So I have a major crush. Hold up. No. It’s more than a crush. I am in love with a couple. Actually, I am in love with many couples. I have this thing for couples that have been together for a long time. I find them confounding. I come from a place of bewilderment when I ask,
“How do you do it? How do you make it work?”
I get a lot of different responses when I ask this question. One woman—a stay at home mom of three–of a couple I know, admire and love said, jokingly,“My husband is my bank. He’s my emotional and financial bank. I never learned how to say I’m sorry until I was forty, and even then I wasn’t sorry, I just learned to say it. But he just accepted me. He always has, and in return, I don’t tell him what to do, well, I try not to, and if I do he doesn’t let me. We learned how to compromise. It isn’t about me getting my way. It’s about being in the relationship, and what’s best for the relationship.
They’ve been together for thirty years, married for twenty-one. They met when they were teenagers. They are so fucking adorable. They’re still affectionate, he grabs her ass like it’s the juiciest ass he’s ever seen, and talks about how he would much rather hang out with her than anyone else. I love being around them, their familiar banter, their mutual play and their over-all good will towards one another. I stare at them longingly, wanting what they have, wanting someone to show up for me they way they show up for each other.
But funny thing is, they show up for me, too. They both care about me in their own way. The woman I’m referring to above has been one of the most loyal people in my life. She has stuck by me like a tireless dog, (even when she fundamentally doesn’t agree with some of my decisions). She refers to herself as dog-like in her loyalty towards people she loves. She has also been one of the most honest people in my life, painfully honest at times, but I love her like family for it.
There has been many other couples as well. One woman shared that for her, the secret is “To continually ask for what you want and need.” She said, “I just keep asking for what I need, sometimes I have to ask for years. I asked my partner to adore me, to tell me that I’m beautiful and wanted. I needed to hear this.” I think it requires self-honesty to really know what you need, and even more courage to ask for it. She said, “I don’t think I would stay if I wasn’t ever getting what I wanted or needed, but I would keep asking for a really long time before I would decide to leave.”
I’ve seen this couple support each other in a symbiotic way, like best friends. And from what I’ve seen and felt from them, there’s a tremendous amount of mutual respect in this relationship. I’ve witnessed this couple’s humble, and dignified love for each other. They’ve been together for over twenty years. I want what they have.
But in a sense I do. They’ve been respectful of me, and those I love. They’re just those types of people, and even in their distance from me, (our circumstances have changed the nature of our relationship) they’re still kind, loving and respectful of me in quiets ways.
There have been others, too, and some have stayed together for other reasons, like history and family ties. All these things are valid. I have witnessed this couples go through addiction and betrayal, and make it to the other side. This takes an almost brut-force type of conviction to make it work and a whole lot of love. One couple had to get real honest with each other. The type of honesty that could’ve ended things is the same honesty that held it together. This couple has fought for each other. I want someone to fight for me like this.
And again, I do have this. An individual in one of the scenarios above has fought for me when I couldn’t fight for myself, and has been as protective of me as any mother to her young. I have that in my life.
Another couple of twenty plus years said something a little lighter, “We stay together because at the end of the day we can still go out together and just enjoy each other’s company despite all the shit going on around us. We can put it all aside.”
I have that with this friend, too. We can go months without talking and cut straight through the bullshit to get to our connection.
And then there are the platonic couples that have figured out how to have partnerships and co-living situations that are familial in nature, meaning they get their basic human-tribe mentality needs met by co-habituating in mindful ways with contracts and defining roles. For example, one role is that of the patriarch. There’s a lot of structure in this type of environment and endless amounts of support.
I benefit from these roles, too. I feel sheltered and looked after by this personality. I’m also put on a pedestal, and laughed at a lot, but mostly I’m just heard and supported.
I love all these couples, I really do. I say, “I do” to them. I could climb in their beds and just snuggle it out with them. I guess the real meaning behind this is that I think by being around them it will somehow rub off on me, that I’ll eventually learn what it takes to make it work. Or maybe I don’t need a romantic relationship because all these other people give me everything I need. OK, so that’s a lie. I’m not fucking any of those people, nor do I want to, but I promise you, it does take a village to love me.
I need all the warriors I can get.
I could wax all night about the many heartthrob couples I’m cruising.
But there’s one couple in particular that I’m writing about tonight. This is actually for them, my gift to them. I don’t have much to offer other than my sentiments.
I am truly in love with them in the most radically intimate ways that I can be on any platonic level. This couple, and my relationship with them, like most of my friendships, has outlasted my marriage and two other serious relationships. These two have held, seen, heard, supported, shown up for and loved me in the kindest of ways. They have also been honest with me in ways no else could, and they have fought for my friendship. They are trustworthy advocates and are committed to my wellbeing. I have with them, a platonic-Polyamory, a big love, a love with more than one person.
I just want to squeeze them. I want to hold them, hold their eyes, hold their hearts and tell them how much they mean to me, but that would be weird, and I probably couldn’t go through with it—any real platonic-physical action—because of my own limitations but damn I’ll try. I want to press my love into them and so for now, this is how I’m doing it.
I’m piercing them with my words.
You know what I love most about them? What I love most about them is their relationship. Fuck, talk about honest. I have been privy to some down right hard-core serious honesty between these two. And I’m not just talking about truth telling between the two, I’m referring to the levels of self-reflection, and self-honesty they work towards on a consistent basis, and then, like Zen-masters, they share these vulnerabilities with each other. They trust their secrets and weakness with each other. And through that process it makes them whole. They use what they learn about each other to bring out the best in one another. Did you get that? They don’t use the kryptonite to hurt each other. They use it to heal. And this is what makes their love affair so lovable. They are my heroes.
I want a romantic relationship like the one they share. I want to be with someone who goes against their own fears to bring out my best. And I want to do that for someone.
I have this depth of honesty in my relationship with them. I go against my own fears and try to bring out their best, and they do the same for me. I know what this feels like. It takes a lot of trust and strength. And when I don’t do that in my relationship with this couple I suffer. I feel more whole, more loving, safe, secure and trusting when I consciously go against my own shit to be a better friend, and they taught me how to do this. They believed in me enough to stick by my side before I could do this, and I think it didn’t hurt that they find me so entertaining.
So I guess I know how it works after all. I just went through the list. It takes complete honesty, trust, support, love, mutual respect, friendship, compromise and dedication. (For the record, no one ever, said, “Don’t go to bed angry!” That’s just horseshit.) I know how to do these things. Fuck, I’m doing them just with other couples and friends. I’ve managed to keep friendships together for ten, twenty, thirty and even forty years, so it’s in me. I just haven’t found the right one to be in a committed, romantic partnership with, yet.
But thank the Baby Buddha in the manger that I have all these fulfilling relationships, and those that have gone before me to teach me how it’s done. I am so blessed to be a witness to their lives, to love and learn from them. It is the people around me that have taught me the most.
I can’t think of a greater way to honor my friends than to write about them, and for the honorable mention, I’m posting the link to a blog-post my friend wrote about her husband and their marriage. It brought me to my knees, it is such a stunning piece, enjoy:
Oh my goodness, I’m gushing.
Thank you all so much for your continued support. It is such an honor.
With much love and humility,