Knowing Intellectually vs. Really Feeling

CTF

Member
How big can love in a relationship grow then? Like if I quit all my hobbies and quit my job and just give all that time and resources to my husband, will our love get very big then? Or is there a limit after which it is saturated and extra resources don't mean extra growth for the love anymore? Maybe those extra resources can then go to an additional partner without the original partner loosing anything?

I don't think love can grow infinitely that way. And I don't think one should give all their resources to a relationship even if they are monogamous.

I never said it can grow infinitely that way. I never said it can grow infinitely at all. Nor do I think that one should give away all of their resources to anyone. Especially if you have kids/parents. And just so we're clear, none of what I'm saying is meant for advice on what anyone SHOULD do. Adults are free to make their choices. I'm not the morality police.

As for how much it can grow... I don't have an answer. I don't think there is an answer that applies to everyone. Some have large capacities, and some have small. What I do think, is that everyone's capacities can be looked at like a pie graph. We all have our 100%. For some, everyone that fits inside has equal portions, and others have varying. Do you love your husband more than your friend? If so, you just measured love.
 

lunabunny

New member
I think it all depends on intent.

If you love a lover or friend, and they live in a different state - as per one example given above - you may not be physically able to offer that relationship more of your available resources (expressions of love), such as face-to-face time, energy, sex or money (can't fly to see them every weekend or have dinner more than once in a blue moon).

But that doesn't mean you don't want to, or wouldn't if you could. Hence, the difference may be in the intention.

Using polyamory as an example: say a person (P) has three lovers (A, B and C) and partner A is their nesting partner with whom they share children, partner B lives 10 minutes away and partner C lives in a different country.

P may "love" each of his/her partners equally - using the feeling of love as a tool of measurement in this case - yet not be able to express that love in equal measures of time, energy, sex or money. It makes practical sense that P has more sex with A and B, than with C. It makes logical sense that P may spend more face-to-face time and does more of the day-to-day stuff like share breakfast or dinner with A than with either B or C, because P and A live together.

However, given the hypothetical possibility of infinite time and resources, would P want to spend more time sharing experiences such as dinner, watching a movie or having sex with C than they currently do? Would P ideally like to spend near-equal amounts of time with A, B and C - IF those people's wants, needs and schedules allowed such a thing also?

If so, then one could argue that P "loves" A, B and C "equally"... because only the fact of limited/scarce time and resources is preventing P from sharing the various expressions of love in a more equitable fashion.

Conversely, if P displays little interest in increasing the amount of energy invested in B or C, for example - even when such a thing is possible and wanted by the other parties - then one could argue P "loves" B and/or C "less" than A. While if P deliberately withholds expressions of love from nesting partner A in order to share most of the available resources (emotional or otherwise) at his/her disposal with B and/or C, one could argue that P's choice means they love A "less", and one may surmise that P may only be staying with A out of habit, loyalty or because of mutual shared interests such as joint property or children.
 
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vinsanity0

Active member
Oh come now, you know that only physical objects can fill a bucket right? You seem to forget that I had previously said that "quantifiable" may not be the right word.

So we agree that love is not quantifiable. Any attempt to quantify it is purely subjective.
Now, even if the concept of love is infinite, that's not how we operate. The emotions themselves are what's important, as well as the actions driven by them. Loving someone in concept is meaningless, it's how they're expressed that matters.

You mean that is how you operate. You seem to have a very shallow view of love, like "what can I get out of it?"
What am I calling a relationship? Well, in this case, I'm referring to the relationships in which love are commonly attributed. I don't care about the dentist, the cashier at 7-11, etc... unless you're close with your dentist, I'd call that more of an acquaintance. But we're splitting hairs there & there's no point going further.

As for the others you mentioned, granted, you can call your feelings for them whatever you want. I have a daughter & 2 sons myself, and I do love them dearly, but friends? No. Not that I don't have any friends, but I sure don't love them. That whole idea is something I've always found bizarre... but to each their own I suppose.

