Falling in love in a series of moments

Do you fall in love all at once, or in a series of moments?

For me love has always been an unfolding series of emotions but often with a secure path.  I recognize NRE easily, and feel it pretty readily as well.  It’s the feeling of my breath catching and heart fluttering when I’m getting to know someone and they say something sweet.  It’s the tugging sensation when I’m talking to someone and they express their values and goals and I see how they reflect my own, and I want to share more of my life with them.  It’s the excitement of learning their favorite food, or what author has shaped their life, and this information being precious because it comes from them.  New relationships have a particular electric excitement to them that enhances everything, those floods of brain chemicals making me want to think about someone constantly and spend all day talking to them and exploring their mind.  I acknowledge the love and limerence I feel during that time as real and feel honest in the expression of it, while also knowing that it doesn’t always predict the shape of a long term connection or translate into a more deeply seated love.

Following the rushing torrent of NRE feels, my love often takes one of two paths.  The first path is into a comfortable realm of cozy warm feelings of contentment and comfort with a person.  I would liken my love to a warm hearth, stable and providing security, not full of intensity, but full of a consistent glow of enjoyment.  This path often runs towards a slowly deepening loyalty and commitment to a person and exploring vulnerabilities together over time as we grow close.

The second path is almost a continuation of NRE, in that it mirrors those intense rushes of emotion, the overwhelming sensations of being caught off guard and reveling in the energy of it.  Little moments become big electrical boosts in the person centered part of my psyche, thrilling me and driving me to focus intimately on those moments of exhilaration.  This often included elements of the first path as well, but has a definite aspect to it of love gathering intensity and momentum in a series of defining moments.

This weekend one of those stark moments came into clarity.  I was sitting in the backseat of Hoffy’s truck as he was driving and half dozing off, as we were coming back from hanging out with some other folks in the local poly community and stuffing our faces at the buffet.  I was a bit at my limit for socialing, had been wanting to just have some space to relax alone.  Being in the truck with Hoffy driving, Kelev in the front seat, Raichu in the back with me, and music filtering through the background with no need for conversation, was peaceful.  I was thinking of how I was surprised at how comfortable I was, because I don’t normally feel comfortable with someone else driving.  Then I looked at Hoffy and was watching him drive and sing softly along to the music, and it was one of those moments where I was just overwhelmed with how much love I felt for him.  There was just this intense feeling of ‘yes, this person. This is my person, I am happy here, and this is the person I love.’ There is a feeling of certainty in those moments of intensity.  And they are amazing moments in how they have the level of excitement of NRE, but also the sheer comfortable and stable feeling of love after NRE has passed.  I was thinking about how falling in love with him is a series of moments, just ordinary moments that happen as we live life together, but that take on this intense special quality out of the blue.

It is interesting, how my brain in those moments goes ‘this is the person I love.’  It’s true, it is absolutely true in that moment, and as a whole.  It certainly isn’t exclusive though, and that is the beauty of being a polyamorist relationship anarchist to me.  I very rarely feel that sort of intensity of emotion past NRE though, with most people I settle into that comfortable hearth fire love of stability and warmth, and overwhelming moments are not a regular occurrence.  Once in a while though, the path of my love with someone takes the more passionate and extreme route, with strong surges and surprising and startling moments of energy.  I found it amusing and ironic, that the other person in my life that I’ve felt that with was sitting in the front seat beside the person I was having those thoughts about now.  And it mirrored the experience I had when I first recognized I was feeling that intensely about Kelev, also coming when I was sitting in the back seat of his truck eight years ago, watching him drive.  I always wondered why my emotional connection with him was so much more potent at times, and here I was feeling that again.

I don’t really feel passion for people easily.  I feel NRE, I feel comfortable safe feelings of love, I feel extremely potent and intense loyalty and connection and vulnerability.  But passion, that often escapes me except in rare circumstances.  My passions are often directed to my efforts to create and intentional community and dreams of such, towards my activism which is one of the most important aspects of my life, towards art and music, towards my never-ending quest for knowledge and learning.  Those things are where my passions lay, and my relationships with people are more a beautiful cozy place rather then an enormous ardent one.  I’ve found another partnership in my life that has diverged from the usual path they take for me though, that has a more passionate quality to it that is unfolding for me in that series of moments.  Those moments where I really see him, and I am quite overwhelmed and absolutely eager for that fiery intensity.  I’m amused when those moments mirror previous moments in the series that has played out in my other partnership of a similar quality.  But most of all I’m just grateful for them, and for how they show me the many ways we are able to fall in love and appreciate that multitude and the aspect of it that I’m in at the moment.

