Thursday, November 22, 2007

WE Relationships – Rules of Engagement: To Thine Own Self Be True

By Niama S. Sandy

Idleness is a hell of a thing! Coupled with curiosity, it can be even worse. So now you have nothing to do and the desire to do basically anything. Enter member of the opposite sex, who you find interesting on several levels. You develop your friendship but then your relationship begins to morph into something you don't quite recognize. You begin to question yourself. Where do you draw the line between settling and compromise? Are they really different? Where does give-and-take end? How much does knowing what you want factor into what you're willing to concede?

For this installment of the Rules, I'm going to switch gears a little bit. This is probably the first of many times when I will paint myself as sacrificial lamb...or goat- whichever does take curry/jerk best. This month there will be no "rules," ah just want yuh eyes.

A few years ago I developed a friendship with a man whom we shall call Xavier. Literally one of the most intelligent, nice and downright hysterical people I know. After six months, I somehow managed to change the course of our relationship from a platonic one with a little tension to a friend-with-benefits sort of thing, which that at that time was an altogether unfamiliar phenomenon for me. My first physical experience with X was decent - nothing inherently life-altering about it. Round two was quite awhile in coming…something was always coming up. I got tired of being placed on the back burner; as a result, we fell out. Some months later we reconnected, and round two finally ensued. When it did happen, honestly, it was slightly disappointing. Granted people have off days, and you say to yourself (and to this person) that you will give it another go. More time passes.

Take three…same deal…more disappointment… I was putting in some serious work - giving in to the man's every whim. I wasn't disappointed because I was walking into it with aspirations of having an out-of-body experience - it was because I mistakenly expected my partner to completely reciprocate and care about what I wanted. I'm give-give-giving, he's take-take-taking and I find myself wishing and hoping to feel some semblance of an orgasm.

Obviously I don't believe in the three strikes rule…so another "interesting" experience…no phone call. Why am I still doing this? I DON'T KNOW! What am I really getting out of this situation? A couple of laughs? A conversation if I'm lucky…

Eventually, my passive aggression builds up and bubbles over and I resolutely decide that I'm going to nip this thing in the bud. I make reference to the way I feel about his "not-calling," and him not doing whatever else he's not doing. The man tells me to respect his time – and he not so delicately - explains that that was a part of the reason that he is hesitant about me to begin with.

Talk about a revelation! Respect his time?!?!? Nah dread!!! He couldn't possibly be serious! Was I calling him everyday? I don't even call my mother everyday let alone someone who was giving me an occasional orgasm. That was the last straw. How much of myself had I conceded by indulging with this man (though sometimes I wonder how much of it was his and how much of it was my indulgence). Considering the amount of energy and time I wasted with X, one of the first things that I consider is the number of potentially great relationships I missed out on - vexing, at best. Not for nothing, there were a few moments with X when I was pleased to the point of not knowing what to do with myself, but these segments of our "relationship" were not in the majority. I would much rather consistency…

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