A few months before I met Ash, I had an acquaintance confide in me that they didn’t love their partner as much as they loved their newborn.
The love, they said, for their partner was replaced with a deeper love for the baby.
They felt guilty by this shift in the relationship, but knew that this was necessary to being a good parent.
I wasn’t sure how to respond because I wasn’t a parent and I wasn’t in a relationship, so I did what any awkward single person would do: I nodded and affirmed that they had nothing to feel guilty about. It made perfect sense to me: love for a partner could easily be replaced with love for a child. Biologically, we are geared towards wanting to care for our offspring more in order to ensure its survival into adulthood.
They were talking about simple biology and I had no reason to disagree. I asked if they told their partner about this shift in relationship dynamics. They hadn’t at the time, but that was a very difficult conversation, so I didn’t blame them.
Now that I am nearly a year-and-a-half into parenthood, I remembered our conversation: the aquaintance wasn’t wrong about the shifting love. The love I have for Jai is deeper than the love I have for Ash, but it is a different type of love.
I still love Ash deeply, more so every day because of all that he does for his family, but the love I have for Ash is completely different from the love I have for Jai.
Different Types of Love
Psychologically speaking, there are 7 different types of love. For Ash, my love is more nuanced and a combination of eros, ludus, and pragma. Whereas my love for Jai is storge and therefore completely platonic in nature.
So it isn’t that I love Ash or Jai more/equally I just cannot compare or measure the love for either because the love is so different.
The fact that my acquaintance was concerned about this conundrum is not unusual: there are plenty of forum posts and articles out there where mothers admit to loving their children more than their partners.
Unfortunately, what does not seem to be addressed is that the love between partners and the love between parent/child has to be different. I feel like this is obvious, but there shouldn’t be the same sort of sexual feelings for the child that would happen with a partner.