Multiamory loves The Beatles, but we take issue with the assertion that love is all you need. In this episode, we discuss the dangers of what is traditionally "magical" thinking surrounding love and relationships. If you're in a relationship that is dysfunctional, codependent, or making you miserable all in the name of love, here's where you can learn valuable tools to evaluate whether your relationship has a leg to stand on, or if it may be time to leave.
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Multiamory was created by Dedeker Winston, Jase Lindgren, and Emily Matlack.
Our theme music is Forms I Know I Did by Josh and Anand.
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Jase: On this episode of the Multiamory podcast we're talking about the fact that love is not enough. We will also be addressing some of the dangers of magical thinking and addictive thinking and ways that we've been taught to believe that these things are good, that love is not all you need.
Dedeker: Can I just say, this episode's a doozy and I feel a little apprehensive about digging into this because I can just see the headlines now, "Multiamory.com hates love." "Multiamory.com says you should never fall in love with anybody." "Multiamory.com wants to poop all over love." I can just see it right now.
Emily: That's clearly not what we're all about though, although apparently we hate that Beach Boys song. John Lennon said it was the best song ever written.
Dedeker: Which Beach Boys song?
Emily: "Love is All You Need."
Dedeker: That’s not a Beach Boys song, that's a Beatles song-
Jase: That's a Beatles song.
Dedeker: When you’re talking about the Beach Boys song, the one that was the intro to Big Love-
Jase: God only knows-
Dedeker: God only knows-
Jase: That’s the one John Lennon said was the best song ever written.
Emily: That's true.
Dedeker: Are you sure it was John Lennon who said it was the best song ever written?
Emily: Yes, he did-
Jase: Pretty sure yes.
Emily: It is a good damn song-
Jase: It's a great song.
Emily: Apparently Multiamory hates it,and the other one.
Dedeker: Now I can see the headlines, "Multiamory hates the Beatles," "Multiamory hates the Beach Boys," "Multiamory hates everything you love." Let me just get my feelings out of the way just to say it. I'm a little nervous about digging into this one. However as I said, I feel like this is such an important truth for people in relationships to know. I feel like this is such an important fundamental thing that we don't really get directly taught growing up, about love not being enough to maintain a relationship.
Because we're proactively taught the opposite, right? We're taught that like love is the end goal, love is the be all and end all and if you have love, then you're going to be fine and you don't need anything else. Which is, on a practical level, completely not true.
Jase: And, not only are we told that if you have love then that's all that matters, but we're also told that if you don't have love that you don't matter, that "You're nobody till somebody loves you" is the title of a freaking song-
Emily: Fucking Frank Sinatra.
Dedeker: Is it really just that Multiamory hates songs?
Jase: [laughs] We just hate songs, that’s what it is.
Emily: Love songs do perpetuate that idea, that love is all you need, love is the only thing, love is a many splendid thing, love lifts you up --
Dedeker: I think it's a many splendored thing, I don't think it's a many splendid thing. Or maybe, it's love is a many Splenda thing, it’s a many artificial sweetener thing-
Jase: Just to clarify here, Multiamory is actually pro love, we're super into love and we love being in love, and all of those things. But the way that we as a society are taught about love, actually makes us less able to experience it, at least less able to experience the positive sides of it and all the positive aspects of love. That instead, like Dedeker's saying that we get stuck in this position, we're thinking that the love itself is the goal and we end up not enjoying love and ending up in potentially unhealthy situations, because we think it's worth sacrificing everything else in our life for it.
Dedeker: Yes, I think it's really interesting to think about the fact that, of course all of our movies, most of our media sets it up so that we think that seeing love and being in love as the end goal, rather than looking at it as just a state that you can be in during your life, a state that can happen to you during your life. I think that when we put being in love as this end goal, just like it happens in movies and in T.V. that it seems like it's worth it to sacrifice absolutely everything to get it because that's the ultimate attainable goal.
