I’m one of these men who find it particularly hard to commit to a woman.
It is not that I cannot seem to make up my mind or heart between all these lovely women with whom I could share something romantic, no, the difficulty of my choice lies between me being in a relationship with a woman or me being solo.
I love my life, I’ve always loved it. Ever since I was a little boy I knew the value of life. The grandness of allowing life to flow through you effortlessly, creating beauty through the exalted emotions generated this way.
I just knew that being alive was the biggest gift of them all. Bigger than being a hot shot lawyer, a doctor or being someone famous . Just being alive was the true valuable thing and not this game of claiming yourself to be this or that for others to admire you.
At a young age I realized that grown ups were somehow deprived of something. They had forgotten what they felt like as kids. They had taken themselves too seriously in the roles they had adopted. As children you play many games and after a period of play you’d let go of them again. These grown ups had resigned to a single game, which they thought to be the only one and they called it reality. After every long day of playing as a kid, there was always a parent who would say to you, oftentimes in a serious tone that wouldn’t allow any discussion: ‘ Okay, let’s stop now all craziness and let’s become serious again.’ The same voice of tone was echoed by people on the news and the policeman warning your father to wear a seatbelt. It was the voice of seriousness, that denoted that the game was over and reality was kicking in again. For me it was not so much reality, rather the game most grownups were stuck in.
I still remember as a kid I spoke out firmly the promise one day to never grow up. I would never dedicate my life to my job, I would never race along in the crazy pace of society. I would never get serious. I would simply buy a piece of land and build a treehouse, so I could play my own game all day long, unhindered by parents or other individuals who would like to force their games on me.
So as a kid I was mostly a loner. Every now and then I would have a friend to play with, but when they proved to be too dominant and would disturb my natural flow too much, I would lose all interest in them and retreat. This attitude gave me a lot of time to be in my own world, but it also deprived me from the situations in which I could learn to interact with another being and set clear boundaries. I became a bit shy and scared to connect with people, whom I wanted to meet and get to know better. Something in me wanted to make a connection, while another part of me was afraid to get sucked in and lose my way. I became a hopeless romantic, dreaming about possible scenarios, without the guts to ever engage and set the first step.
When my sexuality woke up as a teenager, this situation became untenable and I actually began to lose my lust for life the way I had lived it. I wanted to go out and meet girls. Approach them, go on a date, kiss, make love and explore the opposite sex, but my self protecting mechanisms seemed too powerful to overcome. I would rather die than showing a girl I was fancying her. One day, after obsessing over a girl for over 8 months, the ludicracy of it all hit me full force. ‘So you would rather die than suffer a disappointment?’ I said out loud to myself. ‘If you die’ I continued, ‘that’s that, and whatever went before it will be gone. All shame, all disappointment will be gone. So I choose dying over an experience that won’t last anyway. If I get disappointed, it will only last a while and then it will simply fade out in time, but at least I would still be alive to enjoy more. So it is total bullocks that I would rather die than show my feelings to this girl I like. And what if she likes me back?’ With a growing fear in my heart I had convinced myself that there was no way back.
I went to speak to that girl. With a sensation of weakness in my knees and a stutter on the verge of fainting I managed to invite her for dinner. ‘Sure!’, she said, ‘ I do have a boyfriend though, so… just dinner okay? Is that pkay for you?’. The weight that lifted from my heart that moment made me super high instantly. ‘ No problem at all!’, I replied and I meant it. My triumph, that moment, was just the act of confronting her with my true feelings. And whether or not she was romantically available to me proved to be totally secondary. I broke through something that day, it was the first big step towards being able to show myself truthfully to people that meant something to me and the actuality of me being in a meaningful relationship became closer.
Now, many years later, I’m in a relationship with this amazing woman, who also happens to be the mother of my beautiful daughter. The amount of sexual attraction between the two of us is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before. She is one of those women who feel way out of my league and as such she feels like too much for me to gracefully handle. She is not at all satisfied with the beautiful images I hold dear about myself. She wants everything I am and if I hold back she cracks me like a nut to expose my nutritious soft center to satisfy her hunger for authenticity and truthfulness.
Oftentimes I screamed: ‘ No more! I’m done, I’m out!’ Only to show up a few days later again, when the agony of me falling apart made way for the agony of me not being with her. I felt like I was losing all credibility with my friends and family when I either left her or came back to her again for the millionth time over the years.
Unable to communicate my boundaries clearly to her, I kept falling into the same disempowered state over and over again. Not being able to communicate my needs, tensions would build up to explosive heights. The explosion would always come, followed by the break up. Every time I came back I felt spacious and confident, ready to commit again. I would happily sacrifice my needs if that made her happy (or maybe more accurate, in order not to arouse her dismay), only to find out that within no time all internal space in me would be gone, leaving me with the feeling of being a prisoner in my relationship. I started fantasizing about a life in which I could do the things I would love to do. Meet the people I wanted, whenever I wanted. Having time to work on my projects and passions whenever I felt the urge. And she, I felt, was the obstacle in my way.
A year ago I decided to really, really, really leave her. This time I was not coming back. I found myself an affordable room that was going to be all mine. No one other than my daughter was allowed to enter. I made a lock on the door and built myself a bed that was only 80 cm wide, so no woman would be able to snuggle next to me even if she wanted to. For months I divided my time between taking care of my daughter and working on my projects. How I enjoyed choosing my working hours. I would go out at nights with full moons getting high on my sense of freedom. Meanwhile I kept the door to my ex firmly closed, by limiting my contact with her to the bare minimum.
Whenever I saw her I would feel the danger of falling back into a relationship with her. She was still a total fox, the attraction was still there. The more I felt it, the harder my face and eyes became in order to keep my course. I frantically kept working and I soon came to the point where my projects were almost fully manifested. The closer I came to that point the greater my sense of futility became. It is great to be able to work unhindered on your passions, but it is definitely greater to dedicate your efforts towards someone you love. For who was I doing all these things? What was the meaning of it all if the fruits weren’t shared and enjoyed by those you love? It struck me that the main motivation of a man is to make his woman happy. I felt, the biggest frustration of a man is being with his woman, while being unable to share his gifts with her. Ten months after breaking up with her, life decided to lock her down with me in the same building.
That’s right, the lockdown happened. She couldn’t stand the idea of just being alone with my daughter locked up in a tiny house, while I was in a community house enjoying a variety of friends. The owner of the place, a mutual friend of ours, felt compassion with her and invited her to stay with us. I guess I could have objected, but the wellbeing of my daughter and the mental health of those closest to her are still my number one priority. I guess, such are the workings of love, going against that would put me in a position in which I wouldn’t be able to look myself straight in the eyes again.
She came, she stayed and after a while she complained about my emotional stiffness towards her. I confessed that I would like things to relax a bit more between us as well. Having her around me all the time I was painfully aware that I was emotionally blocking her with my firmly made up mind, while my heart simply wanted to embrace her. One night she said: ‘Come lay with me, I would just like to feel your heat against my lower back.’ I wanted that too. I laid myself down behind her in her bed. The smell of her body, the nurturing warmth of her body, my sex woke up, my heart melted, all my resistance gave in and we merged again, on all levels. What a blessing! This woman. No words. Who needs words, when you can experience this…Union.
Written by: my Beloved Wouter Smit