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Learning the space I fit into, balance, and how to ask for it

As a young child I was very much a loner.  I didn’t often fit in, and often didn’t care to.  I was usually content to play on my own, or have a single close friend.  I spent a lot of time in the woods or fields by myself when we lived in the country, or playing with my stuffed animals alone, or creating tracks for my matchbox cars of sand and pine needles on vacations in Lake Tahoe.  I think when I switched schools five times within four years in my pre-teen and early teen years, that was the first time I tried to fit in, because I did feel a little isolated having absolutely no friends.  It wasn’t even that I minded the solitude all too much, but that I saw everyone around me with a multitude of friends around them and I felt I was doing something wrong.  In my middle and later teenage years I came out of my shell again, I was a constantly hyper and outgoing creature, a whirling ball of energy and charisma among the crowd of oddballs and outcasts I found.  Since identity is more firmly formed around that age, I figured myself to be an extrovert.  I neglected to notice how starved I was for attention and affection at times, and how I was also going through the tumultuous and confusing time period of raging hormones for the first time. I’m sure now those things motivated the intensity of my extroversion.  I would flit from one house to another with my amorphous group of older friends, and thrill myself in the time spent on the astroturf, the unofficial hangout of every misfit teen, making new friends of absolute strangers on a whim.

Time passes, and in recent years I’ve been rediscovering myself.  There was a lot of time in between my early years of discovering my identity and now.  There were years of alcohol induced haze, tumultuous years of abuse, years of dysphoria and confusion, years of heartbreak and loss.  On the other side I began my transition, I began pursuing fulfilling career paths, I began forming healthy relationships and nurturing the few I had through those dark years.  I began to reform my identity and I found it hard to be around people at times.  Often it was just more tense, less easy and comfortable than being alone.  Sometimes it was enjoyable, but exhausting, draining until I hit a point where I’d pushed myself too far to social and felt sick and anxious for days after.  I decided I must be an introvert, I learned to stick up for my space and boundaries and aloneness.  I also battle co-dependency and swung myself far in the opposite direction to break my ties to a toxic style of existence.

This new discovery of introversion culminated in my living on my own for a short while after the folks I lived with chose to leave, or I asked them to do so over a period of time because I knew I needed space.  I was desperate for space really.  I craved being left alone, saw through rose colored glasses some idealized dream of wandering off into the wilderness and becoming a hermit on a mountain.  I looked forward to living in a small household of just myself and Kelev, a person with greater independence then I had ever reached by that point at least.  Then the one I hadn’t asked to leave, Kelev, chose to move out as well for a time.  I had my space, it was terrifying and glorious.  I loved that while I kept in touch with the friends and partners and loves that I cared for dearly, that there were uncountable moments in my day where I was floating unattached to any other person.  There was just myself, my thoughts, and whatever tasks I set before me to complete for the day.

Then time passed, not much time, and other folks moved in, folks I was close to and working on founding an intentional community with.  They are comfortable to live with, and Kelev is comfortable to live with during the half of the time he spends here.  But I still value my alone time greatly and need it on a regular basis.  I also became more active in my local poly community and had sudden bursts of social energy, the like of which I hadn’t experienced since my teenage years.  After years of being so introverted that I never wanted to leave the house and interact outside of my little zone, I wanted to go out and meet new people and have new adventures! I remember the word ambivert, a mixture of introversion and extroversion.  Does it fit?

Sometimes I am very high energy for my introverted partners. I want to constantly be on the go, I feel cooped up when in the house too long.  I want late night runs to all night eateries, the pounding of music at the hookah bar or on a dance floor, the thrill of meeting a new group of strangers.  Sometimes I’m too introverted for my partners as a whole, I fear.  I need space, I sometimes struggle with wanting to take a week of silence from social interaction but knowing it would hurt the people I love not to hear from me for that long.  It may likely drive me a bit up the wall too, after a day or two I’d be reaching out to people left and right.  Or maybe I wouldn’t, I want to experience aloneness, and even loneliness, and bask in isolating and silence for a time.  When I am around the people that I love, the people that thrill me, it’s a high.  After a couple days of constant contact I’m exhausted and anxious.  This feeds self doubt.  Am I good enough for the people I am close to if I get exhausted and edgy from just the company of others?  Is there something wrong with me and does it make me incompatible for partnership or living with people or sharing closeness?  No, I don’t think so.

