I don't even know where to start. I got 99 problems, and most of them are "affairs of the heart". I'll just have to narrow 'em down. Well, to start, I believe I'm in love with two women, but I'm not sure. We all attend the same small college, so I'm in the vicinity of both of them daily. One of them, I'll call her "Daisy," is sort of an ex that I was seeing for awhile, before she broke up with me for being too emotionally unavailable. The other one, my current flame, "Peony," I've been seeing for the past few months and steadily falling in love with her. "Peony" and I talked about being monogamous and decided against it, because we felt that we loved each other and were close enough friends with each other that we could see other people without jealousy. For the most part, this has been true. But it seems very different to be sexually monogamous versus being emotionally monogamous. Being emotionally attached to multiple people seems very tough. Is love a zero-sum game? It seems difficult to love many people and sometimes I find myself rationing my love. But I don't know who I love, and I don't know if I want to choose.
One thing I've noticed is that my love can be strangely pragmatic. For example, I was living with "Peony" for awhile and therefore I feel a lot closer to her recently, whereas when I was visiting "Daisy" I suddenly realized I wasn't over her. I've been really busy with work and I just end up loving whichever person shows me love, and don't seem to have the energy to pursue my true feelings. Is this a good reason to take some acid, mescaline, shrooms, or MDMA? To figure this stuff out?
--Neurotic in Nebraska
I wanted to send an addendum-- I realized the last sentence could sound flip, but I take your advice column very seriously and would love serious feedback on this and other problems. Publishing it is fine, but if u can't get around to publishing it, any advice helps.
Things have changed, "Peony" and I might be breaking up, she's seemed distant for awhile, but we were so in love, and also swore we'd be lifelong friends and lovers.
First of all, you are very lucky to have two flowers that you are so attracted to. The joy of loving someone is it's own reward. Unfortunately it comes with a whole bunch of other feelings. It is important that you were told by Daisy that you were being emotionally unavailable. Perhaps you were being that way but that does not mean you are that way. It seems to upset you that you don't know who you love or if you even want to choose. It is totally okay to not know and the truth is no one would choose if they didn't have to. You are rationing your love. I like that because it suggests that you are saving some for yourself. In time, after tripping and meditating and vision questing and guruing and rebirthing and past-lifing you may find that you have a limitless sea of love for the universe, etc. But for now I think it is wise to spend your love like the precious coin that it is. And there is no wiser path than loving the one that shows you love.
I am just going to say it. You are young. It probably doesn't often feel that way but it's true. Try to remember it. A lot is happening very fast and many adventures await you. Some you have to go on alone and they can be lonely. They can also be some of the most satisfying. Study yourself. It's a fascinating subject. The answers are there. I'm not saying your situation is because of your age. You could easily be in the same situation in your 50's, believe you me.
Is love a zero-sum game? A really good question. What is love? Is it just a mass of neuroses combined with some sort of physical need for intimate contact? I have often wondered. To call it a game is not necessarily to belittle it. It is perhaps the greatest game ever. One to be played with someone rather than against them. A game where the goal is not to overwhelm or get something from each other. It is to expand and evolve our souls.
Monogamous. Not a very pretty word. Sounds like a bad guy in a Dickens novel. The incidents of you and Peony deciding against monogamy and her distance now are probably connected. You could rack your brain trying to figure the angles on it but the important thing is you did not want it. I think that sometimes you just love someone so much that there just isn't much room for anybody else. Sometimes that lasts a while. Sometimes forever. You will know when that is happening. I think it is easier to attain if it has already been happening on it's own for awhile. Otherwise, swearing to be lifelong friends and lovers is just absurd. That doesn't mean you shouldn't do it. We've most of us done it. It's very exciting. I will probably do it tomorrow. But it's crazy.
As far as psychedelics go, I cannot wholeheartedly recommend them for figuring things out. Listen, I've done enough tripping for both of us and I have to admit that pretty much none of the truly profound and useful things I have learned about myself and how to navigate life came from taking drugs. I believe you can only get good at something by doing it. No shortcuts. So keep living and loving. You are doing great.
Nobody Can Do It For You,