Posted by David
on Nov 13, 2003 in Upside-down Hippo
| 0 comments
Today is Rob’s and my second anniversary. To be more specific, it is has been two years since we met for the first time. With gay couples, it is always difficult to pinpoint the specific occasion. Do they measure from the day they met? The day they slept together first? The day they decided that they were “dating”? For some of us, these are one in the same, but Rob and I took it slower, and the only day we can remember for sure is the day we met. (Even that is questionable . . . I used to think it was 14 November instead of the 13th, but I was overruled.)
So Happy Anniversary to us!
I checked the mailbox this morning, certain I would find a deluge of warm wishes but coming up instead with a lone envelope addressed to David and Goblin, a naked plea for help. Tireless saint that I am, I shall comply, especially as we seem to be on a relationship theme today, but really, next time, I am going to require that naked pleas for help be accompanied by naked photographs of the petitioner. Fair is fair.
David and Goblin:
I could think of no one more qualified to answer this question than you. So here goes…
I recently started hanging out with someone I graduated High School with. I never talked to this woman before a couple of months ago (nothing beyond salutations anyhow) and now I have fallen for her.
Now my question is this:
Should I ask her out (and if so how?) or should I just continue to be friends and not risk losing our friendship?
I really want to ask her out, but I don’t want to lose her friendship (which I fear I will if she says no).
What do I do David (and Goblin)? What do I do?
I am not sure what qualifies me to answer a question of this sort, other than that I did indeed graduate from high school. That I have not seen anyone in my graduating class for fifteen years puts me one step ahead of you, I think, but is hardly equivalent to a Ph.D. in Matters of the Heart. But as I am nothing if not a cheerleader for young love, I shall plod on. Rah, rah.
The fact is, I do not know what you should do, but I do know why you should (or should not) do it. Pull up a chair, my little chickadee, and I will tell you the ways of the world.
I once read that human beings have only two main motivations for doing the things they do: love or fear. These are perhaps not literal descriptions of emotions but a way of characterizing the forces of “moving toward” something or “moving away from” something. Thus, all of the motivations in the “moving toward” category boil down to the “universal force” of love; all of the motivations in the “moving away from” category boil down to the “universal force” of fear. It is sort of a yin-and-yang situation, if you take my meaning.
The idea one should take from this is that as many of one’s motives as is possible should come from love rather than from fear. Again, this is not to say that “love” means actual love, so that you should always choose to fall in love (or stay in love) with someone . . . just that, when you make a decision to do something, for example, it should be because you want to do that thing rather than because you do not want to do the thing you perceive as its opposite.
I realize that this is as clear as mud, especially when the same decision may find its roots in two different motivations, but let us attempt to apply this philosophy to your situation.
Your primary desire is to date this woman. Your secondary desire, if for whatever reason the primary desire cannot be met, is to maintain the status quo of your current friendship. You are reluctant to move toward the first because you are afraid to lose the second. That is very clearly the force of fear at work.
You may argue that the fear is valid, that if you were to act from “love” and move toward your primary desire, you could well lose your chances at both primary and secondary happiness. But so what? Love is risk, and fear is, by definition, not risking. It is only by risking what we have that we can get what we desire. Love requires courage.
So my answer to your question is, whatever you decide, make sure it is because you are moving toward something (either a friendship or a deeper relationship, both of which are lovely), rather than moving away from something (rejection, being alone).
I would also like to reinforce, as a postscript, that choosing “love” does not always mean choosing the action that most looks like the emotion we label love. For instance, dropping everything and moving across the country to get into a relationship with someone you have just met may resemble love, and I am all for taking chances on love, believe me! (Rah, rah, sis boom bah!) But if the situation into which you are plunging headlong does not suit you at all, and you are making the choice largely because you feel your current situation is a disaster and you are tired of being alone, that smacks more of fear, and very little good ever came of that. Of course, hope could be restored if you were both true to yourselves and moved to Seattle like the gods intended.
Hello hello hello! Just ask her out already!
I don’t know about all of that Seattle stuff but it’s probably not important. Happy Anniversary Daddy and Uncle Bobby!
*lick lick lick lick lick lick lick lick*