Or "I'm trying to say what I want to say without having to say 'I love you'"
I recently started reading Jamie Varon's blog Intersected. It tends toward the extreme honesty, "should I really be writing this on the internet?" sort of posts that I seem to be writing recently. It addresses the confusion of being young, and, well, confused eloquently, in a way I absolutely relate to. The most recent post is titled "I'm Not Brave Enough for Love and You Probably Are" and it got me thinking about love and risk and bravery.
I tend to fall in love easily. When I broke up with Jacob in January it was the first time I'd truly been single since... I don't know, sophomore year of high school? And that was not for very long. Basically I've been doing the serial monogamy thing since middle school. It has absolutely nothing and everything to do with risk.
I find falling in love absolutely fucking terrifying. But when it comes down to it, to the falling itself, that's the easy part, it happens suddenly, unintentionally, illogically, there's no question about bravery or risk or whether or not I want to, there's no choice, it just is. One minute you think you're going out to dinner to catch up with an old friend from your home town and the next thing you know you're wondering if he'll kiss you when he walks you home (the answer is not on the first unintentional date if you, like me, tend to intimidate men, and rant at them) and then waiting to see if he calls you again. I generally don't actually want it to happen, it's not a brave decision I make. I've in fact often wished that I could make, what to me, seems like the braver choice of staying single, of learning to be with myself, of not constantly having somebody to fall back on. Falling in love makes me feel completely out of control of myself, of my emotions. It's not easy or safe.
And because of that, there's not really anything natural or comfortable about being in a relationship for me. I like the idea of relationships, I like having somebody to cook for, to wake up next to, to call for no reason, or to call for every little reason, I love the giddiness of being in love and dread the terror of the other person not feeling the same. I love the idea of domesticity, of finding somebody to stay with always, of figuring out life, of working through all of it together with someone else. In reality, I hate feeling tied down, I hate not having complete control over my choices, of compromising my time, my goals, my values. But I'm no good on my own. It's a constant inner struggle, experience the joy of waking up next to somebody that makes you smile vs the do whatever you want whenever you want.
I suspect the new boy is the same. We're dancing back and forth between freedom and commitment or between vulnerability and always appearing strong. One minute I'm making the "some day, years from now, we'll..." statements and he's making the "when we've been married 15 years..." and the next we're both making our own separate plans and chafing at the thought of changing them for the other person. We're both used to being the person in control in a relationship, of always getting our way, using our flirtations and wit and charm to bend the will of the opposite sex. He's as stubborn and prideful as I am. The people we are with each other tends to be different than the peoplewe present ourselves as when out with friends. Calmer, more honestly ourselves, a little less on the ball, sometimes even cranky and tired. We both just want to take care of each other and make each other happy. We both just want to do what we want. We're still working out how to be on the same page. He skips ahead when I skip back and vice versa. We both make assumptions about what the other person is willing to commit to. The only comfort I have in this whole scary, falling in love, starting a new relationship, mess is that I can tell, despite his apparent confidence, he also is entirely unsure of what it is he wants. Or also entirely sure that he wants to be settled and free. It's a little weird that my only comfort is to know that the person I'm with is as confused as I am.
I'm hoping our similar confidence levels and control issues will mean that the balance of power and responsibility will be shared evenly or passed back and forth. The fact that we both value strong will and independence will mean we will always respect (and not resent) each other. It'll be hard to learn to give up some control, but I think I'm willing to risk myself. I guess the willingness to do something even though it terrifies me is bravery, but I don't feel brave.
I'm just trying to make it all be worth it.