Monogamy feels important at this point in our relationship because it would make me feel valued in the way I need. It would allay my fears of being temporary 'booty' while Mr. Weird Science hopes for someone better to come along. Monogamy would create the safety for even deeper levels of physical and emotional intimacy. It would reflect a shift of intention and show that I might not be wasting my precious forties on a relationship going nowhere. The possibility of "us" would become more real than hypothetical. For me, a year of dating without any discussion of monogamy was starting to make me feel insignificant in the eyes of someone that had become very significant to me. I want to be more than just a diversion for him.
It doesn't feel like I am because there's a tenderness and heartfelt depth to our relationship; albeit a cautious depth. Our relationship makes me realize that the impact of divorce has scarred my ego with a type of fragility I've never experienced before. So much so, that the idea of fully trusting my feelings and expressing them seems reckless. This is where I feel stuck: In my mind I'm still not convinced of my ability to choose the best partners. But my gut feels differently about this one. It knows that this is the first and only time I've ever been in a relationship that's moving slowly enough and organically enough for me to see it and him clearly. I'm not blinded by a whirlwind of desperate and premature emotions. And unlike my twenties, I'm not caught up in the cheering and giddy conjecturing of my sista-friends as I fill them with the juicy deets of our relationship. This relationship isn't fodder for entertainment. It feels too special and private. I'm also not rushing toward destination "husband". In fact, I feel unaffected by the social stigma of being over forty, divorced, single and childless. I don't need a man to feel complete. But I am hoping to find a life partner. Not a friends-with-benefits situation. At least not with him.
I also feel stuck here: In my mind, I'm all for surrendering to vulnerability and opening up the discussion about monogamy. But my fragile heart wants some type of guarantee against disappointment. And to fully heal this pitifully fragile remnant of my heart seems to require an exorbitant amount of courage, integrity and trust. And I simply don't know where to find any of those things. Fear is blocking my view. It's hovering over my heart like an overprotective parent; full of good intentions but crippling my potential to build from scratch the type of relationship I want. A relationship characterized by deep love, raw passion and fiery chemistry while grounded in vulnerability, intimacy, communication and trust. Clearly I still have work to do and totally resent the fact that, even six years after divorce, I'm still tainted by it. That I now view love and relationships through the lens of self-doubt and insecurity rather than possibility. That I can't imagine someone really loving me.
And now I've found myself deep enough into this relationship where my needs have grown yet the emotional stakes feel high enough to get hurt. I care about how he feels, how he feels about me and how he feels about monogamy -- with me. But to continue in a relationship of over a year without any discussion or commitment to monogamy is a red flag for me. I know in my gut that I can't stick around in a relationship going nowhere, no matter how good it feels when we're together. Especially when what I really want is to build, create and nurture a possible partnership.
I used to ignore the red flags in the past. And that's what got me here. But I'm making a commitment to myself to break the cycle; even if vulnerability brings disappointment. Fingers crossed...