I'll never forget the moment I told my ex, "I'll never be your boyfriend". Forgetting my issue with the semantics, it is what I said. We'd met overseas a few months before, we were both working in the same area and we got close. Then we succumbed to lust, neglected the consequences, living in the moment.
My statement - frank, brutish, pre-emptive, selfish maybe - came from the honesty in knowing what I wanted and what I was capable of and to set an expectation about who I would be to her and for her. I knew what the word meant to her and wanted to make it clear who I would be.
I'd done a long term relationship that finished with me realising I couldn't change what I wanted or who I want to be to fit someone else's ideal. Where I'd lied to myself until the other person felt lied to.
Honesty is an important virtue in a relationship with someone but it's the most important one in the relationship with yourself.
If you're not honest with yourself about what you want and who you want to be then you're not going to be honest with another person. You'd think it's a simple philosophy right? Don't know what that is or who it is yet? No problem but be honest about it. And be honest with yourself about where that could lead.
If you're going to tell me you're happy and you agree and want to be a part of a life together then I'm going to take your word for it. If you're honest answer is you're working out what you want and who you want to be then I'm going to support you. But you have to own it either way.
Now it's important to keep in mind that being honest doesn't mean being immovable on everything. But it does mean being convicted, rather than convinced. What you want and who you will be can change but don't lie to yourself while you wait or hope for it to happen.
Whether or not I was her 'boyfriend' we were together. Time passed overseas and towards the end of it she questioned giving it a chance back home. We're from different cities and there was a mountain of impracticality which I believed at the start wouldn't let it work out.
What I wanted didn't change the moment she suggested it. I wasn't convinced but I gave it a lot of thought and realised I was open to seeing if we could make something work. I decided the regret I could have would be never knowing if we could be something outside the context. That was worth more than protecting the beautiful moment.
So we did it. We made an honest life together. We fell in love with possibility.
I was honest from the beginning and told her how and why I don't ever want to have children and that's something I'd never give her. She was curious but understood me. She wasn't sure herself whether she did or not.
I was honest and told her I don't want to get married. She didn't expressly say she didn't want to either but she saw my points and believed it wasn't important. She supported me in it never being part of our plans together.
I was honest about where I wanted to travel. So we travelled separately on plenty of occasions and found places we both had reasons to go once in a while.
I was honest about how I express myself with how I look, how I live, what I'm into, with my values and she understood the importance of identity and familiarity. We found a way to appreciate each other and feel ourselves.
I was honest and believed we needed our own lives and friends as well as a place where they met. Whether through me or separately she always forged her own unique and quite separate friendships that she was proud of.
Over more than 5 years I never stopped challenging my own honesty. She never stopped challenging me either, and wondering whether my dispositions were changing or had changed. They didn't though, and while I grew in my thoroughness with all of them I didn't really change in them.
The time we were together was the most amazing and truthful relationship I believed I could have - that we could have. Throughout it we gave each other the opportunity to be whoever we wanted in life and it solidified my conviction that I want to be with someone who not only wants me for who I am but for whoever I want to be or can be as long as possible.
The thing is that the two don't always run parallel. Sometimes you have to stop wanting someone in order for them to be who they want to be. You have to be honest and if who you are has changed or is changing or you know it is for them then you let them go. You give them the possibility.
When we ended our relationship we'd both realised that what whilst we wanted each other, we wanted each other to be exactly who we are more. That staying together would only mean one or both of us would not be able to be honest with themselves.
Sometimes I wonder whether you can be too honest with someone, whether I'm too honest? I always realise though, that it'll never cost me the relationship with myself. And that's the most important one.
So, are you being honest with yourself? Your relationship is counting on it.
memories & previous plans
- ► 2009 (87)