Loving me, loving you
In my dating career, I’ve been a girlfriend on a number of occasions – some more memorable than others.
Sometimes, this was a role I dearly desired; other times, it followed the, “So, are we…?” conversation and was a bit more reluctantly acquired. What can I say? I don’t always date well.
Interestingly enough, on that aside, my mom recently told me that she feels I usually date below me, as if I think I don’t deserve better. She had a few names that she mentioned in relation to this belief, and they’re all old history, but it was still interesting of her to say… especially since my mom isn’t always given to those types of compliments, roundabout though they may be.
Anyhow, back on track. Throughout my dating career, and especially more recently when I’ve been more able to recognize it as a need in a partner, I’ve long espoused the belief that to me, a true relationship is one in which no one leads, no one follows – both partners support one another. Put more simply, I don’t need a man in my life, and I don’t want to need someone; I want to want their company, and I want them to want mine… but I can exist quite well on my own, and have done so on many occasions.
I believe that a good relationship is a partnership. Your partner is there for you in times of need, and supports you when you need it; in return, you provide the same function when it’s needed. Sometimes this may mean making sacrifices, whether it’s rescheduling plans, traveling, or even putting off a book you may want to read to listen to, travel with, or sleep with your partner, but in the grand scheme, it benefits you both.
As much as I was fond of stating all of this, I never really had a relationship in which I could see it work. The UBFM and the Smooshy were emotional drains, the French Boy wanted to rearrange and plan my life for me, the Arrogant Bastard and I never quite found the right balance, the Newf lost interest in me once relationship status was attained… and so on. Really, I could extend this list for quite some time, but those are the most recent and therefore more prominent highlights. Maybe it’s because, as a couple, I never really went through anything major with them, or maybe it’s because they didn’t know how to give or receive support, and maybe I didn’t in return.
I don’t know if it’s a product of ageing, or a product of finally meeting someone who suits me, but I’m learning now what it means to be that support for someone. We haven’t been dating that long overall, but we’ve been through a few highs and lows together – not fights, as we’re both too laid back to go through that, but life highs and lows – and I’ve been there for him for them. I’ve learned that my latent nurturing streak, which came to the fore on occasions, works well. My tendency to run on at the mouth and crack jokes during awkward emotional moments knows when to stop. I’ve learned what it means to be proud of someone, and to be proud to be with someone, things I never entirely understood or accepted when they were previously stated to me. It’s all been a very curious process, and one that I’m not sure I would’ve been ready to accept in the past.
I used to worry I’d never meet someone who could tolerate me for an extended period of time – or that I could tolerate in return. I would either semi-cling to relationships that really had no value except that they represented someone who liked me enough to date me for at least a brief period of time, or I would end relationships that I could see had no future, or involved guys I wanted to beat with my shoe rather than see. I would grow impatient with personality traits and quirks, or I would want increasing amounts of time to myself. I would meet new and more interesting guys, I would hide my relationship status, or I would date multiple people at once, never committing to one over another.
But that was then, and this is now.