You see, last night I was laying in bed cuddling with Kaywinnet, my girlfriend/partner of about three weeks now. We were just laying there talking about the people in our lives and their relationships and we ended up on the topic of ours. After a little discussion, she asked what would have happened if she hadn’t asked me out. Would anything have happened between the two of us? My answer was an unequivocal ‘No.’ Nothing would have happened if she hadn’t have asked me out.
Don’t get me wrong here, I had strong feelings about Kaywinnet for weeks before we started this adventure. I found her cute, funny, extremely sharp, and refreshingly authentic. I loved spending time with her, and when I would get home, I would gush to Patience about how amazing she was and all the things we did together. I had a crush. I knew it, Patience knew it, my friends knew it. But yet, I know nothing would have happened if she didn’t make the first move, and there is no way around that.
But why not? If I had such strong feelings about Kay, why would I not act on them? Why would I just accept the status quo when I wanted more?
Well, obviously, part of the answer to this question is fear. I was afraid that, by acting, I would ruin a good thing. I was enjoying the time that Kay and I were spending together, and if that just continued as friends (and survivors of graduate school), that would be great. I didn’t feel like I needed things to go any further.
But, I don’t think this simple and rational sounding solution is really the entire truth. Rather, I think my fear runs a lot deeper than that, and I think this because I worry, a lot.
I have worried that something that I would do would drive her away (as anyone worries when they are first developing feelings for another person)
. I have also worried that my confessions of romantic feelings would go unreciprocated (bad) or that it would spoil the friendship I have developed (atomic fall-out levels of bad). I have worried that my asexuality would become a burden or that my relationship with Patience would be seen unfavorably. I have worried about compatibilities and about running out of ideas, time, or money. I worried about appearances and Patience’s feelings. I worried about.. well, everything really.
Basically, I found excuses to avoid the issue, and stopped an interaction that would highlight my vulnerability; thus, keeping yet another friend I care about at arms’ length in some foolish attempt to evade the pain of getting closer only to be pulled away again. This is what I think would have happened with Kaywinnet, and for once, this concerns me.
How many other people in my life want to be closer to me (whether romantically or platonically), but haven’t said anything? How many people have given up on their feelings or penchant for closeness because I’ve kept them at arms’ length? What other adventures have I missed out on because of my intense desire to avoid vulnerability and the possibility of future pain?
The answer to these questions is that I just don’t know, and I never will. However, in this case, I am lucky enough to be able to experience just what I would be missing out on if Kay had left this first move to me. And this makes our relationship the perfect opportunity for me to learn just how messy, complicated, and potentially rewarding vulnerability can be.
This opportunity to learn is meaningful in its own right, but given the context of my romantic relationships, it seems particularly meaningful to me. You see, historically I have been something of a protector and a teacher with Patience. That is, I have focused a lot of my energy on making sure that Patience is safe and that she is constantly moving towards her goals of self-improvement. For Patience, this is extremely important because as much as I am her Dominant, I am also her caregiver (especially when her mental health issues start to flare up). It is my job to push her to improve, even when those improvements aren’t kinky in the slightest.
And after last night, I am realizing that with Kaywinnet I am clearly a student, at least in this respect, rather than being the teacher I have always been with Patience. This marks a significant role reversal for me, and one which is as frightening as it is filled with possibility.