I will admit that I’m a bit of a riddle wrapped up in an enigma wrapped in a vest when it comes to the idea of commitment.
On the one hand, I’d like to claim that I could be it’s poster child: I’m a serial monogamist. I don’t cheat (often). I like relationships. I like calm. I like steady. I’m possessive--in the most positive way I can spin it. I like safety. I don’t mind being tied down. I prefer the ‘couple’ activities. I HATE dating. I have no want for casual sex.
Commitment seems to be perfect for me.
However, when the (rare) prospect of getting into a relationship is brought up, when the guy I’m sleeping with or dating brings up the idea or we have ‘the talk’, I can feel my chest tighten. My mouth dries, palms sweat, fear grips me and I feel the sudden urge to flee.
Find Dodge and get the hell out of it.
So for someone who is generally a faithful, loving and one guy type of girl, you’d think that commitment would be no sweat. I find guys who will give me my space, I like to think I’m fairly open, I work my ass off in relationships, I earn my own way, I’m supportive, I give good parent. Not to brag or anything but I make a decent enough girlfriend.
So why do I fear that title so much?
I mean, yes, at the end of the day it kinda is just a lip service. There’s no special powers I can get (although, flying would be pretty awesome). No achievement to unlock. It’s a title, one I could possibly live without if necessary. I’m a semi-private person and therefore don’t need to bring up my boyfriend or lack thereof every five minutes. So yes, I could go the artsy pretentious route and say “baby, we don’t need to put a label on it. What we have is special.”
But this is where the conundrum comes into play.
Because I do want that. I do want you to be proud to be with me. To ‘claim’ me in a way. To say you’re mine and I’m your’s. To tell the girls to back off, you’re taken. To get all the perks of the girlfriend status. To drop the ‘my boyfriend’ in the rare conversation.
Yes. I’m a soft, sappy, little girl at heart.
Over the past couple of months, I’ve been able to reflect on my fears revolving around relationships and commitment. It was both something I wasn’t ready for and something that I craved. There was a certain unknown and mystery that romanticized the start of something new and exciting. There was no need to talk about it, I just wanted to enjoy the moment. It was a surreal feeling and there was a lot of baggage surrounding it, so I was okay to keep it on the down low. However, after a couple of months of fooling around, I felt a little like a mistress, hidden away and spoken about only in secret.
However the time did come when things were set in motion. Girlfriend status was on the way and I was suitably freaked and feeling extremely guilty. I mean, this is what I wanted, right? To have someone commit to me, to call me their girlfriend, to love, cherish, respect and be mine right? So why was I freaking out? Why was I picking fights?
What it came down to was the fact that I was afraid of lending what I had a name. When something was as fluid and unofficial as what I had, it could survive. There was no pressure, no outside demands, no politics and if it ended, it’d hurt like hell but I guess I figured that maybe it wouldn’t feel so, broken. It wasn’t a ‘real’ thing and therefore it was less fragile.
My break up with C was miserable. I don’t think I had ever cried that much in front of another human being. I could feel my heart practically breaking and I felt so raw, so empty and so... not betrayed, but perhaps untrusting is the better word. Plus, hello blotch city.
It felt like a slap in the face, right out of the blue. How could someone, someone who cared about you so much, someone who you loved and wanted to build a future with do something like that?
How could they just end things? Break your heart?
Now, given perspective, I can appreciate C’s reaction and understand where he was coming from. However, this was my first ‘real’ relationship and I was practically shattered when it ended. Could I really just try this again? Could I put myself on the line again? Knowing how much it hurt for things to end, was I really ready to pretty much set myself up for the same feelings in six months, eight months, a year?
When I was discussing it with the guy who would eventually become The Boy, I said it was a leap of faith. Because, to me, that’s what it felt like: leaping. Free falling. Trusting someone would be there, be there for you when you leapt.
Trust has never been something that’s been easy for me.
I wish I could say that he made some long, endearing and romantic speech after that. I wish I could say he showed up with a boom box and my favourite song blaring from it, or serenaded me from the bleachers or wrote me a letter for every day of the year, declaring his desire and love for me. I wish I could say that there was some grand gesture that made it easy for me to realize that yes, I was ready to leap.
But there wasn’t.
Life isn’t that easy. There’s no soundtrack to cue you on what you should be feeling right now. There’s no Fray song to let me know that yes, this is the one for me.
At the end of the day there was just a feeling and some trust. It was still rocky, I still screwed it up, it still felt like it was the wrong idea or maybe the fates, or the universe were against us.
But, despite the anxiety, the palms sweating, the chest tightening up... when it came down to it, down to the actual question, all there was was complete calm and of course, a yes.
Because that’s the only answer I needed.
Despite the rough start I’ve been given with The Boy, I think this is a learning lesson in itself. Perhaps more than ever I’ve been given the chance to learn and grow, to work on the main components of a relationship and test those wobbly boundaries of the brand new relationship.
Right now, everything feels like a mess. There’s drama, pain, hurt, mistrust and basically every element of a new Greek tragedy. However, in the end, hopefully it’ll make things stronger. Communication, commitment, strength, love, respect... all of these things are so incredibly important right now. Perhaps if we can make it through this, we can tough it out through anything...
Oh, who am I kidding?