I do more or less differentiate between friends and acquaintances. It's bizarre to me that you find the idea of a loving friendship bizarre. How is that even possible?
When it gets down to it, there are a total of 6 people that I love. My wife, my 3 kids, my mom, and my sister. There are those who might come close, like my brothers & sisters in law, aunts/uncles/cousins perhaps that I care a great deal about, but I wouldn't exactly say I love them. Again, there's no real bond to where I could call it that. And it's even more bizarre when it's not people. "I love football", "I love pizza"... something horribly insulting to think that a spouse or a child can draw the same feeling as a piece of pizza.

Eating pizza is more like having sex than love...lol. I think most people can differentiate the meaning though.
Sure, relationships do adapt to the resources we put into them. But sorry, I just don't but that the feelings of love aren't affected by those adaptations. Wouldn't committing more resources into a relationship likely increase the love within? So why wouldn't fewer resources make it more prone to diminish?

No, at least not in my experience. My wife and I were pretty much joined at the hip for 7 years. Then, for another 7 years, our work schedules were pretty much opposite. During the last 7 years I was out on the road quite a bit. At no time did my love for her diminish, nor hers for me AFAIK. Nor did my love for her diminish when I fell in love with another woman. Nor did my love diminish when she dated other people.
 
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Tinwen

Active member
Sure, relationships do adapt to the resources we put into them. But sorry, I just don't buy that the feelings of love aren't affected by those adaptations. Wouldn't committing more resources into a relationship likely increase the love within? So why wouldn't fewer resources make it more prone to diminish?
I never said it can grow infinitely that way. I never said it can grow infinitely at all. Nor do I think that one should give away all of their resources to anyone.
I know you never meant to go to the extreme Nettle described. But his is one of the many clear illustrations that feelings of love are not proportional to the resources allocated.
Commiting more fully to a relationship may increase love and intimacy, but it is not necessarily so. (Actually, imho causality is usually the other way round.)
Taking resources away from a relationship may result in a diminishing the love and intimacy, but for many people and situations, it is not necessarily so.
There are certainly situations - perhaps if there has been a little bit of complacency, or even neglect going on - where putting in more effort clearly helps. But sometimes there is even inverse proportionality. As in when two people are a little fed up with each other, and one of them taking on a hobby resulting in less time together leads to renewing the energy of the relationship.
Seeing someone a lot = Loving them a lot (applicable to other resources as well) is a rule of thumb at best. (And my aforementioned friend would argue to death that it's a terrible one ... agreeably, she's somewhat of an exception.) There are obviously upper and lower boundaries for the applicability of this rule, and to some people and situations it will be less applicable than to others.

As for how much it can grow... I don't have an answer. I don't think there is an answer that applies to everyone. Some have large capacities, and some have small. What I do think, is that everyone's capacities can be looked at like a pie graph. We all have our 100%. For some, everyone that fits inside has equal portions, and others have varying. Do you love your husband more than your friend? If so, you just measured love.
I disagree with the pie graph idea. Many people have experienced widening of their capacity when they met someone new.
Or... it depends on what you mean. Actually, I can still describe it with a pie -for simplicity lets talk in terms of time. My free time is a "resource" and can surely be viewed as a pie. Say I give 40% of my free time to my spouse. The rest I spend writing on this forum and doing other bulshit stuff. Yet if my spouse demands more time, I am not willing. I feel like my capacity for relating is full.
Then I meet someone new, and I want to spend time with them. Suddenly I find myself giving 30% of my time to my spouse (let's realistically decrease it a bit) and 30% to the new person. In total, I'm now giving 60% of my free time to relationships instead of 40%. My capacity to relate (express love), in the way I understand it, has increased. Polyamory may be a viable choice for me.
Now, some people don't work that way, and if they meet someone new, they will want to give 20% and 20%, or all 40% to the new person. Polyamory is much harder to them, because they don't experience this increase in their capacity to relate when they meet someone new.

Does this make any sense?
 

Willough

New member
"The absolute truth" was my problem

This conversation is the very reason it doesn't make sense to say there are any absolute truths about love. People experience it and define it differently. Why try to tell someone else what they are capable of?

