Loving and being in love

What is the difference between loving someone and being in love with someone?

There are many different types of love. Of a parent for a child, a child for a parent, of friends. Then there is the love felt between those physically and emotionally attracted to each other. Falling in love is something that seems to happen at the beginning of a relationship, though it is possible to fall in love more than once. Perhaps when something special happens or one or both parties face a particular challenge. That first flush of love, just as you are getting to know each other is a special time. One of investigation and discovery, a time when the seeds of trust and communication are planted.

To truly love someone you need to have trust in them and to feel that you can be yourself. You need to be able to let your guard slip and to know they will always have your back. Love needs to be unconditional, because we all make mistakes, need to show our vulnerable side.

I truly feel that my cancer diagnosis caused a re-evaluation of our relationship and the love we have for each other. The way Master coped, the emotions he showed and the way he has tried to support and protect me, made me fall in love with him all over again. I have loved him for most of the 5 years we have been together but maybe we aren’t always in love. But, life settled down and things became routine. Right now as we explore the next part of our life together I am sure I am in love with him and love him too.

How does these differences colour and effect the way you interact with that person?

Love between two (or more) people in a relationship becomes, over time, business as usual, as it were. Maybe that is the time when you can take each other for granted and bad habits can creep in. Don’t get me wrong, it is cosy, perhaps like an old sweater, but it can also lead to complacency. It is the job of the people in the relationship to make sure that element of surprise remains. Because having been in a long term relationship that turned stale you can never take love for granted.

Where sex is involved, does the emotional layer affect its quality?

You don’t have to love or be in love to have sex, but it certainly adds another layer. For us, being in a power exchange relationship love has helped us understand our own and each others body. We have learned to understand and meet each other’s needs and to make allowances when there are problems. I trust him to care for me and keep me safe, but also to push my perceived limits. Love makes us want to satisfy and please the other in a way that doesn’t happen in a casual relationship.

Where do lust and desire fit into this?

Lust is important in any relationship as it helps keep the spark going. But lust can also be mistaken for love. I am pretty sure that during my relationship with S, I was in lust rather than love. Because while devastated for about 2 weeks the first time he finished with me I pretty soon recovered. The second time, I walked away and found Master. The sex had been amazing but I realised I needed more from a relationship. Thankfully I have found it.

Being Celibate

During our marriage there were long periods of time when my husband and I abstained from sex. That is we abstained from sex with each other and sometimes I didn’t masturbate either. But were we celibate?

I had a baby and he had an affair

My husband was having an affair when I was pregnant. Of course I didn’t know at the time, else things might have turned out differently. In my 20’s I was less interested in sex than I might have been and I hadn’t even worked out how to masturbate. He strayed because I was a nurse working shifts and he saw an opportunity. But I was often tired and disinterested. Maybe I didn’t actually fancy him all that much.

At 29 I had a baby and he took up my time. Hubby didn’t often ask for sex and I wasn’t too bothered. Over the first couple of years of my son’s life I might have been celibate, to be honest it is difficult to remember. Gradually my body awoke and I wanted it to be satisfied. But until the affair ended he was getting something better with her. I got a vibrator and was no longer celibate. I just abstained from sex.

The less sex you have the less you need it

Orgasms from my rabbit were more satisfying than anything I got from my husband. sometimes I even used it when he had gone to sleep after he had come. He seemed oblivious to the needs of a woman despite the affair. However I found it difficult to forget that he had been with her. The less sex we had, the less it bothered me. There were years when we may have had sex 2 or 3 times.

At this time we were both masturbating, but not together. It is a wonder our relationship lasted anywhere near as long as it did, though we were friendly enough and rarely argued for much of it.

Could I abstain or be celibate now

I have had more sex in the past 5 years than in the rest of my adult life. There was also a period of time before that when I was having sex every 3-6 weeks. Both of these partners were far more experienced than my husband and they have a higher sex drive. I have learned to love and appreciate sex in its many forms and positions. I have discovered the joy of mutual masturbation, something I turned my nose up when married. Though this was mainly because we were rubbish at turning each other on. This is not the case with Master.

We are both in our late 50s now (he later than me), but there is no reason we can’t continue to have sex for as long as we want and are physically able. I don’t think I would willingly choose to abstain from something I enjoy so much.

We have often discussed the paucity of sex in my life before my 50th year and whether I regret anything. I don’t regret meeting, marrying and having a child with the man I loved at the time. I do regret hanging around quite so long when I knew I should get out. However, we make the best decisions we can at the time. What I have now makes up for everything and shows me that celibacy definitely isn’t for me.

There’s a video explaining the history and definition here

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