August 06, 2014

You Can't Always Get What You Want

It's true, you can't always get what you want.

But you'll never get it if you don't ask for it.

And I've spent so long being so very afraid of asking for what I want.

I have not had a committed, exclusive relationship with anyone – a "boyfriend" – since 1995. (And even then, it's still questionable whether he was still dating his last girlfriend when he started dating me.) Back then, it was so easy: at the end of our first date, Seth asked, "Do you want to be my girlfriend?" and I said "Yes." And for the next month before leaving for my study abroad program in London, we spent every night together, sleeping separately but making out in cars and getting kicked off the beach at night and going to the movies and thrashing around in his parents' pool. I didn't have to ask for it. I didn't have to ask for any of it. It just happened, and it was understood.

Years passed, as I finished college and moved to New York City, where no one seems to go on dates but everyone seems to have a girlfriend. I couldn't figure out how to become one myself – to get nominated, elected, knighted, canonized into the position. Was it a contest? A fight? A treasure hunt? A vision quest?

I wanted to be Freddy's girlfriend. For a while I actually thought I was, but I never said it, and he never said it. And then I found out that I wasn't his girlfriend at all: I was the other woman. Although he went out with me in public, to parties and clubs, he had another girl at home, who knew his kids, who spent Thanksgiving with him.

I wanted to be Phil's girlfriend. I never said it to him, but he knew, and countered it by telling me he just didn't imagine us as a couple. When I asked "why?" and he didn't answer, I didn't persist. I knew he thought that settling down was settling. Despite telling me that he loved me (not that he was in love with me) in those late drunken hours, I knew he only thought of me as a friend with benefits, though he didn't actually say it until 16 years after first kissing me. I'd held out hope that whole time, making no demands. Catch as catch can.

I wanted to be Dylan's girlfriend, and I thought that might happen once I moved to LA, where he already lived, but somehow while I was busy getting a job and setting up my move, some other girl wedged herself in between us. I didn't fight it. I just waited for my turn. But my turn never came, and they're married now.

It feels a bit silly now, after all these years, pushing 40 years old, to still talk about having a boyfriend and being a girlfriend. After all, I'm a grown-ass woman. I can have a lover. A partner. A soulmate. A companion.

But whatever you call it, I still don't want to share.

I still don't want to be shared.

Can't we just try you and me for a while? Just you and me? I'm not asking for forever, I'm just asking to try.

Because I know what I want, and I want to be yours.

At least I'm finally asking, rather than just accepting whatever comes my way.

Related Posts:
The Love I Deserve
Let Me Love You
Try To Love

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