And so that means that we put ourselves in a position where we let our boundaries be compromised, we put our happiness in the future, and we can pour so many years of our life and so much of our energy into something that ultimately may not work out from a compatibility standpoint or just that may not work out with what it is that we're prioritizing for our life. And so the thing is that what we often get caught up on is this idea that it's worth fighting for and striving for a relationship because a relationship is just something that's worth fighting for and striving for.
We haven't quite finished that sentence, we haven't quite got the concrete answers other than just the supposition that love and relationships are worth sacrificing everything for.
Jase: Right, that's just what you do.
Emily: Yes, and that's what the movies teach us. Because it always ends with the happily ever after, or the boy finally gets the girl and the end, we're done and then clearly they’re the happiest ever. Something we wanted to touch on here, is the idea of co-dependency. I'm not sure about you -
Dedeker: A "C" word.
Emily: - You listeners there but I definitely have been in a few codependent relationships in my life and we just wanted to go over what it meant. It's essentially excessive emotional or physical reliance upon a partner, and a codependent union is one where both partners are overly dependent upon one another. So this can happen, often with low self-esteem, if you excessively want to please your partner, or just excessively do people-pleasing in your life. If you maintain poor boundaries, if you let your boundaries or anything or just behave as a doormat towards your partner, and towards other people.
If you're overly reactive, again just overly emotional, or tend to see everything that other people say as absolute fact instead of actually knowing your own boundaries and thinking logically about something. Also excessive care-taking or excessive control. That can happen sometimes. And just overall dysfunctional communication, obsessiveness, and problems with intimacy. All of those things can definitely be signs of a codependent relationship or that you are a codependent.
Jase: A lot of these obviously sound very bad when you say them this way, but a lot of these things are portrayed in our media as positive aspects of love --
Emily: That you need someone or that they need you, or even --
Dedeker: You're nothing without this person.
Jase: Right. Or the example that comes up a lot, in the Twilight movies, for example, is the fact that he is always watching her --
Dedeker: I’m going to fuck you so hard that I break your pelvis? Oh.
Jase: No. The fact that he is always following her around. That he’ll stay and watch her while she's sleeping, that he's always keeping tabs on her. In the movie, instead of being portrayed as being excessively controlling, or excessively care-taking, that instead this is portrayed as romantic.
I was just listening to TedTalk last night and the woman in it was telling this story about how, when she got her first boyfriend was when she was in high school, and one of the first things that this guy told her when they started dating was, "No one else is allowed to give you rides anywhere, except for me." And then, through their relationship proceeded to beat her, and hit her, and things like that and eventually, a couple years later, she broke up with him. And even after breaking up, he still maintained to her that, "No one will ever love you as much as me." Obviously, that kind of thing isn't portrayed in movies as positive, but we do see these other things like this excessive controlling or excessive care-taking or dependency being portrayed as romantic.
Emily: I had a boyfriend in high school as well who would always ask, "I saw your car at 1st and Orange Grove at this time, where were you? Why were you there?" And definitely overly and excessively controlling, but then at the time, even though I thought it was a little weird and a little obsessive, I still had this idea in my head, "Well, he loves me. I'm going to marry him someday," all of this stuff, even though in reality, it was incredibly dysfunctional.
Dedeker: I feel like we're approaching something that we touched on in the episode where we interviewed Carrie Jenkins, about the nature of love. Because something that she lays out in her book is, that the way that we define love, somehow our cultural definition of love is also compatible with abuse, is also compatible with codependency, is compatible with obsessiveness, and it's compatible with someone treating you very badly, but insisting that they love you, or someone treating you very badly and you insisting that you love them also, and maybe you actually do feel love for them.
I think that, because that's the context that we're in, where love can go hand in hand with all these very negative things, either we need to redefine what love actually is or we need to recognize that love is not the thing that can cancel out all those other bad things. That’s where we're leading up to.
