the fear of commitment to another vs. the fear of committing to yourself

Once while I was waiting tables, I was beckoned over to a table and asked by a couple first my age and then my opinion on open relationships. They asked respectfully but I could tell that I was being used as some sort of tie-breaker in the conversation because of my youth. I wasn’t sure if I would offend either of them, but they weren’t that much older than me and I figured the fact that they were gay would at least make them less likely to judge me.

So I told them that the simple fact of the matter is that when you’re in your early-20s, you’re probably the sexiest you’re ever going to be and you’re as unbeholden to anybody else as you’ll ever be. You don’t have kids and you probably don’t have a marriage and you still have another thirty or forty years of your life to settle down and “fly right.” There’s also the fact that there are as many ways to love a person as there are people in the world and if the heart is capable of loving everyone, which it is, then why shouldn’t it? That there are dozens of people to whom I’ve said “I love you” and meant it even if I had no desire or intention of sleeping with them or marrying them after I already slept with them. I’ve loved married men and had wonderful relationships with them without ever doing anything that either of us considered disrespectful to what he and his wife had because I knew that what they had was something different and special. I’ve had relationships that were as stifling and insecure on my part as on my boyfriend’s and ended as quickly and as intensely as they began. I’ve been in long-term relationships that were always there after other relationships ended. I’ve loved gay men who were biologically incapable of loving me back so we threw out all the expectations of what a relationship is and made something that could have worked only for us and did. I’ve had normal boyfriends, who preferred things like going to the movies, going out to dinner, solitude. And that it’s cool if monogamy is your bag, but there are tons of people for whom it isn’t and that’s cool too. I’m probably one of those people, I said.

And I meant it, god damn it. I meant it.

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