What I do think is that I still have a lot to learn about standing up for my boundaries.  I need space, every single day I need some measure of space.  I need to be better at defining my needs for space.  With one of my partners, when I ask for space, they leave the room and wander off on some adventure, returning in a few hours and messaging me to ask if I still need space or want company.  With another partner, when I say I need space, he retreats off the bed or couch we are sharing, to a space nearby but not quite as adjacent.  With another partner, when I say I need space, he disentangles his body from mine if we are cuddling, and maintains a nearness on the same bed, but with minimal or no direct contact.  With another partner, if I say I need space, he leaves me be and doesn’t talk to me at all, sometimes for a few days, until I initiate contact again.  These are wide variations.  When some are too little for me to satisfy my need for aloneness, and some are too much and make me feel like I have done something wrong and upset someone because of a complete lack of contact, I need to speak up.  I am a balance, inside me is love of excitement and deep vulnerability, emotional closeness and intimacy, and thrilling terrifying social interactions that are new and push my comfort zones.  Inside me is a love for solitude, for the coldness of an empty bed, the silence of an empty room, and a lonely walk with only my own thoughts for company.  I know that both my exuberant need for extroverted moments or my absolute need for introverted time alone may mean I’m not quite suited to everyone else’s needs or preferences.  That is okay, but I won’t know how comfortable I can get and how much my partners will make space for my needs and allow me to grow into them, until I better learn to express them and find my voice.

How do you deal with unrequited love?

My first experience with love was a boy named Dan.  I was in sixth grade and he was in fifth. He had tousled dirty blond hair and a crooked smile, the sort of smile I’ve learned I have a weakness for.  I did not fit in among my class at all, though I went to a small school and everyone was always polite, it was the sort of place where in a class of 20, everyone was invited to birthday parties.  Dan had friends in his class, he wasn’t a popular kid, but he was well enough liked and had no shortage of people to trade pokemon cards with or chase around in a game of tree tag.  Some recesses, I was one of the ones he spent his time with, and it was the first time I craved a person, felt a constant burning desire and elation when I was around them, and a devastating loss when I was not, as though the world were a bit more empty.  I didn’t know before then that the quality of the world could change like that. I hadn’t realized that when a person occupied the same space as me, they could bring not only themselves and their presence, but could change the very air around them and the colors in a room, so it all was suddenly so much more alive.  We played hockey together, I got extraordinarily good at playing defense despite being someone who would have been more suited to an offensive position.  He was the goalie, and I wanted to be as near him as I could be at all times.  I never told him how I felt, though I wished every day to just be lucky enough that it would be one of those days that he spent time with me.  I used a birthday wish to wish that he would move in next door, and when the neighbors put up a for sale sign unexpectedly a few weeks later I was ecstatic, but a young couple moved in instead.  I went to a different school for seventh grade, and aside from a couple bar mitzvahs here and there, I didn’t see him again.

There was a boy named Han in my Japanese class in high school.  Another boy with a crooked grin, prone to laughter and easy with his smiles.  He sat behind me and I was the one he would often whisper his jokes to.  Walking into class and seeing him sitting there was so often the highlight of my day.  It was more then that, my world was a hell of depression, all flat like a paper cut out.  He rendered it in 3-D and brought the colors back, when my heart saw him and fluttered it felt like the first time that day I had taken a breath.  He confided in me about his crush on one of the girls in the class, it broke me a little to hear but I tried to encourage him to tell her and give it a shot.  I never told him the way he made my days bearable just by existing, or how I imagined his laughter in my dreams.