Jase: That love is not mutually exclusive with a lot of unhealthy things. And the fact that you love someone doesn't mean there aren't all these bad things, or that this is a relationship you should be in.
I think also, just real quick, before we get into our fun little list here, is that, I think part of this comes from this other myth we're taught that love is scarce, that love is something that you only get one chance at, in a lifetime, for example. So you think, "Oh well, I can't leave this relationship, because I am in love and this might be my only shot at it." Or leading to depression if you don't have whatever you think the definition of romantic love is in your life, because, "Oh, clearly I'd be happier or I'd be more fulfilled if I had that thing."
The reality of it is that love is an emotion, and like Carrie Jenkins talks about in her book, it's both an emotion, as well as a social description of types of relationships, as well as just a physical chemical thing going on in our brains. And that is something that can happen in different ways with different people throughout your life, and it's not something worth sacrificing everything for because it's not this rare, scarce thing that you only get one shot at.
Dedeker: Yes, and again, just to build off that, I know this is something that we were going to touch on later in the episode, but I kind of want to jump the gun a little bit and hit on it now. That idea that love is scarce. The thing is like you can fall in love with a surprising number of people throughout the course of your life. You are capable of falling in love with people who are perfect for you. You are capable of falling in love with people who are really imperfect for you, or who are really bad for you. Not even necessarily that their behavior is bad but just logistically, they live it on the other side of the planet, or they have a completely different lifestyle, or completely different set of values.
You can still fall in love with that person. You can fall in love in a way that's healthy, or that's unhealthy, and you can fall in love at whatever stage of your life you're in. You have the ability to fall in love. Love itself is not the thing that determines who's right for you, or who's wrong for you because you have the ability, just from a chemical standpoint, of having those chemicals release in your brain and make you go through all the crazy NRE stuff with whoever.
Jase: Right, but ultimately it's your choice about what you do with those relationships, and to decide whether or not they're healthy or whether you want to be in them or not. That's all your choice and that it's not something that's magical and out of your hands.
Dedeker: Really quickly, we have a super fun list of some of the potential dangers of thinking this way, of kind of, if you find yourself relying on love alone to be the thing that's going to make your relationships have their momentum forward, or that love alone is going to be the only thing that's going to help your relationships to grow or whatever. I think the main one that I see all the time is, people have the failure to accept significant incompatibilities, between themselves and their partner because they believe, "Oh, but we love each other, so it's going to work out, somehow."
That's not to say from a relationship anarchy standpoint, maybe you fall in love with somebody and it's just really incompatible, like your values are different, or where you want to live is different, or the kind of life that you want to live is different. Again, from a relationship anarchy standpoint, I'm inclined to say, you're going to figure out what relationship is right for you. It's probably not going to be a super-romantic, tight-unit, co-habiting, traditionally-looking romantic relationship, it may end up being a casual friendship, or maybe a casual sexual relationship or things like that.
I think the problem is that people will see something like, this is also very common, "My partner really wants monogamy, and I really want to not be monogamous, but we love each other so much, that we're going to find a way to figure it out." Sometimes people do figure it out, but they figure it out not just on the basis of loving each other. Usually, they figure it out on the basis of doing a lot of personal self work, and communication, and things like that.
I think that it's just another one, if you find that you're in a relationship where there are significant incompatibilities, logistically, or emotionally, or whatever, but you're finding yourself thinking, "Oh, but we love each other enough that we'll figure it out somehow", that may not end so great for you.
Jase: A second one that is related to that is, being willing to compromise on your boundaries, or on your values, in the interest of preserving this love. Again, this could be something like Dedeker mentioned with monogamy versus non-monogamy, but this could also be something like, my values that I don't want to have kids, or that I want to adopt, but that my partner wants something different from that. I'm going to compromise on those, because I'm in love, even if I really don't want to do those things. This could also be something as simple as moving to a place, and giving up on a dream of yours. There's a lot of different ways that this can look.
