“Well, what do you need help with? Let’s start with that since you already know many things that I need help with.”
It was a gracious thing to say, but I also felt like he was testing me. And I felt like, regardless of my answer, I was going to get it “wrong.” So I was honest. “I think I need help with having someone to comfort me. I’m so independent that sometimes I don’t even know I need comfort. I miss trusting someone enough to bounce ideas off of.”
He said that seemed “vague and not so transparent. Do you really feel that you are being transparent with me?”
“Um, yeah.” I was being as transparent as I could. But it didn’t look transparent or feel transparent to him so I’m sure that he felt I was being evasive. I said as much. I got no response back.
I think he was asking for a list. I know that many men (and women) like to know what’s expected of them. They get satisfaction out of fixing things. Doing things. I get that. I do too. But I didn’t have a list for him. What I needed at that moment was a big, tight hug and a long, slow kiss. That wasn’t the answer he was looking for.
I mostly raised myself. I had a narcissistic mother who crafted a co-dependent daughter. I haven’t been monumentally successful at retraining myself to not be co-dependent and so, to avoid the tendency, I avoid the circumstances and therefore, sometimes, any hint of commitment. I am strenuously careful about the people I become attached to because I can get very attached. Those I do get attached to are often highly independent themselves, and therefore don’t need me terribly, or I just bobble along with a string of acquaintances.
This messes with my love-life. I don’t like dating. I’m not good at small talk. I prefer to talk about big things, important ideas. I’m not good at slow. I’m getting better, but it’s a struggle. Being independent has encouraged my inclination to jump in, feet first. I’m a passionate person, I love adventure, I love surprises, I love mystery. I fall in love with people, ideas, places quickly and want to know everything about them.
This, I find, is not normal.
This, I don’t much have a problem with.
I like who I am. I know I’m a handful but I’m a good person and loyal and loving. But, yeah, hard to get to know. And I recognize that I shut people out because I don’t (and don’t want to) need anyone. And I don’t want them to need me and possibly blot me and my needs out all together. Well, that’s not precise: I want to need someone. I want to have a partner/lover/husband but I don’t know how to let that man through my unconscious barriers (and habits) to create that braid. The men who have gotten through have really wanted to get through. I’ve had some amazing, loving relationships in my life, with some truly wonderful men.
But I have no idea how it happened and even less of a notion of how to recreate it.
I have no idea what I need. I address my needs one at a time, instinctively. Was I supposed to say: My car needs a tune-up (it does); my house needs to be dusted (it does); I need my script to be bought; I need to go to the store; I need to return emails and phone calls…?
Someone quoted Tony Robbins the other day (please bear with me). He said that women are too busy being a good man to find a good man.
This is me, but, you know, so then what? How am I supposed to run my life, push for a career, maintain good relationships with my friends and family and fulfill myself creatively and still be perceived as feminine enough? I appreciate that I’m not supposed to be ringing my hands like a Brontean heroine waiting for my Duke of Somewhere to swoop me up, but where’s the middle? What’s the solution?
I would like, very much, for someone to help me, to share the decision making, to cook or shop when I’ve had a long day, to pay half or (blissfully) more or all of the bills until I can make a very lucrative living at writing. But what does that mean in the interim?
Be strong all day long, but when it’s time for a date be just needful enough to make a man feel needed, then go back to being strong when the date is over? It feels like a game or, worse, false advertising. And for the life of me I don’t know how to be that flexible.
None of this, of course, will be any consolation to the men I meet in the future.
“Strong, confident woman In Search Of strong, confident man. Must be smart and funny and resilient and patient and passionate. And tall. And athletic and creative… Etc.”