This is a comment by Booster Blake on the post “Don’t Let This One Go“.
“Thank you for your insightful and helpful reflection of your choices in life partnership. It’s very comforting and inspiring to me to hear this perspective. I can relate to your ‘troubled soul’ characterization, and I feel I’ve been conditioned to refuse to settle for anything less than the ‘right’ partner. But what is ‘right’? Is it a woman that possesses me mind, body, and soul? Someone that I can’t stop thinking about? Is that the hallmark of partner-worthiness? Or as you have discovered, is it something less flashy and more secure?
Allow me to share a bit more… I’m 40, been divorced from a 10 year marriage for 5 years now, and I have two sons. When I got back into relationship, I was gunshy and decided to give open relationships a try with two amazing women. One was young, free-spirited, artistic, passionate, moody, and had that ‘pizzazz factor’ (I called it ‘zing’ at the time). It’s a quality of attraction that makes devotion to that person feel almost effortless (perhaps even addictive). The other was more emotionally stable, mature, self-sufficient, understanding, more like how you describe your wife now.
“After about six months into the relationship, I revealed to the older one the fact that I didn’t feel the zing with her like I did with the other woman. I expected her to leave me as a result, which I think is kinda what I wanted to happen but what she said next floored me. She said, ‘Ok, well is what we have good enough? It’s okay if you have different feelings for her, after all we’re different people so that makes sense. But is there enough between you and I to make it worth your time and energy to continue to see each other?’ It was the most humble, considerate, understanding, supportive thing I’d ever had a partner say to me (I’ve since given her plenty of hardheaded opportunities to top it with more). I thought, there’s no way I’m going to leave a woman that can love me like that!
“I should’ve given her my heart right then. But I didn’t. I was still fixed on the notion that my partner needed to have that zing. I feared I’d be shorting my dream of romantic bliss otherwise. So, in time, as I withheld my fullest expression of love, she met someone else. Someone more ready to meet her love. A fantastic man and good friend of mine. They fell in love and now live together. They continue to have an open relationship and she still claims that I have her heart. That she still hopes to marry me someday…. But ‘not right now’, she says. ‘I’m enjoying this man and I don’t want to leave him. But I don’t want you to leave me either. I supported you while you had multiple partners and I want you to do the same for me.’
“Navigating the heart thru open relationships is a tough one and I’m learning so much about myself and how I operate. It’s been a year now and I still struggle everyday with the heartbreak of feeling like I’ve been replaced, despite her protests that I haven’t, that she loves me just as much as ever. As I sit in this place of discomfort, I wonder what I should do. Do I fight for her by sticking it out, supporting her no matter what? Hope that something will shift with her current partner and I’ll have her to myself again? Or do I accept that I’m not made for this sort of thing and move on to create another relationship elsewhere? I don’t know yet. But what I do know, what I have learned from this darling and secure woman, is what to look for in my next partner, whomever she may be. And my friend, the zing ain’t it.”
Photo credit: Flickr / John Loo