Emily: Thirdly, we have placing one's happiness in the future, which is again, touching back on the idea of "happily-ever-after," that all of a sudden once you get married or once you find "the one," you will all of a sudden just be happy. That's kind of, instead of learning to experience it in the moment -- I see so many people over the years, a lot of my friends from college, or from high school even doing that and saying like, "Well, I can't wait till we get married, or I can't wait till we have a kid, or whatever-
Jase: Because then we'll be happy?
Emily: -exactly, because then I'll be happier, then my life will be complete in some way that it currently isn't. That is this illogical fallacy, I think, that people get themselves into, just that all of a sudden they will-- That suddenly their life will be complete, if they have this attainable goal. Life doesn't stop, and unfortunately people don't think that far ahead.
Dedeker: I feel like there's some truth to be found in this idea that --
I think you should be able to find happiness in your relationships, as they are, right now, some form of happiness. Maybe you're going through a rough patch, or maybe you're figuring out your needs, and maybe you're finding that there are some needs not being met, but I feel that you should be able to find at least some happiness in your relationships, as they are right now, as opposed to thinking like, "Oh it's so rough. It's so hard. We're having such a hard time, but once we get through this rough patch, then things will be good." Or, "Once we finally move away, then things will be good." "Once we finally get to take a vacation, then things will be good."
It's understandable to be going through a rough patch, but if you can't find any actual happiness in your relationship, if it's always putting it off into the future, then that might be a sign that things are not going to work out so great.
Jase: The next one on our list here, is that, when we think of love as being so important, we can associate, "failed relationships" with us being failures as people, that we tie our relationships to our self-worth. This can be a really tragic thing. This can go so far as to lead people to commit suicide, specifically men later in life, after a divorce are much more likely to commit suicide. There's a lot of factors that this could be a part of, but I do think a significant portion of it is tied to this idea that our relationships equal our self-worth.
Dedeker: That's really interesting. I guess it's kind of wrapped up in this idea, "We didn't love hard enough," or "Our love wasn't good enough," which is huge. It's a huge blow.
Jase: Or that "I only got this one shot at it and I screwed it up. Therefore, I'll never be happy."
Emily: Divorce can really be a loss of identity in a lot of ways, especially if you were with that person since you were kids, or something and then, grew up and became very different people after you got married and then, it suddenly didn't really work anymore. Unfortunately it is such a huge loss of identity that I'm sure it leads some people do catastrophic conclusions.
Jase: Especially the more codependent we get, like Emily was mentioning.
Dedeker: What I see often, is people determining their life goals based on what they think would work with what their partner wants, or what they think that their family would want for them, rather than determining their own goals. Again it's this idea of, "Oh, I'm so in love with this person, and as long as I'm with them and they love me, and we love each other, then whatever happens with my life is going to be okay. It doesn't matter that I don't move to a new country that I've wanted to live in, or it doesn't matter if I take that job promotion or whatever." It's like, "As long as I'm with this person, as long as there's love, then it's going to be okay."
I feel like I see this a lot with people, especially with people who marry young and who like kind of sacrifice their dreams, or their own goals for a partner's goals, because that whole idea of sacrificing something is so wrapped up in the romanticism of a love relationship, that then if the relationship ends later on, and you realized you devoted 10 years to this relationship, and it's 10 years that you have not spent getting closer to what you wanted in your life, of course it can be devastating because it's, again like Emily said, not only a loss of identity but now it is my entire future
Dedeker: and goals were wrapped up in this person, and now that person is no longer around, what the heck do I even actually want? How do I even actually-- Who I'm I? How do I even go after what I want from here?
