The breadth of love

As an autistic it’s an interesting conundrum to be both extremely well as very analytical. Sometimes I feel I’m two parts analyst, and one part pure emotion, and other times the emotion dominates. It is funny that I don’t really read self help books, but I actually aspire to write them. Those that I do read often have a volume full of common sense, and an occasional pure gem of a thought. I can only hope that at least some of what I write might be that gem to some.
When it comes to love, to me it seems that there are not only many types of love, certainly depths of love, but also breadths of love as well. Of course, in a heart that loves, there exists all varieties of love – love for the world, for nature, for beauty, for a pet, or home, a special keepsake, or a memory. But within the love we have for other people, the love that is based on knowledge and understanding, not only the type of love, but the breadth of love that needs to be sustained will/may vary greatly depending on the relationship.
And where that breadth of love varies, so does the understanding that love requires. As I need to love more completely, I need a more complete understanding that love is sustainable.
Not only do I love my husband differently than I do my best friend (or anyone else), but I love him more thoroughly – not just more deeply – but more completely, with more breadth. I love him, knowing him in intimate detail. Knowing his strengths and weaknesses, knowing when he will be difficult – and when he will be my champion.
My daughter is the light of my life, yet through her life, she and I have often not seen eye to eye. We obviously have a different sort of love than I would with my husband, but arguably the same breadth of love. Of her my expectations are greater than just a friend, my heart is more invested in her. I know (or want to believe I do) the depths of her soul. Her emotions are my emotions. We affect each other deeply.
Not only do I not love my best friend with the same kind of love as my husband or daughter, but my love for her – although very committed, does not require the same breadth. I do not live with her, I do not make financial decisions with her. I am not as concerned about the little things she does that I may not understand, things that might be difficult to deal with in a mate or a child. I do not need to know the amount of detailed information about her personality, about her quirks, about the details of how her mind works. We do not need that same level of understanding, that same breadth of love that is required of a spouse, family member or life partner. But yet, likely I know her far better than many other people in my life – and my love and trust for her is deep.
And then come the other people in my life who I love deeply. I may know far less about them – I may not have near the same breadth of understanding of their heart and soul – but I do not need to. I don’t need to know any more than those things that my heart realizes that I love and admire. Sometimes I may even find – in those my heart has committed to love – individual attributes that I find difficult, or potentially even objectionable. But my heart does not care. If I have already determined they are worthy of loving, then unless in fact they have changed, I will continue to love them.
In many of those people is the realization that they would not ever be my best friend, perhaps not even a close friend. Certainly none would qualify to be a spouse. I plan to have already picked my only one of those! However in some, the potential might exist for a closer friendship, or a feeling of kinship, such as family. But even perhaps only as a friend, or just as a special person in my life – I have determined I love them. And that is just what I will do… always and forever. Because to me that is what love is. When you love someone, you love them, you love the things that you see in them that your heart and soul deem lovable. And that should be all that matters. Relationships may be complicated, but to me, love is just that simple.


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