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The Relationship Trap

The Relationship Trap

I've been dating one woman more consistently than I usually do.  In fact, ever since I met Autumn, on the last day, in the last minutes, of my trip to the MichiganWomyn's Music Festival, I haven't even been able to think about anyone else.  Of course, I still notice the gorgeous women I run into every day, but it's like they're all in soft focus, while Autumn's beauty is clear, and sharp, and a bit overwhelming.  

I can’t understand what’s so great about fixating on one person.  To me it’s distracting, inconvenient, and makes me eat too much.  Autumn agrees with me, but she still sends me sexy text messages while I’m at work.  Then she comes over to my place wearing lingerie, and bearing romantic comedy DVDs and pints of Hagen Daz.

My friends have been the opposite of helpful in all this.  I’ve seen the sly, know-it-all looks they’ve been giving me.  Even when I tell them, over and over, that Autumn and I are just dating, if I ever show up at an event alone, they insist on asking me, “so where’s your girlfriend?”  Well, what do I expect?  These are the same folks that nearly drove me to the poorhouse last June with all wedding gifts I had to buy.

My landlady, Roma, has also been quite annoying.  She keeps asking me stuff like, “when is your lease up again?”  And I say, “May, why?” And she says, “oh, no reason.”  But, I know what she’s doing.  She’s counting down the months before she might have to start looking for a new tenant for my one-bedroom apartment.  To put a finer point on it, she told me the other day, “you know, I have a nice two-bedroom unit that will be opening up soon.  If you want to take a look at it, just let me know.” 

Earlier this week, I was complaining about all this in a telephone session with my therapist Greta Clewe.  She told me that my friends were probably having a hard time wrapping their heads around the term nonmonogamous.

 

Greta:  Nomonogamous as an identity defines you more by what you are not than by what you are.  For example, you don’t refer to your sexuality as non-straight, or your race as non-white. 

Me: Well, why do I have to define myself at all?  I don’t understand why folks keep trying to hitch me up to the same old U-Hauls that they keep driving off in every 6 months to a year. Maybe I should just call myself polyamorous. 

Greta:  True, that might be easier for your friends to understand, except that you don’t happen to be polyamorous, meaning having relationships with more than one person at the same time 

Me: Good grief, I don’t even want to have one relationship, why would I want to have a dozen or more?

Greta: Actually Sissy, a dozen would be rather a lot for even the most polygamous.

Me: Really, than what’s the point?  I thought the idea was to maximize diversity?

Greta: (Silence… big sigh)  You know, Sissy, I think what your friends call you is not the real issue.  What we need to look at is the reason why you flee every time a relationship looks like it’s about to get serious.

Me: Oh, come on!  I don’t do that.

Greta:  Rachel, Beverly, Sharonda, Lisa, Vanessa… should I go on?

Me: No, never mind.  That’s the trouble with having the same therapist for a long time.

Greta: And one with an excellent memory.  But that’s the point I’m trying to make.  Why are you calling me in San Francisco for a phone session?  Wouldn’t it make sense to find another therapist in Chicago?

Me:  (Suddenly panicked) Oh no, Greta, you’re not breaking up with me, are you?

Greta: No, no, I’m just asking a question.

Me: Well, I call you because I’ve been through so much with you.  I trust you, and I believe that you genuinely care about me.

Greta: And that’s the definition of intimacy.  Being nonmonogamous does not mean that a person is afraid of intimacy, but it appears that you, Sissy, are using nonmonagmy to avoid intimacy in your romantic relationships.  I think your problem has a name.

Me: (Big Sigh) Faith.

............................................To Be Continued