When they’re already “forever” for you

Because love that’s “light” can last that long

All of my past partners (and, frankly, probably even the current one) would laugh to hear me say this, but:

If I love once, I love forever.

It doesn’t seem that way on the surface. I am pretty adamant about maintaining a wide berth; being easy-going with things like texts, nonchalant about things like labels, dismissive of most notions of “romance.”

But love still matters. It’s just loving lightly. Letting the other person be their own person. Which, in truth, this is a greater, more mature love than the grasping, clinging, clawing gesture we so often see (and duplicate.) To the unprepared eye, it can look lukewarm, but the fact of the matter is:

A low-burn love is also slow-burn love.

When you don’t fire on all cannons and throw yourself at them full-steam-ahead, you don’t find yourself panting and exhausted at the end of a few, breakneck months or years. You have lightness and love left — for yourself, and for them — even after you’ve parted ways, and even if the relationship stops, your love may have no ending.

We had two male dogs growing up. One was incredibly high-energy, bordering on “anxious” all the time. Moving like a buck or a young colt, he was always leaping up and spritely prancing alongside whenever anybody went anywhere; constantly wanting to go; insatiably hungry for hikes and car rides and fetch.

The other was a real ox of a lab, moving only as fast as he needed to, lumbering wherever he was going, taking his time. Even feeding time was a matter of casualness, and if I ever saw that dog so much as break to a slow, drag-paw jog, I don’t recall it. You couldn’t get a rise out of that dog if you tried — that being said, his affection and sweetness was bottomless.

Of the first dog, my dad’s favorite, he’d say, “He’s gonna wear himself out one day, going at it like this all the time.” And of the latter, my sister’s favorite, he’d say, “it’s like he’s saving up his energy to live forever.”

And that’s a little how loving lightly can be. When love is un-anxious and at ease, we don’t burn ourselves up in it. And when we don’t burn ourselves up in it, we can go on loving for longer.

When we honor the other person as their own person, we can go on doing exactly that, endlessly, first from their side and then far away and across time.

When we approach love lightly, our love can last as long as we want.

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