What is love? Baby, don’t hurt me. [#2]
[This is a guest post from Spaces Inbetween]
Harro, Iʼm Saya. Amber is one of my very favourite bloggers (I love her turn of phrase, aesthetic and confessional style as do you, presumably, since youʼre reading this so letʼs just take a little moment to bond over being in the Amber fan-club: w00t!) so I was thrilled to be asked to do a guest post here. I know a few of you (hi, Heidi and Renae!) ethereally — can we agree henceforth to use and disseminate that as an adjective for ‘over tʼinternet’, as in ‘through the ether’? Mmkay, thanks, glad thatʼs settled.
Iʼve just come out of a relationship of six years and the dating landscape, for want of a better term, looks different now in my early thirties than in my mid-twenties. Iʼve been surprised at how men — not necessarily women though — who I have chemistry with assume that I am after a relationship and avoid any kind of liaison at all if they donʼt want to commit to anything long-term which is gallant, but frankly, frustrating, and so I wrote this letter to potential lovers (not that Iʼm actually going to send it any of them, Iʼm not actually insane!):
You’re sweet to be concerned about hurting me but I have fairly unconventional views which is something you might not have figured out about me yet. Maybe you’ve had to deal with tears and recriminations about promises broken whether actual or just assumed when things end with women in the past and it’s made you cautious, or you’re just loath to hurt people based on the feeling you can’t deliver what you perceive them to expect from you. While I value honesty and integrity – highly — I’ve never wanted to be married or have kids so I’m far less concerned about things ‘going somewhere’ as long as I like the place they are at the time.
People come into your life, you spend time with them and then quite often they go, or the nature of your relationship changes. It’s better to let it, I think — grasping at things only makes it take longer to learn your lessons. It hurts when you want something to be different, or to last longer than the other person or circumstances allow but that’s not a reason to avoid intimacy. I don’t mean to suggest that I don’t get upset, or hurt or have issues; I was socialised in the same world as everyone else after all, I just have a different take on the outcomes.
I’ve stayed friends with all my ex-lovers because we talked about what we wanted and when those wants weren’t getting fulfilled anymore, we ended things but we still had respect for each other. I don’t start with someone unless I think that’s how they do, or at least how they can do.
For me, lovers are for a time and friends and (chosen) family are for life and I think, contrary to popular belief, you can be lovers and then friends — based on my n=1, I have a pretty much perfect success rate on that front. Which is all a massively complicated way of saying — sorry, I just can’t help myself, I’m the queen of run-on sentences, semicolons and overlong explanatory paragraphs (maybe I should have been a writer in the 19th century or maybe I am in fact a reincarnation of Sir Walter Scott) — is that I like the cut of your jib but I also want to be friends and for me, the two are not mutually exclusive. I don’t take lovers assuming that they will be there next month, or year but I do expect kindness and a certain degree of transparency — more, in this kind of situation than others perhaps because it’s important to make sure you’re on the same page when you’re not
relying on generally held assumptions about how things ought to go. What I don’t expect is for you to change your life, or anything else.
It’s not as if I have no expectations or a price of admission — everyone does — it’s just that a long-term commitment isn’t necessarily one of the things those include, for me.
This is a pretty different take on relationships from most people’s, I realise; Iʼve yet to figure out a way to say this succinctly and so I often say it not at all and the other person assumes I want what most people want. Like I said, frustrating. So, now Iʼve totally spilled my guts, what about you?
Want forever-after, or just-for-now-and-then-weʼll-see?
Categorised as: wisdom+philosophy