Sunday, September 07, 2008

What's love got to do with it?

I was asked recently what I thought love was. It's not something I've really tried to formulate into words, so consequently I've been thinking a lot about it.

I think people are like pieces of a puzzle. We each have one of those pieces that pokes out and one of those places where another piece pops in. It doesn't mean we're incomplete on our own; the net effect is zero. But our own pieces don't fit together. For one thing, we don't bend that way. For another, the pieces are different sizes. So we look in others for the pieces that fit ours, and in turn fit theirs.

Some people never find another who fits. Maybe their pieces are too big for yours, or yours are too small; either way, the balance is tipped. You can go on like that; some people are willing to stay with a partner who meets most although not all of their needs. they believe, for whatever reason, that they should stay; close is good enough in light of the risk that they'll never find the piece that fits.

Some people believe it's worse to have a piece that doesn't fit. Again, we're not less without the other piece, but rather than with them we're more. If we find the other piece, it's the brass ring. If not, we get along.

There may be more than one perfect fit. And others are so close, you'd never notice. All of it depends on you and how you want to live your life and how you want to be a part of another's.

I've only lived with one person in my thirty-mumble years. He wasn't a good fit by any means. But it's all I have to gauge whether what I'd like to have in a relationship is really feasible. I think it is.

I want someone who complements me. I'm introverted, nearly socially phobic in certain situations. I have no problem striking up a conversation in an anonymous setting, like a department store. I'll chat about all sorts of things with the cashier ringing up my purchases. But put me in a setting where a relationship is supposed to result and on my own I can not do it. The other night I was at a mixer where people were there to meet their sports teams. As luck would have it, it turns out I was the only person there who didn't have a team. As I looked around at everyone else getting to know their teammates, I felt absolutely excluded. My approach to most social situations like this is, why would anyone want to talk to me? In this instance, where everyone had a reason to talk to everyone but me, I was frozen. I couldn't make myself go up to anyone. They were meeting their teammates, I wasn't a teammate, why would they want to talk to me? And I left, as soon as I could.

Anyone who doesn't have this problem is reading this and thinking I'm crazy. But a phobia isn't rational.

Now, in a relationship I'd want a partner who wouldn't push me out of my comfort zone but rather would lead me out of it. Take me by the hand, walk up to the nearest stranger or two and say "Hi! I'm blah, and this is my girlfriend/fiancee/wife." After that, I can do it. I can take it from there. It's that first step that I need someone to help me to take.

So, requirement one: Someone whose strengths are my weaknesses. And vice versa. Because, oddly, if he needed me to walk up with him to strangers and strike up a conversation? I could do that. Yes, I know it makes no sense. Again, phobia, no rational.

What else? Requirement two: Physically intimate. I need affection. I need to show affection. Not sex (or at least not just sex), but all the thousand little touches between two people. I've kind of been saving up.

Requirement three: Someone who wants to take care of me, and who wants and lets me take care of him. I'm a big nester. I've always wanted a home and someone to take care of. I've gotten used to taking care of myself, and it can be a little difficult to let someone take care of me but I'm willing to try.

Requirement four: Shared and separate interests. I want things we can do together, but also some things we can do apart. Again, big nester. I like to read. I like to watch TV. Go off and scale mountains or something while I do that. Then later we'll have things to talk about.

I'll put some more thought into this and see what else I come up. Such a serious topic for a CilleyGirl.

the Not-So-CilleyGirl

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