“It’s been a real process, becoming emotionally secure,” I say to him.
“You’ve come a long way though,” he replies. “You’re a different person than when I first met you.”
I smile. “Thank you. That means a lot coming from you.”
“It might be difficult for you to remember, looking back, but I’ve been meaning to ask… What changed for you?” he asks.
“What changed for me?” I say.
“Multiple things, really, but there’s one I’ve been noticing a lot lately,” I say.
“I’ve been realizing I don’t have to be amazing or ‘the best’ in order to be valuable. I don’t have to be perfect in order for someone to want to have a relationship with me.”
“Well, I think you’re amazing,” he says.
“Nice of you to say,” I tell him. “But I’m no fool. I know I’m not the most beautiful person in the world. Not the thinnest. And while I have a good head on my shoulders, I know it’s basically a statistical impossibility that I’m the smartest person out there. I try to be kind, but I don’t always succeed. I have days when I can’t really be the person I want to be. Where not only am I not the best in the world period at anything, but I’m not even the best version of myself.”
“I think you’re gorgeous,” he offers. “Brilliant, too.”
“Thanks,” I reply. “But even if you didn’t, I know that I’d still have something to offer you.”
“And what’s that?” he asks.
“I’m extremely reliable,” I say. “If I tell you I’m going to do something, if we agree to something, I’m going to do my best to stick to that promise. If you tell me you need me to call you every Wednesday night –”
“For example,” he says.
“–for example,” I agree, “I’ll call you. Unless something major is going on. I’ll do everything I can to stick to that. And if for some reason I can’t call you, if something happens, I’ll let you know.”
“I’ve always loved that about you,” he says. “You’re so damn reliable.”
“It’s not always something that people have appreciated,” I say. “Not consciously anyway. At least when I was dating monogamously.”
He nods. “It’s easy to take something for granted when there’s nothing else to compare it to.”
“Right. I know people say ‘don’t compare’ in polyamory, but it’s advice that’s easy to say but basically impossible to follow. Humans often can’t help but compare thing with one another, people with one another. Social comparison is part of how we even work, how we’re wired.”
“So you’ve written,” he says.
“Ugh, hope I’m not being boring.”
“Not at all,” he says. And smiles. “You’re being consistent,” he adds. “That’s how you are. And I love it.”
Consistency Is Such an Underrated Virtue
Consistency doesn’t have the most exciting reputation — it’s certainly not the stuff of romantic legend — but when I look at the people I’ve been closest to, a great number of them are dear to me not because they were gorgeous. The wittiest person at the party. Or possessed some strange exotic talent.
No, they were folks who were there for me when I needed them, who were consistently good company. People who I could count on.
You can have your rollercoaster. Your war of the sexes. All-night fights paved over by grand gestures and extravagant gifts after the fact.
That stuff gives me a headache.
I’ll take the folks who I can set my clock by. Being reliable is so sexy.