I looked more closely at this last week because my use of terms like "forever" had become worrisome to my lover, who holds impermanence as one of zir core values. Ze was worried that we would hold on to our relationship longer than it was good for us, and let it become damaging because of intention or anticipation of being together forever. I sent zir this in response:
I don't believe in forever any more than I believe in perfect or favorite, I use those words as emotion words and I can just stop using the word forever since it doesn't communicate what I mean. When I have said 'together forever' I mean like when you want to eat endless amounts of ice cream. It's not a logical desire and certainly not a plan, but it's an emotion. I don't mean that I see us being together romantically forever, nothing like that.
What I actually see is us as having lives that meet over and over. I mean the thing you said about wanting to be friends if we're not romantic, etc. I don't -- at ALL -- see us as being together uninterrupted. From the beginning I have known that would not work. I foresee pain over a breakup, and then time, and then closeness. I don't like thinking about breaking up with you but I expect it to happen... I would hope that after we break up, we eventually get together again for another length of time, but I certainly don't count on that. I will literally love you forever, but I have no idea if I will desire you romantically forever, and me loving you forever implies nothing about our relationship or level of contact.
Since then I've been reflecting on my attitude towards impermanence and realized that I very much do value impermanence of the physical. Relationships, lives, intentions, personality aspects, all of these have a finite life span. But I also feel very strongly that the stuff underneath, the stuff that creates it, lasts forever and will often recreate physical manifestations of itself. For instance, in my connection with Hannah, we have had an impermanent series of relationships with gaps in between, that were all created by the infinite connection we share. I don't expect that any relationship will last for the rest of my life, and I don't expect it to necessarily come back in this lifetime or in any particular shape, but I know that the core of me and the core of Hannah will create relationships between us for as long as there is existence of life. Maybe in 100 years we will be trees that grow next to each other or a clownfish and anemone, who knows, but I feel that the connection is infinite. And I can feel a lot of sadness at any relationship ending, but I never feel like something has died, it has just gone away, maybe for the rest of my life but not for the rest of existence.
I came to this belief through my experience and my knowledge. Experientially, my relationships that impacted me deeply all ended and most came back; Aurilion, Hannah, Arizona, Abby, Viv, Allison. The ones that didn't come back I think of as either not intended to return in this lifetime, or not yet returned. Life has to line up the right situation for the connection to create a new manifestation, and a lot of factors are involved with that. I think I have more luck than most with this because I do not devalue the thing after it ends, so when the right situation comes, I am not preventing it from manifesting. As far as knowledge, I feel like the law of conservation of energy applies to everything including connections between life forms.