Before I was a “writer,” I was just someone who enjoyed writing. I enjoy exploring topics within the arena of how people relate to their reality and how they relate to others. So when I was sat down to contemplate the creation of this article, I knew I wanted to write about relationships. My viewpoint on relationships is very open and quite vast, partly due to the number of different types of relationships I have experienced through my lifetime. However, I am not, by any means, an expert. I’m just fumbling through it like you, and (if I’m lucky and present enough) I gain a little more clarity at each reiteration.
I am a big believer in purpose, and to that extent, I have a need for everything I do with my life to be forwarding my life. In other words, I didn’t want to waste my precious time and energy writing about things that have no significance to me. But I admit, as my writing debut drew closer, I felt more and more internal pressure to “write” in a way I thought you would see as acceptable and readable. I genuinely had a breakdown (which in my world is indicative of a loss of power). Then I realized the truth. The only way I can change my “writing” into my writing is to be true to who I am. I have to be as candid here as I am in the rest of my life and with that revelation (and a glass of whiskey as I sit at a bar writing while I wait for a burlesque show to begin) I gained some clarity.
I dated a woman for four and half years in what most people would describe as an “open” relationship. While I was open to the experience of other women, and I encouraged her to experience other men, I don’t necessarily define “open” simply as being able to fuck other people. But lets save that conversation for another day. Several months ago, something happened and it drastically changed the way I saw what a relationship had the potential to be.
I was the love of her life. She openly admitted that. Moreover, I knew that even without her confession. There was only one other person who held a place in her heart as deeply as I had, and he had been arrested at the height of their relationship. We had many conversations about him and how she felt about him. I always knew that I wanted her to have the experience of being with him again because I wanted her to be clear about her choice to proceed into the future with me. So in that way, his arrival would be the ultimate test of our relationship. I was prepared for any possible outcome. But what I wasn’t prepared for was the day when he actually came home and everything I had thought about “one day” all of a sudden became “now!”
She got a call on Sunday morning that threw her out of bed (she’s really not a morning person, so I already knew that whatever it was a huge deal). She got off the phone and told me He was home and He wanted to see her to do all the things that a guy wants to do when he just gets out of jail after 5 years. She had told me what she fantasized about doing to him (that was the type of relationship we had, complete openness and friendship) and now all those fantasies (or nightmares) were about to become reality.
And I had a moment… In that moment, there was fear, doubt and restlessness. And, within the chaos of all of these emotions, I had a moment of perfect clarity.
After we had made plans for the day, she asked me how I would feel if she left me to see him. At first, I told her that I would be disappointed; then I thought to myself, what’s the point of keeping her here if she was only going to be not-here. Because her thoughts and feeling are really with him, even if she stayed she wouldn’t really be here. Instead of pushing for what I wanted and resisting what she wanted, I decided to be a complete and total support for what she wanted for her life. Not only did I give her the space to go, I gave her the money to use in her travels. When she promised that she would return in the evening, I told her she should stay in the interaction for as long as the interaction attracted her to stay in it. All the while I was reassuring her that I would be here whenever she returned. As she got dressed, I made sure she was impeccably put together. As she got ready, she talked about her fantasies and fears. Not only did I listen to her, I engaged her in a way that showed her that I was truly here for her. I gave her love, I gave her space, and more importantly, I didn’t take what she was feeling personally.
Now, you may be wondering about the result. How did it all end and was I really as idiotic as I sounded? As it turned out, she went from Brooklyn to Central NJ to see him and when she got there, she never even saw him. She contacted him and then waited around for a response that never came. After several hours (she was in town visiting old friends), she decided to come back to Brooklyn. Nevermind that I had passed out because I had drank myself silly (and sleepy) as I tried to make sense of what the hell I had just done, what it all meant and how it would all play out. When she returned (and woke me) she realized something. She had dropped everything to see him: to have the experience of what he could be. However, because I exhibited total support and no resistance, it had actually shown her who I could be. Moreover, in contrast to his no-call-no-show, she saw me in a light that neither of us even knew existed before that moment. It made our love clearer and our connection stronger. Even though we aren’t together today, that experienced showed us both that I lived and breathed what I spoke, and we are the greatest of friends because of it.
So, what’s the moral of the story? What does all of this really mean? Being a support for your partner is the surest and easiest way to get what you need most from them. As long as you can be a complete support in the face of no reciprocation, what you can create is limited only by your view of what is possible. Dare to be different, dare to be “bolden,” but more importantly, just dare to be you. Dare to be the thing you want to see in the world… And just have faith that the rest of the universe will follow suit.