Jase: Yes. This can be related to this idea of mental filtering, which is where we have some conclusion about love, such as, that it's worth giving up my goals for, or that it's worth giving up on these boundaries for, or placing my happiness in the future, that, if we have that belief, we will mentally filter out things in the world that don't agree with that belief. We see this all the time, with all sorts of different beliefs out there that, even people will get, "Here's evidence and here's facts of why this belief isn't true," but they go, "Oh, but whatever. You say that, but in my life I see that it's true, and I can think of examples to back that up."
That this can happen with things like these happily-ever-after kinds of stories or someone who they think, again you're just thinking from the outside, but that they think did end up happy, when they gave up their career to have a kid, because their partner wanted it, and they end up saying, "Oh, that was actually more rewarding." They might see those examples, and while those might even be true examples, they fail to see all of the counterexamples to that, because they don't agree with that belief. They've already decided wherever they got that from, whether it was from their religion, or from their upbringing, or from just TV and movies and books and all of that.
Emily: Finally, our last one is, this belief that the relationship will work out simply because they want it, or we want it bad enough. Again, that kind of promotes this idea that martyring, or self-sacrifice, or blaming, or hurting oneself for the sake of a relationship in certain ways is a noble thing to do. I think, Jase, you've talked about before, the nobility of sacrifice, or the nobility of suffering, and that's this sad bullshit that a lot of people get wrapped up in, just simply because they think that, if they work hard enough at it, then the relationship will work out. Sometimes, just it truly won't work out.
It's not meant to be, and that's okay and there's nothing wrong with that, but we see it as this failure, and we see it as, we can't let that thing go, like I didn't try hard enough, and if I just tried a little harder then it would it would still be around.
Dedeker: The thing is usually, in relationships that are dysfunctional, it's not always the case that, one person wants it to work out and one person doesn't want it to work out. Usually, at least, especially with people that I find, that I work with in my coaching practice, both parties want it to work out. Everyone wants to have a happy relationship. Very few people want to actively hurt their partner or anything like that. But wanting it on both sides is not enough.
Jase: Before we get into the second half of this episode, where we're going to talk about some techniques to evaluate, whether these things are having a negative effect on your relationship, and some things you can do to check in with yourself, and hopefully get yourself to a place where you can experience more of the good parts of love, and not have all of these bad things happen to you.
Jase: With that, let's get back into this. Deds, do you want to start us out?
Dedeker: Yes, I'll start this out because, I know that often when I talk about these things, it's easy to come away being like, "Well fuck it. What am I supposed to -- like what is love, what is good, what is -- Is there anything good about love? I don't know. Down with love, I'm tired of it."
Emily: What is love? Baby don't hurt me.
Dedeker: And baby don't hurt me. Don't hurt me no more. I guess I want to start examining what are the things that you, the listener, can ask yourself about your relationships, in order to determine, what are the relationships where there is love, but like that's not the only thing keeping it afloat, versus what are the relationships where I'm kind of just relying on the concept of love, to be what's keeping this relationship afloat.
I think the first thing that we came up with, that I think is really interesting, is the idea actually examining what sacrifices you're making in your life, and when you're in a relationship of any kind, whether it's a romantic relationship, or a friendship, or a family relationship, it's normal to make compromises. That just happens whenever you have two human beings together, in the same space. They're going to have different desires, different needs, competing desires and needs. In order for us to get along, we have to find some way to compromise that. So, yes. It is normal to make compromises.
However, when it comes to sacrificing things like your dignity, your autonomy, your physical body, sacrificing your ambitions, or your life's purpose, just in order for a relationship to work, then there's something problematic going on there. I think this can all boil down to this single question of asking yourself, "What sacrifices in this relationship feel rewarding to me?" The wording in that is very important, because it's what feels rewarding, versus what do you just think is rewarding?
What is it that, "My partner's asking me to do this or asking me to not do x, y and z, or whatever it is that I want to do," and I'm going to go along with that, and sacrifice it, and I just think it's going to make my partner happy. I think it's going to be a good thing. I think it's going to be good for our relationship. If it's not in reality, then what are you sacrificing it for? I think this happens a lot. People will sacrifice, for instance, that example that you gave, Jase, of, "You're not allowed to take rides with anybody other than me." And maybe you're like, "Okay, whatever. I can sacrifice that. That's fine."
