How Our Love Story Began
Do you believe in fate?
Jol and I met at a self development workshop in 2014. My first one since I’d become a parent, so the first one in YEARS, maybe a decade? I’d booked it on an impulse. He’d been booked on another weekend at another venue that had been cancelled and rescheduled to this same one I’d booked on. Fate?
On the first day, I’d felt the possibility of meeting someone there. I’d scanned the men in the room and had completely glossed over him as one of those potentials. He had a huge bushy beard he twiddled with whenever he was thinking, light blue painted toe nails, a nose ring, earrings, trendy thick rimmed glasses, and dressed a little flamboyantly.
He didn’t speak much, but when he did, it was considered, and he sat back in his chair with his legs gracefully draped over each other and his hands waving around to punctuate his thoughts like I and my women friends did. His energy felt soft and sweet and very feminine.
We didn’t connect at all over most of the weekend, although I noticed something about him in one of the movement exercises, a moment where I saw into him and had a quick flash of another side to him, like concrete – hard and unyielding and cold. I dismissed it as it wasn’t relevant to me, but I’d think back to that moment many times in the future.
On the last day, we did an exercise where we wrote out everything about our truest needs and our shadows at every level, and how we set up our world – our home, our friends, our medicines, and our self care – to accommodate and care for those true needs and to deal with our shadows and crazymaking parts inside of us.
I didn’t know we were going to share our most private thoughts!
Then surprisingly, the last paired exercise of the workshop, we were told to find a partner and share these uncensored deeply revealing explorations that we had written about ourselves with this other person!
Jol and I turned towards each other at the same time and said ‘you’ as we pointed at each other across the room. It was a strange and amazing experience. As I listened to his share, I heard about his addictions and shadows, his choices of self care and his lifestyle.. and they matched almost everything on my “don’t touch with a barge pole” list.
Throughout he only spoke of his recent ex as “my partner” and never referred to “her” or “she” so it just reinforced my earlier assumptions that he was gay. It turns out, that that my guess wasn’t unusual for him and was a role he already played in his friends’ group. For me though, his share was red flag central.. or would have been if I had thought for a moment that he was my potential life partner! Because I assumed he wasn’t, I was able to really hear him in a way that was so free of judgement and “what’s in it for me”ness.
When it came to my turn to share, I didn’t trust his masculine energy to be able to hold space for me, and so I sped through the questions and answers myself, doing what I’ve always done when I haven’t felt safe – “do it all myself”.
The best way I’ve ever been told I’m “too much”
He stopped me. Calmly. Looked me right in the eyes and said “I really want to hear you. I want to connect with you and understand what you’re saying. But I can’t do it like this. You’re speaking too fast for me and you’re taking control of the whole exercise. Would you be willing to slow down and let me do my part?”.
I was stopped in my tracks! Blown away. I felt “handled” in the best possible way. Stopped from being controlling, but in the most kind, generous, compassionate way I had ever experienced. Effectively told I was being “too much” but in a way that I could respond to from my own agency and in a healthy way!
Invited to step out of my masculine energy and into my feminine core in a way that was delicious.. held, safe, and connected. Invited to surrender, without feeling less powerful. And I did, and it was one of the best feelings ever. To make the space for this man to lead this moment and for it to be nourishing and empowering for me!
The rest of the exercise went deep and he in turn was blown away by my vision of my future and the detail of what nourishes me and how I tend to my own shadow self and truest needs. In fact, he resonated with mine so much more than with his own list that he’d just shared.
I remember a moment during this exercise, when he leaned back in his chair, and lifted his Tshirt to rub his lower belly, and I was taken off guard by how turned on I was by the glimpse of his tight stomach and the line of dark hair disappearing into his waistband. I remember thinking that I wasn’t usually attracted to gay men, so my visceral attraction to him seemed strange to me. Why was I having such strong polarity with this man?
Our first (accidental?) kiss
At the end of the workshop, people were gathering in loose groups to say goodbye.. my worst. I’d rather slip away quietly. I saw him circling a group and coming towards me and I waited. We swapped phone numbers.. which he very amusingly framed as “if you need any help integrating the workshop, give me a call”. Later he told me that he just knew he wanted to stay connected with me.
We both reached in for a hug and somehow kissed on the lips! We both maintained that we were kissed by the other, both of us the kissee, neither the kisser!
I left that workshop more myself than I had been in a long, long time, with the memory of this unusual man’s lips on mine. They felt like the softest lips I’d ever had pressed to mine and they made an energy rise up through my body and out of my crown that left me feeling lightheaded.
And they still do!
After the workshop, we started messaging and having looong conversations by text, until we decided to meet for a coffee one Saturday morning a couple of weeks later. But that epic date is a story for another time.
Tell me about meeting your partner? How did you react to him at first?
🦋 Did you get butterflies?
🏡 Did you feel like you knew him forever and it felt like coming home?
🧲 Or were you like two similar poles of a magnet.. all repulsion and tension? And what got you past it?
Let me know!
[As an extra tidbit.. the photo at the top of this blog is from September 2020, when we both went to a personal development workshop together; the FIRST time since the start of our relationship!! We stopped to watch the sunset over Brighton beach on our walk home from the venue. And as we so often do, enjoyed a laugh together.]
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