Monthly Archives: March 2015

“I’ll be there for you”

Who is right for us? What do we want from them?

Why do some couples tackle life’s great challenges together, while others fly apart at a slight bump in the road?

Why are some couples able to plan a future together, knowing that being with each other is the rock upon which their worlds are built, while others are together “if it works out,”on swirling waters that may or may not flow in the same direction?

Some relationships seem to represent commitment, “I’ll be there for you.” Others seem contingent: “I like almost everything about you, but might meet someone who has more of what I like. Then I’m gone.”

Really?

Some of us are incapable of “love.” Again, this may be biological. We believe in love, we want love, we show a version of love, or infatuation, but we don’t do well with lasting, committed love. Maybe we were designed to upset the status quo, to breed with many so we can diversify combinations of DNA, or maybe we are broken by mother’s lack of attention when we were two years old.

Why does this happen? That doesn’t matter to me in this moment. What matters to me is that we recognize and accept and communicate these things, as difficult as that honesty may be.

We owe it to our partner to let them know we have a terminal case of wanderlust. Or commitment to our job. Or to our church. We owe it to them not to string them along, nor be “wrong” about what we think we want when in our deepest thoughts, we know we are likely to move along when something more attractive comes along.

We owe them clarity that they don’t matter to us as much as our other priorities. Yes, that’s harsh. But hiding it doesn’t make it less so.

I envy those couples, men and women, men and men, women and women, who know a partner will stop at the store for cream for their coffee, even though the partner drinks it black. Too many of us have learned over time not to even ask, or worse, won’t ask because we don’t want our partner to expect us to do the same for them.

Honesty is hard, but in the long run it’s much less damaging than false expectations.

Do we want a sales pitch?

My favorite coffee shop (name redacted) in Seattle has incredibly comfortable chairs where I go occasionally to stare out at the water and gather my thoughts. The chairs are clustered a little too close together, so sometimes conversations are shared with strangers.

Yesterday I overheard one that I knew I wanted to write about, which is why this post is a day late.

The woman, I’ll call her “Elaine,” was talking to “Robert.” They were friends, not lovers, though had been at one time.

“What do you tell a woman? What do you say to sweep her off her feet?” Elaine asked.

“I don’t really do that. I just am who I am,” Bob said.

“No wonder you’re still alone. You have to tell her that she’s the light of your life. That you’ll do anything and everything for her, forever. For better and worse,” Elaine said.

“Selling myself seems dishonest in this age of uncertainty,” said Bob. “I’m a good man. I do good things. I show them who I am, I don’t want to have to make a sales pitch.”

“You have to do more. Maybe you should at least tell them that you’ll be there, that you won’t… ” and here, Elaine couldn’t continue. She started to cry, but sort of pulled it back together and between breaths, said, “…you should tell them that you won’t cheat on them, that you won’t break their heart.”

I felt for Elaine. She was wearing recent wounds. I really admired Bob for not saying anything. Instead, he reached over and took Elaine’s hand.

I somewhat agree with Bob. It’s important to share a vision of the future, but to what extent do women want that vision molded and polished, as if we were being sold a used car? Not me. I want to see it run. I want to take it for a drive where I slam on the brakes, and yank the steering wheel. Is it safe on the road or only in the sales lot?

Flowers at the beginning of a relationship can be lovely, but flowers throughout a relationship are exquisite. I’m waiting for the one who brings flowers because that’s who he is, not just who he says he is.

Free books, a sneak peek

On Friday I completed a crucial chapter in the new book, Crosscurrents. It’s a bedroom scene. A friend said she had to leave the kitchen while reading it. I don’t know exactly what she meant, but I take that as a compliment. Crosscurrents will be released this year. I am committed to getting the first draft complete by the end of this month (March, 2015).

I’d like to send you that chapter in rough form, before the editor gets to it.

I’d also like to send you a FREE copy of Exposed in ebook format, gifted to you through Amazon. Or, if you’d prefer, I will send you a signed paperback copy for FREE, asking only that you pay shipping, which is about $4.75 at the media rate (Amazon is charging $15.51 for the book, plus a fee for shipping).

In return, I ask that you post a review of Exposed on Amazon. You reviews influence other readers and are important to our success. It’s that simple.

This offer is limited to the first 20 people who respond.

If you’d like to participate, just click here to fill out the form.

The first 10 of you who respond and have posted a review on Amazon will also get the ebook of Crosscurrents for free when it’s published, or the signed paperback if you’ll pay $4.75 for shipping. We have to pay Amazon the full price for ebooks we gift to you, so this is a real commitment on our part.

