October 7, 2021

Why Every Romantic Encounter Matters.


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I’ve always been a hopeless romantic: sentimental and sad.

I also have a high sex drive, a penchant for the wilder things, and the ability to find good in most people.

Combined, these attributes are a recipe for thrilling flings, adventure, high romance, and devastating heartbreak. I’ve discovered it’s not just the big fails that hurt though. It’s not just the downfall after a long, intimate relationship that breaks my heart.


All those little fleeting encounters have mattered too.

It’s not just the aftermath of hormones—the pair-bonding oxytocin that arises from orgasm or my female tendency to get attached after several of them. It’s not even the letdown after the high of some flirty and fun connection.

Sure, all of those operate, but is it fair to trivialize a passing affair, no matter how short it was? Why should the longevity or depth of a relationship be the thing that determines when a heart should break?

Mine broke each time because I can truthfully say I’ve loved all my partners—even the flings.

Not in the let’s-get-married-I-want-to-have-your-baby kind of way. Not in the till-death-do-us-part kind of way. Not even “in love,” really, but a love nonetheless.

Love flows from me because it’s simply who I am, though I doubt I am the true and original source of that love. I don’t get to own it. I just need a place to lay down that love, whether it’s in my writing, my work, my health, my son, or my romantic encounters.

When a landing spot for love disappears, I’m lost and sad because I’m a human being who needs this experience. I’m not an enlightened being of eternal shining love and light. I’m just one little candle, happy to share the little bit I have. It hurts to get snuffed out.

The end of each encounter hurts because it isn’t just a longing for that one person. It’s from a lifetime of yearning, missing, a life of improper and imperfect love. It’s forgetting I always have access to boundless love. It’s my own healing journey to contend with.

Loss—big or small—opens the spaces of dreams, of my deepest hopes and desires. Loss feels like it kills all possibilities, like it’s all over for good, for the whole damn dream. When, really, it’s only over with that one.

Love is abundant and eternal; people are not.

For those of us who live and think and feel on a cosmic plane (or perhaps just try a little too hard at it), that one soul we’ve met—even briefly—can feel like the whole universe.

We can see eternity through any being—a lover, a pet, and the grass outside. It’s hard to keep the ego in check and reality in sight. It’s hard not to be human and love each man inside of me, and miss him when he’s gone, no matter the damage, no matter all the reasons why or why not, no matter how temporary or shallow.

I’m just a woman with hormones and history and dreams and a folly that can’t be broken. Maybe I’m a masochist. Maybe I’m a bad Buddhist, who can’t seem to let go of desire. Maybe I’m a conduit of love, and everyone else is just far too scared to be one too.

Because that broken heart feeling is just the illusion that the rest of love is somehow inaccessible. It’s believing that illusion that hurts so deeply. I must look beyond this one, look beyond the grass outside. I must let the loneliness lead to openness for more love, not less.

That’s why I’ve risked myself at every encounter. Not out of expectation or romantic wishes, but out of a willingness to accept disappointment as part of the human experience of loving others, even fleetingly.

Each encounter matters, even the flings. Each loss and each letting go strengthen my belief in love.

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