It’s getting harder and harder to write about dating, and about men. Most of the good bits are personal, and person-specific. And no one wants to be a Taylor Swift.
So, I’ll pick all this up somewhere safe.
I just had a good late-night convo with my Reluctant Friend from several posts back. The background is that this is a person who was very clear that, when it comes to dating, it is NOT a good idea to rush in, not a good idea to jump in the pool without your floaties etc., etc…. We discussed this a long time ago, when I was prone to jumping in – off the effin high-dive. Sans life preserver.
At that time he was the cool one and I was – um, not one bit cool. I was an all-in kind of girl, period. I met someone and that was it.
Once I came up for air from the last real relationship, which ended maybe a year ago, I put a lid on it. I’d had serious hope for this one. The guy was smart, quiet, a bit tortured and kind of extremely rich (not that it mattered because he was inexplicably severely cheap). He was so inward and reclusive and unable to handle coupley things that I felt like I was dangling all the time. If I made dinner or picked up kleenex for him it was like a THING. He couldn’t take what I had to offer with grace, which made giving no fun. He wanted me to free him up, but I don’t have that kind of fight in me. I’m not friggin’ Amelie. I could have handled most of it, for he was a very genuine and kind person with a lot of integrity, but he had some other issues that just made it all too much. He was rigid and strangely judgmental and uptight. But the real clincher was that he didn’t care for dogs, and I had just adopted Garth.
Ending it was no picnic, but with puppy breath blowing in my mouth 24/7, it wasn’t the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do, either. I immediately started calling Garth my new boyfriend . The weight of him next to me at night, his muzzle nuzzling my neck…it was definitely love.
Since that time, I have watched my reluctant friend get involved serially with several women. From the sounds of it, he has waded into the kiddie pool and high-tailed it to the deep end much faster than I might have thought he would, hearing him talk.
Meantime, I seem to have developed a serious aversion to coupling up. I’m somewhere between jaded and disillusioned, yet there still are twinges that are romantic and wonderful. Every now and then I cry tears that feel loyal and true. There is a man right now that is as compelling as any man I’ve met, and there are days that wish I could be all-in with him. I’m just not at all certain that I can ever let all-in mean the same thing that it used to. I don’t want to be destroyed. I don’t want to live with a person who blows me kisses while he tramples on all that I care about. I don’t want to be defined or pre-judged in new situations, though I wouldn’t mind being well-known by the right person.
The Reluctant and I talked about monogamy last night. He’s very pro one-on-one, and doesn’t feel that personal growth takes place in a crowded room. I’m very intimate and pro one-on-one too…..but I don’t think long married/monogamous couples are necessarily in a state of constantly evolving togetherness. Moving forward, I very much want to have life-long relationships. I just happen to think the best chance of having true lovers/friends I can cherish and hold forever comes with a more open and less possessive approach. Serial monogamy to a polyamorous person is turnstile romance…..people come and go….and I can’t watch any more people I have loved go. I can’t watch them dismiss or dis me. I don’t want to dismiss them, or have unkind thoughts. To the people who say “You’re better off.” or “Good riddance” when a relationship ends: that makes me cringe and that isn’t love.
Already I have men in my life who love me and have done so with the full knowledge that we are not exclusive. We have said forever. We have laughed about growing old together. We have been there for each other. We can tell each other our secrets without the worry of harsh judgement and rejection because we take care of our own bad selves first, so it’s no one’s business if we forget to pay a ticket or chew ice in front of the T.V.
I can’t pretend this feels perfectly right. But it does feel better. I do a pretty good job of scaring off anyone who isn’t deep and intense enough to go long. Turns out, now I’m the one going slow. I’m the one not jumping in over my head.
And Mr. Reluctant? He has just met a woman who we both agree seems so fabulous that even I am falling for her. She wrote a piece he sent me and it had so much humanity and intelligence and humor crammed in that I was awestruck by this woman. I sent him an article the man I am currently swooning over wrote. He agreed that my guy’s writing is similarly wonderful. I can’t tell you which is better – fast or slow, all-in or holding back, monogamous or not…..but I do know that when good people are involved and love, truth, honesty and respect – when all of that is fed and allowed to grow….good things must follow, in the end.
Datergurl….loving with an open heart, one day at a time.