Personally I think the feeling of love differs from the measurable currencies such as time and attention. I don't believe that when I find a new band I love, that I suddenly love other music any less. Even if I listen to them less, I don't love it any less when I listen to it. Also yes "love" is a word I would use to describe how I feel about music, and I'm happy with that being the same word I use to describe how I feel about people. I also don't stop loving a song (or my partner) every time I look away and stop thinking about them for a few minutes. I would also say I love people (musicians as an example) that don't even know I exist.

But I'm not going to try to tell other people how they experience love. I can imagine that if one defines love as giving yourself to someone else, then there is only 100% of yourself to give. Assuming love is only one specific thing because thats how you define it, isn't likely to help you identify people who's concept of love is compatible with yours.
 

CTF

Member
So we agree that love is not quantifiable. Any attempt to quantify it is purely subjective.

You mean that is how you operate. You seem to have a very shallow view of love, like "what can I get out of it?"

I do more or less differentiate between friends and acquaintances. It's bizarre to me that you find the idea of a loving friendship bizarre. How is that even possible?

Eating pizza is more like having sex than love...lol. I think most people can differentiate the meaning though.

No, at least not in my experience. My wife and I were pretty much joined at the hip for 7 years. Then, for another 7 years, our work schedules were pretty much opposite. During the last 7 years I was out on the road quite a bit. At no time did my love for her diminish, nor hers for me AFAIK. Nor did my love for her diminish when I fell in love with another woman. Nor did my love diminish when she dated other people.

Not quantifiable in the sense you described previously, of course not. We're not talking about units of measurement, but terms of "more" or "less", absolutely.

Shallow? Not at all. Quite the opposite in fact. Calling something love, yet, not being willing to express it would be shallow & pointless.

Of course there's a difference between people and pizza. Which is why it's so strange that someone would deliberately choose the same word for both.

i guess I could ask the same question. Granted, you're not the only one who finds my view on loving friends bizarre... But it is what it is. I simply don't believe in the idea of platonic love. I don't get it.

I guess what it all boils down to, is what we each have come to mind when we think of love. Mine is a very selective view, yours is obviously much wider. In any case, calling it "infinite" as thought it were some sort of universal truth is wholly inaccurate.
 

CTF

Member
I know you never meant to go to the extreme Nettle described. But his is one of the many clear illustrations that feelings of love are not proportional to the resources allocated.
Commiting more fully to a relationship may increase love and intimacy, but it is not necessarily so. (Actually, imho causality is usually the other way round.)
Taking resources away from a relationship may result in a diminishing the love and intimacy, but for many people and situations, it is not necessarily so.
There are certainly situations - perhaps if there has been a little bit of complacency, or even neglect going on - where putting in more effort clearly helps. But sometimes there is even inverse proportionality. As in when two people are a little fed up with each other, and one of them taking on a hobby resulting in less time together leads to renewing the energy of the relationship.
Seeing someone a lot = Loving them a lot (applicable to other resources as well) is a rule of thumb at best. (And my aforementioned friend would argue to death that it's a terrible one ... agreeably, she's somewhat of an exception.) There are obviously upper and lower boundaries for the applicability of this rule, and to some people and situations it will be less applicable than to others.


I disagree with the pie graph idea. Many people have experienced widening of their capacity when they met someone new.
Or... it depends on what you mean. Actually, I can still describe it with a pie -for simplicity lets talk in terms of time. My free time is a "resource" and can surely be viewed as a pie. Say I give 40% of my free time to my spouse. The rest I spend writing on this forum and doing other bulshit stuff. Yet if my spouse demands more time, I am not willing. I feel like my capacity for relating is full.
Then I meet someone new, and I want to spend time with them. Suddenly I find myself giving 30% of my time to my spouse (let's realistically decrease it a bit) and 30% to the new person. In total, I'm now giving 60% of my free time to relationships instead of 40%. My capacity to relate (express love), in the way I understand it, has increased. Polyamory may be a viable choice for me.
Now, some people don't work that way, and if they meet someone new, they will want to give 20% and 20%, or all 40% to the new person. Polyamory is much harder to them, because they don't experience this increase in their capacity to relate when they meet someone new.

