“Do you think humans are meant to be monogamous?” It was just one of what seemed like hundreds of topics Number Four and I had discussed in the two months since we had met and had begun spending time together.
I couldn’t answer for all of humanity, only for myself. I can only be in a relationship with one person, I told him. Me too, he said. And with that, Number Four and I decided to give this a try, to commit to an exclusive relationship, to focus on really getting to know each other, and to see what might become of this.
Before I met Number Four, I thought I was strong, and I am. I thought I was fine on my own, and I was. I was convinced I’d never allow myself to get close to a man again. Now, I understand, I was just afraid of being hurt. I thought family and friends would be thrilled for me, happy that I had found someone with whom I clearly connect, encouraging me in this relationship. And while they are, they are also concerned, I’ve learned, and I wasn’t at all prepared for that.
It just seems to be moving so fast. Yes, it might be. But I, better than most I suspect, understand that every second of every day is special. It can all be taken away in a flash, and so I see no reason to artificially drag out getting to know this new person in my life. I’m happy to let the relationship proceed at a pace that makes both of us feel comfortable, even if that might worry some people who love me.
We are afraid you’ll be taken advantage of. I bristle at this concern from friends or family, even though I know they’re just trying to protect me. I’m smart, I’m savvy, and I’d never let myself be taken advantage of. While I’ve tried to reassure friends about this, my oldest son actually said it best. “Have you ever seen anyone f— over mom?” Exactly, I thought, it’s just not going to happen.
We just don’t want to see you hurt. Well now, that’s something to consider. Like all of us, I’ve been hurt many times in my life. I was badly hurt when Greg died, and I grieved hard. But still, I know that it’s better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. Allowing myself to even entertain the thought of dating means by default that I must accept that I might be hurt.
It’s a risk I’m willing to take. Because I didn’t realize how much I missed cooking dinner for someone at night. Because I didn’t understand how much humans need touch and how touch can heal. Because I didn’t understand that my house wasn’t the problem, the problem was not having someone in my house with me. Because I didn’t remember how nice it is to have someone to converse with over a cup of coffee in the morning or a drink in the evening. Because I had forgotten what it’s like to have a partner to share in the small daily acts of life. Because it’s been so long since someone made me feel special that I had forgotten how incredible it feels.
So no, I’m not willing to miss the opportunity to see where this relationship might go just so I don’t get hurt. Number Four recently posted a link to quotes by Rumi; this one spoke loudly to me:
There is a candle in your heart, ready to be kindled.
There is a void in your soul, ready to be filled.
You feel it, don’t you?
Yes, I feel it.