Today I'm working from home, enjoying more rainy days and baking birthday goodies in the background. I can't believe that this will be the second birthday of Mike's that I get to celebrate with him. I remember, right before I met him, saying to myself, "I'm so glad I'm single right now. I have all the time in the world!" Then, BAM, there he was. Things started without my fully understanding what was happening and before I knew it, I was in the throes of the real deal. Through it all, Cyndi's been one of my sounding boards. I've come to her with my insecurities and she has soothed me (or empathized) with me through them. These days Cyndi has a beau of her own, and it seems the lessons just keep on coming. Without further ado, I'm excited to present my first guest post from one of my oldest, bestest friends.
But along the way, because so far I haven’t ended it or run away, and for me that’s all the stars in the galaxy gigantic, I’ve learned about what I need in a partner. I’ve learned a lot about what I need in a partner. And to each partner her own needs, but I thought I’d share mine, put them out there raw and vulnerable-like, as though putting it down in words will make them okay, smash Hulk style the fear and shame I associate with them.
I need a partner who is attentive--intensely and passionately attentive but not needy. Someone who wants to be around me, talk to me, see me, touch me, be with me so often we’re a cocoon of gross love falling but who doesn’t need that. Just wants it.
I need a partner who is patient, who sees my problems with vulnerability and raises me patience – because ultimately, eventually, I will talk about what’s bothering me. In fact, I can’t sleep, focus, do anything until I finally talk. It just takes me a while, sometimes a great, long, infinity while, to get up the nerve to say, “I feel vulnerable and here’s why.”
I need a partner who is silly, who is completely and utterly unafraid to laugh and giggle and joke and tease and tickle and play and frolic and smile and run with wild abandon to the swings on a playground meant for small people 1/5 our age and just be silly. I’m joyous and fun-loving at my best, and I need a partner who likes that, embraces that and shares it.
I need a partner who likes to do things, active things, sedentary things (in my living room wine tastings, for example), all things. I need a partner who is adventurous. If given the space and freedom, I will plan 22 dates on top of each other, all one right after the next, a series of big and small and outdoor and indoor and new and silly and adventurous and romantical dates that have been piling in my head, a mountainous to-do list for which the only remaining ingredient has been the perfect partner in crime.
I need a partner who makes me feel more secure than maybe seems normal, that maybe is what women say they need right before being misappropriated as “crazy.” I need a partner who reaffirms his affections, physically and with words and with actions and with deed. I’m finding a minefield of insecurities as I stumble through this relationship thing, insecurities I buried or wasn’t self-aware enough to recognize as insecurities in my younger relationships, and while the impetus is on me to address them (and I’m working on it, oh I am!), I need someone who is going to look me in the eye and say, “I’m not running.” Because it makes me a little less scared to stay.
I need a partner who uses words and shares words with me, who is not necessarily a poet emeritus (because who reads poetry anyway?) but who says to me, and says to me often, what I do to him, what I make him feel, what he likes about me, what turns him on, what turns him off, a partner that basks in words because words, simply words, is how I love and how I relate (except when I feel scared or vulnerable, in which case words get caught in the vast throbbing, hurting place between my chest and my throat, and I just can’t until I can).
I need a partner who lets me be me, which is simple and cliché, but it’s not and it’s not. It’s hard to find, and it’s the ultimate. It’s freeing, and it trumps all my fears and insecurities and tells them to lay dormant because I can be me, and I can embrace all that I am, and that is enough and he will like me because of it all. And that’s the biggest need of all. And the biggest thing I can give in return.
And I need a partner who shares with me his needs because I want to meet them and be there for him and give him the space and freedom to be all that he is and wants to be.
In this new adult relationship thing, I’ve adjusted my expectations and I’ve watched myself grow, and I’ve forced myself to communicate, just a little at a time (I’m a firm believer in baby steps), and because of that, I am okay at this and forgiving myself for not being a natural and getting better, a little better, every day. And he accepts that and me and is patient and is kind and is silly and lets me plan things and goes on adventures with me as simple as laughing in the rain.
And I like that. And I like him.