What does love mean to you?

A mysterious woman asked me this question recently.

“By which I mean, what is your best experience of connection with another human? Was it sustainable? (Adult human, not your children.)”

I could write a bit about this mysterious woman. But the truth is, I only could write a very tiny bit. So instead, I’ll try to answer her question.

What is my best experience of connection with another human? Subject to the “not my children” caveat? It is, unquestionably, my family. My family of choice (T) and my family of origin. And, T’s family of origin. Among those relationships there is infinite richness and complexity – love and hate, dependence, reliance, and support. Fun and controversy. Connection and missed connections.

And, friends. Oh man, friends. I am so fucking lucky to have an uncountable number of good, deep, old, friendships. And newer good deep ones as well. I have little experience of unsustainability, and tremendous experience of sustainability. My good fortune, I think.

As I often do, I’ll spare T the experience of having our intimate relationship laid bare here, but, suffice to say, I’m a lucky man to have found her, and no matter what’s happened at any point in our relationship, I’ve never, not even for one moment, imagined that there exists some other woman out there with whom I might hope to share an even better connection. So there’s that.

With the rest of my family? My father is a spectacular man. He is generous and loving, and kind and sweet. He is smart and inspiring, and I have learned a tremendous amount about what it is to be a father, and a grandfather, from him. Not to mention what it is to be a grown-up, to be a man. Which isn’t in any way to downplay all the negatives he’s taught me. He has many of the same flaws I do, only more so. He’s more narcissistic. More stubborn. More insecure. More temperamental. More arrogant. He’s more sadistic, dismissive, cruel. So this ain’t no paean. But – as with T – I don’t, for a minute, imagine that there could have been a better father for me.

I’ll skip over the rest of my family – both that I was born into, and that into which I married. And tackle what I think my questioner might have meant to be asking.

I think, I think, that she meant, what’s my experience with the sustainability of love and sexual and romantic connections. That’s a more complicated question for me. On the one hand, I have not yet had the experience of falling out of love. I wrote the other day about my exes. Regardless of the relationships we have today – and none of those relationships is bad – I still feel love for every woman I’ve ever felt love for. And I believe those women still feel love for me. That’s true of the women before T, and of those since.

I’ve enjoyed tremendous sexual connection, but – and maybe here’s the rub for me – sexual connections outside my marriage have not generally been sustainable. Sofia‘s and mine was – for seven years. V‘s and mine was, for five or so. L‘s and mine was for less than one. Marina, I’ve only known for a few months.

There are others, of course, but my experience of sexual connection generally has been that I haven’t been able to sustain it, especially in those burn-hot type of connections about which I write in this blog.


That’s my first pass at answering the question.

How’d I do?

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