The Experience of Knowing YouPosted: June 13, 2014
I wanted to feel safe–protected, and possessed. But that’s not all I wanted.
We sat in the back of a crowded downtown cafe, drinking lemonade. We went through his questions for me, and then I asked him mine, pausing before the last one.
“Do you want me to love you?” I asked, searching his face.
Halfway through my relationship with D.F., we had a conversation. He said he wasn’t sure what the right thing to do was, given the fact that I was married. This was fine with him when he was merely separated, but as the finalization of his divorce loomed he realized he’d be single, and I wouldn’t be. He told me he wanted to be in love.
I said “I want to be in love too.”
As if that settled it. As if the fact that we both wanted to be in love meant that now he would accept me as his, husband and all.
I wonder if, today, I am still looking for the same thing. I know I want to be taken care of. I know I want to belong to somebody. I know I want something more than just being a convenient lay on their speed dial. Does that mean that I want to be in love?
I think I want something simple. Something pure. It doesn’t need a label, though I am still tempted to grasp for one, even knowing that words don’t mean much. What I want, is the undiluted joy that I get from spending time with people who just get me. I want uncomplicated affection–the kind that is given freely, without fear.
What I want is what I get from my handful of friends I’m still close with from high school. We can go years without seeing each other but we never feel like we no longer know each other. We pick up from where we left off. We trust. We accept. We love, unconditionally and without reservation. There is no wondering where we stand. There is none of that jr.high best friend hierarchy bullshit. There are just people who understand and care deeply for one another, who will always enjoy each other’s company, and who know that someone is rooting for them and has their back.
That is what I want–for my lovers to be my people. My community, my family, the ones I go to when I just want to be reminded of who I am. I want to play. I want to have fun. I want to be bratty or morose or emotional or silly and to have a space and a person who doesn’t blink at any of it.
I want someone to say “Throw who you are at me–I have no need to make you anything other than that person. I do not depend on you for anything other than the experience of knowing you.”
In marriage, so often, we have a hard time doing this. I think its because the outcomes of the actions of the person we are with affect our lives so much. You can’t have a partner and not have a stake in what they are doing–their successes and failures impact the overall life of your family.
With a lover, it doesn’t have to be that way. You care for them, but its different. Your lives are not necessarily enmeshed. That is the beauty of friendship–you can love in a way that is unsullied, pushing your people to do what is best for them, because it’s their life and you are not thinking about what the effect is going to be on you.
I want that kind of love. I want more of it.
I don’t need to be the girlfriend, as long as I’m one of your people.