I want to thank everyone who has been reading the blog, or has purchased the book, or otherwise shown support. Without readers, we writers would not have the privilege of doing what we do.

Differences that unite

Salt is a rare but important commodity for monarch butterflies. Those that eat milkweed along roads treated with salt appear to have an advantage over those that don’t. With more salt, males develop more thoracic muscle, enabling them to fly further in search of females. Females get bigger brains and eyes, allowing them to find better places to nest.*

Hmmm. Males and females may be genetically programmed to have different priorities, and these may be expressed differently in different environments?

Because so often male / female communication seems so screwed up, I don’t think we really appreciate the extent to which biology plays a role. I may be painting a target on my chest, because so often when someone, anyone, brings this subject up, shout-downs often follow. I think the major culprit is the tendency to over-generalize.

So let’s agree for just a moment, anyway, that human sexuality has a mental component, and minds can’t be divided into simple categories of “man” and “woman.” We have homosexuals and pansexuals and asexuals galore, babies occasionally born physically as both, and while it may be that each of us has a tendency to a “wiring” that allows us to see the world a little differently than other people in the room, there are few absolutes.

We all know and accept not all straight men are insensitive, and not all straight women are nurturing. Bonding conditions at birth play a huge role, as does testosterone exposure in the womb, as does a hundred million other factors we haven’t even begun to discover.

Nature also plays with groups of individuals, tribes or societies. Where behaviors are partly genetic, and genes switch on and off, and environments change, and everything overlaps, sorting out a single “truth” about these things is pretty complicated. Categories are useful tools but are oversimplifications when dealing with continuums. Depending on them for ultimate “truth” is reckless.

Personally, I think differences are pretty cool and without them our species, any species, would be at a significant disadvantage. It’s rare that two people see the world in the same way, but it’s possible for either or both to change a point of view, if not priorities and genetics. Unconditional love is one of the most powerful and transformative forces on Earth.

Along with really good sex.

It also appears that some lab rats may feel regret, and, possibly empathy.* Not to overgeneralize, but I know a few guys that could take some lessons.

*Science News, July 12, 214

 

Training my lover

Sam didn’t used to be a great lover, but, OMG, does he know how to touch me now. It didn’t take long, either.

The other night we were talking in bed with him propped up on his elbows, when he scootched toward me and kissed me slowly on the lips. Just a soft, dry, lip-to-lip kiss, firm enough that I knew he was serious but still gentle and calm. He waited for my tongue to start to explore the contours of his lips. At some point, his hand found the small of my back but but that arm was also locked between my legs, so that when he pulled me close I could press against that muscle in just the way I wanted.

When we first met, he was tentative and I was in some kinda need (it had been a while). He could kiss me once, I would discover how aroused he was and that aroused me, and soon hands were all over everywhere with clothes flying, and it was good. But as time went by, what I wanted was a little different.

At first, Sam was confused, and a little hurt that I “didn’t seem to want him” like I used to.

Too many of us Romantics (capital “R”) want sex to be perfect all the time, and it’s not going to be. Most of us do not want a man to grope our groin 90 seconds after we sit next to them on the couch, or crawl into bed. We do not want a wet sloppy tongue in our mouth at the grocery store, or ten minutes after dinner. But that’s not to say we don’t ever want a probing tongue, right?

We own some of the problem if we fail to communicate with our lovers about what we are feeling and what we want. If it’s not “just right” and we pull back without communicating, or just go through the motions, or let them have their way while subtly communicating that they failed us, we leave them confused and hurt. That builds up baggage, and fast.

Most men want to please (and we shouldn’t be with those who don’t). But men don’t get much training in the arts, and the all-pervasive porn industry rarely gets it right. And, what we want varies from person to person, and often from day to day.

The language of sex is complicated, and talking about how to please each other may seem like it ruins the spontaneity. Or we may suffer from the belief that our perfect lover will come equipped with all the right moves and the capacity to know, immediately and instinctively and without words, exactly what we want.

Maybe. But do we want to waste years waiting for someone who might not arrive when we may be able to create perfectly good love-making with someone we love, and are willing to talk with about what we like, what we want, and how we want it?

Sam sometimes can kiss my belly for what seems like forever, making me ache with not knowing if the deliciousness of those lips will move up to my breasts or down to an anticipation starting to glow between my legs. He moves slowly, and let’s me tell him with soft murmurs what I want next. I like that.

But it took a while to get him to take a while.