As I entered into the world of relationships, I connected too strongly, or not strongly enough.  I was a flurry of NRE (new relationship energy) and neediness, trying to finally satisfy my desperate cravings for a person of my own.  I wanted to possess someone, consume them, take in their brightness and hold it inside me so I would never feel that crushing loneliness that had lived within me again.  Often I made grandiose commitments and thrust myself into ill fitting partnerships without a second thought and found myself later trying to pretend that my love matched theirs.  As I was with one person after another who loved me more strongly over time while my feelings bordered on apathetic once the NRE had passed, I was wrought with guilt and overbearing discomfort.  The few times I felt a more enduring passion, I was paralyzed with fear of losing it and sought control just to hold on to my grip on the world. I was disgusted with myself for my needs, my desperation, how I saw myself leading people on more and more, the realization that I was failing to maintain emotional intimacy and was left in partnerships where I had to pretend or cause someone else the heartbreak I felt when my affections weren’t returned.

Even writing this I want to stop a moment and remark on it, since I haven’t looked back and viewed myself through this lens in quite a while.  Sweet gibbering fuckweasels I was unhealthy.  I was beyond a hot mess and the folks who put up with me through my teenage years deserve a fucking medal.

As I entered into adulthood, or at least left my parents home and began having more relationships that involved responsibility and cohabitation and emotional nuance, I began to take significantly more care in how I got involved with people.  I made a nice neat stack of mistakes in the last ten years as well, but I moved forward, gaining more self awareness and becoming more conscious of the commitments I made.  It took me many more years to work past controlling tendencies, but I started to improve, and I talked about in another piece how I learned to be honest and devoted myself to that ideal to an extreme. With that came a lot of one sided relationships.  I won’t say I didn’t love many of my partners, I did, but not to the extent they loved me or in the same ways.  It was something discussed to varying degrees, often times I was very blunt with what I could or could not provide, what could be expected of me, and where feelings matched up versus where they diverged. I began to see the effect of unrequited love on my partners, or at least an unmatched level of love and desire.

Over the years I’ve known both sides of unrequited love.  I’ve spiraled through a dozen ways of dealing with it, most of them terribly toxic.  Something changed in recent years.  When I was a teenager I was severely depressed for a handful of years.  Everything was constantly numb, and love was a brief blinding high in the flat twilight grays that were my existence.  As a young adult I was an alcoholic.  I had hated the numbness of depression, so I recreated it, because maybe without it I was too much.  I broke free of that, and I broke free of a lot of toxicity with it.  When I transitioned, when I embraced my independence and autonomy, when I learned what truly made me feel rooted and good, I was able to be a person with emotions that were often still too intense and too much, but that I didn’t need to numb down into nothing.  I studied mindfulness, it meshed well with my long held personal beliefs that there are few real negative emotions.  The emotions most people thought of as negative, sadness, lonliness, heartbreak, anger; they were all close friends that I embraced after years of solitude with nothing at all in my mind.  I learned to sit with them and trust them to just exist, to be, and then to move along.

These days I love the intensity of NRE as much as ever.  I’m careful not to make grandiose commitments during it, to try and spare the feelings of people who I am loving for a moment but maybe not for a lifetime.  When it passes I make my commitments sparingly, to the few people who capture me in such a way that I want to be drawn to them with that exuberant overzealous devotion.  Sometimes my feelings aren’t returned, or are mirrored back with a reflection that is far less intense and clear.  Where that once would have been devastating, it is now intriguing and tolerable.  My sadness and loneliness in those moments is exquisitely sharp but like a masochists pain, it feels good in equal measure as it does bad.  It is easily dispelled by the sheer joy of experiencing love well up from within me.  I can study my loneliness and the pain of unrequited love and be content just to let it exist.  No one is obligated to love me back simply because the intensity with which I burn for them is overwhelming.  It is no great tragedy if they don’t.  When I am the one loving less or with a different quality to my love, I try my best to be as honest as I can, make as few commitments as possible, so as not to lead anyone else down that road.  But these days the road of unrequited love is one I walk without fear.  Loving is the goal, being loved back is not a prize to win.  I would simply rather relish in the absolute joy of being in love, even when it’s laced with pain, than miss the journey of loving someone.

 

Finding purpose in polyamory – how love spirals outwards

Not everyone can understand the purpose of polyamory, why someone would want to have multiple relationships to begin with.  I rebel against the very idea of institutionalized monogamy, but I recognize that some people just prefer a deep romantic closeness with only one individual, and that is fine.  Aside from the fact that at my very core I have never been able to regulate the wonder in my heart for closeness and vulnerability and adoration and love to one solitary person, I also am so grateful for the beautiful moments I find in polyamory that I wouldn’t have otherwise.

