This week’s collab w/ Taureau Consulting: When and how much of ourselves do we share with our partner?
I’m trying this weird thing lately. It’s called, reverse honeymooning. You know that period of time in the beginning of a relationship where you’re giddy on not knowing each other? There’s no conflict. No messiness. There’s just the whimsy of lying naked with someone in the middle of the afternoon as the rest of the world happens. The honeymoon.
There are few things I love more than that act of discovering another human. But so much of these early discovery missions for me are the easy things. They’re my best, most delightful pieces. My messiness becomes a bit. A comedic interlude I’ve perfected over the years of knowing my own bullshit.
What I don’t say is how debilitating food still is sometimes. How I’ve scheduled our date not out of convenience of my schedule, but to balance out how many days that week I eat out so I don’t turn on myself and my body.
What I don’t say is how I’m terrified that as soon as you get close enough to matter you’ll realize the emotion behind my dimples, and my laughter after I come, the joy in that, is the same concentration of emotion that tips me into a sadness I can’t explain.
When do we say these things in a relationship? Six months in, a year? When we’re far enough in to be devastated if they say, “no thank you. That’s too much for me…” I know that’s right around when I feel too deep into the charade of my own neatness to turn back.
What happens if we were to share our fears sooner? Not to drop everything we’ve got on a new or potential partner’s shoulders, but to entertain the idea that they might be able to handle more of it than we think. That they might not even care. That if they do, they aren’t our human. And better yet, that all that shit we think makes us unlovable are some of the very things that do.
My girlfriend’s name is Phoebe. We’ve been together for over five years. The relationship is fantastic and she’s fantastic. She’s put up with a lot of me. I’ve been depressed, I’ve had periods where my business was in flux, I’ve felt worthless and suicidal. Each step of the way she’s accepted me and supported me. I guess you could say she loves me and most of the time I feel worthy of that love but sometimes I don’t. I’m afraid. Even though the track record is really good, sometimes I’m still afraid.
Sometimes I still wonder if I should share my inner thoughts or not. I try to be judicious about my sharing but I can make it complicated in a hurry. Some would say that we shouldn’t share everything and some things are best kept to ourselves. This has been a balancing act for as long as I can remember and I haven’t always done it well. Revealing and disclosing myself has been a constant learning. I can do some wild strategizing to try to create certain outcomes, including timing, specific language, and so on…
I discover new things about myself quite often. My concepts about certain things come to some smashing realization and my view of the world shifts. I’m often investigating the reality I live in and painfully become aware that I was wrong about things. It can feel a little unstable and at times crazy. Most of the time the outcome of this is good but I’d be lying if I didn’t say that sometimes I feel self conscious about myself. I still perceive that if Phoebe learns certain things about me she’ll get rid of me. I believe she loves me only when I’m a certain way.
The trouble in this is that all of us are constantly changing. It’s how the world works. And as we change we’re also getting to come to deeper levels of accepting ourselves. I plan on this happening forever, but at the same time, in my mind I’ve adopted the idea that I’m supposed to stay the same. People fall in love with us and if we change then they won’t love us anymore.