Last night I was taking to Allan about relationships, labels, and commitment. Allan is a Canadian man I’ve been recently dating. Note to Americans: if you find yourself “dating” a Canadian, you might want to have conversation about what that word means to each of you, to save yourself from an awkward moment. :-)
Allan and I met a month ago while we were both traveling in Sedona, AZ. Our first date was one of those that starts out innocently enough, “Hey, wanna go on a hike sometime?” Two weeks later I’m buying tickets to Saskatchewan, a place so far from my bucket list, my bucket list didn’t even know it existed. “Saskatchewan? Didn’t Dr. Seuss make that up?”
During our first and only two dates (so far) Allan and I talked about where we were in our respective lives.
Besides living in Canada, Allan is getting ready to take a six month sabbatical to travel the world. I was literally in the middle of moving from California to Colorado (Sedona is halfway). Also, I’m just barely starting to commit to myself, I’m not quite ready yet to commit myself to anyone else.
Evidence suggests that Allan and I really like each other. But we also know that now is not the time for either of us to enter a committed relationship. On our second date, we recognized that in order to live as freely as we both want to live right now and to stay close, we’d have to be open with each other.
“How about this,” I said. “If there is anything we feel scared to say, we simply start the conversation with ‘I have something I feel scared to say.”
Allan really liked the idea, which one of reasons I really like Allan.
We got to test this out only a week later when I met someone else.
I knew Allan and I weren’t committed to each other, so I entertained the idea of keeping it from him. But thirty seconds into our next conversation, I knew that silence was a dodge.
“I have something I feel scared to say.” I said. Pause. Long pause. Inhale. Exhale. “I met someone I feel attracted to and I want to see him again.”
The conversation started and ended with Allan expressing genuine gratitude for our ability to talking openly, and he said what he has said many times since, “I feel lucky have you in my life, however that shows up, and I want you to be happy.”
Since then, he has never asked me about the other man, nor has he pulled away from me in anyway that I can tell. I experience this as kind, respectful, and deeply loving.
On my first date with the second man, I considered keeping quiet about Allan. I’m allowed to date, aren’t I? But then this man told me right away about his own heart complications (emotional, not physical), so I told him about Allan. We said we understood each other’s situations, and welcomed them. In sharing this, we moved closer to each other (emotionally and physically).
Last night, Allan and I revisited our un-commitment. We’ve been deepening our relationship over the phone, and I felt the desire to check in and make sure we were still on the same page. We were. But I found it amazing how just by reiterating clarity was an act of intimacy itself.
In recommitting to our non-commitment, I felt myself more committed than ever, not to Allan, but to Truth. And the truth is, I’m still stabilizing my own center. And the truth is, I have feelings for someone else too. And the truth is. Allan wants to travel and explore, without limitation. And the truth is, we have no idea about any of it.
So here we are. Here I am, In a new experience I’ve never had before, loving myself and two men at the same time. This, after having a story my whole life that I might not be capable of truly loving anyone at all.
If you had asked me two months ago if I could imagine this scenario. I would have said *definitely not* for at least seven(teen?) different reasons. And yet, the power of letting go of limiting beliefs + the power of candor has been a recipe that is changing everything for me.