Posted by: Marie | June 19, 2012

(651) Men providing shelter – Part 2 of 5

Post #651
[Private journal entry written on Friday, July 8, 2011 about a conversation between my therapist and me – continued from previous post]


Me: I think my teaching piano provides some opportunities for developing quality relationships with men, also . . . while I can’t say that I’ve developed “friendships” with the men with whom I interact as part of my teaching – either students or the dads of younger students – I can say that I’ve behaved respectably within those relationships.

I’ve had conversations before or after lessons in which I’ve gotten to know some of them a little bit, and I’ve conducted myself respectfully with all of them – and they have conducted themselves respectfully. I feel good about those interactions.

Backyard by Martin Chen

I’ve been thinking a lot about one family – the cop and paramedic husband and wife . . . their daughter is currently taking lessons and the dad – who is a cop – is planning to start lessons this fall.

I think they are the neatest family. I would love to develop a friendship with them. Maybe the biggest reason I would like to develop a friendship with them is because I am drawn to the dad for the same reasons I’m drawn to my cousin . . . I feel safe and heard and seen with him . . .

Edward: Excuse me for interrupting . . . what are their names . . . the cop and paramedic . . . ??

Me: The dad is James and the mom is Cindy.

Edward: (Jotting down their names in his little notebook) Got it! Thank you.

Me: I know, for absolute sure, that James would not do anything untoward. He is very committed to his wife and would not do anything to jeopardize that relationship. So, I don’t have to worry about that . . .

As a cop, he works in the “crimes against persons” department, so he deals with traumatized people on a daily basis. So, I don’t think he would be freaked out if I shared my history with him. I think he would be comfortable with that conversation.

And, I feel he would be a great person to “practice” on – to practice having a meaningful relationship with a man in which I am honored and respected – without having to use my sexuality to establish and keep the relationship.

The good news is that I really like Cindy, as well . . .

I’ve always been comfortable in relationships with women . . . that’s not something I feel a great need to practice . . . in other words, I wouldn’t pursue a relationship with a woman specifically for that reason . . .

But, it would be healthiest to also have a relationship with Cindy, if I’m going to have a relationship with James. It helps keep things “aboveboard” . . . well, I know things would stay “aboveboard” even if Cindy was not part of the equation . . . so I guess it would be more for the sake of appearances . . . and it would make everyone more comfortable . . .

Like I said, the good news is that I really like Cindy and I think I could really enjoy hanging out with her . . . that relationship could stand on its own, even if a relationship with James never flourished.

Does that make sense? I feel like I’m talking in circles . . .

Edward: It does make perfect sense! And, it sounds like a healthy mindset!

Me: Anyway . . . going back to the brave thing I did . . .

I think developing a friendship with my cousin would give me yet another healthy relationship with a quality male . . . and I really like his wife, so it would be easy to have a friendship with both of them. I can experience them as a couple . . . see what works well in their marriage and learn from observing that dynamic.

One of the concerns I have with trying to establish a relationship with James and Cindy is that it might raise eyebrows . . . I mean, it’s not like I can walk up to Cindy and say, “May I borrow your husband so I can practice having an emotionally intimate relationship with a man? I promise I won’t have sex with him . . . “

But, with my cousin, I could ask that of Nell and no one would raise an eyebrow because they are family. In my mind, it’s the same for both men – both relationships would be “aboveboard”. But, to other people, one appears more scandalous than the other. I have to be aware of that.

Anyway . . . the brave thing I did was to send Caleb and Nell an email asking for some time with them. I told them that I have been on a healing journey and that I think it would be helpful for me to get to know them better.

Edward: How did they respond?

Me: Well, I haven’t heard from them yet . . . but they don’t have an Internet connection at their house, so I don’t know how often they check their Facebook. I’m not too worried yet . . . it’s only been five days . . . they might still be recuperating from the wedding.

I don’t know how much of my story I would share with them. My plan is to get to know them . . . I’d like to ask them about “their story” . . . how they met, what have been the big events in their lives . . .

My only concern is that they are super religious. Obviously, a huge part of their story will be about their religious experience. I have no issue with hearing about that . . . I know, going in, that they are going to talk about it. I think it could be interesting and I could maybe even learn something from it . . . I think it is possible for me to learn something spiritually beneficial from Christians.

But, I’m concerned that they will pressure me into converting back to Christianity. That could really put a damper on our time together and make the visit really uncomfortable. I have a sense that they wouldn’t do that – I have a sense they would respect my belief structure. So, maybe that won’t be an issue.

Edward: I’m also willing to bet that will be the case . . . based upon how you have described them, I have the sense they will respect your beliefs.

Me: I really want to learn how to have emotionally intimate relationships with people – with Christians – while maintaining a boundary around my beliefs. I don’t want to miss out on relationships with my family members – especially with my siblings – that I could have if I were able to feel “safe” with them . . . as in, feeling “safe” due to my ability to maintain that boundary.

I really don’t have emotionally intimate relationships with my siblings . . . nor with many of my extended family members. I have said, in the past, that it was because they are judgmental of my beliefs – they try to push their beliefs onto me. But now, I suspect that is mostly due to my not knowing how to hold a boundary with them around my beliefs.

Edward: I would agree with you on that . . .

Me: I want to learn how to hold my boundaries with my family and I think this opportunity with my cousin would be a great place to try. It is low risk – I’ve never had a relationship with them and it is not critical to me that I do have one with them – so I really don’t have anything to lose and everything to gain by trying.

I recognize that there is a good chance it might not unfold as I would like for it to unfold – but I’m okay with that. I want to just try it.

Edward: That is very brave attitude! I’m proud of you!

[Continued in the next post . . . ]

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