Does this make any sense?

Of course the results are not guaranteed. However, in terms of likelihood, the results are more favored. Like lunabunny said a few posts up, there is intent that plays an important role.

And the point about the pie graph was simply to illustrate that something's got to give. We all have our capacities, whatever they might be.
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
I am thinking that by far the largest slice of the pie graph would read, "Unused Capacity." I don't think love is infinite in the sense that the brain isn't infinitely large, there are limits to how much the brain can sort and process. However, the brain is an amazing organ, it can handle a lot.
 

Tinwen

Active member
Of course the results are not guaranteed. However, in terms of likelihood, the results are more favored. Like lunabunny said a few posts up, there is intent that plays an important role.

And the point about the pie graph was simply to illustrate that something's got to give. We all have our capacities, whatever they might be.
Oh no. I don't think you're taking on what I was saying in any of my posts, and that's frustrating. I'm out.
 

CTF

Member
Oh no. I don't think you're taking on what I was saying in any of my posts, and that's frustrating. I'm out.

Alright look, I'm sorry if my replies were a bit short. With sometimes 3 or 4 different people commenting at once, I'm not able to get out a full reply. Not to mention, this is an extremely sensitive subject to me, so I often get a bit worked up, and can't quite muster a coherent thought. But that's on me, not you.

All in all, I hear what you're saying. Unfortunately, I really can't identify with it, so a lot of it goes by the wayside rather than twist myself into knots over these concepts. Things like platonic love, unconditional love, or infinite love feel more like fairy tales than reality. And I grow so tired of people making the claim that live is infinite in this matter of fact tone, that it becomes increasingly irritating. If you, or anyone else believes that, then have at it. I hope it brings you as much joy as you're looking for. But when it's suggested, it comes across as though it applies to everyone, all they have to do is just know it. Well I'm sorry, but it doesn't really work that way. At least not for me. So when I know, in my own heart that there is a finite capacity for love. Meaning, I can only experience the feeling/emotion on a limited scale, then I don't buy the idea that it's just a fact that I'm blind to.

In my own experience, love does divide. When new people enter someone's life, it affects the current makeup. Sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worst.
 

Tinwen

Active member
And I grow so tired of people making the claim that live is infinite in this matter of fact tone, that it becomes increasingly irritating. ... In my own experience, love does divide. ...
Thanks for the answer. I hope I haven't come across as denying any of your experience, I didn't mean to in any way.
I was just trying to explain the experiences/views which are very different. You do come across as doing the same matter-of-fact generalization thing to poly people (when you say things like "We all have our capacities, whatever they might be."), and it's equally frustrating to us.
It's good that we can hear about the other end of the spectrum from you.
 

CTF

Member
Thanks for the answer. I hope I haven't come across as denying any of your experience, I didn't mean to in any way.
I was just trying to explain the experiences/views which are very different. You do come across as doing the same matter-of-fact generalization thing to poly people (when you say things like "We all have our capacities, whatever they might be."), and it's equally frustrating to us.
It's good that we can hear about the other end of the spectrum from you.

No, I didn't get the impression that you were denying my experience. So no worries there.

As for my remark about everyone having their limits, please know that I wasn't making a generalization about poly people, but rather people in general. Myself included. Granted, there are exceptions to the rule, but I do strongly believe that everyone has their limits when it comes to love, just as we all do for everything else in life, whether tangible or not.

I know that I'm just painted by most here as just the bitter mono who discourages everyone else from going poly. However, note that I almost exclusively post to these types of threads, where there's a clear mono/poly disconnect. While I may be more brash about it, I doubt very highly that I'm the only one with perspectives like these. I see a lot of sugar coating where, while meant to reassure the struggling mono, it only confuses him/her even more.

What happens when you tell someone that "love is infinite" who, at their core, doesn't understand it and can never feel it? He/she ends up feeling guilty and defective for not being able to reconcile it. And before you know it, the newly indentified poly partner, and support structure treats him/her like a monster, despite the tremendous pain they suffer.

These people need to know that their feelings and perceptions are every bit as valid.
 

