Four Love Stories

To the woman I met yesterday

I grew up in a dysfunctional family with tons of emotional, physical and sexual abuse strewn around. The impact on me? I missed developing a secure attachment style (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attachment_in_adults).  Instead I tend to identify with insecure attachment styles (anxious-preoccupied and fearful-avoidant) and I’m constantly taking missteps like getting too personal and expecting intimacy on the first date. This should explain my lack of social skills, but there’s more.

I’m driven by a need to love and to be loved. I take the two great commandments seriously.

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

But at an early age I equated love with sex. Why shouldn’t I? My father sexually abused my mother and after their “rough sex” encounters, they felt much better toward each other and got back together. We were a happy family again. Well not quite, it was just the opposite. Here’s the snag. I grew up in an environment that taught strange rules for interaction with loved ones (we were unconsciously taught to take out our frustrations and hurt each other all the time). And the traditional romance story was cut short when the “other woman” came over to our house at two in the morning and started a fight with my mother. My mother left the next day when my father took his girlfriend’s side. Not long after, my father abandoned his four children and moved in with this other woman. When my father left with someone else, I lost all hope of seeing a loving couple living “happily ever after” IRL.

The effect this upbringing had on me was amazing. During my adolescent years I turned into a Don Juan of sorts, a Casanova. I wanted to play the leading man and end my fantasy life with kisses and sex and a roll in the hay. This was the James Bond story I fell in love with. He got “Pussy Galore” at the end. NSA sex was the story I lived and breathed every day. I sowed my oats and went through girlfriends like a hot knife cutting through butter. I lived life like there was no tomorrow, but all good things must come to an end.

This was love story number three. The James Bond story. Just in case you missed it, Love Story number one was the story I grew up in, a dysfunctional family ending in divorce. Like Romeo and Juliet and Cyrano De Bergerac, not all love stories were meant to have a happy ending. Love story number two was the Cinderella story, boy meets girl, boy falls in love with girl, they go through a few challenges with their families and eventually get married, have sex, have children and live happily ever after. Sound familiar? This is the traditional love story with loving parents, similar to the one you grew up in, right Miss Goody Two Shoes.

So now I guess you’re wondering about love story number four. We’ll this is the love story I’m hoping we can write together. I’ve been studying a lot about the six types of love lately (https://markfleshman.com/2018/08/25/what-is-love/), just so I could articulate the nuances of love and choose the right words to explain myself to you. Why? Because what I seek, what I so desperately desire, is not the traditional love story number two. I’m already married and I’m not looking to pursue romantic love (eros) with you. And mania love is out of the picture too. And since agape love is between God and me, that leaves ludus (playful love), storge (companion love) and pragma (practical love). And how we interrelate and pursue these love types is up to you and me. I spent my whole life playing James Bond and I’m just now starting to learn my new story line. What about you? Do you want to try something new?

But first a word of caution. Ludus is a playful love like flirting. I left that in there as a potential love style to pursue even though it is sexual in nature and I know the idea of talking about sex is taboo to you. It sounds like adultery and falls outside the scope of what married people should do.  Keeping this in mind, how could I possibly have a consensual, adult conversation about sex with you? Yet, I know, in all honesty, that is what I truly desire, a friend who feels comfortable talking about sex. The reason is quite simple. I live in a sexless marriage. Remind me one day to tell you my #metoo story, but you don’t get this one today, this is love story number five. LOL

Thanks for giving me the confidence to come clean and speak from my heart. I got that from you. In the past I used to lie and cheat and talk smack just so I could, like Georgy Porgy, “kiss the girls and make them cry”. Those days are over. You taught me that it is better to speak from your heart and your authentic self, letting the chips fall where they may.

I believe a friendship can be built on companion love by openly communicating and allowing enough freedom to get personal at times. And a friendship needs practical love, by helping each other accomplish worthy ideals. Even though mixing in a little playful love may skirt the fringes of a normal relationship, a sex positive friendship can include a little innocent flirting too.

But how we write our love story is really up to you. How do you want to love your neighbor today? I believe we were brought together for a reason. What might that reason be? Will you accept me for who I am and who I turned out to be? Today is a new day. We have a chance to design a mutually beneficial relationship, something unique, something inspired, something created for just you and me.

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