We have these friends who have been together for many years. Not everyone understands them. They are quite different from each other. One is a bit more outgoing by nature, the other much more introvert. But their life is nice. Quiet. Boring some might say. But they feel good with it. Until a few weeks ago one of them met someone else. A casual meeting that developed into friendship and then something more. Now our friend lives a double life. The quiet life with his partner, and the adventurous life with his lover. And it kills him.
This situation is more common then one might think. It is even not restricted to gay couples only of course. But seeing this happening to close friends made me start to think about the concept of relationships and why we choose to spend our lives with someone. What is it that makes us decide to settle down and spend the rest of your time with that one person. Love you say. Sure there is that. But apparently it’s not exclusive. When we asked our friend what he was going to do he told us that he really doesn’t know. He never meant to develop such strong feeling for his lover, and he really doesn’t want to hurt his partner. He loves his boyfriend. And he is in love with his lover. People say loving someone and being in love with someone is not the same thing. Loving often comes later. It’s more intense than being in love. But we often mistake one for the other. Just like we often mistake loving for feeling comfortable. Sometimes we are with someone for such a long time, we cannot imagine anything else. Sure love is involved, but it is also a feeling of comfort. Sometimes only discovered when another possibility of love announces itself. There was a time that norms and values dictated that when you marry, you marry for life. But our norms and values have shifted over time and things that were black and white are now often been seen in many shades of grey. And maybe that also goes for relationships. We have come to accept separations and divorces like things that are very normal now. What we have not yet accepted is that you can love more than one person at the same time. And maybe it is time. Because it’s not always a question of choosing which person to love, it is more a question of choosing happiness. For you and for them. –BM-
Cover photography by Paul Smollen.
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