Then I catch his eyes, bright and bubbling with laughter, and that angry little piece of me dies.
Weeks pass when I’m apart and far from him. The distance prompts him to direct some of his attention elsewhere, and I am made to feel left out and ignored. Days like this, it’s terrifying to watch him go someplace I can’t follow, a sharp turnaround from those days when he was constantly available to me.
Then I remember the good times we shared, how much I really mean to him, and in ways that I can’t imagine, the feeling of betrayal dies slowly.
When I’m comfortable at home and I just don’t want to do anything else, I hear the notifications from my phone – messages from him troop in. Eventually calls would come in and I have to answer. I find myself resenting the intrusion. A piece of me longs for the days when being single meant not responding to anyone and just enjoying my freedom.
Then I remember: I like responding to him, talking to him, interacting with him. Then he tries new things and flirts with me. And that piece of lazy longing dies.
The days come when I doubt him, when I wonder fleetingly if he truly loves me and if I do love him, and if I truly trust him. And I become afraid he might end up hurting me. These doubts sure have a way of messing with one when you least expect them.
Then I see him standing, smiling at me. And suddenly these doubts tide away like murky water being sucked away down the sink.
When I’m out and about with all without him, and I see other men, with their bulges pressing against their trousers, lust creeps in. I am very content with him, but a nagging voice whispers to me: “Before, you would have fucked that boy without feeling guilty and tied down…”
Then I remember that flirtier me, whose hopes and dreams centered on being successful and a distinct thought of the possibility of a life with someone. Hopes him fulfills one day at a time. And that self-deprecating piece of me dies.
When he is angry and suddenly moody, and I can’t care less about his coveted silence, part of me aches at the memory of quiet independence. Of sex on the couch with some indifference and long dates without emotional attachment.
Then I think of his laughter, and the sound of his voice, that cute little stress he puts on the word ‘Please’, and that roguish little ache, that selfish piece of me quickly withers.
In the words of a father when he once wrote to his fourteen-year-old son: “Marriages become beautiful when two people embrace the only good reason to get married – to practice the daily sacrifice of their egos. And if you fall into the trap of thinking your ego-wall is essential to being a man, it will destroy any chance of having an enduringly joyful marriage. Because, in the end, the entire purpose of marriage is to dismantle your ego-wall, brick by brick, until you are fully available to the person you love. Open. Vulnerable. Dangerously united. People have sex because for a moment at the climax of it, their mind is without walls, the ego goes away and they feel free and fully connected. With sex, the feeling lasts for only a moment. But if you commit yourself to marriage, you commit yourself to the long, painful, joyous work of dismantling your ego-walls for good. Then, the moment can last a lifetime.”
I believe this applies to every relationship, because the true meaning of a relationship is being there for the other person, even when you are at your lowest, and be willing to embrace the beauty of sacrifice, the surrender of your strength and individuality, at the peril of your vulnerability.
Committing your life to someone has such a strange dichotomy. It is exhausting and life-giving. It constantly makes me exercise my faith, tests my patience, and stretches my heart so much I feel it could tear. But, as a result, it makes my patience and faith stronger. My heart is way bigger now. And although sometimes I still reach for the end of my rope, my rope is sure getting longer.
It’s true that every day I’m with him, a little piece of me dies.
But I know I would never mourn those losses.
My significant other makes me a better person every day.
And then the piece of me that doubts if I’m doing this “relationship thing” right… it dies too.
And I’m left with so much gratitude and joy.
Written by Handle