February 11, 2014
This piece originally appeared in Rae's blog, Diva Living With AIDS.
When you first start talking to a guy you are always thinking about what's too soon and what's too much. You know, stuff like: How soon should I have sex with him? How often should we talk? If he doesn't call on one day, does that mean he's not thinking about me? If I call or text him first or often will he think I'm needy?
When it's new we are always in a state of what next, what's too soon and how should I behave as a woman. I know that this still runs true for me, even at 51. I've actually been "talking" to a wonderful man for the last couple of months and you take an A-type personality like me, I overthink everything. And then growing up where the only thing that was normal was an abnormal life, I have had to feel my way in this world around relationships. I've been very open about my crazy dating life. At some point, I want to get it right. Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome is the definition of insanity. I'm on the path of getting it right.
The one thing that Mr. Handsome, as I like to call him, is teaching me, is patience. Often times we meet a guy and the chemistry is right and, good lawd, we want it all right then and now. But the fact of the matter, the best relationships are the ones that grow organically. With mutual respect, you take it each day as it goes. If you take your time, you will actually find it exciting to see what's next. Organic growth has no time-frame, it just grows naturally, and you both feel it deep within.
I know with Mr. Handsome, it feels like I've known him a whole lot longer than what I have and he has indicated the same thing to me. That can sometimes confuse the fact that it is still new. You both feel the connection and that can be scary and exhilarating all at the same time.
Mr. Handsome and I have the extra burden of distance. It's not like you can have a date-night when you want. So trying to make sense out of what's right when it feels right it not always easy, and miles just complicate it even more. Men tend to be more practical, they think, "What am I getting myself into? This woman lives miles away from me? If I keep going how will we work the distance out?" Honestly, you don't always know what the fuck you are doing or where it's going, you just know that you are growing and you go with the flow of the growth, now that's organic.
Over all, this is what I think about new relationships. You have to respect the man that he is. For example, Mr. Handsome is not into any of this Social Media stuff, which is a great balance to me. Nor is he a big texter or phone talker. Welllllll, y'all know I sleep with my Ipad, lol so somewhere, he and I have to meet in the middle. If I respect the man that he is and he respects me, which he does, we work at it mutually. We talk, but I don't try to make him talk to me all night. I do reach out to him everyday, but I wasn't calling him on Sunday's interrupting his football time. Like, for real ladies, will those few hours he's enjoying sports or a cigar with the guys, be a game changer? Let him enjoy life. The fact is, each of you come to the table with your own lives and they should be respected.
I try not to over think any of it. When I wake up, if he is heavy on my mind I reach out and it's the same in the evening. If I have work to do that's pressing then I reach out later. His day starts long before mine. If I haven't reached out by late morning, he typically reaches out to me, "Good Morning Gorgeous," comes across my phone. *giggles* But if we don't connect until later in the day, it shouldn't change a thing. It just means you respect his/her day and time. Don't throw the baby out with the bath water.
We can't always talk throughout the day, but for sure, if a man wants to hear your voice and feel your spirit, he will find you no matter how busy the both of you are.
So what about sex? Well, I've never been one to play dick and pussy games. I'm a grown ass woman and have been for a very long time. I don't withhold sex as a measure of how much he likes and respects me. I remember back in my 20's this guy had been wooing the heck out of me, flowers, calls even telegrams for months. It was a distance relationship, and I had an opportunity to have sex with him a few times when we were in the same town, but opted not to. I was holding back so that he didn't think that I was a whore, but he eventually moved to Chicago to work.
So when he got here, it was on! I mean it was on! Then toward the end of the second week, he dropped the bomb, his girlfriend was coming to town. WTH??????? My lesson learned. An asshole is an asshole no matter when you have sex.
What should matter is the connection that you have for each other. What should matter is the mutual respect that you have for each other. Respect that begins with a discussion about the role of sex in your relationship. If you have not talked about condom use and HIV testing then you definitely are not ready for sex. For sure, giving a man your innermost self is a big move. You should be comfortable with him and comfortable in your own skin when with him.
As for me and Mr. Handsome, welllllll, we are taking it one day at a time. He has said, "This distance shit is new for me." I must respect this fact. The only thing I've asked of him, is to not shut down on his emotions. So if he continues to allow us to grow, even with distance, and if I allow us to grow at a natural pace, we are for sure on an organic path. For sure he makes me feel like a lady and I like how that feels.
I don't have all the answers, but I'm learning to take my time. Sometimes time can be your best friend. When the relationship is new, allow it to be new, stop trying to be in love, when you are still learning to like each other.
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Rae Lewis-Thornton is an Emmy Award-winning AIDS activist who rose to national acclaim when she told her story of living with AIDS in a cover story for Essence Magazine. She has lived with HIV for 27 years and AIDS for 19. Rae travels the country speaking and challenging stereotypes and myths about HIV/AIDS. She has a Master of Divinity degree and is currently working on her Ph.D. in Church History. Rae has been featured on Nightline, Dateline NBC, BET and The Oprah Winfrey Show, as well as in countless magazines and newspapers, including Emerge, Glamour, O, the Oprah Winfrey Magazine, Jet, Ebony, the Washington Post and the Chicago Tribune, to name a few. She earned the coveted Emmy Award for a first-person series on living With AIDS for Chicago's CBS News.
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