I will choke until I swallow…
Choke this infant here before me.
What is this but my reflection?
Who am I to judge and strike you down?
Pushing and shoving me.
You still love me and you pushit on me.
Rest your trigger on my finger,
bang my head upon the fault line.
Take care not to make me enter.
’cause if I do we both may disappear.
But you’re pushing me,
Shoving me. Pushit on me.
Wednesday was a work day for him, so he was up and gone early. When I woke, I felt good about where we ended the night before. It was the first moment I felt that there might possibly be hope for us. I still did not really believe that we would make it, but I felt that we had opened up lines of communication far in excess of what I had imagined was possible.
That afternoon, Eddie called me from the hospital. He had been bitten by a brown recluse spider and was admitted to the hospital, so he took the opportunity to call me. We talked for a good long time and it felt good. He told me about his girlfriend and where his life was going. I told him about my need to stay where I was until my son finished school. I told him that I felt myself drawn to the desert, to the Southwest and that perhaps that was where I would go when I did leave the midwest. He tried to convince me that Colorado was mostly desert, so why not that? And a few other moments, he expressed a desire for me to come there, not through direct desire but through logical reasons that it would make sense for me.
But all of that was subtle and irrelevant to the overall tone of the call. We made it clear that day that we both have lives and aspirations and relationships that are important to us, and perhaps, those two schemes do not really fit together. At very least, not for now. I hung up the phone that day feeling like I had my old, best friend back. The feelings were still there, but once more my concern was focused on him being happy more than how I fit into his picture.
Unfortunately, when my honey came home I discovered that his day had not been so upbeat. Talking to his best friend all day, he had heard little but reinforcement of his biggest fears. He was haggard and gray, and worst still, I had plans to go out for a while that evening. When I finally got home we stayed up half the night again, mostly just undoing the damage that had been done over the course of the day.
I cannot begin to itemize all of the discussions we had over the following months. That week, alone, we spent every spare moment talking, exploring, and sometimes fucking. As the discussions progressed, we tuned out more and more other influences. My honey stopped talking to his friend, knowing that he would not help and in fact, would likely hinder our progress. Aside from a short call to the hospital to check on Eddie’s leg healing, I mostly lost contact with him over the next months. We stopped going out socially with other people, because that interfered with our talking time.
Throughout this time, a recurring theme revolved around the concept of eros — what is it, how does it relate to plutonic love, sex and relationships in general. My initial reaction was to say that I don’t really believe in eros. Love is love, although in varying intensity and lustfulness, while sex was merely a pleasurable act that could accompany love in all it’s forms, but mostly in combination with lust as well. Of course, this was also a bit uncomfortable to me, coming as it did so close on the heels of my declaration of ‘in love’ to Eddie. This was something that I had great difficulty reconciling as I honestly believed that eros does not exist, yet I used those words to him specifically to invoke the frame so that he would have no question as to what I was trying to express.
Although it took some time, I did eventually tell my honey about that email and we eventually talked about just what it meant for me to say that I was still in love with Eddie. Partially, my belief was (and still is) that true love never dies. I have never experienced this ‘falling out of love’ that people talk about and do not truly believe such a thing is possible. Perhaps that is why I refused to accept eros – because if it could ‘end’ then it is not what it is portrayed to be.
Eventually, we came to something of an understanding. He has expressed to me that ‘being in love’ describes the physical response we have to a new relationship: the obsessing, the increased heart beat and other quantifiable responses our body generates. Whereas eros is a lifelong love we feel for someone with whom we have ‘fallen in love with’ and ‘falling out of love’ is what happens when there is no real love left in the aftermath of the physical experience. I find that this makes complete sense to me – that our difference was simply a matter of semantics. What he calls ‘falling in love,’ I call ‘infatuation’ and what he calls eros, I call love (or even ‘in love’ when pressed).
More recently, all of this has hit another snag, however. I’m not sure how we missed this in the first case, but he now tells me that even with the new definitions and understandings we have come to, he still considers certain women from his past as eros. I look at that and say, well then you must still be ‘in love’ with them – you must still have eros. Yet he says that there is no residual desire for them (or at least not all of them), just a specialness, a caring such as I might describe for old, close friends or casual lovers.
All told, this is a subject that we may have to continue exploring for quite some time before we finally come to understand each other completely.
In July, I was scheduled to spend ten days traveling the East coast. My son went to Pennsylvania to visit a freind, I was expected in New York to help with a wedding, I also had plans to visit a few friends, as well as a few clients over the ten day period. My hone flew out for the weekend and the wedding, but otherwise he was home working.
This was both a relief and a burden to me. A relief, in some ways, because I could simply relax and think on my own for a time. I rather enjoy driving and letting my mind wander over deep thoughts and ideas. Unfortunately, I did not come to any real conclusions, especially early in the trip. I think the intensity had been so high that I really needed a little time to simply not think too much.
