MC: “What is love?”

Did I love TL?  Did I love any of the APs?  TL reminded me of a time before D-day when she had asked me whether I loved her and I had asked, “What is love anyway?”  Today, I learned something more about that.  I was so impressed after D-day when I learned from Rick Reynolds what love really is. It is a choice, to put the other person first — a choice to love them.  You don’t fall into it, nor do you fall out of it.

But, today I understand the corollary.  I understand that I didn’t love TL before D-day.  I had a connection to her.  I was extremely infatuated, intrigued, and aroused by her.  I wanted to possess her.  I was proud of her, attracted to her, and impressed by her. I wanted her and needed her.  I wanted her to take care of me.  On the whole, and despite my demands, anger, selfishness, and childishness, I had a positive view of her that I never had for anyone else.

I wanted her to meet my needs.  But, by the true definition of love, I had never loved anyone in my life.  I did not love TL before D-day.  And, I did not ever love any AP or other person.

Then, there’s a really sick thing I did with love.  I told AP3 I loved her.  As I wrote that to AP3, I knew it was not true.  After D-day, TL asked me whether I had loved AP3.  At first, I confessed, I was still confused about what love is and whether I had loved AP3.  Later, when I learned what love is, it was clear to me I had not loved AP3.  I don’t recall telling AP1 or AP2 I loved them.  Maybe I did say that.  I don’t know.

What’s worse is that by my old, warped, wrong definition of love, I did love the APs and did not love TL.  My old definition of love was:  this person meets my needs.  So, by that definition, at the time I told myself, “This AP gives me sex and flattery.  She meets my needs.  TL does not give me the one-sided, male-serving sex I want nor the exaggerated, mental-masturbatory flattery I want.”  Never mind that TL gave me real love, care, loyalty, attention, friendship, financial and career partnership and stewardship, family, beautiful experiences, devotion, and countless other precious things.  I was so sick, that I saw sex and flattery out of perspective from all those other precious aspects of life and relationships.  By that sick definition of love, I loved the APs and not my wife.

But, that’s not love.  That was an incorrect definition of love.  Soon enough there came a point when each AP could not meet my needs. I needed them to give me sex without reminders of my jealousies, insecurities, and feelings of inadequacy.  I knew that with AP1, those feelings would come after me if I put any real emotional capital into a relationship with her.  Those feelings followed me.  They emanated from me.  I invested emotional capital into TL, and my sick obsessions haunted me.  I treated APs like sexual cattle and the sick obsessions didn’t bother me at all with them.

I thank God for D-day and the opportunity to get my head on straight.  I understand now that I had not loved TL, APs, nor anyone before, and that I can love TL and only TL now.  I understand that my sick old definition had me thinking I loved APs before and not TL.  And, I understand that prior to D-day, regardless of love, I did have special feelings for TL that — however incomplete and imperfect my feelings — were unique and reserved only for TL.

Read “Romanticism:  Don’t believe the lie,” by Rick Reynolds.  And, no, we don’t have a financial relationship with his Affair Recovery business nor do we advertise for him.  We did take his class and I continue to read a lot of his work because I find it very helpful.  Maybe it will help you.  Maybe you’ll find other sources that help you more.

After you’ve read it, I’d love to hear your reactions.

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