It’s not about expecting a superman or pretending I’m superwoman, it’s about what commitment means and what it looks like in action. Lately I’ve had occasion to think deep, long and hard about these things and I realise that I know and have always known what I want and what I want to give; I’ve just allowed myself to be distracted by other things that turned out in the long run to be quite unimportant and have little lasting value, if any.
As many years as I’ve lived and loved, I know now that the only thing that lasts is character: erections will get softer and hair will get greyer, which is just a shock-value-filled way of saying bodies will fail and looks will fade, but character lasts a lifetime: a kind generous man will be kind and generous even when his body is enfeebled. And so I know now that what I need is not just the ride of a lifetime, but also the kindness and support and being-thereness that only a romantic partner can give.
This is not to say that he has to be everything, – I believe that no one person can be everything to somebody else – but there are things that I believe cannot be had outside of romantic entanglement, things that a romantic partner has to be. Today, I want to talk about some of the things a relationship I’m in should be.
If you can’t be completely honest in your relationship then what on earth are you doing, what is the point of it all?
If you can’t trust your partner to be a soft place to land when the world makes you jump off of tall buildings, then what are you doing? If you can’t go to the person you love and who claims to love you right back, for relaxation and ease, then where can you go? –and what is that lover for?
I would like to give my all to a man who commits to growing with me, even as he grows on his own; to a man who can be honest with his strengths as much as with his weaknesses; who wants to bring all his issues to the table and trust that I love him enough to not run away; and love me enough to stand when I reveal the darkest, most putrid parts of my being. We’re all rotten at the core and we all wear masks to hide that rot – I want to be free from fear of censure; the man I allow into my spaces will be able to stand and hold my hand as we deal with our issues together.
It’s not about being perfect, but about feeling safe enough to admit to imperfection. It’s not about being whole, but about being secure enough to admit that there is work to be done. It’s not about looking for Mr Perfect, but about looking for a man who values the same things I do and laughs at some of the same things I do, whose world-view matches mine in the things that matter; who can look at me and see my imperfections for exactly what they are and choose me anyway.
It’s about trying to be a better person and finding that man who will be there when I want to cry, because he knows that his tears won’t scare me away in turn. It’s about that man who will be angry with me but still choose me even when he is angry, that man who will tell me that he’s not going anywhere and then prove it with his actions. It’s about that man who will decide ‘no matter what I ain’t leaving’ and then stick to that decision, no matter what. It’s about that man that I can ‘ride or die’ with, because I trust that no matter what, or who, he is on my side 100%, even if being on my side means disagreeing with me and not letting me persist with fallacies; it’s not about him being a yes-man, but about speaking the truth in love.
It’s about trusting that no matter the action, the intention is always love. I want a man that I can believe means it when he says ‘I didn’t mean to hurt you,’ a man I can trust to care about my feelings because he has taken the time to prove himself trustworthy and dependable, especially to me.
It’s easy to commit when things are smooth, but how many people do we know who changed their minds and walked out of their relationships when the going got tough? Why do relationships end?
It’s about staying through the retrenchments, saying ‘baby I’m scared and worried,’ and loving through the fear. It’s about staying through ill-health, because love, because commitment. That’s the kind of commitment that builds relationships that last, and that’s the kind of commitment I want. That radical kind.
That kind that’s making you give a derisive snort right now, even though you want that radical kind of love too. You just don’t believe it exists. Yet here I am talking about it, therefore it must exist, somewhere.
Such relationships don’t just happen though. They are grown over time, deliberately, intentionally. It starts with being willing, it starts with wanting that kind of radical commitment, believing it exists, and then being prepared to work at it and for it. I want the kind of man who will be prepared to work to make it work, because he wants it that badly. We work for things we want, don’t we? Why are relationships any different?