We all remember that crush. The first pangs of desire, and all the other firsts that followed. For many, that experience kick-started the never-ending emotional rollercoaster of relationships–some good, some not. The same can be said for Tristan, an early-thirtysomething from New Jersey and the Caribbean (Guyana and Trinidad). But as we soon learn, for a fella who is naturally very introverted and detached, it doesn’t mean you can’t find love and make it work for you.
It might have been first grade. It is similar to how all children start to like someone. There was a lot of teasing. I didn’t know what it was in terms of what I was feeling, I just knew that I wanted to be near her, hear her speak. I liked the feeling. Happiness. But it was a little more than that.
She was in the 6th grade and I was in the 7th. She had liked me first. I didn’t notice her at first. She started playing around me, and then I did. I thought she was pretty cute. I felt that elated feeling. I thought, “Someone likes me, and I like them.” And then I approached her, we talked, and I got her number.
I wasn’t doing any of the freaky shit that the other kids were doing. I just wanted to be near her, hear her speak, and wanted her to speak to me. I wanted to have that closeness and her companionship.
I don’t know if this was other people’s experience, but back then, if you could get the number, it was as close to dating as you could get. It was a very happy feeling. We started talking and somewhere along the way we became boyfriend and girlfriend.
It was a really good feeling, although a very innocent kind of love. I wasn’t doing any of the freaky shit that the other kids were doing. I just wanted to be near her, hear her speak, and wanted her to speak to me. I wanted to have that closeness and her companionship.
I find society’s definition of love to be very dry: they’re hot or not. You only want to fuck them, that’s it. But when I think about love, I think of attraction first. It isn’t limited to physical appearance, but it does mean having something that draws the other person, whether it’s ability or a passion for something. And then there is a mutual need to explore the other person. That’s not limited to their physical body, but their mind.
Love and relationships haven’t been easy for me, but the most significant one I’ve been in is the one I’m in now. It has taught me that you can actually be happy in a relationship, but that it takes work. I have loved people, but when I saw that I wouldn’t be happy in the relationship over a number of years, it would always come down to my own happiness over the relationship that isn’t working, and I would decide that the person had to go.
When we were younger, there wasn’t a lot hugging and saying “I love you.” We didn’t have all of the stuff that the family sitcoms did in the 90s. There was good morning, but not goodnight and I love you.
However, I have been working on bettering that with respect to my girlfriend and any interpersonal relationships. I’ve realized I can become less irritated with them so easily with a little bit more effort. Sometimes my irritation stems from me second-guessing everyone’s actions and motivations, and just seeing how differently I would have reacted had they done or said something differently.
I’m slightly difficult because of my level of detachment. I’m not sure where the detachment came from. I don’t know if it was developed over the many years and interactions with people.
When we were younger, there wasn’t a lot hugging and saying “I love you.” We didn’t have all of the stuff that the family sitcoms did the 90s did. There was good morning, but not goodnight and I love you.
My mother is very introverted, to the point that I don’t ever remember her having friends over, or being a social person. I guess that is pretty much where my introversion stems from. My brother is the same way. My father is very introverted as well. His first wife and his children and all of my sisters are introverted, even though they grew up differently. But I’m learning to be me, and it hasn’t stopped me from enjoying the relationship I’m in and being happy.
Love and relationships haven’t been easy for me, but the most significant one I’ve been in is the one I’m in now. It has taught me that you can actually be happy in a relationship….