“I don’t hate hardly ever, and when I love, I love for miles and miles. A love so big it should either be outlawed or it should have a capital and its own currency.”
With Dan I blamed myself for being clingy. For loving him when he told me not to and that he would never love me. I was a sappy chump who gave something he didn’t want to receive and I pushed him away with needs he would never meet.
I was right, but not completely.
I can have casual relationships. I can point to a few people whom I never mapped love on top of the good physical. We were friends…or acquaintances…who just happened to end up having sex. How good could it have been, you ask? Earth shaking, in one instance.
And no feelings? Well, feelings. Love. But of the platonic variety. Mutual adoration of the physical, the third person in our throuple. To throw love on the pile would have been to corrupt our very good thing we had going. Have going? No, had going. At least after last week. I think…. But that is a different story altogether. That was me doing something kind for someone. I remember him saying once that he’d just come back from SF and had kissed her like it was the last time, hoping it wouldn’t be.
I asked Samy if I could steal that for a project. He said it was ok.
But with Dan? I had to love him. For spanking me as a joke, for holding my hand in earnest, for things said that couldn’t be a lie, and things felt that were organic and real. If it had just been sex, I wouldn’t have flown from Tucson to NYC to see him after what was a two-night stand. I didn’t just make the trip on a whim. My decision was preceded with a text from him about Warren Buffet.
Huh, you say? Yes, I respond. He might have meant it as just a friendly, “Here’s a follow up article on our investment discussion that I found interesting.” But I took it as a, “He took the time to think of me and send me something that was a throwaway conversation, content wise, even when there’s no promise of us ever seeing each other again.”
Here’s where I explain something. I don’t make bigger things out of dalliances because I make too much of men’s actions, reading tea leaves and hoping that tiny clues will reveal what he really means. It’s a different process than how people think conceptually. They think of an idea and then gather facts to support the idea. I think the opposite way, which is common among autistics. I gather facts and then fit them together to create a concept. It makes me very rational and straightforward because I can view the entire landscape and make objective, passionless decisions…most of the time. Basically, it’s like getting a 500 piece puzzle. They look at the picture on the box and try to put the picture together. I flip the puzzle upside down and build it with no image in mind, just pieces.
If I think really hard, I remember Dan talking about the relationships he engaged in on a semi-annual basis. He had ongoing things. When he mentioned this, on the first night in a Holiday Inn, I think he meant to set the expectation. Yes, I can’t love and yes, I can compartmentalize my interactions with you.
But it didn’t make sense in light of the fact that he reached out to me without provocation to send me a follow-up to something we talked about over the course of two nights. To me, it was wooing. To me, it was a flirtation that transcended beyond two dates in Tucson, but to him, it was just a bigger compartment.
Eventually, I’d end up flying from Tucson to NYC over and over to see what all that was about. When I did come, it was limited time. It was incredibly intense. Always enjoyable. Educative as all get out. But very confusing.
I felt things he clearly did not. Me feeling things allowed me to be my best self. Dan enjoyed me at my best. He enjoyed taking and I enjoyed giving. We were seemingly well-suited, when really we were at cross purposes.
I’d come home and feel both elated and crushed. At the time, fear of abandonment was my ruling planet. I inherited it from a damaged home dynamic and grew it into a giant muscle in a 15-year relationship with D. Fear and D and I were bedfellows for many years.
I didn’t know it at the time, but I brought fear into the throuple with Dan and me. And it tore. me. apart. All I felt was shame and guilt for having gotten it so wrong and feeling rejected for showing who I really was. I beat my chest and repeated over and over…mea culpa, mea culpa, mea culpa.
But I am not that Vene anymore. Know better, do better. I’m pretty efficient with mistakes. I rarely make the same one twice.
What do I know that I didn’t know before? I know that I am capable of profound love and casual sexual friendships, but not in the same relationship. My boundaries are so very strong. I can give without expectation of return so easily now. But I abhor greed. If you demand something I simply don’t want to give, I will shut down and give nothing instead. It’s not capricious. I just know my limitations now.
It’s good for everyone involved. I’m not going to lead someone on or keep them hanging just in the unlikely case I can find some use for them. And it prevents me regretting or feeling bad for having hurt someone. That is the last thing I’d ever want to do now. I’ve hurt enough people for a lifetime.
That brings me to present day. I talk about love a lot because I think I really do want it. I don’t know how it will come or what it will look like, but I’m optimistic about it. Mostly it comes in platonic forms, which I love. But there’s something about the swoon, the vulnerability, the meshing at cellular level that I want. I know it exists. I’ve felt it before. I am my best self to a man when I feel it.
I’m not going to repeat the mistake with Dan. I’m not going to give love that isn’t just unrequited but eschewed and discarded. He was happy to take the intensity, but he couldn’t accept it for what it represented.
I don’t normally do 30-hour dates. I don’t normally do hugs and kisses. I don’t normally lower my boundaries, cast aside my plans, and let just anyone behind the curtain. All those things are not signs of mere mind-blowing sex. I’ve been around enough to know great sex comes with such a frequency that I don’t worry too much about holding onto it. These are all signs that I want to know him—this new one in my life since right after Thanksgiving. That I want to luxuriate in him. That I want to feel all the things for him.
That is not weakness. It is confidence and self-assuredness. I have so very much to offer. But I refuse to divorce the one thing he claims he wants from all the meaning behind it. It’s a package deal. It is so very wonderful because it is infused with emotion. And if he rejects that, then I am not for him and he is not for me. I can’t make him understand that I am only mirroring what he is presenting. I am not making leaps beyond what he has already shown.
He asked me how I wanted him to touch me. I said to be aggressive. He said it wasn’t aggression. It was spirit. I accepted that.
I asked him what he wanted of me. He said he wanted great causal sex. I say it isn’t casual at all. I say it is something altogether more soulful. I don’t know that he can accept that.
He said, “Don’t ever put me on.”
I want to say, “Ditto.” But I know he thinks he isn’t. I just also know him to be wrong.
I can’t help falling in love. And he can’t help not loving in the first place. It’s no one’s fault. You say to enjoy what it is. And I tell you that what it is is incongruence. That’s just math.
I refuse to repeat the lesson. It would dishonor all the time I spent learning it the first go around.