Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Big Question

When people come to me for relationship advice (something I don't endorse at all…) I have a pretty deep question at my disposition for a number of situations. It's one I've asked myself a few times including a quite recent episode:

"Are you falling in love or falling in love with the idea of being in love?"

Considering the last thing I wrote about was falling out of love, I suppose this topic might be a bit more hopeful.

When I was first figuring things out, I really puzzled over this question. I don't think it came from anywhere, but it was present just in my mind. I wanted to make sure (because pursuing a relationship with another man always seemed so unquestionably wrong a month earlier) that I wasn't motivated by a fear of being alone for the rest of my life or something equally desperate.

As it turns out, this question became somewhat of a scorecard as far as my relationships go. When I was seeing Grey, I considered my motivations a lot. "Why do I want to be with him?," "Why do I feel this way when he holds my hand?," and of course "Is what I'm feeling wrong?" Everything seemed to point to attraction and a desire to be a part of his life. As things soured and he decided he wasn't ready for a relationship with me (or anyone for that matter), all of those feelings came into question. Wanting to be a part of someone's life can be a selfish or a selfless motivation. Everything was left in gray for the moment.

When Mark came along, though, some light was shed on this issue. It seemed like we a lot more to offer each other in general. Aside from physical attraction, we had intellectual discussions, similar ambitions and interests, and we felt comfortable enough to open up about our most difficult life issues. By the end of our time together, Mark had taught me a very important lesson about understanding and loving myself the way that I am. It felt as if we had something to offer one another and had the potential to grow. I realized that I cared more for him than for the romanticized idea of being with him. Since then, that's made up a significant amount of the definition of a functional relationship.

It's also related to something my friend Cole calls "The Wall-E Principle."


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