I told V I loved her on Valentine’s Day. We were in the bathtub, it was late and we were drunk on gin and tonics. We cried, she hugged me close, our water-warm bodies splashed awkwardly in my small tub. And, she said she loved me too. I wasn’t planning on saying that to her, but I’d been thinking it for a while. We would be laying on her bed, our legs entwined just like our fingers, and the words would splash across my eyes. I never said it out loud though. There were so many reasons why I stayed mute.
I wasn’t looking for love. I have it. I have a lot of it and that is not what I needed from my other partners. I have it from my husband. He’s good at loving me in all the ways I need. He holds me and supports me, he pushes me to be a better version of myself. He’s sweet and funny, and he makes me feel so warm inside. He loves me for me, not for what the world sees. I am happy to be my true self around him, and I never feel that he doesn’t see me. This kind of love is the kind that I’ve always wanted, and I think it’s the kind that other people want too. Our love is written out loud for all to see.
As we bobbed in the bath, I told her that I was worried about saying it to her. We have both been clear from the beginning that love wasn’t something we were looking for, that these deeper feelings weren’t necessary for a secondary relationship. But they were there all the same. They came creeping in like water through a crack and filled this unspoken space between us. We skirted around it for a while, telling each other how much we cared, that there was something special there. We said it without saying it. We said we didn’t need to say it, that we didn’t need to define it. But the gin pulled it out of me and I’m glad I blurted it out into the steam rising from the hot water.
So what is this new love that I have? Is it possible to love two people at the same time? I know that most everyone would say yes. It is possible and we do it all the time. We love our friends and our families, and we have a different love for lovers and life partners. I don’t consider myself polyamorous though, and I can’t quite wrap my head around how my love for her is different than the love I have for my husband, but I know it’s okay to love them both.
I’ve always been careful about using that word. I think it’s sometimes overused, like it’s just a casual thing to say. I don’t see it that way at all. I have so many people in my life who have shown me the true meaning of love, friends and family and my husband, so I find it difficult to say it when I know I don’t mean it. I have girlfriends who say it to me, girls I hang out with occasionally, and I find myself stumbling over the word as I say it back politely. My brain knows that I don’t mean it in my heart. I love hanging out with them, I love their friendship, but the capital L Love isn’t there for me.
When I said it to V, I meant it. I felt it deeply and it felt right to finally say it out loud. I have a tendency to overthink things, sometimes dissecting my feelings and decisions down to an unreasonable point. I don’t always trust myself, but this feeling I do trust. I am not going to try and pick it apart to find the why and the how. I’m not going to compare this love to the love I have for my husband, because it’s not the same. This love is a part of me now, a part of my soul and who I am as a person. Love is a strange, intangible, and inexplicable. It is constant and fleeting at the same time. It is a gift, and I will carry this gift for as long as I can.