What is true love?
Before you stop reading, annoyed that so many of my posts center on the concept of true love or even love itself, don’t.
I’m going to wildly reverse my earlier conclusions. Maybe.
We’re going to think about what it might be like to live in the modern world and therefore, experience the idea of modern love.
The other night I was listening to a Dan Savage podcast while I was trying to fall asleep. For those of you who don’t know him, he’s an advice columnist who focuses on sex and relationship issues. I don’t always agree with him, but I enjoy a lot of the things he has to say. And I was thinking.
I’m usually in an odd romantic situation. If you’re reading this, you most likely know me pretty well (I was going to write “intimately,” but thought it might be mildly inappropriate in this context. ha.). You most likely understand my relationship history, even if it’s the concise and thoroughly edited version.
I have boyfriends, mostly.
But then I have other things, as well. Sometimes boys on the side. Sometimes the briefest yet most intense affairs (I call them affairs although they don’t fit the strict definition of affair, usually). Sometimes casual flirtations. Sometimes deep friendships.
You can’t quite understand what I might be hinting at, but I’m not entirely sure yet either.
Anyway. Here I am, in Cape Town, dating a really nice boy named James. It’s intensely sweet. He’s very caring and of course he thinks I’m divine. I’m whole heartedly attempting to maintain the distance necessary to keep John happy, but selfishly, I hear Hunter’s words in my head: “Until you’re married, the most important person in your life is yourself.”
I feel those words. I live those words.
At home, I still have John, the guy I was dating before I left, although our relationship is up in the air at the moment. We made a deal that we were going to be apart while I was in Cape Town and that we are going to see if things work out when I get back home in December. It was a nice romance, of course, intense in the ways that only I seem to be able to develop.
But is it for real?
Is anything for real?
I was/am very happy with John, but I’m not entirely sure that we had reached the point where I was able to commit. Like, really seriously commit. And I couldn’t have been expected to. It was one month of dating. It felt very comfortable, I won’t lie. But I don’t know if it was everything I wanted. And I don’t know if it’s what I’m going to what.
Knowing I’m going back to it is a double-edged sword. It’s nice to know I’ll have someone I enjoy spending time with but it’s also pressure to be in a relationship I don’t know if I want.
It’s not him, it’s the freedom.
Single Katie really enjoyed 2010. She really came into her own, I think.
I don’t know if anyone can be everything I want.
And I don’t know that I can be anyone’s everything, either.
And that’s what I’m talking about today.
I’m worried that I might be: either a serial monogamist (someone who likes to date one person at a time, but not for very long) or just someone who can’t be with one person.
I have the most wonderful relationships. I really like putting all of my focus onto one certain person, but in the end, I always end up dissatisfied. The ones who keep my attention (currently there’s only one who’s still got me enthralled against my better judgement, through absolutely no fault of his own or mine, either) seem to have a certain something about them. It used to be a sense of mystery and intrigue, an element of danger, sprinkled with the bits of intelligence I found so endearing, and it still is that. But now it’s something else.
It’s intelligence mixed with the same elements of danger and mystery but I also need a sense of stability, of ingenuity, of employability, of….dare I say it, maturity.
But let’s define maturity another day because I have some thoughts on that as well.
That’s the shift. The need to pick mates based on conversation skills rather than adventure skills.
And while I still have hope that some day someone is going to possess everything I need. In theory, I’d like someone to fit all the facets of my life.
But in reality, I know that chances are I’m not going to find that person. Because my requirements are a bit hard to meet. I need someone who is a broad human being, someone who wants to be in sweats and spend the day curled up on the couch watching the Food Network, someone who wants to learn how to ballroom dance, someone who wants to go skinnydipping and then go talk politics in a bar. Someone who wants to travel. (That’s a big plus on the list of things I love. I want to go everywhere and learn everything.) Someone who likes to read and drink and is socially liberal leaning but a little bit moderate financially. Someone who can teach me something, who makes me strive to be the best person I can be, someone who calls me on my bullshit and supports me and listens. I want to be respected, though. Thoroughly respected.
This man isn’t real.
My favorite times spent with Hunter were the times we’d make dinner together. I’ll never forget being in the kitchen with him. I’d wash dishes – we always a pile a mile high – while he cooked breakfast – we had breakfast for dinner quite often – and music played in the background.
I want someone to cook dinner with.
James is a chef. The other night, he surprised me with dinner. He hasn’t packed my lunch for work in about a week, I need to change that. I think it’s nice. That little bit of extra thought makes my day a lot better.
This is not a tug of war between two men. This is not an America vs. South Africa smack down.
This is me thinking about what I really want that actually doesn’t take into account either of the men currently playing the starring roles in my own romantic comedy.
I don’t know what is going to happen when I get back to Denver. I’m not thinking about that right now. All I’m focusing on is me in the present.
This is my youth.
I’m going to put myself first and I’m not going to consider it a selfish act.
I emailed Madeline the other day and through our conversation, told her that I’m often unable to end things properly when they need to be ended, instead, I let them stew until they boil over. I need to learn that as soon as I know it’s over, it needs to be over.
I need to learn that I’m not letting anyone down easy by leading them on and I’m certainly not helping myself.
I have a knack for finding nice men in dark bars, consider this my saving grace. It’s served me well the past few years and I’m hoping it will continue to serve me well in the future.
I’m off running, following the directions that my heart gives me, hoping they make sense in the end.
So here’s to red wine and indecision, to youth, to reckless love we never thought we’d find, to breakfasts in bed and late night conversations, to candlelit dinners and tearstained pillowcases, to glances from across the room, to jealousy and anger giving way to sweeter sleep, to war and peace and everything in between.
Here’s to triumph and happiness and the rest of my life, come what may.