Emily: Does that feel good though?
Dedeker: But does it feel good? Is it making your partner happy? Is it something where it's, you preserving ride-sharing privileges for only your partner, is that making him feel super secure and happy? And, now there's no other issues with that, in your relationship? Usually in these instances, it doesn't. I see this a lot with clients where it's, "Okay, well, I'll agree to not have sleep overs with someone else. I'll agree to wait on having sex with somebody else. I'll agree to x, y, and z number of agreements," but it doesn't actually solve the problem. It's not actually rewarding. You're not actually getting rewarded with a partner who's happy, and secure, and loving, usually it's just more of the same problem. I think coming back to that question, of "What sacrifices in this relationship are feeling actually rewarding to you?" I think can really evaluate whether or not it's healthy compromise versus unhealthy sacrifice.
Jase: I'd like to propose actually another way of looking at this, too, because I feel like with that one, sometimes it's difficult to tease apart what's actually rewarding, in a way that's healthy for me, and what I just think is rewarding, because I've been so ingrained with these ideas about how love should go, and what romance looks like that I have this mental reward cycle that, "Oh, by suffering for this, that means I'm really in love." Dedeker and I recently just re-watched Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves, with Kevin Costner, recently.
Emily: What a winner.
Jase: It was great. Anyway, and that Brian Adams song, where there's the line about, "I'd fight for you, I'd die for you" that I remember being really influenced by that as a kid, and thinking that, "Okay, that type of being willing to give up everything of myself for someone else, that's what love is, and that's what I want. That's what I'm going to try to find." And that included trying to sort of mentally work myself into a state, where I did feel like I was willing to do those things. That, I probably at the time would have said, felt rewarding to me. I wanted to propose another way of looking at this too, as I think both can be useful when used together.
That is to, when you think about compromises in your life, about giving up your desires for somebody else, meaning right now I really want to go get pizza, but Dedeker's been having this craving for sushi for a week. Okay, I'm going to give up on my desire for pizza, right now, so we can go have sushi. That's a very different thing from saying, for example, "I really have a desire to live in one house, and have kids and build a family, with just two people, parent family and my kids in the Midwest." And Dedeker says, "I want to travel the world-
Dedeker: Sorry. Sorry, bro. That's what Dedeker says.
Jase: - she says, "I want to travel the world, and make a podcast about Polyamory," and that, to give up that desire of mine, to say, "Well, but I love her, so I've got to give up all those things," that would not be a healthy thing, even if at the time I might feel like, "Oh, but I'm sacrificing so much for love. That feels good, because that's what I've been told love is all about."
I think another way to look at it is, in terms of your life goals, and getting clear on what those things are, and then asking yourself, "Is this sacrifice a short-term sacrifice or is this sacrificing something that, when I look back at this from my deathbed, say, that I'm going to really regret never having been able to do x, y, or z? Never getting to have these experiences, never getting to have this kind of life," and to actually take that moment to imagine yourself looking back, from your deathbed and looking at these things and saying, "Was that worth it?"
Dedeker: I think this leads us right to our next point.
Emily: Yes it does, and again, probably the point that most people are going to say, "How dare they, those Multiamory creeps."
Dedeker: Those Multiamory song-hating, love-hating creeps.
Emily: Exactly. How could they? It's true, that there are things in life that are more important than love, and you need to find out what love really matters, what love actually means to you, and then, what in your life is potentially more important than love. The only way that you can really, fully enjoy the love in your life, is to choose to make something else more important in your life than love. A technique that we've come up with here, is to take some time to determine what actually matters to you in your life.
