What’s Normal Anyway?

This month’s questions: Am I a commitment-phobe? And suggestions along the way for the treasure hunt for a partner.

Dear Evangeline,
My boyfriend lives nine hours (by car) from me and I see him once a month. I am fine with this. Does this mean I have a fear of commitment or can only stand men in small doses?
—Alice, Gorham

Dear Alice,

I love to get questions like this because I think you already secretly know the answer. However, you don’t mention your boyfriend’s feelings here so I am going to assume he is “fine” with it, too. If not, I imagine that car ride alone would be enough to break up over if one of you isn’t happy.

The long and short of it is, if your monthly love-fest feels healthy and good to both of you, you absolutely DO NOT have a problem with men or commitment, since you are enjoying both and it actually takes MORE attachment and loyalty to stay together over long distances. You actually don’t have a problem at all. But perhaps what you are really asking is: is it normal for me to be incandescently happy and fulfilled in my life with so little face-time with my significant other?

My answer to this is YES. You are normal and you are good, and you are, in fact, perfect in your romantic state. Resist the impulse to judge your relationship from other people’s perspectives and remember the words of Deepak Chopra who says, “What other people think about you (in your case, your relationship) is none of your business.” If you and your boyfriend understand one another and the “rules” of your long-distance relationship; if you both feel energized in one another’s presence and confident and alive in your absences, then I congratulate you both on having a truly adult, non-co-dependent relationship. Revel in it and crank some love songs on those monthly road trips. Shut off the doubt and be grateful you have found someone who empowers your independence—and if your feelings change, be grateful for your solid bond that will allow your current relationship parameters to change, too.

Tenderly, E

Dear Evangeline,
I am a single professional woman living in Portland. Where should I look to meet intelligent, interesting single men?
—Cordelia, Munjoy Hill

Hey, C.,

I’m going to crack this question wide open, since what you are really asking is “how can I find love?” Meeting men is easy. They are, literally, everywhere (being 50% of the population). They might be married, boring and totally inappropriate for you as a boyfriend, but they are not hard to meet (at work, at the grocery line, at friends’ dinner parties, online, etc.) and most are pretty open to friendship. How do I meet a man who will love and make love to me in all my multitudes is what you are really asking, and the answer is easier and more obvious than you might think, because, believe it or not, you already contain all the love you will ever find in somebody else. Once you claim the wonderful in yourself, you will find it more easily in the men you meet. That is the path to true love.

This sounds corny (I know, I know), but clichés are what they are for a reason. So, here is the plan. Take yourself out on a date. Wash your hair, put on something you think is attractive, shave your legs (if you do that kind of thing) dab on some essential oils. Treat yourself to dinner and drinks, an art exhibit, a dance club, a movie, alone (no friends). Then go home, light some candles, put on some music and have sex with yourself. If you have a vibrator, great, if not, get to where you need to go however you best can. Allow yourself to feel pleasure with NO judgment. Turn yourself on. And then do it again next week. And the next. Pick a new place each time, challenge yourself to branch out.

After a month of this, hopefully you will have done a few new things, chatted with some strangers—and had more than a few orgasms to light the way. You are now ready to say “yes” to as many social invitations as you can without draining your bank account or sleep account or threatening your health and work balance. Cultivate enthusiasm for outings or online social groups that gather people who are interested in the same things you are. Let it be known that you are open to dating. Don’t be shy. Tell your friends. Join an online dating site. Be vulnerable in the face of all the love you contain, because you now are truly ready to share it. It’s like the saying on the mug goes: Greet the world with open arms, and it will hug you back. It’s how the universe works. And if you don’t believe me, go Google how John Lennon met Yoko Ono.

Tenderly, E

Who is Evangeline? She’s wise and warm. She’s been through some major stuff. She’s a mother and a sister. She knocks on doors to get out the vote. Even your kid will listen to her. And she listens back. Evangeline can’t fix your car for you, but she can help with family and relationship advice. She also knows a lot about astrology if that’s your thing. Send your questions to evangeline@mainewomenmagazine.com.

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