May 18, 2021

‘How Do We Decide What Is Love Or A Relationship?’

Jane Larner

AcrylicJeannie And Me In Lockdown, 202120 x 24 inches

I recall a legal case, some years ago, about two elderly sisters who wanted to enter into a civil partnership. They lived together in their old family home, but, if one died, the other would be forced to sell her home to pay inheritance tax. This awful event could be avoided if they were “legal” partners. They were denied this. Presumably they were in every meaningful sense “partners”, and, no doubt, loved each other, but legally their love and partnership could not be recognised. Not so long ago, the love and relationships of same sex couples were legally not recognised (and indeed socially condemned and even criminalised). There are all sorts of assumptions and conditions made about love. “They can’t procreate”. “It would be incestuous”. “It is against religion”. But love (and relationship) goes far beyond sex, and indeed sex may play no part in it at all, but that does not make the love less valid. During lockdown, my closest companion was my elderly dog. I talked to her, shared some of my meals with her, walked with her. She was the only relationship I had. Do I love her? With all my heart.