“Good luck on the quest! It’s a jungle out here. Be gentle with yourself!”
November 8, 2023
I’ve been trying to figure out why I’m so threatened by the news you’re dating. I search my heart trying to understand why I feel this way. I don’t have to dig very deep. The answers are so near the surface.
It’s not the notion that you’re physically intimate with someone else. Jealousy of that sort has never been an issue for me. Of course, if I’m in an exclusive relationship, if there are agreements around fidelity, that’s a whole different story. But that doesn’t apply to us and hasn’t for coming up on six months.
You’ve become part of the fabric of my life. You’re part of my inner circle, one of my closest friends, someone with whom I’m transparent, someone who knows me intimately. That has always been what binds me to you, and I think what binds us to one another. We talk daily. We’ve established a rhythm. I like what we have. If I sense a change, I get anxious. I’ve made a commitment to our friendship, and I can never be certain if your level of commitment is the same. You’re not free with the sentiments, you’re not liberal with the affirmations.
It frightens me that you will become involved with a woman who requires you to give up your friendships with women or who is threatened by the fact we were once romantically involved. I would hope you’re smart enough not to be with a woman like that. I’ve enough experience I simply will not allow another person to dictate my relationships, but I don’t know if you do. The lure of a partner can override what we know to be true — short-term gain over long-term friendships. I’ve not let that lure keep me from my friendships since I was in my 20s. Losing a partner and not having nurtured my friendships left me all alone after a devastating breakup. It was a painful time and I worked to regain the trust of my friends. Some friendships were irreparably broken; I still grieve those losses. I’ve worked a lifetime to build my chosen family. I’ll never sacrifice those relationships for a man. Lovers come and go but friends stay.
I don’t even like to admit this one because it’s so small and petty. But I will. Confession is good for the soul… I cannot fucking believe you’ve had two relatively serious relationships in the six months since we transitioned to friendship. It pisses me off and I’m jealous I’ve not found someone. On the other hand, that was by choice. I’ve had opportunities but haven’t been up to acting on them. So, I can’t fault you for being open when I’ve deliberately chosen to close off for a time. I just assumed you and I would be on the same course, plodding along as single folks, just getting through life. But of course you’re not going to be on the same trajectory as me. Assumptions lead to expectations which often result in unnecessary disappointments. The good news is that I see where I’m off and I’m working to correct.
I want nothing more than for you to be happy, to find a relationship that works for you long-term. I want you to find someone wholly compatible. I want you to fall in love and have all the goodness that comes with that. Because there is such goodness in that. I want you to find someone who accepts you completely, and who loves you just as you are. I want you to find the love that will feed your innermost being, a love that brings you joy. I want that for all my friends. I want that for me.
As I often say to the men I meet online: “Good luck on the quest! It’s a jungle out here. Be gentle with yourself!”