No Small Love…
I have been thinking about writing this post for about two months now and had almost decided not to…a conversation today, with a dear friend, changed that. We were discussing not hiding things from those we are involved with; more specifically about also seeing others. I encouraged my friend to take more reflection on his decision, not to be upfront, as his way to avoid hurting the other person. I told him that I’d made that very same choice and, in the end, understood how it had damaging consequences for all involved.
One of the things I’d learned from my personal experience, in deciding not to be authentic and upfront, is I had dishonored myself and the other people involved. I took away choice…my choice to freely see more than one person and their choice to decide whether to stay or move on. In saying he was afraid to hurt their feelings, he was actually misguidedly assuming false responsibility for another person’s feelings and not really being respectful of the mutual relationship agreement.
I believe we need always conduct ourselves in a mindful, respectful, honest manner and how the other person chooses to conduct themselves, once given the information, is up to them. It gets really tiresome and sad to hear people go on and on blaming another person for how bad they feel or the state of their relationship; it always takes two people to either ruin or uplift and grow a relationship. Only ONE person is responsible for your emotions….YOU.
Which leads me to the actual reason for this post…I recently became involved with a married man. Now, I fully realize this is the point where some will shut me down, stick a label on me and pass moral judgment. I say… I wish you well and move along. Save your moralizing for someone who cares because I don’t; I have my own moral compass and am quite comfortable with it. I am a single woman free to love whomever I choose. His choice to step outside of his relationship was his, and ultimately his responsibility…not mine.
It started out as a friendship on a social network…we’d been friends for about 8 months but had never really interacted…then one day I playfully posted that I had a new iPhone and would add people who privately posted their numbers to me…he was the first to respond. I was actually kind of shocked and he commented that he was also…that he didn’t normally do this sort of thing.
We texted, talked and had phone sex…just really enjoying getting to know more about each other with no plans to meet. I was in the process of getting ready to move, as fate would have it, to the same state he resided in. I didn’t tell him at first because I wasn’t certain I wanted to take it beyond the virtual world; eventually I told him where I was moving and he said we should try to meet. In all fairness, we did agree to meet only as friends, but I still didn’t think I would go through with it.
As the time drew closer, we discovered I’d be less than an hour from his town and that we would definitely meet, but that we would still just meet as friends. That didn’t happen, we slept together immediately and enjoyed each other tremendously. We discovered the connection we shared virtually and over the phone was even nicer in person. He was very easy going, intelligent and our conversations were always pure pleasure.
Over the three months we were together we shared a lot of laughter, playfulness, peaceful moments, exciting sex, and this continuing amazing conversation…we talked about anything and everything. He slowly opened up to me about how sad he was about the status of his marriage, his living conditions, and how helpless he felt to change either. He always maintained he loved his wife deeply but that she had checked out of the marriage and life in general; he wanted so much to have back what they’d once shared, but it seemed nothing he did could get her out of her funk. I want to say here, that, despite what I just wrote, he NEVER blamed her solely for the state of their marriage and their living conditions…he always took responsibility for being a factor in what their life had become and his MANY shortcomings.
We grew very close and maintained a very easy open communication channel with each other…we spent many hours in chat, on the phone, and at least twice a week with each other. One day he told me he was falling in love with me and I admitted that my feelings were developing along the same path. We had a very frank discussion about sharing these feelings in context to his situation and from the very first I maintained that, where his marriage was concerned, the choices and decisions were his. I always re-enforced that if he felt he needed to focus on his marriage then that is what needed to be done. The most important thing I told him was that I refused to have a small love…I’d had many small loves in my life and I would not do that again.
In the past, I’d thought I’d loved big, wide and deep…when actually I’d acted small, petty, suspicious, jealous, insecure, needy and greedy in my love and I refuse to go there again…period. Jealousy is a hard mistress that demands much and gives nothing in return…she is needy…greedy…suspicious and always ends up sucking the life out of everything she touches.
I always blamed my jealousy on the other person…it WAS, after all, their fault for my insecurity; they were invariably unfaithful which was reason and proof positive to validate my jealousy. What I failed to understand was I owned the fear that bore the jealousy, not them and not the people they were being unfaithful with. Their actions were theirs and though they may not have been stellar…I still had the choice and responsibility of my own participation, or failure to fully participate, in the relationship.
Even my hurt and feelings of betrayal were mine…a bitter pill to be sure…but mine just the same…putting those feelings on the other person and making it their responsibility was wrong and just as damaging, if not more, than their infidelity. They had their responsibility, to be upfront and honest with me, which was usually never the case. Even here I had to truthfully, brutally ask myself…would I have acted differently if they had?
Eventually he chose to go back to his wife and try to work on his marriage, and I did as I said I would, I honored his decision. No big scenes, no rampages of jealousy, no clinging on with that “undying love” death grip…I move on.
I move on knowing I shared this beautiful moment in time with someone and wouldn’t trade it for the world. I move on with the memories of deep intimacy and exceptional tenderness with a most lovely soul…who held a mirror and reflected the beauty of my own soul back to me…who truly accepted me here and now…who never failed to show how deeply loved I was.
Most of all…I move on at peace with the knowledge that I honored myself and the relationship by having no small love…