a loner, more or less. I have what I believe is a strong sense of decency and I try to be generous, but when it comes right down to it, I really can’t be bothered to put any energy into a ‘real’ relationship – I just don’t care. With my current boyfriend, perhaps in part because it was a ‘guilt-free’ relationship with prospects for the future, I fell hard.
He is the only person whose company I prefer over merely being alone – the only person whom I quite literally crave the presence of. He commands an enormous percentage of my attention and interest, easily being the sole subject occupying my thoughts at any given time. Being something of a germaphobe, I also tend to dislike being in close physical contact with virtually *all* people – except for him. No matter if he’s just stepped out of the shower or just spent an hour in the weight room, I find my attraction undeterred. He has the most wonderful smell about him – enhanced by a bit of Old Spice, but distinctly him, nonetheless, and it just makes my insides purr. He’s a big, powerful guy, and when we’re intimate he often ends up soaking wet in sweat, but still–often to the somewhat ironic amusement of my own subconscience — I cannot help but still want to lie close and rub my hands over his back as he rests. To me, he is the most beautiful creature I’ve ever laid eyes on.
So, back to the “what is love to me” question. Well, whereas I tend not to care one way or the other about most people, the person I love has my complete attention. While I generally feel sympathy for other people’s problems, my attitude is always, “Aww, that’s a shame”, and I may not think about it with any real concern any further than that. On the other hand, this person whom I love – their happiness and well-being is of the utmost importance to me, and their mood or behavior towards me can leave me in tears at the drop of a hat, or bring me contentment as I have never known before. When he’s angry with me, even if I feel I am in the right or that he’s overreacting, its like I’m trying to inflate a punctured balloon – my anger will not hold a charge. I cannot just say “Fuck it” and walk away. The thought of something happening to him, of him dying, nearly kills me. You recall all that nonesense with the chiropractor – yes, part of that is my self-righteousness rearing its ugly head, but the reason I make such a stink about it with him personally is because I fear for his safety.
All in all, I want to be with him all the time, and I have eyes for no one else. My libido quite literally will not give anyone else the time of day.
That’s what love is to me.