How do I know if I’m in love? I usually don’t. When I’m in love, I’m the last one to know. And what typically happens is that someone else realizes I am. Sometimes they just plain tell me. “Oh my God, you have feelings for them!”
With “feelings” a ribbon of excited squealing.
Other times, it quickly turns to teasing. Not the mean, bullying kind. Nothing like that. But the kind of teasing that does make me blush.
The truth is that while I like being connected, I don’t like falling in love. It usually wants to happen too soon, before I’m ready for it and certainly before my life is. It makes me vulnerable. Can make me sad and preoccupied with doubts — do they like me back? Am I going to drive them away with my affections, even if I can live with the feelings being unreturned?
And I suppose it doesn’t help that I come from deeply pragmatic people. My father was a construction worker. Both of my parents grew up in poverty and clawed their way out. They were very practical, hard working, determined. Focused on survival.
There wasn’t a lot of allowance made in my childhood for frivolous things. And my siblings and I were expected from an early age to be tough. There’s this pressure I feel even now, even decades later — still, to be tough. To be practical. To not go too far with emotion. Because what’s the point of that?
I was raised to believe that at best emotion is harmless but doesn’t get you anywhere. Not really.
And at worst it can ruin everything.
So I tend to ignore it when I feel that crush energy or worse… full-on vulnerable attachment to someone new. And longing and all of that. And not only do I ignore it, I ignore that I ignore it.
It’s not like something I see, acknowledge, and then push away.
No, the love never fully enters my consciousness. Not really. Something within me won’t let it.
But apparently it’s there. In my body. In every movement. And in my actions. Because the people closest to me — whether friends or lovers — can spot it a mile away.
I suppose you’d have to ask them exactly how I act, but the gist that I’ve gotten from talking to them is that I tend to light up when I either see or talk about a person I have a crush on. That I seek them out a lot.
Well, kinda. I’m usually stuck in this limbo, I guess, where I want to be around them, but I also don’t want to overwhelm them, which I’m told can make me seek them out but look a little shy while doing so. Standoffish, even. (Which isn’t like me at all. I tend to be friendly and gregarious.)
And in the case of my long-term partner, I also did this weird thing where I wanted to be near him but talked to other people, which is rather embarrassing in hindsight, as I prefer being direct.
To be fair, I had expressed interest. Clearly. But as I recall the incident, I really wanted to be near him but not appear desperate.
But yes. It’s a little strange maybe – but there’s a very simple way that I usually realize I’m in love (or on my way there): Other people point it out.
Exciting news! Poly Land now has a private Discord server. Here’s how to access it.
We’re shaping up to be the Bob Ross/Great British Bake-Off of polyamory groups.
I can honestly say it’s the best group chat I’ve ever been part of. We recently added a bunch of new channels and are having some great conversations. Hope to talk to you there!