This was a bit of an issue because we had set me up with a specific goal for the trip. During our conversations, my honey had come to the conclusion that perhaps the most correct thing would be for me to stop and see Eddie when I headed West in August.
It all started at the bar, I was more optimistic about where we were than perhaps was appropriate – but we had been talking about Eddie without it being… difficult… and so I had this inspiration: what if Eddie and (a shared ex between him and my honey) got back together? Then maybe we could play the foursome card. My honey freaked – he saw it as me equating, as something that held no appeal to him, as way over the line for where we were at. Led to a lot of heavy discussions and arguing and making up. Until finally he came up with the suggestion that perhaps I have to see him and figure it out.
Looking at it now, I wonder how much of my continuing thoughts about Eddie during this whole period were caused by my honey and talking, and specifically things like this. After all, we left the conversation as ‘we feel it, but we can let it be’, and that was okay. Then, I did not hear from him in any significant way for months. I think it is true that once I did hear from him, all the feelings would have necessarily surfaced again – but I might not have responded so dramatically if he had not been on my mind all the way through this time period. I don’t know… and there is no way to go back and change it, but I find the thought… curious.
For all the relief in intensity, I felt a loss as well; I was really missing the closeness and the interaction that we had become so accustomed to. We spent some time talking on the phone. And when able we exchanged emails, some even with pretty intense discussion points. Friday, when he flew in, we had intended to take advantage of as much time as possible. Unfortunately flight delays and changes left me picking him up at 11pm? perhaps even later, and arriving back in at our hotel quite late. We had to be up and cooking at 7am the following morning and didn’t leave the hall the next night until nearly midnight. So the weekend was extremely exhausting and left little time for private reflection or sex games.
By the time our son and I returned home again, I was truly exhausted, but pushed on to get here in the middle of the night rather than staying away another day. Over the next week or two we talked about a bunch of things again, including the idea of blogging anonymously with the intent of getting other people’s views on these issues we were discussing. At the beginning of August, I decided to give that a try. Thus was born eros-philia-agape and, perhaps more importantly for me, in that name I subconsciously began to put together the total picture that is my view of love.
I think that this has been very important for me. Thinking the way I do, any time I can grasp and fill out a pattern – a system – everything relating to that total system starts to make far more sense to me – intuitively. I stop having to ponder specific questions each time they occur, because I already know how they fit into the whole. At the same time, this can lead to problems with my honey and I as he wants the detailed analysis. I think, overall, that I am still better able to answer his questions, to deal with with hypotheticals and so forth, but it still must be frustrating for him.In August, of course, we had a second trip – this time to the West coast and a camping get together. I know that immediately before I left we got into a heavy discussion that threw off my sleeping schedule and helped contribute to the sinus cold that I had to endure as I drove through the mountains. But I have no recollection – or journal entry to remind me – of what that discussion was or how it fit into the big picture. That disturbs me somewhat as I believe it must have been significant, but perhaps it was more of the same, or perhaps it was even a positive… perhaps we stayed up most of the night because we did not want to miss out on time together. In some ways that seems unlikely, but not completely impossible. How else could we have both neglected to write about it, even when we were in fact writing?
Oh, wait. Now I am remembering something. Flashes of memory, arguing as I tried to finish the laundry. He came home from work and wanted to talk about ‘feedback’ – specifically sexual feedback – and our communication skills completely evaporated. He was telling me all this and I said nothing, which led him to believe that I had no positive feedback to give him. Unfortunately, my impression of what he was saying was future term – ie, I felt if I started saying all kinds of nice things right then and there, that he would take it as flattery/inauthenticity etc. It was a very harsh half hour or whatever it took to get past.
All of this led, mostly from what he remembers, into a lot of upset on my part because I had felt that our communication skills had really come a long way, but now, suddenly, I saw that as a falsehood. I really do not remember this well. I think, often, my least clear memories are of those times when we get to fighting mostly because a misunderstanding sets a poor tone, than because of real, tangible issues we have to address. I mean, there may be real issues, but we are unable to address them in a positive way, because mentally we are in a bad place.
Eventually, he introduced his real, intended topic for the evening: he had pondered and written up a list of possible ‘rules’ guiding how we might explore relationships outside of our own. That could have been a fabulous conversation to have, but because of the earlier distress, I think much of what might have been said was not – which led to greater distress. We did manage to close all of the wounds before bed… not necessarily heal them, but at least something.
As a result, I left the next morning, headed west, with a massive sinus infection and running on just a couple hours of sleep. That night, we pulled off into a rest step just past Cheyenne, the dog was antsy all night and it was cold as hell… so I got very little sleep again. By the time we pulled into Susanville CA the next evening, I think my body was on the verge of complete collapse. But I got through it, and the time we spent in Oregon was well worth the discomfort of driving.