We’re right at the beginning of our time together. Everything’s shiny and new. We can’t keep our hands off each other. We are mysteries to each other. We have our stories to share, old hurts, old joys, current events, how’s your days, good nights, good mornings. It’s all infinitely possible. (Although I still won’t take you to the airport at the beginning of the relationship. Because, like Harry, I also don’t want anybody to ever ask me, “How come you don’t take me to the airport anymore?”) Tom Petty told us, “The future was wide open,” and, “The sky was the limit.”
There’s a problem with the future being wide open and the sky being the limit. All of that possibility comes with an equal amount of stress. We’re still mysteries to each other. What does it all mean? That date was pretty short. What if I ask her the wrong question? He misinterpreted what I said. She said goodnight very abruptly. Can I tell him I’m thinking about him or is that too weird? Should I tell her that I could still smell her on me when I got home, or is that creepy? How long until it’s okay to tell him that I miss him? Holy shit.
More than the New Relationship Energy we all talk about so much with our poly friends, we don’t talk much at all about the New Relationship Anxiety.
It’s a tough realization to see that you still have walls up with someone you’re getting to know. It’s scary being vulnerable together. Breaking in a new pair of good leather boots isn’t always entirely pleasant the first couple times you wear them. They’re stiff. They’re hard. They don’t feel familiar. Sure, they fit, but they don’t feel quite right. But before you know it, you’re the same shape. The beautiful thing about our polyamorous reality is that none of your other shoes have to feel guilty that you’re working on your new boots. You need to walk together, to loosen up together, get them wet, be in them, be with them. But you’ll mess your feet up if you try to barrel through and “man up” with boots that really don’t fit you. You have to get them and spend time with them before things get rough, otherwise everyone just ends up uncomfortable. Sometimes you might get some blisters until it’s all worked out. But once you’ve softened them up and they’ve taken on the shape of your feet, you can get through anything.
I don’t know all of you yet. Wondering what your faces mean, what your sounds mean, what your schedule looks like, when you can talk and when you can’t… I want to know all of those things. I want to know everything about you. Things were going fantastically until I found out that you exist, and now I have to go through my life knowing that you exist and we’re only a little bit together. This part – the part that goes until we’re all the way together – this part is the worst. We’re still auditioning.
People complain about being taken for granted. But I want you to take me for granted. I want you to count on the fact that I will text you tomorrow, and the day after, and the day after. I want to able to take some comfort that some time before, say, noon, I’ll see a good morning and I’ll know you’re thinking of me. And you know that, even if we’re spending the night in with our primary live-in partners, you’re on my mind enough that I’m going to say good night to you.
Sure, things may be new and exciting. And they’re new enough that they haven’t settled in deeply enough to get life-changingly painful if they have to stop. Most of the time, at this point, things don’t mean what we’re afraid they’ll mean.
Remember when the Doctor and Donna were at U.N.I.T. HQ?
The Doctor: Come on. Come on, we’re going to the country. Fresh air and geniuses! What more could ask for?
Donna Noble: I’m not coming with you. I’ve been thinking… Sorry, I’m going home.
The Doctor: Really?
Donna Noble: I’ve got to.
The Doctor: [looking really disappointed] Well, if that’s what you want. It’s a bit soon. I had so many places I wanted to take you. The fifteenth broken moon of the Medusa Cascade, the lightning skies of Cotter Palluni’s World, the diamond coral reefs of Kataa Flo Ko. Thank you. Thank you, Donna Noble, it’s been brilliant. You’ve saved my life in so many ways. You’re… you’re just popping home for a visit, that’s what you mean?
Donna Noble: [nods] You dumbo.
The Doctor: [looks and sounds embarrassed] And then you’re coming back?
Even the Doctor needs to hear that you’re coming back. I do, too. Because you know what? I’m coming back, too.