Monday, November 19, 2012

relationships as a mirror

The benefit of having a blog that is at times a journal is being able to go back and see snapshots of where I’ve been. About a year and a half ago I wrote a post about how I decided that I wanted to go to vulnerable places. Based on limited experiences I’d had being in a relationship with serious romantic undertones (it was a romantic relationship but it wasn’t because I wasn’t allowing myself to have those), I knew how much I’d learned from it and I knew that even though there was a lot of pain involved, I wanted to do it some more. I said, “Based on my limited experience, being in an intimate relationship with someone you are completely attracted to stirs up insecurities like nothing else can. It takes you to the most vulnerable of places and provides opportunities to learn about yourself and grow as a result, in a way that nothing else can. I want to go there.”

And I did! Five months to the day that I wrote that post, I told a cute guy with big brown eyes that I liked him and he said he liked me and we decided to give it a shot. In another post (which I won’t link to because it’s one of those posts that you write when you’re in love and then are kind of embarrassed about it after the fact), I said the relationship was liking walking into a dimly lit room and having a vague sense that the room is beautiful but it’s confirmed as the sun rises and light floods the room. (Give me a break, I was trying to explain what I was experiencing and it was all fairly new to me.)

Anyway, the relationship over the better part of the last year has been fairly easy, to the point that I half wondered if a good relationship wouldn’t include vulnerable places. (HA!) Probably part of the ease was because we’re both really nice guys who tend avoid confronting difficulties or tensions that arise in a relationship. Not that we ignored them altogether. It’s just that we’re both kind of new at this and we probably weren’t giving them the attention they needed. And now after a year we’re more comfortable, or see the need, to push back and stake out our individual places within the relationship, and address aspects of the relationship that we feel need addressing.

Enter, for me, the vulnerable places. I think Eugene England once compared relationships to a mirror. I couldn’t find what he said exactly, and to be honest, I’m pretty sure he wasn’t the first or the last to make that comparison, but that idea resonates with me. Being in close relationship with someone to whom you are wholly attracted and with whom you are honest, has a way of teasing out insecurities and unresolved issues. A year and a half ago I asked for vulnerable places, and I got them.

Fortunately for me, I have a team of a handful of ladies who have much more experience than I do to consult with, my Relationship Board of Directors, as my friend KaRyn once called her own team of consultants. These are ladies who listen and ask questions and send me Walt Whitman poems and generally get me back to home base. They help me remember that these issues aren’t best approached with fear but with mindfulness and awareness of and patience with what I’m experiencing.


  1. Relationships as a mirror... Oh, man. In my peripheral vision, your title was "relationship with a minor," and I did a quick double-take. Really glad that wasn't what this entry was about!! LOL!

    And I'm really glad you two are still going strong a year later. :)

  2. ^^^Relationship with a minor lol

    YAY for happy cute loveliness
    YAY for Ryans

  3. hey, i have a question for you, i'm sure its a vulnerable place in your relationship and maybe more so now, but are you guys considered getting married in washington? alot of my other gay friends are. i feel like thats one of those vulnerable places all relationships have, in their own unique way, having to talk about and think about that in public as well as privately. in mine, are always preassured and questioned and tried to be understood about our decions, and i guess i was just wondering if things have changed for you guys or its the same and how you navigate some of those universally understood, yet still incredibly personal vulnerable places. i hope things are going great for you. i had set out on a similar journey as you around the same time, taking a differnt way and its always nice to have that mirror :)

  4. Ha! No, we are nowhere near talking about marriage.

    And I'm also glad this post isn't about me dating a minor.

  5. Vulnerability seems to be one gateway to intimacy, to a deeper connection with another person. I enjoyed this post, Jon!