I once got involved with someone who spent our entire first date talking about his exes. Unsurprisingly, the rest of our relationship turned out to be about them too. When he wasn’t comparing our blowjob skills he was accusing me of things they had done. Trust was impossible for him because Ex One had cheated on him and Ex Two had abandoned him. I was always jumping over the hurdles his previous partners had set down.
When you’re involved with one man and 26 of his previous partners, failure is inevitable. He was always ascribing others’ motives to my actions and punishing me for their sins. That’s how I became his enemy: Not by mistreating him but by treating our relationship like a sedate walk instead of the obstacle course it was.
That’s an extreme I dearly hope I never reach but I suspect most of us do exactly the same thing, if slightly less pathologically. Letting go of the past is as easy as pulling your stomach out of your throat with your bare bands, and yet we have no real alternative.
I can gain control of my abandonment complex or push people away needlessly. I can let Ash’s affair destroy my trust in honest partners or leave his infidelity where it belongs: in my history. I can expect all tops to be as dangerous as S, or I can give every partner the clean slate he deserves. I’ve managed to let some of these fears go, but others have wrapped themselves around my legs like jellyfish. If there’s a trick to forgetting, I don’t know it. The only solution I’ve ever found is self-awareness and Zen-grade mindfulness.
If we could all love without fear, the world would be made of rainbows and starlight… or would it? My fears have been the source of my most beautiful moments. My weaknesses have been catalysts for the most exquisite intimacies because I received a level of acceptance I had previously thought impossible. There is nothing quite as heart-rending as being loved for your imperfections.
Leonard Cohen said it best: “Love is not a victory march. It’s a cold and it’s a broken hallelujah.” There is no real beauty in perfection, so we only need do our best. Love takes care of what’s left.