Greek philosopher Atticus hit the nail right on the head when he told us, “Watch careful the magic that occurs when you give a person just enough comfort to be themselves.”
In that sacred space, people become brave enough to be and show what they want most, which is permission to be themselves, unconditionally. Intimacy is no different.
And as Alexey teaches us, sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t. But no matter the outcome, we learn. More about ourselves. More about who we are and who we can be. Even if it means we have to lose those closest to us in order to gain ourselves.
I moved to the US when I was 17. So I already came with a culture to my core. I never felt I could have the 100% American mentality because of my Russian mentality. For example, I don’t like showing emotions or what I’m thinking, which is always a big problem for the guys I’ve dated because they couldn’t read me or felt I wouldn’t really open up to them. Every time I’d hear that, I’d be like, “I’m just fucking Russian.” Deep down, I can be really good. I just haven’t found that kind of person to bring it out of me.
I don’t create intimate bonds with many people. Well, I do when it comes to friends. Not necessarily when it comes to romance. To me, Intimacy is about being 100% comfortable with a person. It’s sharing special things together. It is more of a mental bond where your brain is wired in a certain way to another person, it’s chemistry.
When people talk about intimacy, they are often thinking about sex. They see being intimate with someone as them seeing parts of you everyone can’t see. But when you break it down, can you really call your hookups or one-night stands intimate? You have seen each other naked. And you did do an “intimate” thing together.
But is it really intimate if they could get hit by a bus, you never hear anything about it, and you wouldn’t feel a thing? No, I believe intimacy is more than that. It’s something that would be closer to my heart. It would have to be a very special person to have real intimacy.
When I have that deep connection with someone, I lower my guard. That’s when you can really see that I’m not the stone cold bitch everyone thinks I am. I’m naturally sassy. Even my best friend says that he can never figure me out, and that I always put up a front.
But when I’m intimate with someone I’m in love with, I’m like a puppy. I will do anything for that person. I will cook, clean, and give them everything. That’s me behind closed doors with them. But I also feel like that’s my achilles heel because lowering my guard is being vulnerable to a guy. It’s me opening up my heart to let them do with it whatever they want.
I try not to be vulnerable because I’ve gotten really jaded in the dating world and living in New York City. I’ve had a lot of bad experiences. The real relationship I had ended recently. And it was my first, official adult relationship. It almost lasted a year. It ended a week before our one-year anniversary.
The biggest problem was that I couldn’t let myself be vulnerable in front of him. He always felt that I had a shield or barrier. He felt like he couldn’t read me. Right now, going into a relationship, I think about what happens when it is over. I don’t ever want to feel what it feels like when my heart is broken. I never want to feel that again. So, I specifically chose not to.
I never wanted to be or say sorry. But that night, I realized it was stupid. I was losing my “twin,” a guy who was like a brother. When I decided to admit it, that’s when things started shifting. But I was too late. I had waited too long.
Within the last couple of years, I also had one of the biggest breakups of my life. It wasn’t a romantic relationship. It was with my best friend. It was hard. And a lot of changes in me started happening. We started growing apart. He decided that he didn’t want to have me influencing his life in a certain negative way. Before I knew it, we stopped being best friends, and it was over a boy I never laid a finger on. And he didn’t end up with him either. It was a competition thing.
After we stopped talking, he stayed in the apartment with me for eight more months. There were no conversations, just long pauses. Later, when our lease was finally over, the day before he left, I finally decided to have the conversation that we never ended up having. I knocked on his door and he sounded surprised. I walked in and decided to be a much stronger person than I had been before, which meant I had to take the first step.
I had always been the proud and “right” one. I never wanted to be or say sorry. That was how I was at first. But that night, I realized it was stupid. I was losing my “twin,” a guy who was like a brother to me. When I decided to admit it, that’s when things started shifting. But I was too late. I had waited too long. I lost him. But that’s also a part of maturing. After I lost my best friend, I started to think about things differently. That’s when this whole mentality started forming. Me discovering self-love, respect, and really thinking about what matters.
When I think about it from a cultural standpoint, I always felt like relationships in Russia are different–at least to me. The nature of my family was different from America. In America, husbands and wives are considered equal. She has a job, she has a say about the things that have to do with your family.
