Given my last two posts, this is very on the nose. A conversation arose between my significant other and me.
My analytic nature, the fact that I pull back sometimes, the way I stop and think things through, etc. made him wonder if I was in love with him, or if I was only fond of him. He didn’t doubt that I loved him in some way, but only if I was in love with him.
It’s a fair question, and he didn’t express it in a way that was at all plaintive or manipulative. I think he simply needed to know because he, like me, is afraid of loving someone more than he is loved in return.
So here I am worrying about being irrational, while he is worrying about my not allowing myself to have real feelings for him. It sounds like something that would make for a good romcom.
We talked about the question, and about this difference in our natures. If I were to put it into sci-fi terms (as is only right and proper!), I think his protective shields are mostly deflectors, while mine are cloaking devices. He protects his core by diverting potential attacks, I protect mine by hiding my more vulnerable nature.
So here’s a potential pitfall of being careful (not that I am advocating recklessness): not everyone connects caution with passion. The stronger I feel, the more careful I want to be because I fear that if I’m reckless, that I will hurt myself, or him, or both of us. I want to make sure the foundation is solid before I start building upwards. Once the house is built, or at least well underway, I think I’ll be able to be more carefree and impulsive, but until then, I’ cautious. However, this can also look like a lack of passion.
Part of me wonders if that misunderstanding is fostered by the lie mentioned in my previous post about the irresistible nature of love. That if I am really in love, I will leap and damn the consequences! But I think my s.o. knows better, and I know for a fact that he has other reasons for wariness on this score. He has experienced what it is like to be in a relationship where he loved more than he was loved in return. He is understandably not eager to repeat that experience, and I can’t blame him.
And another one of the lies, the one that leads to people settling, makes that disparity a horribly legitimate worry. Some people would consider marrying someone they were only fond of (or even that they didn’t really like) in order to be married. Too many people are in relationships more because they cannot stand not to be in a relationship than because they’re in love.
I am not one of those people and I assured him of that. I wouldn’t be in a relationship with someone I wasn’t in love with. I would much rather be single than settle.*
Despite advice from some of my friends, I am not going to leap and damn the consequences. I fear that if I did, no matter how much I love him or he loves me, that there would be serious negative consequences. The trick is to try and make sure that there are not serious negative consequences from my caution. I am probably not going to be as cautious as other friends would like me to be.
Where is the balance? I know I do not want to be reckless. I also know that this isn’t something I can master with logic. Love isn’t rational. It’s overwhelming, as it’s meant to be. I guess it’s a solution that he and I will have to find together. And I hope and pray we can communicate well through it, and find a path that’s good for us both.
*As a side-note, my refusal to consider a relationship with someone I am only fond of isn’t a judgement against arranged marriages or marriages of practicality in general. For some people, when both parties understand and approve of the situation, marriages of that kind can be very important to the framework of a society, and can result in love even when they do not begin in love. But the culture at large in our country doesn’t support those kinds of marriages much anymore, which changes expectations, and at any rate, they are not what I am looking for.
November 1st, 2017 at 4:34 pm
I love you. Distance makes all of this so much harder. Time together is very telling, for good or ill.
November 1st, 2017 at 4:53 pm
Distance does make it harder to some extent, though it also makes us talk because sometimes talking is all we have. We do need more time together, though. As you say, that’s the real test.
November 2nd, 2017 at 4:07 am
Dear friend, I hold you in my prayers as you journey through this. I like your rom com reflection. If your story was that rom com how do you think it might end?
November 2nd, 2017 at 7:34 am
Going by rom com rules, there’s no romantic rivals on either end that I know about, so it would probably be of the misunderstanding/resolution type of rom com. ^_^ Real life tends to be far more interesting, though. I’m naturally hoping for more joy than pain.
November 3rd, 2017 at 11:56 pm
You sound a bit like a real-life Jane Bennett! I hope you get your own happily-ever-after!
November 6th, 2017 at 7:13 am
Lol! Yeah, one friend of mine actually said “don’t let some Darcy convince him to leave.” I’m not nearly as demure as Jane, though. :-P
November 13th, 2017 at 1:24 am
Query for you and the s.o since you were talking about this: what does one do if you have constantly engaged both deflectors AND a cloaking device? :D Such is my own conundrum.
But that aside, I can understand a reluctance to dive in when there’s a history, once bitten and all that… but if you guys can keep things going and find a relationship that works, that hesitation will fade, on both sides I’d wager.
November 13th, 2017 at 11:16 am
Well, I’ve got deflectors as well as a cloaking device. One becomes defensive after many years of being ignored. Deflecting possible attention is easier than finding out that it wasn’t seriously meant. Still, my deflectors aren’t as strong as his. I am not sure I’ve got advice that is worth anything, but in case it is, I’d say if you find someone you think is really special, take the risk. And if they respond, then work on slowly deactivating the cloak and the deflectors. It won’t be easy.
My s.o. and I have got shit to work through, but here’s hoping we can overcome it. People are complicated, and hurt each other, and that’s just part of any connection, I think. But connections are still important whether they come in the form of friends, or family, or an s.o. That said, my hesitation has faded slowly over time, and I hope it will continue to do so. There’s still part of me that’s screaming in panic, though. ^_^
January 6th, 2018 at 10:44 am
I like to keep reminding myself of those two little words on the back of the Hitchhikers Guide: Don’t Panic.