It’s not insignificant, to love somebody…to open your heart, to share your secrets, your fears, and your wishes. Opening yourself up like that leaves us vulnerable. If you, as I so often do, wear the proverbial hearted sleeve, then you know how easy it is to have your hopes dashed, your silly dreams shattered, or your heart broken. You want a person to want to tread carefully on your dream path and you hope, with every new relationship, that the person won’t stomp all over it.
I know two women who are still in love with the boy they fell in love with as teenagers. They don’t have to share secrets or fears or wishes, as their partner has been with them every step of the way. With those of us who try and fail repeatedly to find “the one” or at the very least a right one, we have to go through those motions again and again…how much do I share? how much do I tell? do I tell him my deepest wishes and wants? do I keep my dreams to myself? I’ve read a quote many times about how we all have baggage and that the trick is finding someone who wants to help us unpack…those who have long-term relationships filled their suitcases together, we who stumble through the obstacle course of love time and time again accumulate more and more as we grow older…the baggage, the skeletons, the regrets. I think most of all we simply want somebody to love us regardless of the weights we carry.
I suffer with the illness of hopeless romanticism, I always have. Some would say it’s a serious character flaw, to be so dreamy-eyed and hopeful when everybody knows that half of all marriages fail, so surely more than half of all relationships do as well. But perhaps others would say it is brave, to dream of romance in a world where there is a never-ending cycle of unhappiness for so many. Brave to, again, try to find somebody who fits me, somebody who wants to share my life, somebody to make plans with, wish on shooting stars with, maybe grow old with. I know some just give up…but then what? Love fills us to overflowing when it is new…the excitement, the spontaneity, the wonder of it all…but when it is no longer new it fills us with something else…ease, contentment, peace, a feeling of “belonging” to somebody.
It has been one year and one day since I got a text message from a friend that a boy wanted my phone number and was it okay to give it to him. This boy and I had just “met” on Facebook, and we had written each other a couple times, we were in the -getting to know each other- phase. Unknown to each of us at the time, we had both recently come out alive from draining relationships. Maybe we jumped in too fast, maybe we got caught up in the excitement and in the newness we took off too quickly, maybe we were both just so happy that there was another chance for us both…I don’t know, but it all happened rather swiftly and we both had a lot of baggage.
I always said I would never date a man with kids, I used to think that if we were on a sinking ship, he’d grab his child before mine…but now my child is a wife and a mother, and I am in love with not only a man but with his child. I anticipated this time of my life as having total freedom, no more obligations to anybody but myself, but now that has changed. I love a man who still has 10 years or more of parenting to go. That is a price I guess to pay, for love. I now have all the freedom I ever dreamed of, but love a man who does not.
I have helped him this year to unpack and he has helped me tame some of my silly girl dreams. I love him very much and I like him very much, and to me they are very different things. He is my friend above all and that means the world to me. We both often say or write things to each other in haste, and we both apologize too often when we hurt each others feelings, but every day I know him I want to know him more. I am well aware that there is nothing binding us together, no shared rental agreement, no marriage certificate, no jointly owned dog…there is nothing that makes us “stay” together but the desire to continue to try to grow in love. It’s not been a smooth year, for either of us…we’ve both had some twists and turns and some highs and lows. I will just write that I am going to work very hard to focus on what is, not what isn’t, be mindful of the present and attempt to not dwell on the past or anticipate the future. With two words either of us can end this, “I’m done” speaks volumes. It means I am no longer interested in making this love work, I am no longer interested in working on this love. I have never said these words and I hope I never do. Relationships are dark and light, good days and bad days, affectionate days and distant days…but over time the good is more than the bad, and that tells me it is worth it…whatever it is. My heart is brave and I wake up every day and think to myself, I care for this person, and I am going to appreciate this solstice season for all that it is…the longest days of light, the shortest nights of dark.