CTF

Member
Even though ours aren't...lol

Does that make you the pot or the kettle? Sorry, but when one group refers to the other as unnatural, controlling, codependent, brainwashed, gullible, unloving, and are accused of being unable to let go of religious and/or societal influence, they don't get to play the victim.
 
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Ravenscroft

Banned
when one group refers to the other as unnatural, controlling, codependent, brainwashed, gullible, unloving, and are accused of being unable to let go of religious and/or societal influence, they don't get to play the victim.
Yes, they do -- "conservatives" (especially the alt-right) are doing it this right now, on a moment-by-moment basis. Watch any random hour of Fox News. Like, how protecting the rights of non-_______ means that _______ are getting singled out, picked on, & discriminated against. (Same word in each blank: Xtian, Protestant, white, blue-collar, police, veterans...) This trick was creatd by Prof Newton Gingrich in the early 1980s.

My point is NOT to stray into politics here, but rather to point out that this psychotic mindset has become so pervasive -- especially now with the "thought bubble" world of "social media" (where they profit from feeding everyone's individual ego & everyone pretending they're "well informed") -- that people readily blame others for failings that they share.

Like CTF deriding others for doing what he does... even if they're not actually doing it.

I mean, that's fine, & everyone (the regulars, at least) seems to be aware of this. However, it's NOT conducive to the exchange of ideas. It's quite literally a prejudice. People are (of course) welcome to their prejudices, though not to attack others for pointing out said prejudices.

The tactic is very much like someone hitting themselves repeatedly in the head with a rubber mallet then demanding to know why their head hurts... & THEN getting upset when someone questions use of the mallet:
what, you got somethin' against good solid Amurrican tools, bwah?? or are you sayin' I ain't got no RIGHT to do as I see fit?? Moderator!! Moderator!! My HUMAN RIGHTS are being infringed!!! Weh!! Weh!! They're making my head hurt, too!!! Where's my Good Participant trophy?!?!?
:rolleyes:
 

vinsanity0

Active member
Does that make you the pot or the kettle? Sorry, but when one group refers to the other as unnatural, controlling, codependent, brainwashed, gullible, unloving, and are accused of being unable to let go of religious and/or societal influence, they don't get to play the victim.

That makes me the fire.

I view monogamy as a perfectly respectable relationship model, having practiced it myself for many years.

I do believe non-monogamy is more natural to humans as a species, however I don't view "unnatural" as a bad thing. I think at this point in our evolution the lines between innate and learned behaviors are blurred.

If you look at poly arguments with a non-prejudiced eye you will find that those arguments are against people who are prejudiced against us. For instance, the old "marriage is one man one woman" argument is a religious based argument trotted out against homosexuality, bisexuality, and polyamory. Because of the prevalence of christianity in western society, that view is considered by some to be natural, whether they are devout christians or not.

At this point I could go on and on. I understand that you want to be a champion of monogamy. I understand that you think you are validating the monogamist experience. I would like you to understand that many of us had to overcome many of the hurdles of a monogamist society to get to where we could be comfortable practicing poly without guilt, etc. I would like you to respect that it is up to an individual to decide for themselves if they should move forward or not.

As for your argument against love being infinite...you are unable to acknowledge the possibility simply because you don't feel it or understand it. I can acknowledge that you don't feel it, but you are denying that I can. If you were to say, "Not everybody believes in infinite love, but that's okay and it's up to you to decide if you believe it is or not", I would agree 100%.
 

Leetah

Member
Okay, so what I've gotten from this discussion is that each person defines, expresses, and experiences love in their own way. People should not make statements which assume that their own way is the best or only way and demand that others agree. Sometimes people change their ways, either with or without effort and pain. It is often hard to know ahead of time if someone, even oneself, is a person who is willing or able to change so others should tread carefully in giving advice and encouragement so as not to make the change or lack of change more painful.

Have I missed anything?

Leetah
 

Tinwen

Active member
Okay, so what I've gotten from this discussion is that each person defines, expresses, and experiences love in their own way. People should not make statements which assume that their own way is the best or only way and demand that others agree. Sometimes people change their ways, either with or without effort and pain. It is often hard to know ahead of time if someone, even oneself, is a person who is willing or able to change so others should tread carefully in giving advice and encouragement so as not to make the change or lack of change more painful.