This morning I was laying in bed, having already gotten up to feed all the critters, clean the litter boxes and ferret cage, let the dogs outside to work off some energy.  I got back into bed to snuggle up to Kelev, who almost always sleeps later than I do, and was softly snoring in a way that melts my heart.  I love how when he’s sleeping, when I tell him I love him he always says it back, even though he’ll have no memory of it when he wakes.  This morning I was watching him sleep and whispering sweet nothings to him about how he’s a glorious demon ascended into human flesh, his black heart wreathed in flamed and filled with the power of the millions of souls he’s devoured.  You know, the usual romantic stuff.  We may have a slightly twisted view of romance, but who’s going to judge? He smiled and softly woofed at me in his sleep.  The moment was just so precious and I texted Hoffy about it, wanting to share my warm-fuzzy-joy-feels.

Think about what you value in partnership.  The amazing connection with someone where you want to tell them everything that is good in your life, every spark of joy just bubbles over and you want to share it with someone you adore.  The vulnerability and closeness you have with someone with whom you can share your sappiest feelings, who can hear about your squishy bright happy feels and will celebrate them with you.  Think about those tender moments of seeing someone you love so peaceful, with their hair all messy as they sleep, all the worlds troubles smoothed away with rest.  I am so grateful to be able to share the most loving and sweet moments of my life that bring me the most joy, with more people who I share that love and joy with as well.  To revel in the sheer happiness of love with equally loving and accepting people that I am vulnerable and open with.  I wonder who monogamous people tell those moments to?  Do they have a best friend who they feel the same intense closeness with that they do with their partner, who they can share those happy feelings with, who will feel warm and fuzzy at the adorableness of it all instead of rolling their eyes?  I sure hope so.

Yesterday I was talking with my partner D.  We recently got involved in a DD/lg kink dynamic, and she also got involved with Kelev as well.  She has a long distance romance with the Brit, as I’ve taken to referring to him in my mind, a fantastic individual with a voice that makes me melt a little.  She was telling me of a conversation she was having with him, and he made a joke about my love of his accent.  The way he described me in this little snapshot of humor she shared with me was absolutely spot on.  It was so absolutely sweet, the exchange they had, that he had remembered me in it, that she had then shared it with me.  The humor spiraled outwards, and I was graced with being a part of it.

That is what I love about polyamory.  There are so many wonderful moments shared between people who love each other intensely and sweetly, and in sharing my heart with so many people and having partners who do the same, the joy spirals outward.  When we tell each other exuberantly about a snapshot moment of love, and when it is received lovingly and happily as well, it just compounds those emotions.  I don’t have less love for any one partner because I share my heart with many, I have a thousand more opportunities each day for that love to be multiplied as moments are shared and enjoyed in this outward spiral of connection and acceptance.  That is the purpose of polyamory to me.  Just as one of the beauties in cultivating a garden is sharing the fruits of your labor with family, I cultivate each relationship with healthy respect and passion and communication and vulnerability.  And I am able to share what grows of those seeds far beyond just the person I grew them with.  That bounty of love is available to nourish us all through the hard times and invigorate us to grow more in the good times. It all spirals outwards, and I hope if you are on this journey as well, one day that spiral reaches you.

Breaking cohabitation – transitioning from living together to living apart

Major changes can make or break a relationship, and often the choice to live together is one of the big changes that can really show you if you can make a dynamic work with a person. But what about deciding not to cohabitate after having lived together?  That is a decision you rarely hear talked about, because it does not follow the traditional relationship escalator.  Can a relationship survive that sort of decision?  Does it mean the relationship is failing in some way?  Or is it possible it can even be a good thing? This is my story with that transition and what I learned from it.

A stable partnership

I’ve talked before about Kelev, the partner I have been with for eight years now.  We’ve been a central focus in each others lives basically since the start of the relationship.  He moved in about a year after we met, although I really count it happening even before that, since he pretty much started living with me about four months in to the relationship, it just took a little longer before a room opened up in my house and he moved his stuff over.  He was there through the house hunting six years ago, and the purchase of our home, the repairs, the experiment with urban farming, and all the ups and downs.  He supported me through me ex-fiance’s departure, through two years of school to become a certified vet tech, though alcoholism and overcoming it, through a job that felt like hell for a year as I worked to support us with my new career.  We share a bank account, four cats and three dogs, and eight years of amazing memories.

