“It is a time to rejoice, for love is in the air,” the handsome man types” At least it is for me and my new lady. My name is Nathan, and I believe love comes with boundaries,” He takes the time to furrow his thick brown brows before rubbing his tired face. Nathan looks at his reflection and studies the new features on his face. He makes note of the worry lines pressing into his forehead and the forever-tired look on his face, despite how many long evenings he has spent in his bed. “Our bed” he corrects silently before sighing away his pain. He erases the entry and stares at a blank screen trying to make the feelings in his head come to fruition. “My name is not important. All you must know about me is that I don’t know what love is, and quite frankly I’m not sure if the love I have is satisfying enough”. Nathan takes a deep breath, his mind travels back to when he first met his lady friend Nochelle.
Nathan is from Mobile, Alabama and has graduated from the University of Alabama with his doctorate in Social Psychology. He works from home working for his own medical journal that studies close personal relationships and publishes his findings in the journal, and this week his new burning topic is to use the knowledge he acquired from school and apply it to his own life. He met Nochelle at a weekend conference in Atlanta where he quickly discovers Nochelle earned her doctorate degree in New York where she was born and raised to become an Anthropologist. After a few sweet words on Nathan’s part and Nochelle’s sultry sex appeal the two quickly become an exclusive item; however, within the first year and a half of being together Nathan begins to see a slight disintegration in the relationship. Desperate, he tries everything he could think of to help “fix” the relationship: he takes time off from work and they vacate to the Caribbean where he showers the love of his life with unforgettable gifts, dinners, and mostly of all–the love they made on the trip was unlike any other time before. It was filled with passion, hunger, vulnerability, love, and curiosity. This did not bother Nathan, until the couple return to their home in Manhattan and the relationship takes a turn.
“I noticed other people staring in envy,” he continues to type “the way she moved, so confident and cool. Hell, I was envious! How could the woman I’m with provide so much warmth and confidence when I feel empty and distant?” After the return Nochelle tries her hand at helping her man regain his confidence in the relationship. She takes off work and stays home to care for him, but the more she tried the more overbearing she came off. “So I stopped touching her,” he admits with pain welting in his eyes “and I stopped loving her. I knew she has abandonment and neglect issues. I knew she needed my touch as affirmation, but to be honest I just couldn’t bring myself to do it, and it was killing me. I felt smothered to the point where her love just looked like I needed to father her, to coddle her. So I take a solo trip to my mother’s house in Mobile for two weeks. This is when things began to spin uncontrollably”. Nathan admits that he loves Nochelle and he even goes to see a therapist in Birmingham, but the discovery leads him to more than he had anticipated. “In the first interview my therapist asked me what I thought makes Nochelle loyal to me. I found this to be an odd question,” he smirks as he recalls the memory that replays in his mind “but I told him I think it’s our intimacy. When he asked what I considered to be intimate I told him in grave detail: She wants me to touch her everywhere, especially on the arms and around her ribcage because they’re so sensitive and she claims she can feel me. Then he asks me the strangest thing,” Nathan pauses and bites his full pink lips as he considers revealing the rawest question of his whole experience. He pours himself a glass of Scotch and waits to gather enough liquid courage to continue his project. “He asked me if I like to touch my partner, and I said of course! Then he asks why I had said ‘she wants me to touch her’ instead of ‘I love to touch her’. To be honest I could not give him an appropriate answer because, in all actuality, I despised touching Nochelle. She needs my touch, she’s so damaged and twisted because of her abandonment and neglect issues that there’s a lot of tough scar tissue to get around. So I don’t touch her. When he asked me why I don’t like to touch my significant other I told him flat ‘Because the thought of someone needed someone else’s touch so she can feel whole makes me sick.’. The words came out before I had time to stop myself, and…” Nathan pours his third glass of Scotch and downs the beverage savagely before clenching his fist around the glass. “No excuses” he tells himself out loud before repositioning his fingers on the keyboard again. “The next session the therapist opens the discussion by asking if I love Nochelle, and I said of course I do. He then asks if I am in love with her. I freeze. I tell him how all of my other relationships failed because I gave more than I received, that the women in my past have scarred me and I don’t need Nochelle to touch me to feel her love. He looked at me, his grey eyes are cold and mean, but he never dared to look away from me as he said ‘You will never be satisfied. She has given her all to try and love you, and the only thing you can focus on is that she’s special? What kind of a jackass does that?’ His voice was so stern, his tone was dead and serious, you know like how your parents did when they catch you stealing money from their wallet. At that moment I realized no matter how I receive love from Nochelle it will never be enough”.
There are three key elements for a relationship to be successful: passion, commitment, and love. You can add honest, communication, and faith if you prefer, but I like to keep it to the basics. How one receives love is important because both partners must be on the same page and they also must check in with one another to make sure they are on the same page. Love is beautiful, passion is intense, and commitment is sexy, but leaving one ingredient out of the recipe doesn’t make it the recipe anymore–it creates a dull disaster. If you ever feel you’re doing something for someone because they like it and you don’t recieve reciprocation, maybe it’s time to get on the same page.
Then I see your face I know I’m finally yours…you call my name, I come to you in pieces so you can make me whole