I have been reading, now, for over a year, blogs about men feeling a desperate need to connect with other men, to give and receive affection, to fall in love. I have spent one-on-one time with many of them, and they have graciously answered my questions. The reason for my interest, I suppose, is because I have never really felt those longings for anyone--or acknowledged that I felt them. I have felt attraction in its most basic form. I've had relationships and some friendships. But prior to this year, with the exception of my husband, I've been emotionally intimate with no one.
I listen as these men express longings I cannot understand. The closest feeling I've had to what they describe is when I became overwhelmed earlier this year, with the need to be held in a non-sexual way, by someone who had no attraction to me. Not the same thing by a long shot, but still, I think the longing part I may have started to understand. Those feelings have since gone away, and now when I feel emotions, they seem to last about ten or fifteen minutes, then they pass and leave me feeling a bit confused that they happened in the first place. I find myself apologizing for acting out of character, building a wall to protect the vulnerable place, and moving on with life.
I have never wanted anyone to share my life, to take care of me when I was ill (I still hate it when someone tries to empathize or help me when I'm sick), to be with me every day. The fact that Darrin is there to fill those non-existent needs is somewhat of a mystery to me. The fact that he stays, knowing I really don't want anyone, is something I understand even less. Perhaps he knows that I love him deeply, and can see beneath all the layers to the point where what I think I need is less valid than what he knows I need. And for whatever reason, he's willing to continue to give to a less than grateful recipient.
I have heard the men I've been "studying" talk about romantic love. Their definition of that phenomenon is much different from my own--which of course, isn't a real definition, but one that I twist to suit my own needs. They listen to songs and respond to the lyrics, attaching hidden meanings and hopeful dreams. I listen to songs and analyze the chord structure, admire occasional musicianship or clever wordsmithing. They dream of their "one and only", "soulmate", "perfect guy", "forever friend." I dream of sleeping, making it through another day successfully, beautiful sights, a really great practice session.
I thought that I would find some answers with the people I've come to know. Instead, I've found more questions about myself. As I've learned how to heal from my past, I'm realizing that it's not really changing who I am. I'm not more "normal". I still feel the need to isolate. I still fight against allowing people to be close to me. I still feel at peace only when I'm running alone. It seems I attached more importance to the results of abuse than I should have. The truth, I suppose, is that I'm just this way.
Sometimes, though, I would like to know how it feels to long for someone with all my soul, to view the world through "in love" eyes, to feel giddy and excited just to be with someone special. To have a heart broken because of love, not because of fear or violence, seems an experience every person should have. To feel purely, and intensely, without a surrounding cushion of numbness, practicality, and inevitability...