The unexpected announcement

This August Kelev approached me and told me he would be moving back to his Dad’s place, a couple miles across town.  My first reaction, after a bit of shock, because we had frequently confirmed a desire for the cohabitation to be a life long thing, was to try and understand why.  His reasons made sense to me, a mixture of needing to help his family, and a need for some sort of radical change in his life.  Especially with the monotony of daily life now that he couldn’t work, and often couldn’t move around well, I understood why it was so overbearing to be stuck in the same place day in and day out with no change.  To me, that wouldn’t be living, I thrive on radical change for my own growth.  On top of that, he was someone who had spent his lifetime moving every few years, I couldn’t relate to that personally since my childhood was largely stable and my own period of moving a lot was the first time in college.  Still, even without a personal reference, I could empathize with how it wasn’t easy after a life fueled by transitions and new beginnings, to settle down and have that feeling stagnate until you craved it. I also completely understood wanting to help his family, and to be able to spend time renewing his closeness with them.  It wasn’t that we didn’t see them on occasion at our home, but it was short visits that lacked the real depth you have when you are around someone every day.  I confirmed that there wasn’t a dysfunction in our relationship, and he was able to reassure me of that, along with the reassurance that he had every intention to move back within a year or two, and certainly was still 100% on board with our dreams to build a community together in the coming years and move there.  Still, it was terrifying.  I imagine when relationship dysfunction is the cause, it is even more uncertain and nerve wracking, but as is, this was a huge unexpected shift in how our relationship had been shaped almost from the beginning.

Adapting to change

Kelev moved out in August.  Through a series of other events living up, my need for more space, other housemates needs for more independence, or housemates moving to live with other partners, I ended up with the house completely to myself when he left.  I had largely worked through my codependency issues after my ex-fiance left, but it was my first time living completely alone.  That was both exhilarating and terrifying. It was lovely not having to worry to close the bathroom door (although that did increase the rate of cats-on-lap while using the toilet), but it was a bit uncomfortable at night knowing that no one else was home if someone broke in, or I somehow injured myself in my profound clumsiness.  The first couple weeks I kept very busy, I filled the emptiness in my life with action, mostly around the house to keep it functional.  Another big part of this change was that since I had been the one who attended school or worked, Kelev was the one who took care of our home, so suddenly I was figuring out how obnoxious it was to take out the trash, or scrambling around to get home by five to feed the critters in the evening. It’s strange how loading the dishwasher and then unloading it in the morning, or cleaning the cat boxes daily, made me feel more like an adult then bringing home a paycheck ever had.  It was the consistency, if I did not do every task, it just did not get done, so I made checklists and reminders and tried my best to keep on top of it all. After the first few weeks, when the new routine became, well, routine, I began to do a lot of introspection.  I worked a lot on myself, fostering greater independence and self confidence, and trying to really see what areas of my brain meats could use some improving. I also after a time began to discover both a great love of quiet and aloneness, a relaxation into it that I hadn’t experienced since I really began having adult relationships and always having someone around.  I enjoyed sitting with those moments, and also with the loneliness that sometimes came with them.  It was a relief to not have an easy access point to fill my loneliness with, and to instead have to become comfortable with being silent with my own self by necessity.  I did then in October have more housemates move in, other founders of the community who had traveled back to this side of the country so we could begin further working on that dream.  But the short period I had of living on my own is something I think I will cherish for the rest of my life, even if I may not pursue doing so again.

The effect, what our relationship has become

If you’re facing a recent split in cohabitation with a partner, or it’s on the table, this might be the part you really have been wondering about, how did it effect our relationship?  It was such a huge change.  We have gone through many times where we tweaked our dynamic, added a title here, took off all titles there, removed a bdsm component, got involved with other partners, added a bdsm component, stopped sharing a bed every night, experimented with sharing a bedroom, and so on.  Most of those changes had some effect on our interactions, but none permeated our daily lives so completely as this change.

