You are forgiven if you thought this post was about sex. Yes, I did put in a submission for “Never Have I Ever” but that’s not what this is all about.
Since last Wednesday night and the issues with Johnny Id, I’ve been thinking a lot about what I want. Any time I have a life hiccup – especially a big one with someone I love – it gives me a pause. This is a big pause. The way I figure out how to move forward is to figure out what I actually want. From there, I can see how my relationship lines up with those things.
So here goes. Right now, these are the things I desire:
A Desire for Clarity
I made so many compromises in the last 15 years and I need some time to step back and know what’s right FOR ME. What kind of parent do I want to be for my son? What are my retirement goals? Do I want to buy a $30 or $100 toaster? What kinds of activities do I want to do? What really makes me happy?
Until I have clarity on these things, I’m susceptible to subsuming my desires and hopes to those of another.
Don’t get me wrong, I believe in compromise when I am in a relationship. But I need to know where I want to compromise, and where I don’t. Where it’s healthy for me, and where it’s potentially damaging.
I’ve figured out more about the kind of person I want as a partner. But who do I want to be?
The problem with this is that when something feels like a compromise, I have a very hard time knowing if it’s the right one to make right now. I will likely err on the side of not compromising, just to be safe. And that is probably hard for anyone in a relationship with me to deal with.
A Desire for Simplicity
I am a new single parent of a 6 year-old who is sad and angry that his father has moved away. I have a big job that requires me to travel. I’m still just one year out of a 15 year-long relationship. I’ve experienced some physical changes that will take a while to even themselves out.
All that to say, I don’t have a lot of time or energy for anything I feel is not core to my existence. My time is so precious now I’m forced to choose…and my son takes up most of that time.
I don’t have time for a herb garden on my balcony. Just basil. I don’t have time for pets, so I’m not getting any. I don’t have time to read all the magazines I receive, so I’m cancelling them. I’m purging shoes, accessories, and extra junk in my house. I don’t have time for drama or games.
The problem with this is that I will sideline anyone that causes me grief or makes my life more difficult. I feel like my reserves of emotional energy are close to depleted…so I just can’t handle it right now. So I tune out as it’s one of the few coping mechanisms I have.
A Desire for Freedom
One of the great things about being single is that (within reason) I am able to do what I want to do, when I want to do it. Stay in my yoga pants and slippers and watch 5 hours of television with a big bowl of popcorn? Sure. Fuck anyone I feel like on my couch? Sure. Plan a dream trip for my son without having to fight about itinerary and hotel choices? Sure!
I really loved that aspect of the last year. Freedom. It’s a beautiful thing for me, not scary. I don’t mind being alone…although it’s not what I want long-term.
Here’s the thing. My freedom has been significantly restricted with my ex leaving – I can’t plan nights out with girlfriends, masturbate for hours on a Saturday morning, or take my Mom to a spa on a whim. I can’t even plan vacation time now the way I used to – with or without my son.
I love the David Byrne / Talking Heads version of “Don’t Fence Me In”…those are good words for me right now. It’s about finally taking flight and finding myself, and not accepting limitations of any sort.
The problem with freedom is it’s hard to know when to rein it in. When will my demand for freedom blind me to the benefits of a little restriction? While I want to be unafraid of travelling alone, have my financial independence, and be bold and fearless, I want a partner in my life.
A Desire for Truth
If you read my post on my ex-husband breaking up with me, it’s probably not a shocker that I need truth in my life and relationships. I am finding my voice, rediscovering my desires and dreams, and am no longer afraid. I am engaged in some serious self reflection and awareness.
It’s funny…when I was dating online I should probably have listed “not being self-aware” as a big turn-off. I think it’s a precondition for being able to move forward. And if you don’t want to move forward and grow as a person, you aren’t the right person for me. So I really like it when those around me are self-aware as well.
I am learning to speak the truth in my own life, so I’m not keen on evasion, obfuscation, or any other forms of deceit – other than people telling me no, I don’t look *that* fat in those pants.
There’s really no problem with truth. I suppose how you deliver the truth can be a problem, if it hurts another unnecessarily or if you are cruel. The bigger issue for me is what I experienced with Will (my ex-husband)…that he wouldn’t tell me the truth.
I need to make sure that not only am I in a relationship where the truth can be spoken, it’s also critical that I feel like I can continue to be honest with my partner. That I can be open with my fears and feelings and not fear judgment, or anger.
Staring and re-reading that list, it does help. It makes me realise just saying “I’m in a selfish period” isn’t really the whole truth. But I also need to really think about the down side of these desires. Do I risk alienating someone because of my reluctance to compromise? Do I risk walking away from something amazing because of my need for freedom?
I wish the answers were easy and the path clear. Advice welcome.