I don’t feel resentment toward the Dude because I didn’t do a damned thing I didn’t want to do. I didn’t lose or leave myself. Everything was fully and freely given on my end. I feel pure of heart. I have no regrets.
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In my pain and powerlessness, my disappointment and self-doubt, I realized that among the myriad of emotions I was experiencing, I did not feel resentment. And yet, I knew that had I slept with the Dude and had he pulled away in the same way he did, I most certainly would have felt resentment. That got me thinking about the nature of resentment.
I decided that there is a way in which resentment is what you feel when you give up a part of yourself to another (typically unsaid by you, unagreed by the other) that you really don’t want to give up. But you do so in a bid to get the other person to do something you want them to do (and you’re not sure they will). Then, if that person doesn’t do what you wanted them to do, your reaction to their not doing so is resentment. Resentment arises as the result of a one-sided, tacit, failed tactic.
I knew I wasn’t ready. I didn’t like that I wasn’t ready. I wished I were ready. I hated myself for not being ready. But I knew I wasn’t ready. If I had had sex with him, I would have felt resentment.
I decided to be bold and name it. I told the Dude that I was “all in” if it were to sit on a couch, watch TV and cuddle. But knowing such situations as I know such situations and knowing myself as I know myself, it would probably lead to sex. He asked what would be wrong with that? (When he did, he had a sweet tone of sincerity that I appreciated and admired.) I replied there was nothing in principle. Honestly, there was a part of myself that would have liked nothing more than to have sex with him. But in my case, it would be too much, too quickly. I countered with the possibility that if we wanted to shift gears and go down the casual road, then let’s do it. But we had both been moving past that in our lives and hoped for something more. His response was that if we had sex, it wouldn’t be casual. Still, the prospect felt overwhelming to my emotional circuitry. I was proud of myself for knowing what I wanted, and what I needed to make that happen.
I asked of this man that we do something other than eat on our date. That was hard, excruciating even, for me to do. It was not only making a desire of mine known, it was also admitting weakness and, in doing so, allowing myself to be deeply, dangerously seen.
The Dude and I communicated a lot while I was away, getting to know each other quite well. Personal histories: both divorced, both like movies, both interested in world religions, both committed to social justice, both considering leaving casual relationships behind in the hope for something more. We were excited about the prospect of finally meeting. As soon as I arrived back, we were planning for our first date.
Eating only when you’re hungry is to have trust in abundance, that there will enough of everything for you later. Such a stance calls on a way of being that not many of us learned or experienced as safe as young ones–although it is hard to know of such deficits until you stop using food as something other than physical nourishment.
Nearly two years ago, I came across a man’s picture on a dating profile that stopped me. He was attractive enough. And I liked what he had to say. But there was something about his eyes that caught me. They had depth. They looked like they had seen and understood pain. I think that made me feel safe.
I reached out to him at the time, sending a note. Unusual for me as I rarely make the first move with online dating. In fact, I put up barriers to make contact with me a challenge in a bid to weed out insincere people. But something about him captured me. Alas, he did not respond.
I hardly ever go on that website now. But did on a lark late one night a while back as stolen moment of distraction while I was getting through a pile of work. He too was online. I would have been prepared to leave it at just noticing his presence there except that I’d seen him a couple days before at a movie. That had got me wondering about him. So when I saw him on at the same time, I said hello and asked him about what he’d thought of the film.
It is a kind of love, is it not?
How the cup holds the tea,
How the chair stands sturdy and foursquare,
How the floor receives the bottoms of the shoes
Or toes. How the soles of the feet know
Where they are supposed to be.
I’ve been thinking about the patience
Of ordinary things, how clothes
Wait respectfully in closets
And soap dries quickly in the dish,
And towels drink the wet
From the skin of the back.
And the lovely repetition of stairs.
And what is more generous than a window?