I know, I know. Waiting sucks. Especially if it’s for something you really really really WANT. But J and I were patient with each other and our relationship progress. (Well, J was patient, and I like him a whole bunch, so I tolerated the excruciating patience. Haha!)
Seriously, J is a patient man, and that’s one of the things that most attracted me to him right from the beginning. I NEED someone who’s patient. And I need someone who is growth-oriented. I wrote about ‘growing together’ in part II of When We Met, but I’m going to write even more about how important it is to me here.
I’ve always felt pretty disposable to other people. My friendships never seem to be close and never seem to last. I got (and still get) canceled on a lot. Stood up. I’m an afterthought if I’m thought of at all. Seriously. There’s this Ben Folds song (I know…I’m a music dork, despite having zero musical ability, and I have a musical crush on Ben Folds…he comes up a lot, but still) called Annie Waits. That’s me. I almost feel like he wrote that song for me. (If you’re a ‘I never understand the lyrics’ person…that’s why I chose the link with the words overlaid.)
I feel like I’m usually waiting for people. To notice me. To text me back. To show up. To follow through. I do a lot of waiting, because I know growth doesn’t happen overnight, but often I feel like I’m waiting for nothing, because nothing can grow without some needs met. And it always feels like very few people are ever willing to wait for me. To warm up. To trust. To feel comfortable sharing inner parts of myself with them. To grow.
I’m not feeling sorry for myself or navel gazing here. I have a pretty good handle on why I seem to always be a loser at the waiting game. I feel so much closer to the people I’ve met online through my writing in the past couple of years than I do to people I’ve ‘known’, who have ‘known’ me for *decades,* and I think it’s because they make me wait less, and they’re more willing to wait for me. We’ve got a more even relationship balance. *They’re more like J.* (Whom I also met online, originally because of things I wrote…I doubt that’s a coincidence.)
See, I have always sought to learn more about myself and other people and how people relate to each other in the world. Always. I’ve always sought to become a better version of myself. I need to learn and grow and evolve. And I need to dive to depths…with my own self-awareness, in my relationships with other people, and with my understanding of how people work together from the personal to the global scale. And the people that I’ve met through my writing appreciate those things about me. They share the same growth-oriented mindset and belief in reciprocation in relationships that I have. We are closer, because I’ve revealed more of myself in writing than I ever have with any person in my life (except obviously J…he’s really the first person I met who wanted to know ALL of me). I feel safer opening up to people in writing than I do to the people who think they ‘know’ me, because the people I’ve connected to through writing accept these things about me. They don’t have to try to understand me; they just DO. Writing allows me to take my time with my thoughts, and the people I’ve connected to through it willingly wait for me to do that. J was like that from the very first moment we met.
One of my friends I’ve met through writing said something to me that really made me feel a lot less afraid. Of being myself, of loss I guess, of putting my writing out into the world, and of (hopefully) meeting some of my treasured contacts in person some day.
“You said that when you become ‘real’ to people, they like you less…that you become nonessential and easily replaced…that you’re forgettable and they just don’t think about you at all without you asserting yourself and putting forth most of the effort…and I get it. But IS it that? Or is it just that you’re meeting people you have a lot more in common with now, where you aren’t limited by unfortunate geography?”
People who are growth-oriented aren’t uber focused on the ‘now.’ They aren’t normally obsessed with how much they can have right NOW. They can (and will gladly) visualize, wait for, and work toward a better potential future. J isn’t concerned with instant gratification, and he never has been. J’s patience is meticulously practiced.
He doesn’t need a new car NOW. He wants the new car he wants when it’s the best time for him to buy it. He’ll wait weeks. He’ll wait months. He’ll wait as long as it takes to find the exact right one…that gas mileage, that performance, that appearance, those specs, that price, that financing structure. J has already extensively studied what he wants and how he wants it. He’s already formed a database in his head of previous observed patterns and experiences. His judgments and decisions aren’t ‘snap.’ They are consummately informed. And he normally chooses something that’s not the easiest, most convenient thing. He almost always chooses something he can work on. Not ‘has to’ work on. J doesn’t look at making things better as work he ‘has’ to do. It’s always felt more like he ‘gets’ to do it. He ‘gets’ to customize it. Because he’s patient and growth oriented. That’s how it went in our early relationship too.
When I met J, I’d had a ten year dating history of ‘awkward and uncomfortable,’ because I’m extremely touch sensitive and socially anxious. Years of subtle emotional warfare with my family (particularly my parents) and affection starvation clearly showed to every suitor (including J) no matter how much I wanted to and tried to hide them, even if the men I saw didn’t know what to call it. Over a dozen boys/men bailed on me when I failed to progress with physical intimacy at their preferred pace. They had a right to do that. I’m not saying they were bad guys at all. None of them ever tried to force their way past my boundaries. They just weren’t the right man for me. J waited. In fact, J waited so long I *asked* why he was waiting so long. He didn’t make a physical ‘move’ on me until I literally asked him for it.
When I met J, I was 25 and owned my own home without a cosigner, but I was still a virgin. J was the only man I offered this information to that was undaunted by it. He didn’t push me. He waited patiently. We actually lived together for a couple of months before we had sex for the first time.
J waited. Very patiently. On a LOT of things. He earned my trust with care over time (and continues to earn it daily).
I’ve made some contacts with young women (some of them, were I less uptight and afraid in high school, are young enough to be my actual children) through my writing the past couple of years. And when they read the things I write about and for J, they’d say things like, ‘OMG, GOALS!’ with a bunch of heart emojis and stuff, which I think is flattering and kind of adorable. Haha! But sometimes they’d say things like, ‘I love this so much, but I feel like it’s never going to happen for me.’ Or, ‘Gah! So sweet. Hurts to think I’ll never have this.’ And then they’d chat with me about it and I’d find out they were 19 or 22 or something, and I’d REALLY worry about them. Because I’d think, ‘Are those young women going to dive into relationships wanting this kind of connection I write about with J *immediately?*’ Because WE didn’t have this immediately. We were patient (again…*J* was patient…haha!), and committed. When I began writing about my life with J, and fiction inspired by my life with J, we’d already been together for eight years and married for most of that time, and had become parents with a mortgage together. It took years of waiting and work to get to where we are.
If any of you reading this are single now, and unhappy about it, please don’t rush into a relationship with a prospective partner…emotional or physical intimacy. Take your time. The right person for you will wait. And don’t sit around doing a bunch of undue waiting for people who can’t or won’t reciprocate your patience, either. Don’t settle for or stay with a person because you feel tired of waiting.
I know those are such Middle Aged Mom Cliche things to write, but they ARE true.
I know…waiting sucks. I’ve felt those same things. Hell, I felt ‘old’ when I was 12. I’ve wasted so much time thinking about things I’d never get to have. But I was wrong. Please value yourself enough to be patient. And selective. Value yourself without a partner, not because it will make you more attractive to prospective partners (but it will…at least to the potentially good ones), but because you ARE valuable without a partner. You are already valuable, and your worth only increases with time. The relationship you build with the person you find who practices patience with you…who matches your patience…will be worth the waiting.