Wednesday, January 4, 2012
And maybe it's because of where I am on my journey.
Shortly after my ex moved out, a friend commented to me that she believes there are three basic types of people when it comes to relationships; 1) those who avoid commitment altogether; 2) those who will commit temporarily, bailing out of the relationship at the first sign of trouble; 3) and lastly, those who commit completely, perhaps overly so, giving their everything for the sake of the relationship, or perhaps committing even too early. This last group may even overstay the life of the relationship because of their dedication to commitment. I have to make it work because ________________. (Fill in the blank.)
My friend categorized me as a number three. And I have to concur. But, what makes me so committed to a relationship?
Love. While I don't feel I 'fell' in love with my first two partners, over time I grew to love them enough to want to make a life with them. Maybe this wasn't enough in the long run, because during both relationships I became very unhappy for different reasons. I do have good memories of both men, but in time, it wasn't meant to be. The times I feel I have truly fallen in love, it was a very deep love; a very different type of love than growing to love someone. It felt very comfortable, very right, very connected, very real.
Values. I have old-fashioned values, which is where commitment falls. I believe in honesty, respect, and treating others the way I want to be treated. And I believe in monogamy, which seems to becoming not so important any more, especially in the gay male community. I can't even casually date more than one man at a time, which puts me in an even smaller minority, I know. Perhaps that comes from my Christian background, who knows? Maybe that's a bridge I will have to cross this time. Not the monogamy, the dating-more-than-one-guy-at-a-time. A couple of my friends have suggested as much.
Fear of failure. As I grew up, many of the adults in my life told me "Never give up!" I have always enjoyed doing puzzles; word, logic, all kinds of thinking puzzles fascinate me, and it frustrates me when I get stuck to the point where I just can't figure it out, and I have to give up. Ugh! Or with a task. When I'm trying to get my students to understand a certain concept, and they're not comprehending, I try a second approach, maybe even a third. Sometimes I just have to give up and move on, praying they'll get it later. But it still bothers me that I wasn't successful right then. Maybe I saw the failure of my parents' marriage somehow as my fault, and therefore became determined never to let that happen to me and it stayed with me even after I came out. I was going to meet a man and we'd live happily ever after. Well, I need to let go of that now, don't I? I'm glad the artist didn't give up on the sculpture in the photo or we would not get to enjoy it.
Romantic. I'm hopeless. A hopeless romantic. I have always been captivated by the ideal of romantic love. I still believe in it, even knowing it will fade if both parties don't take the time and make the effort to keep the relationship alive. Red roses make me melt, serving him breakfast in bed for his birthday sends shivers up my spine. Buying stupid little cutesy gifts for him makes my heart race. I said I was hopeless.
Coupledom. Most of all, I enjoyed being part of a couple. I loved knowing he was there for me, and I for him. I enjoyed the times we would cook together, or I would prepare something special for him, and vice versa. Sitting on the couch, cuddling with him, watching television or a movie, was bliss. But, after my first partner died, did this desire make me settle for someone I was just 'comfortable' with at first? Perhaps. Did this make me want to latch on to the first man who came along just so I could be part of a couple again? I don't know. This will definitely be something to keep my eye on as I move forward. I'm not going to settle for second best again.
Speaking of moving forward, am I ready to? No. I've come to realize I need time to regroup, yet again. I've crossed one bridge, there are others to cross. I'll cross them when I'm ready. Or when the Universe gives me a shove.