Loving despite the but of it
Dating in the UV
Dating in the Upper Valley is a test of one's mental mindset. You must be a cryogenic olympiad to survive it and if you find love, consider yourself blessed. That is no easy task.
I pride myself on being an independent progressive woman. I am by no measure perfect, at forty time has graced me with wear. My body tells a story of childbirth and many a braless day (you know the feeling right ladies? Ugh..). A homeowner, three cars, and a scooter, trim-waisted and moderately active (fair weatherly so). I am dirt broke and working class and living right above the poverty level but I have learned, most of us are. All of this sounds good, however, it isn't.
Somehow in the Upper Valley, it seems to be a suitable "date" or partner you must have to be "more." More interesting, more monied, more educated, more aware. The task is unbearable and has become such an enormous burden it turns a simple act, such as dinner, into an interview of sorts. Or debate. Where you compare achievements and interests, try to one-up the other. You have to possess a clear political platform and sound mental health (who has that?). Or you get bored and listen to them banter about themselves and how fabulous they are while you covertly scroll Tinder like Inspector Gadget and grocery shop for humans, before excusing yourself for an early night (not that I do that, sorry previous dates...).
If you get through the competitive dating process and decide the person is "good enough" for you and your family, or they "complement rather than burden" you then we are into new territory. I always seem to fail here, never to land in comfort zone. See if you are too...
Somewhere along the line, we focus on the 'but' of things rather than because. For example, some of my own 'buts' delivered my way have been:
The sentence starts "I like/love you but....."
You are too poor
You live in Claremont
I like natural women
Your house is a mess
Your job is taxing/ time-consuming/not interesting (ouch)
You're not educated enough
Your house is messy.....
This is a small list. I have many more I am keeping to myself. Have you heard the 'but' before? I know a relationship is dying by the frequent use of "buts". I have done the research and math. Science. One or two "buts" is survivable and there may be hope. On the other hand where there is one "but" there is sure to be another because once you focus on the "but" they add up.
Can we challenge ourselves in the Upper Valley to change our dialogue of love? For every "but" that presents and nags you, for a moment, could we just fold it up and put it in our pocket, let it rest? What if, like generations before us, we did something for each other? Give each other the gift of time? The time to put the "buts" aside and justly get to know each other. Then one day (like magic), it will be laundry day, and as we clean our pockets out, there go all the "buts" in the trash. With the rest of the useless pocket items.
Or better yet, what if we turn "buts" to "because"? I love you because you are messy, rude, poor, etc.... What you would say is...I love and honor your imperfections. I am giving myself time to accept them because I know this may be worth it to me and you.
The gift of time goes both ways. Giving it to yourself and another. It is an enormous offering.
I decided when my fiance left me a few years ago to love for because. He left me for a lot of "buts". This led me down a road of self-loathing the likes one cannot imagine. I was recovering from a brain aneurysm and thought his "buts" were true. That I would never be the person I once was before I was sick. I was no longer fun or interesting. Maybe I did indeed love the wrong way and raise children wrong. No one would ever get close or want me and if they did, I was sure they would see those same "buts" and leave. Again.
My decision was this. The next time I felt love like that, I would love for the "because." I would choose "because". Every time I would ever want to say "but" and cast self-doubt, I would insert "because" to get me through. I would wait for a huge pile of "because" to remind me I picked the right human. I can't wait to try it. My theory of "because". It feels as though I am taking my love power back. I am choosing to love regardless because something brought me to you.
I have several instances in my mind planned out. Laundry piled up, now I am pissy. I love you because you never do laundry. Will you help me sort this out? I love you because you forgot our anniversary. Want to go do something special? I love you because you have no money, but I see you working hard all the time. I value that. I love you because you choose to learn new things..... I have no one to practice on. But it feels powerful just thinking about it.
Can we change our love repertoire in the Upper Valley? With ourselves and each other? Try the "theory of because". I practice on myself right now. I love me because I have wrinkles, I love me because I am flawed, I love me because it is enough to love when there is no one around to give it. I love me because I say awful things. I love me because I am a good sapien with kind intentions.
No buts about it, I am making my next love great again. Because I choose to. If only I could survive the first date.