Over there, I never witnessed that. The man is the man of the family. He is supposed to bring home the dough. He is the hard and strong one. The women are nothing. My dad used to beat the shit out of my mom. If it were in the U.S., she could call the police. But there, he could beat her, it was common in families. Not saying that every man did, but it wasn’t surprising when it did happen.
Something I think about a lot: people settling when it comes to their partners. I sometimes wonder if that’s why they call it settling in. That’s not what I want. I have to have the butterflies.
My family relationships weren’t really good examples of what I would want for myself. It was never about finding love or even falling in love. It’s about other things: money, resources, etc. For example, I felt like my auntie and I had a psychic connection. I would think about something and she would be able to tell me what I was thinking. She was a very close friend. She got married into a rich family when she was 18 years old in Moscow. They came to my little city, and they got married.
Now, my aunt is going through a very hard time because she made that decision when she was young and they aren’t compatible. Let’s just say she got married off to a rich family, but not a happy family. That’s something I think about a lot: people settling when it comes to their partners. I sometimes wonder if that’s why they call it settling in/to a family}. That’s not what I want. I have to have the butterflies. I have to feel you being connected to me the whole time. I don’t want to be married to a person who is just a good guy. I’d rather be alone.
There was this one time I felt like I came close to finding what I’d always been searching for. I met this person and we were just talking. It was easy to talk to him. It felt very natural how we flowed in our conversation, we even talked on the phone, which is very rare these days. He asked me to come see him in Boston, which is where he went to school. I saw it as a cool adventure. He picked me up at the bus station. It wasn’t an immediate spark. I didn’t want to jump his bones; I had a mild reaction. He was cute. But when we got into the car, it wasn’t awkward at all. It was normal, easy. We matched.
When we drove to his dorm, we just opened the door. We didn’t plan anything. After we connected sexually and that was great, I realized we were great emotionally, too. That was the person I really ended up liking. In the end, we just kind of drifted apart. We had an argument and it was never taken care of or handled. Both of us were confused and we just lost each other’s trust and lost touch. That was unfortunate because I felt like I could really see him being the one. I saw how well we worked together. Even when I think about it after several years, it’s sad. Not painful. Just sad in that it could have been an amazing relationship. But things don’t always end up the way you want them to.
Over the years, I’ve learned a lot and I’m still learning. I’m someone who is still searching for himself but is finally starting to figure some things out. I’m trying to find my happy place where I am satisfied with myself and the things around me.
I felt like I could really see him being the one. I saw how well we worked together. Even when I think about it after several years, it’s sad. Not painful. Just sad in that it could have been an amazing relationship.
I don’t have the same preference in guys. As I mature, I’m beginning to realize the point behind the colors of the rainbow. There is no such thing as just a beautiful person. It’s more than a great body, a beautiful complexion. I find myself being attracted to the type of guys I wouldn’t at first. For example, I no longer try to be something I’m not. I’ve accepted that I’m not a super masculine person. I have soft things about myself. But at the same time, I’m not extremely or exaggeratedly feminine. So, I’m just learning to be more natural, and embrace the way I carry myself.
If I’m talking to someone, I don’t care if I’m talking to you and you ask for my IG. I don’t care if you see me wearing these high-heeled boots. I’m not worried if you won’t like me because of some of my photos. And if you do feel that way, I wouldn’t want to be with you anyway. I want someone that finds me interesting and beautiful, no matter what I’m wearing. I don’t want to be with someone who is judgmental. I’ve been there before.
I dated a guy who identified as gay, but hated all things that were effeminate. Femininity to him was disgusting. And he couldn’t look beyond the stupid standards that aren’t even real. We had the most amazing sexual chemistry, but it wasn’t going to work out because I find there’s something hot about someone brave enough to embrace himself. And if you can’t do that and be accepting of others, I can’t do it.
At the end of the day, I believe you should be yourself because everyone else is taken. And I’m looking for someone on the same path to discovery if not further along. Someone I can learn from and vice versa, together. I just want a relationship I can grow from and with.
When I have that deep connection with someone, I lower my guard. That’s when you can really see that I’m not the stone cold bitch everyone thinks I am.