Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Love is not jealous

A few people have asked me in recent days if Brendan's public expression of his feelings for Sarah bothers me. Quite honestly, I'm baffled by the question.

One of the reasons that I love Brendan the way I do is because he is a kind and generous person with enough room in his heart for the most prickly among us. Brendan loves easily and openly; he's a different type of ladies' man. I have long come to accept that beautiful women tend to befriend Brendan easily, mostly because he treats everyone with respect and kindness. Unlike some men, Brendan sees women as individuals and he wants to know the individual and not "get some."

Brendan's nature reflects on his expressions of grief over Sarah's suicide. She was a beautiful woman and he's haunted by memories they shared in happier times. Brendan cared deeply for Sarah. But just because he speaks of her with such affection does not mean that he loves me any less. I never doubt how Brendan feels about me and I don't have to do so. He shows me in 10,000 different ways.

It does not disrespect me that Brendan found Sarah beautiful. Indeed, I interpret his obvious affection for her as a compliment to myself, because obviously he feels much more strongly for me than he ever did for her. At one time, nearly six years ago, Sarah and I held a similar place in Brendan's heart. He liked us both, but couldn't have us. She was across the country and I wasn't ready for a relationship. But eventually, he made his choice and pursued me. And he had to wait months until we actually started dating.

That's ancient history now. I was 17 years old and a freshman in college. Six years later, I have a graduate degree and we're getting married. Our love has evolved and grown through an incredibly tumultuous period in our lives. We've survived distance, illness and family squabbles and with every challenge we overcome, we get a little closer.

Mature love is not jealous. Brendan's heart is not my posession and he is free to love whomever he choses. Just because he loves many people does not besmirch the love we share. I'm entirely secure in our relationship and the fact that Brendan has affectionate friendships doesn't bother me in the least.

If I were petty, or if we had been together for 6 months, I might be more concerned or feel more threatened by the way Brendan remembers Sarah. But we've been together for 6 years and I know that Brendan will always be faithful and that he and I share something that I often see in old married couples. We've got "it." We built our relationship on friendship, trust and respect and that foundation is invaluable. I know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that if Brendan was feeling conflicted or confused about his emotions, he would tell me. The two of us are chatterboxes and we tackle our problems together.

Anyway, I do not feel threatened or upset that Brendan clearly held feelings for Sarah. When he remembers her smile and her laugh, he's not doing so in a sexual way, but in an affectionate way. For the last few days, I've been missing my buddy Shannon a lot and when I think about her, I think about how adorable she looks when she's laughing really hard. Her laughter is contagious and refreshing.

Should Brendan be worried because I admire Shannon and miss her? No, that would be stupid. There's plenty of love to go around.

When you've been together as long as Brendan and I have, you don't really have to explain these things. I know how Brendan feels about me. And I know how I feel about him. And at the end of the day, that's all that matters.