Do You Love Them, Or Only Who They Are Now (For You)?

Do You Love Them, Or Only Who They Are Now (For You)?

A couple looking to be in their 60s or 70s parking in a jalopy.

I read an article in the New York Times a year or so ago that suggested that in order to love someone for a long period of time, we need to embrace the fact that we will change—both of us.

It spoke to me, deep down inside, but I’ve put off writing about it over and over and over again… a full year’s cycle (4 times, at least), until now.

Just this morning, without having looked at my writing calendar for a week of travel, I was speaking with a man I’ve known online for years, and just met this past weekend for lunch while I was in DC.

We were talking about sexual orientation and behavior and how they don’t always match up.

He said, “Of course if I discover otherwise, so be it.”

He meant that he thinks of himself as straight, with desires to be used by anyone… but if he finds out that he’s bi (whatever his inner-mind version of that is), he’s good with that, too.

I said who he is—and all of his potential—is right there inside him now. If he just accepts who he is and what he wants (no matter what that ends up being), he will still be himself, he will just express it differently. More authentically, and more fully.

I love the people in my life.

I love them for who they are for me now.

I also love them for who they will become in the future, and I look forward to seeing them grow and change.

Friends will partner up and I’ll see them less.

Friends will unpartner, and I’ll see them more.

Lovers will get busy or stressed, and they’ll want/need less sex than I do.

Lovers will free up time and suddenly they’ll be pestering me for ‘more sex!’ and ‘more touch!’

I’ll feel more loved and less alone.

I’ll feel more alone and less loved.

All of these things will happen. It’s a given. Because things change. And I’ll support them in their change, because I expect it. I’ll even watch for it, to explore this newness in a familiar partner or friend. To make sure it does not go unnoticed.

I’ll support it as far as I can.

Because I’ll be changing too.

Sometimes, I need more romance. Silly stuff—flowers and cuddles and small gifts.

Sometimes, I just need to rage over a lover, and slake my thirst, sexually.

Sometimes, I’m exhausted, and I need to just “be.”

And if things change a lot, in myself or in them, I will acknowledge those changes. I will say if there is anything I’m now missing, and we’ll (hopefully) work together to get both our needs met.

Or we won’t, because that might have changed as well.

But my love is about more than who they are to me, now. It’s about who they have the potential to be for me and for themselves, in a thousand different futures of my life.

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