I haven't felt this way about anyone since Rosa.
I didn't even feel this way about Rosa.
Hold on. Wait a second. Take a breath.
... Step back.
Back in 1984, when I was dating Julie Starr, my love for her was engulfing. I was ready to do anything for her... I'd even marry her, if necessary. But she dumped me long before we got to that point. Only in hindsight did I realize that I wasn't doing what I needed to do to keep her. As usual, I was letting Ken get in the way - all the things about me that I thought had to dominate (my way of doing things, my beliefs, my traditions, my insistences) prevented us from meeting in the middle. I never told Julie that I loved her but she was the first woman I ever thought about in terms of marriage.
Almost as soon as Rosa and I met in 1985, we fought. Our relationship was a tug-of-war, a battle for dominance. It was adversarial. The best things resulted when dominance was established but never lasted because the fight would soon begin again. But I told her I loved her almost immediately - and she dumped me - and then she realized she loved me - and she dumped me... and a pattern was set... When we married, it was to be together. It was never about having kids. It was never about looking after one another, though that would happen... mostly by accident. But I did love Rosa and nearly killed myself to prove it, trying to get her to love me back.
DeAnna was "my last, best chance at happiness after Rosa" and, in 2002, I couldn't tell her I loved her because we fought so much. There was never time for love and certainly not time to consider the future. We kept trying to make it through one more night! When I finally told her I loved her, it was only to explain how much she'd hurt me after she slept with Essex.
Then, there are all the others to whom I've said those words... Teresa, Cindy, DeAnna (the first one), Cindy Wilcox... some of whom I truly loved and others who I thought needed to hear it. There was never a thought of the future and we had some good times.
So, I've said it a few times...
Then, why haven't I told Vicky?
Do I love Vicky? Vicky is an incredible woman with a great capacity for love (which makes me doubt the sincerity of her Libertarian bullshit). I see her and I want to make her happy. I want to provide for her. I want to be with her and hold her and hear her thoughts and experience her life with her. But, more than that, she makes me feel loved. I feel I can trust her. I know she cares what I think and feel. I know she cares about my happiness.
With Julie Starr, my idea of love was more important than the woman I thought I loved. I've long been over that. I know that there's no such thing as how things "are supposed to be". Things are as they are, and that's all. Knowing this leads me to my next conclusion: the minute you find that you're fighting for a relationship against the other person in the relationship, that relationship was over. I loved my marriage and hated Rosa for doing everything she could to sabotage it. Vicky comes at things very differently. She's the most open person I've ever met and so I know she wants this and there's no doubt she'll work to make it work. The difference between working together and fighting each other is monumental. I'm sure we'll fight. That happens. But we have such a great way of talking that I don't think it'll ever be about making the other person stay. We both want to stay. And we both want each other, not people we want the other person to be. I don't want her to be Rosa. With DeAnna, I wanted her to be Rosa and she wanted me to be Essex. We were too busy trying to change the other person to love them.
But then there are those other reasons for saying those words. With Teresa, I didn't know what love meant and mistook it for affection. Love means more than "I dig you". To me, it means "I want this to work and I'm ready to do what I can to see that happen". This is not to say I didn't love Teresa. I did and always will, but I was never ready to do what it took to see it happen, nor was she. Cindy Wilcox came after Teresa and I told her I loved her because I thought you were supposed to. You're NOT supposed to! There are no rules or obligations. You should do it because you can't help it not because you can't find a way around it. Nor should you say it out of gratitude. The first DeAnna saved me (or so I thought) from loneliness. If you want to say thank you, there are already words for that. Never muck things up with the wrong words. I know all of that. I guess the last person on that list is Cindy, who came after Rosa, and with whom I confused insanity for love. She and I were desperate, lonely... crazy. It was a mistake. But I think I made quite a few strides in the last six months. I learned to discern loneliness for longing and see Rosa for who she was. I grew to pity her rather than loathe her and to honor her memory rather than praise her present.
And so, it would appear that none of that is a problem. I know what I feel for Vicky in sincere. It's honest.
I've know her for just over a week... and in that short time, I have fallen madly in love with Vicky.
... wait a minute. As an atheist, please take this in the spirit intended: Oh My God! Children, Daddy's in trouble.
I love Vicky.
I'd hold on if I were you, dear readers. This could get rough.