Te amo in Spanish and ti amo in Italian mean I love you. But what kind of love is meant by this? We Germans like to separate friendship and love. We are either friends or in a partnership. And we connect partnership with love. Quite clear! Black and white. No further questions. Amen.
Stop! From my own experience, I’d like to report that there are actually many vibrant colours in between. There is a kind of love that is stronger than friendship but not a partnership. Te amo.
I came to appreciate te amo in South America. A deep and open relationship arose between Domi from Argentina and me. Not a partnership, but way more than a friendship. That means, lovingly letting the other get close to you without immediately thinking of sexuality. I believe this is the key to te amo. Of course, you can’t do it with just anyone. It’s a gift. And if you’re lucky enough to receive te amo as a gift, you should have the courage to embrace it.
I met Domi at a performance workshop. We immediately hit it off. So, I asked the great dancer if we wanted to work together. She said YES straightaway. During rehearsals, Domi and I dealt with each other very openly and freely. Everything flowed naturally and respectfully. I really relished it. When we performed ONE for the first time in January 2015, the spectators were amazed. “Wow, that was great! Such an open and genuine rapport.” That was also the reason why the jury of the International Theatre and Scenic Arts Festival in Seville awarded us first place.
Domi went back to her homeland and invited me to Argentina. In Buenos Aires, we walked down the streets hand in hand and embraced like lovers everywhere. Absolutely normal. Te amo style.
If you are open to gaps between friendship and partnership, you can experience te amo in Europe, Germany or wherever.
In autumn 2016, I met a German dancer in a café. We got on well and wanted to work together. During the first rehearsal, she asked me to show her my solo piece. I was happy to, of course. As I finished my dance, tears were in her eyes. She came over and gave me a kiss on the lips. I was startled and enjoyed it at the same time.
What had happened? When the heart overflows – whether with joy or sorrow – tears flow. And when the heart reigns, we frequently do things the head would often say no to. From this point of view, te amo can also be considered the language of the heart.
Anyone who thinks it only works between different sexes is wrong. I also have a lot of male friendships with a te amo character.
If we dig deeper, we discover more insights.
In the 1990s, I worked as a youth leader at the YMCA in Saxony-Anhalt. Among other things, my task was to give older colleagues a send-off into retirement. So, I organised little parties. And as it goes, you ask what their funniest experience was, etc. To the question, “What would you have wished for?”, 95% replied A HUG. That got me thinking.
While researching, I stumbled upon the book Human Touch by Rebecca Böhme. In it, she explores the importance of hugs and physical proximity. In times of corona, this is frowned upon. But it is nevertheless vital. The book details an experiment where children grew up in isolation and died after a few months.
The subject of te amo continues to occupy me. In April 2019, I had a special experience. I was sitting in the Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady) in Nuremberg. My companions were looking around the church. I was regarding the stained-glass window at the altar by myself. Suddenly, the window opened for me, and I saw a colourful meadow. A warm wind blew in my face and whispered, “The world needs in-between people. People who are more than a friend and yet not a partner. And you have been given this special talent.” Then the window shut again. I was flabbergasted. Had I been dreaming just now? I asked my companions if they had noticed anything strange. Yes, there had been a sudden warm wind. Wow, then it hadn’t been a dream. And I’d finally received an answer to my question of why I was often more than a friend.
Anyone that doesn’t accept the gift of te amo will be the poorer for it.
Should we accept it? Yes, even Christians should accept it. Why? As stated in 1 Corinthians 13, anything we do without love is useless. We can only bear fruit through love. Secondly, God became human at Christmas. That’s why we don’t need to be more devout than God.
We are allowed to accept love, affection, and hugs.