Ro and I are having dinner. Talking about on-again, off-again relationships. Ones where the general shape of them look like a heartbeat on an EKG. A quick spasm of highs and lows, highs and lows.
“That’s not how mine look at all,” Ro says. She explains that hers are more of a line that goes up gradually but pretty much consistently. From all the years I’ve known her, it seems like typically it takes a while to get close to her. But if she likes you that you do grow on her over time. And once you do, it’s very solid and stable.
“You know,” I tell Ro. “I don’t know if I tell you enough, but I like what we have.”
“Me, too,” she says, smiling.
The Endurance Race
We don’t have the normal love story, Ro and I. We’d known each other for 6 years before we ever decided to go on a date “later, when things slow down a bit.” And then it was about 6 months from that conversation before that date happened. But they weren’t painful, those months. Instead, I found myself looking forward to it. Happily waiting to date her, all the while musing on the future possibility of us.
And while there’s always been a nice thread of passion running through the whole affair (on my side of things at least), even when we did start to date, Ro and I had an energy that I’m not at all used to for “new” relationships. Sometimes when we’re together, we seem like an old married couple. Or as I once joked: “Apparently we’re dating in reverse. Like Benjamin Button. We’re starting out as two old married lesbians. Bed death. Wine tasting. And moving backwards in time towards NRE.”
But here we are, over a year from when we first started to date, and we’re still together. Still doing us.
During that time, I’ve had two fiery new relationships enter — and leave — my life. Those connections basically sprinted onto the field. All passion and fury. Ups and downs. A mix of New Relationship Energy, New Relationship Anxiety, and eventually heartbreak.
But Ro’s still here. We’re playing a different sport altogether. It’s not the 50 meter dash. It’s an endurance race.
I Used to Be a Sprinter, Now I’m a Marathon Runner
Sometimes it helps to explain to people that when it comes to relationships, I can be a lot like an ent — the tree creatures from Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings.
An ent has all the time in the world. They can take all day saying goodbye or hello, if that’s what they want to do. They have unrivaled patience and caution. But they can cover massive territory, too, if it’s what needs to be done.
Since being polyamorous often means I have a wider window for relationship timing, I’m in no rush to find partners. And when I find one I like, I want to go very deep with them.
I used to try to do that rather fast. I used to be a sprinter. Hot mess. Impatience.
But now I’m a marathon runner. I’m into mindfulness. Delayed gratification. Pacing myself. Letting things take their natural shape.
I’m not sure exactly how or when, but somewhere along the way, I’ve changed.
When it comes to the Olympics of Love, I may have switched sports.