Love in Limestone: But what is ‘normal,’ anyway?

Photo by Debbie O’Grady.


Dirty Deeds Entry

              I can’t remember a time when he didn’t have the music so low it was barely audible.

But was that because the volume was kept quiet, or the beating of my own heart prevented me from actually hearing it?

Even now, that song – that voice – sounds more like the pulsating of blood in my veins, and his face buried where I could only feel him.

If you were able to write ‘I’m only looking for someone for the short term’ as the headline for your online dating bio, do you think it would catch any bites?

What if you went one step further: I’m a ton of fun. I fly by the seat of my pants. I go out late, I live life to the fullest. I’ll drive three hours at three am for a three dollar slice of pie. I want someone to join me.

What if you said: But I only want ‘new relationship’ vibes. So let’s keep it exciting, ’til it’s not, and then amicably separate.

And then you promised: However long we’re together, it will be the time of your life.

If we’re living in a world where folks are finally coming to terms with their own desires and wants – if we’re past placating our partners and starting to carve the curve of our own needs – would this approach to dating be sufficient for some?

If we examine all angles of relationships, we could safely agree that the last two decades have scrutinized the societal acceptance of what ‘normal’ is.

I have a dear friend – whom I’ve known nearly two decades – who dodge a doomed marriage, and ultimately a divorce, by having the real, pure and honest conversation with her husband regarding her innermost feelings about polyamory. And she found he jointly agreed. When I saw her last, she casually mentioned that she had a full-time boyfriend, outside of her relationship. And that her husband was now seeing another woman. Polyamory saved their crumbling marriage.

I asked her, pointedly, “Then why stay married?” And she replied: “Why would we get divorced? We have a great love for one another, we share a home and a child. And she satisfies him in ways I can’t, and vice versa.”

And it was that simple. It was that simple for these two to jointly agree to a polyamorous relationship that has now brought more love and happiness into their marriage than when their vows were barely holding water in the face of destruction. Their marriage, and these arrangements, work for them.

So again, I ask, if we’re open to the idea that not all relationships are created equal – that not all budding romances lead to full-time partnerships, and the potential of life-time commitments – is it not, then, permissible for one to say: We’re here for a good time. Not a long time. So have a good time. The sun can’t shine every day.

Perhaps the ‘summer romance’ routine holds more merit then we give it credit for. Can one not openly say ‘I’m really only interested in a few great months. A few great dates. A few great moments that we’ll both look back on fondly – but my interest in relationships come with an expiry date. I hope you understand.’?

Or is that purely selfish?

No more than needing a husband, and a boyfriend, too?

If we bridge from polyamory to swingers, to open relationships, to whatever else drives people to their fulfillment and satisfaction, could this approach to dating be, then, added to the mix? While it’s yet to be a coined term of relationship – perhaps we could call it ‘short-term lovers’ – it begs conversation. We know now that more and more middle aged+ couples are electively living separately. That millennials are choosier in their picks for partners. We know the tides – they are a changin’.

Could you do it? Could you invest in exclusivity with one person for an extended period of time knowing that it would inevitably end? Would you dare to open your heart for short, brief, pockets of time? Where you shared your dreams, your wants, your fantasies, your hopes, your goals with them, only to know – with all certainty – that this was temporal?

If their headline read ‘I’m looking for a short-term lover, with full-time benefits,’ would you swipe left or right? Would you scoff at the idea that a person could be so ‘near-sighted;’ would you wonder if they realized love isn’t meant to be held at room-temperature until it spoils on the counter?

Or would you agree that relationships – long-term, short-term, involving many people, involving few, involving only each other, living separately, or married in monogamy – are not cookie-cutter, linear concepts?

Perhaps, perhaps, it’s okay to say to someone: I have my life to live. I have goals far beyond what is happening in the present. But right now – right now I’m looking to create memories with someone. I don’t want to be alone right now. But just for right now.

~ lilly ~


If you have something you want to share, a question to ask, or a general comment, drop me a note at [email protected]

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