22 January 2011

Heteros do it too (and what I really think about most therapy of homosexuality), Part 2

Back to Part 1.

That "in love" feeling is proclaimed by some to be unimportant in a "real" relationship since it eventually fades anyway, which is actually a pretty key thing for a woman-marrying gay man to accept because as I understand it, in most cases, a gay man isn't going to have the same euphoric "in love" phenomenon with a woman as he likely would with a man of equal caliber and compatibility. That's not to downplay such a relationship: whatever I may think "most" relationships have or start with, I know at least one or two happily married, completely hetero couples in which at least one partner confesses to never having had the butterflies they thought you're supposed to have, but that it's always been something more. Maybe that means they didn't have the "in love" feeling, or maybe it means they just describe it differently, or kept it in check differently, or something.

As I write this, something's dawned on me that I'd forgotten. I actually wondered, from very early while we were dating, if I was maybe not as giddy as he might be, not quite as carried away, in a sense, as one might expect. Of course, there were also times early on when I actually thought he was disinterested and "over it" when I knew very well I was not. I just knew I was experiencing something different from what I'd felt with other guys, something more like a mix of them and what I'd felt with a couple of girls...and I feared that he was only experiencing...his first reciprocated crush. I didn't long to have him with me every moment we were apart. Instead, I looked forward to seeing him again but carried on with my daily life as usual. As time went on, and we grew closer, I felt him with me rather than feeling a void when he wasn't around. Even now, I feel like a part of me went with him in a way, and the space was filled with something he gave me, or something our relationship gave me. How corny is that? I didn't fantasize and daydream like a Disney princess; I took it a day at a time. I did just about collapse on buckling knees and shout for joy when he called me asking to officially "date" me, feeling like a new sun was igniting inside of me. I remember thinking, in that moment, that there was no way to describe in words what I was feeling or how beautiful and powerful it was, that it was like the entire cosmos was tuned to animate my soul. So yeah, that might be carried away, especially after only a month or so of friendship. And once, in an intimate and admittedly sort of 'passionate' moment (in a totally PG-rated way for you folks trying to spice this up to quell your "excessive gushing" gag reflex), an admission which concedes the possibility of influential chemistry, there was a pause and tender moment in which we looked into each other's eyes, and tears unexpectedly fell from my eyes in a happy moment because of the exquisite joy of the mere idea of our relationship, with all of its quirks and qualities, lasting indefinitely colliding with the exquisite sorrow at the probability that he would not be ready to pursue that, and I would have to let him go without finding out where it could lead. That emotion may have been as much about a formerly abstract concept really becoming a present reality for the first time as it was about him personally, and I knew it. But I also saw him as a beautiful person, the kind of person I'd want to be with, possibly the person I wanted to be with, and I was torn to tears by the tension between wanting to give myself over in a freefall to find out but believing it wouldn't be fair to him, and realizing I was afraid to take that risk but knew I was on the brink. He asked me, in that moment, to let him in, to share what I was thinking, as he gently combed my hair with his fingers, pulling me in with that familiar, encompassing, gravitational gaze. I loved him the more for it and told him, "Someday, but not now." Well! *shaking head vigorously* How's that for a tangent? Where was I? Right: But I didn't walk on air every time we spent time together. I did after the first night, but it quickly became...something more steady, more filling, more secure, more meaningful than twitterpation.

So is that what they're talking about when they say they didn't have all the giddiness and butterflies? Because if that's it, wow, it makes complete sense! ...I have no way of knowing, since I can't experience what someone else has. And then there's the question: "How authentic could all of those feelings have been after only a couple of months of friendship and dating? Clearly, it was more emotional than rational." Maybe so. But had we stayed together and proven those feelings, that wouldn't be in question. Had we been a straight couple who became sealed together for time and all eternity, those moments would be considered beautiful testaments of our love and dedication for each other, seeds we planted and nourished by dedication, commitment, and mutual respect and appreciation.

Well, whatever the "butterflies" are, and whether infatuation is present early on in most relationships, "most" relationships fail, butterflies or not, and arranged marriages in some cultures have incredible endurance rates, with many couples in arranged marriages saying they're fully happy and don't believe in the necessity of all of this western romanticizing we do. Either way, there's something beautiful about choosing to be with someone even without the euphoria, or the butterflies, or infatuation "stage" because in that case, it's clearly not just a hormonal insanity, and more likely a real connection, appreciation, and attraction of a more enduring kind. But all else being equal, if I can choose to have that real connection along with what I felt for him or instead with what I've felt for those to whom I wasn't romantically attracted but with whom I've had enduring friendships, I know which one I would choose. That's if that's actually an option.

Continue to Part 3...

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