Dreaming the future: My relationship(s) ten years from now
At dinner a few nights ago, I told my housemates (my boyfriend and our friend AG) that I was writing a piece for BlogHer about where I thought my relationship would be 10 years from now, and where I wanted it to be.
The conclusion to the story I told them was “and I’m going to say I hope I have more than one meaningful relationship 10 years from now, and maybe that other relationship will be with someone like C.”
“Wow,” said AG.
“Are you going to say talk about who C is?” was A’s response.
“Not really,” I responded (you see, I have to keep some things private.)
While my primary relationship, and the one I hope goes on forever is with A, my partner, I don’t see our deep connection as precluding other meaningful relationships. I love A deeply, am thrilled and amazed we found one another, and would like to spend the rest of my life with him. But—at those cost of sounding like what my friend Christine describes as West Marin hot tubbers—I have to say I can’t believe that, ten years from now, I won’t also have other loved, wonderful people in my life. Like C, who I don’t know that well, but who I think is wonderful.
Of course, on one level, I am amazed I found A at all. After all, this relationship with A is fairly new. A and I will have been together two years come July. We’ve “been in love” for 15 months, and we’ve lived together, in a place we both moved to live in, for just 5 months. But before I was with A, I dated some great people, and before that I was married for twenty-something years. When my marriage ended, I didn’t expect I’d meet someone that I would want to live with, and here A and I are together, in the same house, and it’s all good.
But on another level, I know one of the reasons I fell in love with A is that we share similar values and outlook. We're both progressive, values-driven, identify as queer and non-monogamous, see sexuality as both personal and political, and want to build and participate in meaningful communities. As we grow older, say ten years out, I’d like to think that our ability to work together to meet our goals and build the life we each imagine only gets better.
For one thing, A and I want to live in community. Like our friends Raines Cohen and Betsy Morris, we’d like to find, or help create an intentional community in an urban area like Oakland where progressive dialogue and projects for positive social change happened every day. Ten years from now, I hope we are living in a community we helped to create, with a diverse and interesting group of people, making our community better.
Ten years from now, I’d also like to look back and note this month as the moment when A and I defied the odds and tackled our mutual issues with weight, emotional eating, exercise and making caring for ourselves a priority. We both have the habit of prioritizing work over working out, and we’re of an age it’s time to change that. It would be superb to look back at March 2009 as the moment when our resolve to exercise every day, go to the gym 3X a week, hike, bike and walk took hold in a consistent and meaningful way.
I’d also like to look back at the respect, compassion and trust with which we honor one another, and feel like that’s remained intact, and transferred to how we treat other people. There’s no question but that A helps me to be a better partner to him than I have been in the past to others, and that the love I feel from him keeps me centered and stable (along with the love and support of my family and son). His skill in communicating what he likes and doesn’t like—and sharing things that bother him—makes it so easy for us to talk together.
I know this isn’t something A can do with everyone, and it’s built on our mutual trust, but boy, do I l love it!
Ten years from now, I’d still like to feel like A is my best friend, my soul mate, my partner and lover. I hope the joy I feel when we cuddle up at night together is still there, and the endless interest in talking with one another.
But I’d also like to look back and recognize that there were other meaningful partnerships A and I had with others, both friends and lovers. These are people that I’ve yet to meet—or are just getting to know—but who I’d like to feel strongly about, and be deeply connected to. With A, and without, I want to develop and maintain new connections with people who touch my heart.
I’d also like to look back ten years out and say “Wow, we had fun!” As a workaholic who does too much, carving out time for fun, excitement and pleasure is super important to me, whether it’s a hike in the woods, a night listening to live music at a club, or a party with friends. Work is always there, but those bright spots of enjoyment are remembered and treasured. As a midlife person, I have a strong sense of Carpe diem, seize the day, which could also be translated from the Latin as Do it now, or else.
If I had ten wishes for the future for A and myself, what would they look like?
- We continue to have a deep honesty and really good communication between us.
- There is a deep and generous wish to help the other person be the best and most impactful that s/he can be that is still present
- The love, passion and compassion we have for one another has continued
- We’ve both come to terms with what we have been able to accomplish—and not accomplish in our lives—separately and together
- We’re successful in building those good health habits of exercise and diet we try to focus on; we’re going to need them as we get older.
- Being together continues to bring out our best selves
- We're committed and loving, but there is room for others if that is what we want
- Our lives together feel purposeful and truthful
- The work we help one another to do makes a difference in the world
- We love and honor our families, our friends, our communities and they feel that
Where do you think you and your partner(s) will be ten years from now? What would you change and what would you keep the same? Share in the comments or write a blog post, please.
Some blog posts on sex & relationships from around the ‘sphere this week:
Dating is Warefare: Wednesday Epiphany
“We spend far too much time fighting over stupid things like this that are clearly about something larger. And I think it has created a vicious cycle:
* I plan things.
* I ask him first to accompany me - he is my boyfriend after all.
* If he doesn't want to or isn't excited about it, he tries to postpone committing, assuming that telling me "no thanks" will make me angry.
* Meanwhile, I am getting angry about him pushing me off.
The new new plan: The Obstacle to my Happiness-Me
“My mother and I had a very difficult conversation about all of this today and confronted some difficult truths. I am being very passive with BFD, which is obvious to everyone. The closer we get, the more passive I am being. It is a struggle for me to physically reach for him, it is a struggle for me to share my emotions with him. My mother said, look, you have to overcome this — do not talk to him about it, just fix it, pretend if you have to, but fix it. The bottom line is that you are a victim of abuse and you have to be normal. You have to act as a normal person would to get where you want to be in your relationship. Once you act like that, you will be that.”
A divorce in the making: Coupling/Cuddling
"How does my desire for cuddling (and, don’t worry, more too….) size up with this environment of new positions, new partners, and open dalliances? I don’t want old fashioned in the way of inequality or misogyny, but I seem to be veering toward the middle to right-hand side of some sexual road. But is anyone else there? "