I'd mentioned in L is for Love and Lisa that when I met two of the men I have loved, I had a "YES!" feeling. Let me explain...
I trust my intuition. It's very, very rarely steered me wrong. Sometimes, I don't listen to it at first, but 99.99% of the time, it's been dead on. My trick is to listen. I have met two men that made me think/feel "YES!" and both of them were incredible life lessons. Most of the men that I've met I've thought/felt "NO!" or, even worse, "hmmm... maybe? I guess I could get used to this?!" I, personally, think that most first divorces result from people not waiting until they meet a "YES!" I know that I'd rather be alone than be with a "NO!" or a "Maybe." I don't think attempting those relationships are fair to either myself or the person I'm with. I believe they also deserve a "YES!" Now, I can't tell you exactly what the means. It's not a personality type or a quality... it's simply a feeling inside that says, "I'm going to board this train and I'm not getting off until the very last stop." Neither of the men that I've loved were what I'd expected. I guess that speaks to the fact that 1) you need to be open, and 2) sometimes the Universe knows more about what you need and want than you do.
I met Smitty when I was 20. I was at a stage in my life where theatre was my world. I had no interest in a significant relationship. I wanted to play and discover, with no interest in having anything committed. Smitty was... dazzling. He was like a whirlwind around me. I didn't know which way was up and which way was down. He was, hands down, the most dynamic man that I'd ever (to this day) known. He was... persistent. I couldn't say "no." Despite my arsenal of weapons, he kept coming back. He was so intelligent. He spoke 5 (yes, 5) languages fluently and he was so frickin' romantic. On the first morning after we'd made love, he sang to me and then fixed me breakfast. We used to compete to see who could make the most romantic gesture. We would sit on the floor and he'd play the guitar and make up Blues songs about me. It was insane... and so very much fun. We would go to a public place and completely make up stories about who we were and why we were there. He was creative and fascinating. He taught me that I deserved to be loved... and more, listened to. He wanted me, all of me. I never had a remote doubt about that. He would get a certain look in his eyes that would make me melt; and that would happen anywhere, no matter how public. He had a raw sensuality and he taught me about passion, being uninhibited and that I could be utterly sexy.
Smitty was 35 and at a very different phase of his life than I was. He wanted to turn me into the perfect little house wife and mother. I was twenty and had no idea WHO I wanted to be, let alone where I wanted to be in the next year. The control issues... oh my! We fought all the time, about everything. It was so exhausting. I would get so tired of arguing. I just wanted us to be. I wanted him to let me simply... be.
After Smitty I spent a lot of time thinking about what we had, what I wanted and what I didn't. I spent many years working on myself. In my next relationship, I wanted to be whole, or as whole as possible. But, deep down, I didn't believe I was worthy and made romantic decisions that reflected that. It took me a LONG time to start to believe that. And, even still, that insidious thought will sneak in and sabotage all of my hard work.
"I will be walking one day, down a street far away. And see your face in a crowd. And smile. Knowing how you made me laugh, hearing sweet echoes of your from the past. I will remember you." - Amy Grant, I Will Remember You
As I've mentioned before, I waited 19 years before I met another man that made me want to say "YES!" I met Sean unexpectedly. I thought I was heading into a one night stand and I was okay with that. He opened his door and smiled and looked at me in such a way... and that big, bright white and neon sign lit up over his head with giant pink arrows flashing down at him. It said, "YES!" I closed my eyes and ignored it. I had a fantastic evening with him and the morning after the first night we slept together, I curled into his chest and breathed in. He smelled of "home." And I thought, "Crap! I'm in so much trouble here." I fully expected to leave and never hear from him again. I was okay with that. I was prepared for that. I had a wonderful night and was prepared to just bask in that. And then he said he liked me. And hope lit up inside me. Sean taught me how to simply be me. I didn't have to be anyone else for him and it felt so liberating. For the first time... ever (initially)... I felt like I was enough. I could be silent and didn't have to fill the space. I didn't have to entertain and I didn't have to control. I could be soft and feminine. When I was hurt or scared or happy or confused, he listened. He taught me I could openly express myself and be vulnerable and it wouldn't be the end of the world (and I really, genuinely feared it might be). He taught me things I'd never experienced before and opened me to thoughts and feelings and experiences that were... well, in a word, incredible. He took me to heights that he simply does not comprehend. He taught me that I could BE myself and not LOSE myself in a relationship. We had a quieter relationship and it's those simple moments that leave me longing at times. We would walk at sunset and just talk and hold hands. It was the perfect way to end my day. He taught me that I could share my space and that it was okay. He taught me that I'm fantastic in relationships and I that really enjoy them (though I still hate "dating.") He taught me what it means to forgive myself and others... and that was a lesson I was long in need of.
"You say the word. You know I will find you. Or if you need some time I don't mind. I don't hold on to the tail of your kite. I'm not like the girls that you've known. But I believe I'm worth coming home to. Kiss away night. This girl only sleeps with butterflies. With butterflies. So go on and fly then boy." - Tori Amos, Sleeps With Butterflies
I once had the absolute pleasure of hearing Richard Bach speak and he was discussing the end of his relationship with Leslie Parrish-Bach. He said that when you meet a soulmate (yes, "a"... I believe we have many, not just one, and they come in all forms - from friends to lovers to random strangers that say just the perfect thing at a perfect moment), it takes work and you have to continue to attempt to see each other. When you stop, you lose that connection (that YES! feeling) and they cease to be your soulmate.
I will forever be grateful to these men. They taught me so much... opened me to so much!! I sincerely hope that I get that "YES!" feeling again and that it doesn't wait another 19 years to appear because it's such an incredible place to live. I will not settle because that "YES!"... that feeling... is far too amazing to ever stop reaching for.