On being 'dominant' in a relationship

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Sometimes I wish I could do a statistical analysis of my life with Charles.

For weeks - months? - my main thought was that I should leave him, go back to living by myself. Concentrated desperation left me often barely able to work. Even more unhappy than in the days of my early mad, bad, and dangerous to know boyfriend. I hadn't been that starkly unhappy since high school when life seemed divided between the prison of a public school and a home with a terrifying father.

Suddenly he's the soft, vulnerable guy I fell in love with. He knew how badly I was feeling and my guess is his awareness deepened to a realization that he really does love me and should treat me in a manner that shows it and that without me his life would be much worse. There's no hubris in the last: Charles needs someone to tend to things.

One of the contradictions in our relationship is that I've rarely been as assertive as I should be. In earlier relationships I've usually taken the lead. Thinking back it is when I haven't that things fell apart. Good thing I'm not heterosexual or that would sound terribly sexist. (Not that I can't make the case for that being true with the woman I lived with.)

I don't like to fight. You can call it the birthright my father gave me. Growing up with unanticipatable manic fits of anger left me more of a peacemaker than a fighter. (My childhood inspires no pity in me: it shaped me, it didn't scar me.) That sounds nice and groovy. Maybe it is a failing.

My essential erotic nature draws me to dependent guys. That has earned me a few people's contempt. And I understand that. It is a risky form of romantic bias. It invites damage. But I'm no more anxious to wakeup differently tomorrow than I am to wakeup with Victoria Zdrok* as my sexual ideal. Another failing, perhaps.

The two failings might require a radical solution. Maybe I should be ready for a knockdown drag out fight or ten. Verbal fights mind you. There's no doubt that letting Charles make some of the awful mistakes he has (never blogged) has been the best course, he's learned lots about what he shouldn't do.

To folks in more conventional relationships this all must sound mighty nutty; a scary parody of the ditzy girl and the sitcom dad who comes home to talk sense into her. But I'm thinking I may have been thwarting the dynamic of our entanglement: wanting complementariness but not living within it. I'd rather have a more pacific solution. I'd also like world peace, a liberal democratic president and 28 million dollars.

Life is so silly you can't help but laugh at it, bless its silly heart.

Maybe this is the important part: when I woke up at 4:00 a.m. I thought of Charles and smiled. For now, at least, the fear that I should flee is at rest.

* Some weird guy sends me nearly insane messages about her otherwise I wouldn't know she exists. Why he made me his confident is beyond explanation.

[Listening to: One For My Baby (And One More For The Road) - Ella Fitzgerald - (3:58)]

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Thanks,
Richard

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