For example, I've always wanted to do acting in my life, and so, regardless of whatever else comes my way, that's something that I won't ever give up on. I'll find a way to do plays or to do whatever, or to still go out on an audition, regardless of what else comes up in my life. But again, if Jase had said like, "No, let's go move to the Midwest, we're done here in LA. Sorry, we should go and have babies in the Midwest or something," that obviously wouldn't have flown because to me, my dream in that regard, is more important than the love in my life, for example.
Things to avoid here, don't do one-off events such as getting married, because obviously that's not going to last forever. You get married once maybe, maybe more than that, but maybe in that relationship, you only only get married once and so then it's done or move in together because, yes, you're still moved in with that person, but that's not a sustainable continuing thing. Or like finding my soulmate, which, what does that even mean? That may occur in your life, to you, but then it's not a thing that is sustainable over time that will, I guess, keep you happy forever.
Focus on ongoing realities like, "I'm going to raise my kids through all the stages of their lives" or "I want to be able to have open and honest conversations with my partner, or partners." Or, "Having a regular sex life that continues to change and explore new things, and be ever-changing and evolving." Then, ask yourself another question again, like Dedeker said in the last one, "Which of these things are essential in my life? Which ones am I not willing to go without?" Then be really, really honest with yourself here.
Jase: That it's important too, when you make these life goals to focus on what you want your life to be like. Like Emily's example, she wants to act, that she wants to be an actor. That's an ongoing thing. It's not just like, "Oh, well, check mark. I did that, and now I don't have to do it anymore." Like she was saying about of getting married, or moving in together is a different thing from, being in this type of relationship, or having this type of ongoing relationship with somebody, or sharing a space with someone. It's a very different thing from just the act of moving in together.
I think so often, like with the relationship escalator, we're focused on accomplishing goals, like checking off, "We did the next thing. We keep moving on up, and that's how we know our relationship is valid. That's how we know our love is real, because we keep moving up these steps. We keep checking off these things," rather than focusing on what is the actual state of our relationship that I want to be in.
I think this is also important to look at for some of these things we're talking about, like if there's incompatibilities, about getting married, or about having kids or something like that, that if you're able to also have a conversation with your partner, or partners about, "This is the state that my desired relationships look like," meaning, the state of not having kids, or the state of raising kids, rather than just kind of thinking, "Oh well, the future will work out because we love each other."
You could end up with very different goals but not even be aware of it, or just ignore that conversation and not have an honest talk about the fact that you want different things because you think, "Well, it's just going to work out, because we love each other."
I also want to go back to Emily's first point here, of finding what it is in your life that matters more than love. I just want to clarify that, we don't mean to say that love isn't important or that love isn't a wonderful, magical thing, but the point here is that, having other priorities in your life, will actually make love better, will actually enable you to experience it more so than you would if your only goal is the love itself.
Emily: And what are you not going to sacrifice, because love is there, because you need love to exist in your life. Again, that's an unfortunate part of some people's love. Or, even if they have children or something, they may give up on an aspect of their life that they wouldn't have ever thought would be possible, just simply for that love, or for anything.
Jase: Then also, if you are someone who identifies more as looking for love, that having other things in your life that matter more than love, also make you infinitely more attractive-- it makes you more interesting, it makes you more attractive. It makes you more stable, it makes you seem less not desperate or less clingy, or less needy, and also can allow you to see more clearly, when you are evaluating your potential partners, of what kind of love is this. Maybe I love them, but what's the right choice to make for how this relationship should go.
Which segues us into our final of our three big tools here, and that is the friends' test. I'm sure you guys have heard before, that your life partner should be like your best friend. We think about it in this positive thing, of "You would share everything with your best friend, you should do that with your lover." What this is, is actually taking it and looking at the negative side of it, if you will, which is to ask yourself, "Would I tolerate these negative behaviors from my partner, from my best friend?" To again, go back to the idea of being very controlling, that maybe my vampire boyfriend comes in and checks on me every night and watches me while I sleep. I can somehow justify that that's romantic.
