My heart is full. I am completely in love with someone, but for some
reason, I can’t let myself love him. I look for something, anything
that I can find wrong with him. So far the list includes: hairy back,
small penis, and his weight. These are all very vain issues, which
don’t really matter to me because his personality is above and beyond
perfect. I am searching high and low for something to be wrong with
this man so I have an excuse not to love him. Help.
-Lost in Love
Dear Lost in Love,
I don’t know about you, but I first learned about love from seventh grade sleepover parties. That’s where a group of young women would discuss what their limits were with men, how to give a hand job, and when the relationship went from making out to real steady dating. I think, for many women, it is hard to transition from this holy grail of sleepover party advice to adult relationships.
For one, it is always important to look at our definitions of “love.” If you are “in love” and you can’t “love him,” then there is something fundamentally wrong with this picture. Where is this relationship at in its progression? Are you in lust, soon to be in love? In like? Infatuated? Click here for Seventeen ’s help figuring that one out.
One middle school crutch worth leaving behind might be how much the physical lay the grounds for the emotional. As adults I think people often forget that as ok as it is to have sex and get dirty, it is also so ok to wait, go slow, and let your heart lead rather than your genitals. This slowing down makes space and time for real intimacy, real safety, and real depth.
One thing we did do well in seventh grade, despite the hype, was set limits and go slow, enjoying the intricacies of kissing faces. It sounds to me like this guy might be awesome, but you might not be ready to be serious now. This is why you are finding reasons to push him away, because you might not, on a deeper level, be sure you trust this dude yet. Key word = yet.
This is not to say he might not be the one, it just might mean you need to rip a hole in the relationship for some personal breathing room. Whenever we invent phantom issues it is because something else is troubling us subconsciously. His small penis and hairy back might really be a metaphor for your own fears and issues; your own broken heart and a need for some time to re-open it fully.
A wise friend in Seattle once said, “You can’t rush God.” I would say the same goes for love.
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