Last night I went out with one of the great joys of my life, a man I love completely. To see us together, it would be easy to assume that we are a romantic couple, how we go arm in arm, take each other’s instinctively when we enter a room, or embrace on a whim when our feelings can not be held back.
He tells me openly and often how deeply he cares about me, and vice versa, but the reality is that we have never taken our relationship to the next level, one that involves sex and all the complications and consequences that come with it. No, when this man and I met and realized how much we meant to each other, we made a conscious decision not to go there. And that’s something neither of us regrets.
In the beginning, I must admit, it was not easy. Yes, there was that old cooing belly to contend with, the one that comes with burnt pheromones, and the gnawing insecurity and second guess that comes with vulnerability. But nowadays I am old and wise enough to know that an increased stage of early attraction is a form of madness, one that can not and will not endure – thank goodness. That dizzying first flush of the uncomfortable and unpredictable does not bring out the best in me. I like to be healthy. I also know that if one were to give lust to such feelings, yes, even though it can be exciting, it can also be explosive.
The whirling pheromone-induced peaks of early attraction can be a supernova that flies high, burns strongly, and then comes whizzing back to earth with an almighty thump.
Look, I do not mean that sex, love and romance should not be embraced and celebrated as life’s most exquisite pleasures. I still go there with pleasure and have been fortunate to have had wonderful, intoxicating and enduring long lasting relationships. But I also know that the dizzying pheromone-induced peaks of early attraction can be a supernova that flies high, burns strongly and then comes whizzing back to earth with an almighty thump. Have been there and got the face planting scars to prove it.
Let’s be honest here, there are lots of expectations that surround romantic love, many subliminal squares that we have been conditioned to believe need ticking that can cruel, if not kill, a beautiful budding bond. Once sex is added to attraction, expectations usually arise or are forced, which defines how you feel about being treated by a romantic partner.
We have all been there, from the small complaints about not being put in the first place to the accelerated pressure to quickly track the future. There are only so many things that can go wrong in a romantic relationship when it progresses towards some defined destiny that celebrating what already exists can unfortunately get lost in its wake.
This is often what is really heartbreaking with so many relationships failing; the loss of what once was, the magical encounters of the mind, the alchemy that brought two different souls together in the first place. For me, this is the price to be valued and nurtured. And doing so sometimes means respecting and nurturing what you have, without pursuing it anymore.