Just recently I found myself saying that the words ‘relationship’ and ‘love’ weren’t adequate for what I felt for Stephen. I always thought I knew what they meant and, for previous relationships, they were sufficient. Not now though. As my feelings for Stephen go deeper and wider than I’ve ever felt before I thought I’d try and work out what it all means to me. After all, that’s what this blog is for!
I hesitate to call it love at first sight (why do I hesitate? - see last paragraph) but I truly think I fell in love with him by the time we got home from the station - a journey of about 30 minutes! Something clicked between us straight away and I believe there is something we can recognise in another human being without the use of words. Call it instinct if you like. We’d felt relaxed enough in our online chats and emails to meet in the first place and it was evident from the start that we shared a lot of thoughts and interests, but a connection was made between us almost instantly. He immediately felt relaxed and easy to get on with and he has progressively felt more easy to be open and honest with as time goes on.
Openness and honesty seem to me to be two of the most important aspects of any relationship to be had with anyone. It has to start with self. The openness and honesty I express to another person is first limited by how open and honest I can be with myself and secondly by the restraints of the relationship. For instance, I wouldn’t necessarily tell a close friend my deepest sexual fantasy but I might tell my lover.
While I have often explored my own openness with myself and investigated thoughts and feelings to an extreme, I have often limited that expression with another. I found after the end of one relationship that I’d placed my own limits on the capability of my partner to understand and accept. In conversation with him one day, after the end of the relationship, I mentioned something I thought might have been taboo between us only to find he wanted to know more and shared a similar interest. The reason we hadn’t discussed it when we lived together was more about my insecurities than my perception of his acceptance of my thoughts.
Discussions with Stephen have already encompassed insecurities and acceptance. We have both talked about withholding things from others only to find this causes some difficulty further down the line, or to find there was no reason in the first place and that the other person would have liked it mentioned. Consequently, we have vowed not to censor any thought, fantasy, or idea until after it has been mentioned. If we don’t give each other the chance to say, “no” how will we know we want to? So far, the answers have been resounding, “yes’s” to anything we’ve talked about.
It is this flowering of acceptance between us that enables me to be more open with myself and then with him than I’ve ever felt I could before. When I can talk about my deepest fantasies and desires with him I feel more and more that he is part of me. I described him once as the part of me I didn’t know was missing. I can say absolutely anything to this man and not fear rejection.
I’ve already written about finding that we shared similar values, interests and ideals. As that first week moved on we both discovered there was more to life that we shared; lying on the sea wall gazing at the sky and then another night looking at the stars, walking in the rain and fog, nature, food, books, self-expression, and much more. This gave us much to talk about and I found very quickly that this also deepened any feelings I had for the man.
We learn from each other. We learn about how the other has experienced the world and experiences it now. I’m fascinated in the difference between his experiencing and his philosophy on life and mine and want to absorb it and learn from it. He expands my mind.
He recently wrote:
“I love your mind as much as all of the rest of you. You expand my mind and touch my heart. What more could I ask for? I relish every little tiny part of you my love. Your body is where your heart and soul reside, so how could your every physical expression not be magical and sacred to me?”
He also has a way of putting things that mirror my own thoughts and feelings and this was one of them. I include this not to boast about the way he feels about me (although I think I am entitled to boast and sometimes I want to) but because it is an instance of like-thinking. And like-thinking runs through us like a thread. When ALL aspects of our experiencing and sharing and partnership are inextricably linked perhaps that is where the separateness of us begins to blur. This is how I feel with Stephen. Separate but one. I value our separateness and I celebrate and cherish our oneness.
I want to celebrate every aspect of him and me. There is magic and sanctity in our physical, emotional, sexual and intellectual expressing, which is why the word relationship feels inadequate. In accordance with his Pagan take on life and my own, largely eastern philosophy on life, we both understand the importance of ritual and celebration and it feels important to both of us to celebrate all aspects of our being together, whether this is about the simpler acts of life and love or the deeper insights we have into ourselves and each other.
His words are rich and expressive and give me insight into his mind and soul. I love listening to him talk. I love reading what he writes. I love hearing what he has to say. Someone once said, "We read in order to know we are not alone." Maybe it is as much about knowing there are people there accepting us, as well as knowing we are not the only person to experience things in the way we do. Reading and writing create and generate empathy.
On top of all this I love looking at the man. I love the sight of him. I love his looks. I love watching how he moves. I love the way he performs actions and the positioning of his body as he does so. I was attracted to his looks in the first place but I don’t know when I became attracted to the rest. Did this come about because of how I began to feel about the rest of him or what? One seems to arise from the other. I could look at him for hours and this is also a first for me. I’ve never found anyone else so physically attractive, let alone so intellectually, emotionally and sexually attractive. I’m also interested in the physiological aspects of how I can go weak at the knees when he scratches his ear or when he walks or when he looks at me - but another time for that.
So, have I discovered why the word relationship is inadequate in describing what we have between us? I don’t think so but I think I have gone some way towards it. What I am describing is love, deep love. It is deep enough to not be able to see the bottom. It is frightening in its comfort and comforting in its fear. I feel safer than ever in exploring myself and exploring another person. I feel supported, understood and encouraged. He holds me up and is there ready should I fall. Why would I not want to enter into life with this person?
Note: Why did I hesitate to call it love at first sight? Perhaps because I’ve been conditioned to think of this as a romantic ideal that only the likes of Mills & Boon authors write about or was the subject of romantic films. In talking to others I have found that we’re not alone in our situation. I’ve talked to a couple of people who met their partners and fell in love pretty much straight away and at least two who decided to move in almost immediately. This gives me strength.