But if my best friend were doing that, would that be okay? I don't think that it would. This can be a really good way --
Dedeker: If you have a vampire best friend, maybe.
Jase: See I don't think it's just a vampire thing. I think it's just a creepo thing.
Emily: It's just a controlling thing.
Dedeker: Yes probably.
Jase: Quick side note. There's a fantastic video on YouTube, by the Pop Culture Detective Agency, that's a mash-up of scenes from Twilight, with scenes from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It's using Sarah Michelle Gellar's lines in Buffy the Vampire Slayer to respond to the "romantic things" that Edward says in Twilight, and show exactly how creepy they are, through her responses. It's a really great, actually, social commentary on this, I'd highly recommend going and checking it out. Especially if you're a fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and who isn't, right?
To go back to this, is to ask yourself the question of, "Would I accept these behaviors from my best friend?" We gave the example of watching you in your sleep. Obviously, that's very extreme, but what are some more, subtle, everyday examples of things that can lead to codependency, that we accept from romantic partners, socially, that we wouldn't from a best friend? We gave the example of saying that, no one else can give you rides somewhere. But that seems maybe a little extreme to me.
But what about something, "You can't ever go to a party without me. You can't ever go to a social event without me, or I'm just going to be hurt and make you feel terrible if you don't always invite me to everything that you do." I don't feel like I would accept that from a best friend. But a lot of us do accept that from romantic partners.
Emily: Or, "You can't go out to eat without me, with a person of the opposite sex," for example. I mean and I get it, sometimes that's a boundary, or a deal breaker for some people. But I don't know. Would you say that that's okay to your best friend?
Dedeker: Whoever it is you're attracted to, it doesn't have to be someone of the opposite sex. But, like, "You're not allowed to go out to eat with somebody you're attracted to."
Jase: It's true, right.
Dedeker: For sure. Just as just an example.
Jase: Similarly, even something that comes up in poly-relationships is the idea of saying, "Well, you can't go to this restaurant, or to this place with anybody else but me." That's also kind of -- Some people will defend that as being an okay thing to request. But, ask yourself, "Would I accept that from my best friend?" Maybe you would. Maybe you would say "You know what, that's okay. That's something that my best friend and I, we have some things that we just don't ever do with anyone else." Maybe it's you know watching Game of Thrones, as it comes out.
We're not trying to say that, you can never ever limit anything, or keep anything exclusive to one person. But to really check in with yourself and be honest. "Would I accept this from my best friend? Is this something I'm actually okay with? Or is this something that I feel like I have to be okay with because I'm in love?"
Ultimately, the takeaway that we would like to leave all of you with, from this, is not that love is a terrible thing that's going to ruin your life. Because hopefully, it's not going to be that. Especially since you have all these tools to make it great.
The takeaway here is that love can be incredibly rewarding. It can feel like magic, even though it's not actually magic. It's not actually going to solve all your problems, but it can make your life a lot better, as long as you're not relying on it to do all of the work of giving you a happy life. It's a very real thing but it's not a magic silver bullet cure-all.
Emily: Wow, that was awesome. I really learned a lot from that episode. It kind of brought back some sad memories of relationships past, but I think we all can probably relate to a couple of things here, at least, and hopefully get through them and move on to better and healthier relationships in the future.
Jase: Amen. If you would like to have a question or comment played on the show, you can call our phone number which is area code 6-7-8-M-U-L-T-I-0-5, or our international listeners can leave us a voice message through Facebook Messenger, to our Facebook page. You can also e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org or send us a message on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram, to support our show and join our private Facebook community go to Patraeon.com/multiamory. Multiamory is created and produced by Emily Matlack, Derocher Winston and me; Jase Lindgren. Our episodes are edited by Mauricio. Our social media wizard, is Will McMillian, and our theme song is "Forms I Know I Did," by Josh and Anand from the Fractal Cave E.P.