Thalia asked me, maybe a bit rhetorically using our friendship as a basis for this question, what I thought are the key elements of creating and maintaining long lasting relationships. Basically, we both agree that it’s a combination of emotional maturity, emotional intelligence, and self awareness. What I did not share with her, was that all of those things are a byproduct of love. One must have the capacity for love to exert the necessary elements for a long lasting relationship of any kind.

I explained elsewhere some time ago, that most people define love as a strong emotion of desire. My problem with that sole definition is that desire can result into good things like support, care, consideration, and security. However, desire can also result into cruel evil things such as obsession, possession, control, and abuse. I find in the majority of the relationships of people I’ve read about, heard about, known about, have indirect experiences with, and direct experiences with especially from my more youthful years, are all on the wavelength of love for desire.

For example, going through my social media feed, I often see very controlling possessive people commenting on how they would not allow their girlfriends and wives dressing a certain way to go out with friends. I also see a lot of people saying they would not allow their heterosexual partners having opposite gender friends, or if they do, they will only allow limited contact.

I have issues with these things because these people automatically put their importance as a partner at the very top, regardless whether they are even worthy of being at the very top or not, but seeing how possessive and controlling they all are, I wouldn’t put it pass them that they are certainly not as worthy as they automatically assume themselves to be. Of course, one can argue that if you involve yourself with someone on a committed sense, then that partner should take priority. Alas, I digress. It always depends why and how they should take priority.

Amber, my wife is important to me. She has my uttermost attention when needed and wanted. In general, she is my priority. However, she and I are reasonable people with personal accountability, as well as the freedom to do what we like, so long as it does not impair nor impede the other person’s well-being. Amber knows Thalia is special to me. So she will never do anything to impede my relationship with her for any reason, unless Thalia brings me harm or impairs my relationship with Amber. Amber has told me over the course of our relationship, that of all the women in my life that I have an intimate regard for, Amber accepts Rene and Thalia absolutely. Amber told me that I have a strong personal code, which also means the friends I choose also is a reflection of that. Since I detest drama, she also trusts Rene and Thalia will never bring drama into our relationship, nor will I ever bring drama into theirs. In fact, Amber mentioned as a side note, that if Rene ever reconsiders being our unicorn, or poly-third, she would very much desire that, based on all the things I’ve told Amber about Rene.

Anyway, I define love differently than most people. To me, love is a frame of mind. It’s a way of life. For most people, love is about security and anything that brings them insecurity is a falter of that love. For me, love is about how I feel about myself. Only I can bring myself security. Only I can bring myself insecurity. Everyone else just influences it to some level. If those people influence me to the point where I feel insecure, then I remove them from my life. If those people influence me to feel secure about myself, then I must continue to reassess myself and learn from how other people can make me feel secure. In turn, I can convert how what they do for me into something I can do for myself.

In short, when I learn to love myself, I also learn and evolve how my relationships with other people really work. They are not the elements that make me work. They are the influences that help me learn about how I work. While of course, people should learn to love themselves first before seeking others out, the reality is that most people don’t love themselves, or at the very least, they mistake self respect as love for themselves. Those are two different things, which I will explain at another time.

The bottom line? My relationship with Thalia has lasted as long as it did, through all of its ups and downs, evolving to the point where we can learn to question, understand, apologize, forgive each other, and strive forward. All because I have learned to love myself, and with that self love, I have learned to love others. I have learned to love Thalia.

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