"Do you want me to go home? I'm worried that you feel an obligation to have me here because we had it all planned out." Dennis, my new boyfriend, was asking me this for the second time in 30 minutes. He'd been upstairs watching a New Year's Day football game. I was lying on the couch reading. We'd spent the day together, rising for an early breakfast and then a long bike ride. An immediate, "Of course not!" didn't come rising to my lips. I sat there and looked at Dennis quietly. I sat there and looked at myself quietly.
We should have been in a good place. We weren't. I'd limited myself. I'd held back big parts of me in the six weeks we'd been dating -- an older couple who'd come together with surprise and a lot of "like" going on. The sexual energy and chemistry we felt for one another was a gift and an excitement that sparked between us. I felt like a young girl again. And he was a boy who couldn't keep his hands still and wanted to be close to me all the time. I was in a relationship with a handsome, professional man who shared many of my interests. It was wonderful, exciting and I was running full-wide into it.
But, I'd not been paying good and close attention to what was going on with me. What was I really doing? As I sat there listening to Dennis and hearing his questioning of my feelings and desires, I realized I'd made a mistake -- a big one. I'd been behaving like a teenager -- infatuated, excited, intense, but also self-ignoring and silly. I'd taken two huge parts of myself off the table because Dennis -- with a raised eyebrow here, a non-reply there and a sprinkling of dismissive comments tossed in -- had let me know that these parts of me were ones he would rather I keep to myself. My deeply spiritual side and my philosophical flights-of-fancy side were pieces of me that Dennis was not interested in getting to know. So, what did I do? I willfully put them aside for the sake of "growing" this new relationship.
I so wanted to be "in love" again and to have the much-touted and sought-after sexual connection happening again, that I had lost track of myself. I'd been innocent in my dreams of a bright future with common interests and lots of nakedly hot intimacy. What I didn't see was that I had let things devolve into the least common denominators -- of bicycle rides, sexuality, movies and cooking -- in order to keep my "I've still got it!" fantasy alive.
I was in a relationship with a man who I kept apologizing to for being who I am. I'd been so busy "doing Dennis" the way he envisioned a relationship should be, that I'd put a good 50 percent of myself on hold when we were together. This left me in a state of confusion and spiritual angst with my radar system always alert, as I struggled to keep things on an even keel with happy smiles and "coupledom" as my goal. And, I had chosen to do this diminishment and hurting of myself.
I felt foolish, controlled and very, very young as this understanding fully dawned within me. But I also felt a huge sense of relief. I didn't need to have a man in my life at any cost -- certainly not this cost. I looked at Dennis with peaceful clarity and gentle compassion for both of us as I said, "Yes, you should go home."
As Dennis gathered his belongings and carted his bicycle out to the car, there was an opening of intimacy of me with myself. A potency of self-owning and a softness of love for myself began to bloom. My heart and my soul, my seeking mind and wide-flying spirit are who I am. These intimate parts of me are the parts that I cherish and love the most, I cannot put them quiet for anyone -- not even myself.
Robin Korth enjoys interactions with her readers. Feel free to contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Facebook.
To learn about her new book, "Soul on the Run," go to: www.SoulOnTheRun.com