On Happiness and Risk

happiness and risk

My comfort zone? Sex with a married man, as long as we don’t have to talk about it.
(Image source: Ross Simmonds)

Today I realized that I spend a lot of time working to make myself feel safe, often at the expense of feeling happy. Losing Jamie fucked with my sense of security. Even my very casual relationship with Jacob is colored by my need to feel safe. I am having sex with him because I want to feel loved without taking the risk of being vulnerable. Obviously that’s not going to work.

This weekend we’re going to an overnight get together with several of our friends, none of whom currently know about the sexual aspect of our relationship. We’re going to drive down together, which will give us an unprecedented hour alone to talk. (Most of the time we spend together is in a group setting and the vast majority of our alone time is spent having sex.)

I’m wondering how to fill that hour. I don’t think I’m capable of an hour’s worth of small talk, so it feels unavoidable that we’ll talk about more intimate things. We have yet to discuss our relationship, both because there isn’t much of a relationship to discuss and because I don’t want to risk the vulnerability that conversation will require.

So, if talking about our relationship doesn’t make me feel safe, does not talking about it make me feel happy? No, I feel like I’m hiding from the inevitable and doing it in a way that has the potential to hurt someone I care about. So what would make me happy? Coming to an explicit understanding with Jacob about what we’re doing. Agreeing to some fun, casual sex that doesn’t hurt anyone and satisfies my need for physical affection from someone who cares about me and his need for…whatever it is he needs.

And I would like to understand what he needs. As much as I’m trying to avoid intimacy, I’d still like to create a good experience for both of us, and the only way I can do that is to get close enough to learn more. One small risk, casual sex with a friend, leads to a slightly larger risk, being vulnerable to that friend. Being comfortable with risk is a practice, just like yoga and meditation.

Any relationship I have right now is going to be outside my comfort zone. However, if I don’t push myself, I’ll devote my time to never feeling vulnerable again. That illusion of safety will come at the expense of being happy. This is a risk I need to take; without it, I won’t be able to create a good relationship with anyone, not even someone as flexible as Jacob. Even though this is a very casual relationship, it’s not going to make me happy unless I can take a risk.

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