I have more than one love. I am poly. I also have more than one intimate friend aside from those loves because I am poly. Here's the rub. Some I call loves because we see each other that way and some I don't because we don't feel the word is either appropriate yet, if ever. The labels, the expectations, the baggage that comes with the L word aren't really necessary to express a relationship. I don't need to say "I love you" for them to know I do. That is expressed through my actions, though my attention, caring, closeness, not words. Words are the wrapping and bows on the gift of our affection. While they are nice, they cannot make our actions what they are not. A crappy present (actions) all dressed up in pretty bows and paper is still a crappy present. You can't make up for 364 days of inaction, not keeping commitments, not being focused, not being *involved*, with a triple heart diamond ring from the Shane company. There are news stories for weeks about the perfect gift, which chocolate is better, why gold is better than silver, which flowers are best, etc.
And a 'holiday' built around Love feeds on those expectations. In our monogamous society, where Love is everything, Love rules our expectations, Love is misunderstood, Love is misused, Love is a hammer to some, Valentines Day points out the inherent problems with speech (I'm talking shallow actions as speech too) *as* Love.
There is such a big commercial (see this?) deal made of Valentines day. There are Valentines days sales at jewelers, florists, *car dealerships*, everywhere. We are supposed to buy to express our Love, as some sign, some validation of our relationship. One year I did that for three of my partners and after it was complete I recognized the trap. You see, if you have one love, you buy them their gift. Since you are giving to no other this gift, as you are not supposed to with your heart, no comparison can be made in either. You are supposed to have one valentine one love. If you have more than one, you buy separate gifts if you follow the monogamy model of the 'holiday'. As I was shopping (which is not my thing), in the almost Christmas crowds, I realized that these gifts, however appropriate, were not my love. So, what the hell was I doing? Why was I playing the "prove that I love you and don't love another by giving you a special gift" monogamy game?
Two years have passed since that day. My relationships have changed somewhat, with some leaving and others arriving. A few have stayed steady but, this isn't something that can be measured, certainly not against one another, hopefully not by any of my loves either.
So I'm left standing here, watching the monogamy game play itself out, with people rushing about for their various reasons. Some of them are simply using this special day to acknowledge their love, others are using it to validate their relationship, or make up for neglecting their partner, or assure them that they aren't cheating. Yes, it occurs to me. How many people are giving a partner a gift that promises monogamy and are currently cheating on their partner. But I digress..
My relationships are what they are. A single date in February, a charge on a credit card, pretty wrappings around a bauble, do not those relationships make. They are made though my actions, expressed in my attention, my caring, my mentorship, sacrifice, dedication throughout the year; yes, even on that day *too*. This is not a Hallmark moment.
This is my life.