Desire is so much worse than need.

July 22, 2011 at 10:39 am (Uncategorized)

This post is inspired by a Tweet from @writebastard. He said, “DESIRE is so much worse than NEED”. To be exact.

One thing I love about Twitter is that random things like this pop up that coincide with how my brain is already churning. I’ve been muddling over desire and need this week. I am settling into a pattern of seeing the boyfriend on Mondays, and it seems that at least one topic of conversation tends to become my meditation theme for the week.  Then, this Tweet appeared in my timeline and reinforced the course of my thinking. I enjoy how these things happen.

In short, what I’ve been pondering is a discussion on our differing needs for time together. We agree that quality is the most important factor. For me, especially in the early days of wooing, I crave time in the physical presence of a new partner. It’s part of the discovery process. While I enjoy other forms of communication, especially written ones, and those can help maintain a close feeling with someone, I want the face-to-face interaction, the physical engagement, the ability to observe him and touch him. It’s about more than sex. In some ways, it’s recording a person to memory. I want to study him. I take what I learn and spend the week sorting through it, absorbing it, learning from it. I learn about both him and myself this way.

If I could have more of his time, I would take it. Logistically that’s not very feasible.

He told me that his needs are different; that he probably would be comfortable and satisfied even if we could only see each other once a month or so, with a fair amount of communication in between.

This was said with kindness, as a simple statement of the fact of our differences. It doesn’t mean anything more than what he said. It doesn’t mean he doesn’t enjoy my company, or doesn’t care about me, or doesn’t find me lust-worthy, or doesn’t want to see our relationship grow. It just means he acknowledges his need to be in my physical presence is different from my need for his physical presence.  And, gently, he was asking me to acknowledge it, too.

Seven or eight or ten years ago, this kind of comment would have crushed me. I would have read War and Peace into it. I would have concluded all those negatives and rolled up in my carpet and flown home to wallow in self-pity: I know I’m unlovable… message received loud and clear, loud and clear… and I would have gotten drunk on weird vodka things and sulked.

But, y’know, I’ve grown up a little since then.

I desire his time and presence. (I desire a lot of other things about and/or from him, but those are other stories, other posts.) Desire can be strong, and it can be greedy, and it can easily overtake you and rob you of your senses and leave you propped up bleeding in an alley where the bums go to piss. Desire is absolutely worse than need. I think it’s important to separate desire from need clearly in my mind, just as I carefully separate limerance from love.

I don’t need to see him as often as I desire to see him. In all relationships, a degree of faith and trust is required, and I have faith that, with seeing each other on the frequency we currently do, and even if it were to become a little less frequent, we’ll be able to continue to develop this thing we’re doing, explore each other, and each be enriched by the time we spend together. He’s not going to forget about me or how he feels about me if we do have 14 days or even 30 days between our jointly shared hours. I’ve entrusted part of my heart to him, and I have faith he’s not going to lose it. He won’t vanish from my mind, heart or life in the gaps, either.

Relationships aren’t about equal balance. It’s not a list of credits and debits that have to remain aligned. Desires won’t always line up. Needs won’t always march in perfect order, either. I think if you’re going to play the poly way, that has to be something you respond to with emotional maturity, and say, “Okay, I accept that. I’ll appreciate the time and attention you can give me and make the most of what we have together. I’m responsible for filling my own needs, and I’ll find other ways.”

It might be easier to pout and whine and try to make him feel bad for not wanting to spend more time with me. It might make me feel momentarily powerful if I could do that. But that kind of behavior would very, very quickly wear thin on both of us. We have lives; we have jobs, friends, responsibilities. We both have other partners. Why play games? Why exert that emotional energy? I’d rather focus my desire on making sure we both walk away from every meeting feeling lighter in spirit, more connected, and made better by having the time together that we did.

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2 Comments

  1. Desire is so much worse than need. (via Such Nonsense) « V E R O N I C A said,

    […] Desire is so much worse than need. (via Such Nonsense) This post is inspired by a Tweet from @writebastard. He said, “DESIRE is so much worse than NEED”. To be exact. One thing I love about Twitter is that random things like this pop up that coincide with how my brain is already churning. I’ve been muddling over desire and need this week. I am settling into a pattern of seeing the boyfriend on Mondays, and it seems that at least one topic of conversation tends to become my meditation theme for the we … Read More […]

  2. veronica said,

    why?! why?! why?! i’m so digging this post!!! as expected!!! again, like you’re speaking of my life!!! if only you knew how a big help this blog has been to me… thank you for sharing your thoughts with us!!!

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