Have I missed anything?

Leetah
I agree.
It's so hard to shut your mouth and not insist you're right sometimes :eek:
 

YouAreHere

Well-known member
Sometimes people change their ways, either with or without effort and pain. It is often hard to know ahead of time if someone, even oneself, is a person who is willing or able to change so others should tread carefully in giving advice and encouragement so as not to make the change or lack of change more painful.

Indeed.

It took me six years in my relationship with Chops to stumble upon a situation in which I thought maybe I could actually give this "dating" thing a try... and I am both amazed and annoyed with how little I understood both Chops and myself. I wasn't going to grok it until I was in the situation, and I know that, but I find it strange that I never really grokked myself, either, even though I was DAMNED sure I did.

Getting back to the original and earlier posts, I'm still not a fan of the "no one person can be everything" standard, because it comes across as "something's missing in my relationship" much of the time. Spinner asked me at one point if that were the case, and I don't think I explained well enough that, no, I liked "Spinner" and had an opportunity to have not only a good friendship but maybe more, and wanted to add HIM to my life. It wasn't like I was looking. I was, in fact, adamantly NOT looking. :p My relationship with Chops is still a complete relationship WITH CHOPS. No relationship/friendship is the same, and new people bring new things into our lives (dear God, who AM I?! Lol...)

The "hobbies" thing can sound dismissive, I know. Sort of like, "Go find something to do, kid. Here's a nickel." But I had to find things that were meaningful to me... not just ways to spend time. The things I found are things I now find myself having a hard time giving up now that I'm starting to grow a relationship with someone else. Things like my Monday gaming group, or regular dinners with my cousin, or with friends. But they have to speak to you, personally, and be something you really WANT rather than an escape. It took me a few years to establish a good repertoire of activities that I love.

I think Galagirl's advice was spot on. It takes time to get through the discomfort. And, at least in my experience, actually working through this stuff can really help bring you closer together once you get to the other side. Hang in there, BonzaiBlitz!
 

dingedheart

Well-known member
Sorry life got busy...looks like I missed a bit.




If you think love is quantifiable, tell me how much it takes to fill a bucket. How much does a five gallon bucket of love weigh?
How much love would it take to move to Ohio ??? Or help said " friend " move to Florida ?

Yes, love is a concept we have assigned to explain various feelings induced by chemical reactions in our brains. That's the simplified version, but I'm not going to write a book here.

What are you calling a relationship? I have a relationship with my dentist, but I don't love him. I have a relationship with my very good friend. I love her, but we don't have any romance or sex going on. I have another friend I love and we have romance, but very little in the way of sex. These are all relationships. Two of them involve love. And I haven't even gotten into my two daughters, my mom, and other family members, all of whom I love. It requires no effort to love these people.

I thought it was clear I was talking about ROMANTIC relationships. I thought we were talking about the intellectualism vs being in the trench.

But we are people and we all have limited resources. My first friend I mentioned, we usually get together on weekends. I could go over more but she has work stuff to do. Does that mean she loves her work more than she loves me? Nope. It means she has stuff to do. Is my love for her diminished because she has a life that doesn't always include me? Nope, I am not that self-centered.

The other friend lives in Ohio. I live in Florida. Does it mean I love her less than the first friend because I don't fly to Ohio every week to spend an equal amount of time with her? Nope.

You see, relationships adapt to the resources we have to put into them, but the love doesn't change. I'm not sure how I can make this any clearer.


1st friend ....2nd friend/ other friend how do you define friend. Are these " friends" romantic partners. ?? Why not say partner or lovers, BF, GF....or are you banging all your friends ?

To bring the thread back around here I'm suggesting some of the flowery concepts and theories and some of the slogans have a way of tripping into reality. NRE And poly hell are real. Couples privilege is real. What's drawn up on paper and agreed to is the very first draft.


I'd like to invite the op to comment on what he's experienced so far.
 
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