There was a lot that I really learned to love about this.  I found that the time we spent together was often more exciting, more filled with laughter and emotional intensity, because suddenly it was a commodity that wasn’t always readily available.  Visiting his place at Dad’s felt like an adventure, lounging on his bed with his stereo blasting Alice Cooper or Hailstorm while while he fiddled with his wrestling figures and I read a book, reminded me so much of my teenage years visiting a friend or boyfriend’s house, and I felt younger and more alive.  Talking on the phone was a fun new treat, now we had hilarious conversations, sometimes with his sister or niece joining in from his side of the phone, where before phone conversations were mostly limited to checking if I needed to pick up groceries on the way home from work.  The whole experience really had a very youthful feel.  I also found a lot of joy in the separation of  time-to-social and time-to-alone.  I savored the drives home from Dad’s, as I could lose myself in music and appreciate the transition from the warm loved feeling of their home and being near my partner, to the clear peaceful emptiness of being alone again.  And something kind of magical happened, we started really doing things that we hadn’t before.  Our relationship was always so saturated with the every day, we were comfortable in spending hours relaxing while he watched tv and I played on my phone or read a book, and going out seemed like a difficult task, a departure from the comfortable and usual.  Once he moved it, it suddenly opened up a door for all sorts of new experiences.  We went to a concert together for the first time, the aquarium, tried new restaurants, and began going out to community events that we usually would have just been too tired and too low on spoons for.  I also began going to things on my own, without the guilt that I was leaving him home alone (though he never minded and would encourage me to go), I was able to have my own adventures and feel like I could really decided to spend my time however I chose in any moment.  I still choose to spend a good bit of that time with him, our emotional intensity is on an upswing and I’m loving the increased connection that has come of this venture, but I also am nurturing myself as a separate person more, so I bring more stories and experience to the table of our dynamic each day.

There are downsides though.  Sometimes the cats do something hilarious, or I manage to make a spectacular mistake in my clumsiness or absent mindedness, and while I try and remember it to tell him when we talk later, I know many moments are lost in the day and never get shared.  It’s sad, those little things, relatively unimportant, but also the fabric that makes up the majority of the day, are not longer all a shared part of our tapestry.  I wish that every surprised laugh as the cat falls off the counter or I drop my phone in the litter box, could be followed by looking up and meeting his eyes and seeing the laugh lines crinkle as he laughs with me (or at me).  I miss his snores at night.  I never have trouble falling asleep, but I wake early and often with panic attacks, and that noise was my comfort for many years.  Though, the nights he is here each week I just savor it more, my gruff lullaby that says everything is okay.  I worry about his health, it has been getting worse over the years and often I’ve taken the role of remembering the doctor’s instructions and making sure they are applied.  I still go to every appointment and try to remind him of what he needs to do when we get back, but I have a nervous inkling always in the back of my mind that things are slipping through the cracks and one day it will be something important.  My health is also not as good as it was.  I love to cook, but I have much more trouble motivating myself to do so just for myself.  My new housemates are wonderful, but they can cook, so while I do make family meals at times, I’m not -needed- to.  Having Kelev to take care of and cook healthy food for, really helped me stick to eating better as well.  Mostly though, I just miss the endless opportunity.  When someone is there almost every moment, there are no barriers to making each day a love affair or an adventure with them.  I didn’t take advantage of that very often when we lived together and I’ve learned to cherish now what I once took for granted.  That lesson though is something I am every grateful for, because when he does move back in, I will strive not to take those opportunities for granted again and will make every day a wonder.

 

Just to love you

You fall asleep fully clothed

A fabric wall between you and the rawness of a world that you can never show weakness

I lay next to you as naked as the window pane

With the raindrops tapping out a vulnerable song

You have a joke for every occasion

The smile never leaving your eyes or else pain will take its place

Except those rare times your eyes turn from blue to grey, winter coming far too fast

And I’m all raw vulnerability

Constantly asking your thoughts, wanting to hear reassurances that wouldn’t be certain even coming from a stable man

But I don’t need stability or naked vulnerability to love you

I love the winter storms in your eyes as much as the summer skies

The moments the mask you wear falls to the ground aren’t more precious because they are rare

They are precious because you allow me to witness them at all

And I’ve left behind all romantic fantasies of healing a wounded soul

I only want to love you as best as I know with every breath I have