Better Than a Friend

So much work has already been done, sorting out my own head, my feelings, thought patterns, behaviors. And so much lies ahead.

Today, a single thought crystallizes into word form, “He treats me better than a friend, and this is what shocks me.”

I’ve felt this, thought it wordlessly, nebulously, without form – as he’s performed his manifold kindnesses. Like setting up my coffee machine to brew when I wake, carefully pouring in water and beans, setting the timer. When he doesn’t drink coffee. “Why are you doing that?” I ask.

“Because I love you,” he replies.

When I mention curiosity about a movie in passing and expect to be ostracized, told it’s cheesy, a waste of time and find days later he’s procured it and starts playing it on the screen for me.

“Why are you doing that?” I ask.

“Because I love you,” he replies.

And today I realized, really accepted that it’s this concept that startles me the most – that a lover should be a person who treats me better than a friend. So long have I had lovers who expected more and delivered less than my platonic friends, feeling that I “owed” my lovers something, that anyone with me needed to be paid for performing the unpleasant duty of being my partner, even going so far as to sleep with a spouse or two in the name of poly peace and forcing upon myself a “package deal,” suffering insults by others, cutting perilously back on my own expenses and spending tens of thousands of dollars to support the addictions of loved ones, or in some cases, violating my core values in order to be a “good partner” and trying (often misguidedly) to meet the needs of someone I loved.

It was all so warped, so sick, seen now through the lens that I am working to develop. And yet, that sense of “fairness” lingers in my psyche. That more is to be expected of me, that I deserve happiness less.

Prior to my diagnosis of dependent personality disorder (a.k.a. co-dependent personality disorder), a bitter metamour/ex-lover said my bond with Skyspook was “co-dependent.” Though it smacked of classic psychological invalidation, I took the comment under careful consideration, knowing that we are often blind to our own foibles or even tragic flaws. But looking back, I see that virtually every other relationship in my life was co-dependent, even most of my friendships (many of which I have terminated since that time). What was forming with Skyspook was interdependence – and at that point, it was nascent. I simply knew that I was more relaxed around him than anyone else and that I wanted to spend as much time with him as possible.

So yes, I was terribly sick and exhibiting devastatingly co-dependent behaviors, but pursuing that relationship (even as I endured countless lectures on the subject though staying well within the rules I had outlined as to dating new folks) was the first selfish thing I had done in ages – and by selfish, I mean self-preserving, self-pleasing, self-interested. It was the least co-dependent thing I’d done in quite some time.

“Why are you doing that?”

“Because I love you.”

And I love you, too. And want to always treat you better than a friend.

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