It just so happens that Newman and I celebrate an important anniversary on the same week that Valentine’s Day strikes. It also just so happens that this week, we’re working through something tough that I alluded to briefly in my last post. Adjusting to living together means it’s no longer just us in dating la-la land–we are exploring what it means to open our hearts not only to each-other but to the significant others that we have brought with us to this second round of forever after. Primarily this means our children, but it also extends to family and friends. When you’re older and set in your ways as we are this second time around, it’s not as easy as you might presume to negotiate multiple new significant relationships and what role they will have in your shared life.
There’s nothing easy about where Newman and I are right now. We’re talking and communicating, eager to find a resolution to conflict but aware that there’s no right side or wrong side–just perspectives and feelings that can’t easily be negotiated or explained away. We are each trying to figure out what we can work with and what we can’t: our non-negotiables, if you will. You might think we would have worked it all out before we moved in together. We thought we had, you see, but life has thrown us some icy patches, and I for one feel like I’m speed-skating one minute and slipping toward a shattering crash the next.
The thing is, my relationship with Newman has always made me feel a little bit like that. Although it’s convenient that he’s the “new man” in my life, I gave him the name Newman here because he is my personal version of Paul Newman.
Sexy, eternally youthful, passionate, debonair, rugged, manly, smart, well-spoken, sharp, yet with an air of mystery, a movie-star through and through. Unquestionably attractive.
My Newman is all these things. He kind of snuck up on me, in a way–a friend who became a better friend who became, well, more over time. A lot more.
Everything, in fact.
I have been in love before. True love. Ironically, that’s why I know that what Newman and I have is not something I could ever walk away from easily. I recognized the falling in love when it happened. I used all my mental faculties, all my life experience, all my best perceptual knowledge to assess whether he would be a good match for me in all the ways that mattered. He passed those tests, but more importantly, he has inspired and continues to inspire a passionate, intimate feeling of connectedness that is unlike any I’ve felt before.
I can’t explain it. This post would never be published except that I have to post and I don’t have anything else to say, and I want to say whatever I say fast so I can get to this man sooner. It’s the most complicated and most engaging romantic relationship I’ve ever been in. I keep going back for more. Even when I know I’m right and he’s wrong, when I’m fed up or frustrated or angry, I am still in it. I want him close to me. I want to work it out.
Paul Newman’s love story with Joanne Woodward inspires me. They were not each-other’s first loves, yet they committed thoroughly to a life together. I’m sure this was not always easy. The thing that makes me want to keep working through my stuff with my Newman, though, is that sometimes, it is easy.
When he and I get away from the rest of the world, away from work and children and other people and any of the junk that gets in the way, there is nothing easier in the world than being with him. In those moments, I find peace. I find passion. In those moments, I find myself. I can do anything or nothing, and it’s heaven either way. Everything falls away, and at the same time, everything comes together.
To be loved so completely is a gift that not everyone will find in their lives. To love that same person back in the same way; that is rarer still. I know what I have with Newman, and I know that it is being tested right now. It has been tested before, and I have no doubt it will be tested again. I won’t lose faith or give up. I want this man close to me, always.
As long as he feels the same way, I will keep going back for more.