Had a very troubling conversation with some of my girlfriends on the phone that bothered me enough to write about it. We were chatting about relationships, love and life in general when one of the women on our call (she’s more a friend of a friend than my friend) started to belittle another woman we know for “settling” in love. Friend-Of-A-Friend went in about how the person Lady X married didn’t have as much education as X and the list of her complaints about X’s partner went on and on. I usually won’t touch the topic of settling when it does come up but this time was an exception. I decided to take on Friend-Of-A-Friend, but before I tell you how that went I want to tell you about a very revealing conversation I had with another friend of mine on this very topic.
A couple of weeks ago a friend of mine asked on her Facebook page:
When people say “settle” in love, what does that word, settle, mean to you?
When she asked, I definitely stayed out of the debate on Facebook but the next time we spoke on the phone about her upcoming book the subject came up and we chatted about it. Like me, she doesn’t care for the word. She asked the question as part of the research for her book and she was asking about it in a completely different light than most people usually do. Our initial talk on the subject was short mainly because we agreed on most things but a few days later I called her to share the epiphany I had about settling since our last conversation.
I rarely hear anyone say that men settle when it comes to love.
Honestly, when was the last time you heard anyone say that a man settled in love? People usually don’t say that. Yet, society loves to stress the point of women settling over and over again. Why is it that people are so consumed with this idea of women settling?
On June 12, 1998 at around 10:30pm my love and I got married at the Chapel of the Bells in South Lake Tahoe, California, after only 45 days of knowing one another. We had only kissed once and had never had sex before we said our marriage vows. Our marriage began as our way of moving off base so we could hold on to what we could feel was growing between us. Our marriage was something we treated lightly during the first few months; we were friends playing house.
By October 31, 1998 it had become extremely clear that there was something powerfully healing that bonded us on top of the easy friendship that filled our lives with laughter and our sexual attraction. As time passed, circumstances beyond our control and many of the choices we made together and as individuals tested our marriage; we passed test after test. Passing these many tests over the last fourteen years has etched different dates in our memory that mean to us just as much as our wedding anniversary and October 31, 1998.
A lot of people look at the love we now share, a love that is stronger now than ever before, a love that is filled with hope, a love that is vibrant and shiny and easy and comfortable and everything that many people want and these people say…
You’re so lucky!
Well, we are lucky that at the young age of 21 we against all strange odds were paired up to clean dorms together for a week. We are lucky that we both agreed to do the craziest dumbest smart thing in the world by marrying one another just 45 days later. We are lucky that the Celestial Planning Committee made it so that we were together on October 31, 1998 so that we could realize that an easy friendship and laughter meant more to us than anything else at that time (and it still does). We are lucky in many regards but luck has never been what has kept us together.
In my fourteen year relationship I have forgiven and I have been forgiven.
We would say that we forgave one another, we would make an attempt to move forward yet we would still not feel healed, we wouldn’t completely move forward and nothing would be resolved. It was as if one event started to make the relationship go sour, we forgave yet an unspoken baby elephant became the third member of our relationship, then time, bad choices, revenge, and each disappointment fed that elephant until eventually we became so used to feeding it that we stopped nourishing our love. The elephant sitting between us was huge; what was left of our love was tiny and starving.
This happens to many couples even though the circumstances that caused them and the new problems we face are different. It is so easy to have our perfect love crush us, pull the rug from underneath us, terribly disappoint us and/or completely destroy our trust. When that happens we often look back wondering was I intoxicated by romantic love so much that I did not see this person clearly but you did see them; it was that time had not yet given them enough opportunity to fail you. Almost everyone we love from parents and siblings to spouses and children to friends and business associates will disappoint us if given enough time and opportunity.
We know that people aren’t perfect and that they will at one time or another do something that causes us to hurt but why can’t we forgive when they do?
After all the hurt in my relationship I had to learn that to truly move forward forgiveness was about more than saying it or wanting it to be true. Giving someone another chance involves accepting that the person you love and have created a life with is capable of disappointing you again.
A few hours ago, I woke up from a dream that was so romantic, intense, sexual, scary, sweet, confrontational and comforting all at the same time but it was mostly exhausting. Yes, exhausting is how I would describe most of the dreams I’ve been having this year. I don’t know how many of them I would call dreams because moving through these active endless vivid dreams feels more like a nightmare than a dream when what my body craves is restful sleep.
I have been dreaming of sex with women & men & women & men… a lot of sex and my spouse is always in these dreams.
These dreams where I am having sex with him and other people or where he is having sex with other people are very new. During our many years of marriage I can’t say I had sexual dreams in which I could clearly see his face. I would dream about having sex with a body and I would think it was him or in the dream I would feel his presence but I would never see him.
I see his face in my sexual dreams now. In these dreams we have reached the point where we effortlessly can have sex with others without the “checking in” with one another emotionally before, during or after. We are fully secure with our sexuality, our relationship and our emotions in these dreams. Sometimes there are events in these dreams that make me feel uneasy and it is always him that I look to for comfort or rescue. This is so new to me – all of it but especially turning to anyone for rescue. Very new.
One of my favorite Twitter friends has just about had enough with love advice. Over the last few weeks she has been popping up in my timeline often angry about the sorry shit that is being passed off as love advice. I always laugh when I see the tweets because I agree with her but I know that until the end of time there will be people giving love “advice”.
So. Here’s some love advice…
I never found one Disney princess I could relate to as a child. Not one. I didn’t play with dolls either. My childhood games were all imagination and heart. Theatrical works written one act at a time in which I always was my own hero. Then one day in the sixth grade I heard Karyn White sanging “Superwoman”. Yes! I said sanging…she was sanging the shit out of that song. While many of my girlfriends SANG that song most didn’t understand the meaning behind it. My mother was a Superwoman let down by her knight in shining armor. So, I felt it in my heart, I understood, I stopped where I was emotionally and I sang it loud…