There’s a chance, if you’re reading this, that you read other blogs about sex, relationships and everything else involving what two people can do together. If you’re like me part of your reason may stem from a desire to better yourself for your partner. Or to try and answer why you are like you are; why certain things appeal to you and not the rest of the mass populace. Or you might just be a bit pervy and enjoy reading about other people’s kinks.
In any scenario (and all of the above and more apply to me) you might be more introverted than your other half. You may take more time agonising over decisions. You may shirk social situations more and you may have more of your interactions with others online.
You might also worry about how to bring something to your other half’s attention which you’ve read online and don’t know how to broach with them. In all of these situations you may definitely feel like the ‘reacher’ in the relationship.
It’s a natural tendency for the person in this position to try a little harder, work a little more and generally question things more than our the one who ‘settled’ for us.
Understand that I hate these terms ‘reacher’ and ‘settler’ almost as much as I hate giving people a number based on their attractiveness. She’s a ‘seven’, he’s only a ‘four’ and so on. But, I do think they can be valid. Accepting them can be harder. Especially when you’re the one doing the reaching.
In my own relationship I know I’m the reacher. It’s almost a concrete fact.
How do I know? There’s two very telling ways. One is internal and the other external.
The internal way is I know is it’s something I just feel. Whether this is just down to my own insecurities or feeling of inadequacy it’s difficult to say but it’s undeniably there.
She seems to pick skills up quicker, learn information quicker, be happier within herself and more unquestioning of whether innately she is a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ person. Having been the product of psychotic parents my own belief is that there might be something inherently wrong with me which others can’t see. It’s impossible to gauge whether these factors are real or only exist in my head so there’s only one other way to investigate things-the way others treat us both. The way strangers react to us. Heck, even the way animals react to us.
She’s generally greeted with smiles, warmth and people seem to want to be around her. She does work hard to make people feel welcome in her presence and will compliment strangers whenever possible and do her best to make sure everyone who’s met her that day had a positive interaction.
Me? It’s the opposite. Even if I do try to make people happy, my own smile is often met with either nonchalance or, in extreme cases, aggression. I’m just ‘one of those people’ folk seem to be naturally wary of. It doesn’t bother me at all, being more inclined to stay in rather than socialising anyway, but it does get into your head when you’re both out in public together and interacting with others, their lens of existence becoming a new way to measure your own next to.
You can see it when we meet new people. They can’t figure out why we’re together and I can almost hear the cogs in their head spinning round as they try to decipher what my secret is so they can replicate the magic for themselves. Is he rich? Great in bed? Chocolate flavoured jizz?
Most of the time I’m happy to be the ‘reacher’. To know I’ve far exceeded my own expectations in with regards to who I get to (hopefully) spend the rest of my life with. It only seems to worry me when faced with the question ‘am I the best person for them?’ Would they be happier or more suited to someone else? Someone they were reaching for instead of settling?
My low-level anxiety sometimes gets the better of me in this situation and spirals out of control. Imagining my life without them. Wondering when this will happen rather than if it will happen. Coupled with a few failed relationships in my past, it’s only natural to think ‘what if?’
When these feelings do kick in, instead of wallowing like I may have done in the past, I work harder.
Harder to show I love her. To show I deserve her.
I don’t mean by buying her expensive gifts or hiring a forty piece orchestra to play her favourite song as she uses the toilet. I show her by showing up. Spending more time with her. Listening to her more intently. Supporting what she’s currently doing without question. Working on myself by going to the gym more or trying a new fragrance to keep her from becoming bored of me. Cherishing every minute on this goddamn planet I get to be around her. This is when I like being the reacher. It makes me a better person than I’d ever be without them.
Normally this is enough to calm the many ‘voices of inferiority’ who reside in my head. I circle back to my breathing (one of my favourite yoga terms and practices) and my heart settles down from it’s irregular pitter-patter and the warning butterflies in my stomach melt.
That is until night comes.
Night time is when I sometimes lie awake next to my better half wondering why the hell they’re with me. If you’re in a similar situation you may find it happens to you to. What did I do? How did I get so lucky? The nagging doubt can sometimes claw away at you as the voices in your head won’t let you sleep.
When this happens, I have a simple ritual I use which works most nights. I remind myself that she does love me. That it’s her decision and that I’ll try my best to make sure she doesn’t regret it.
“You’re amazing. I love you.” I’ll whisper to her long after she’s fallen asleep. Not so much for her to hear the words, more to confirm to myself what I know.
Then she’ll answer me with a couple of muffled sounds which I can clearly make out as the words they’re meant to be. And she’ll wiggle her bum and hips playfully as I snuggle up behind her, feeling her body heat as I draw near. And, for a brief instant, I honestly think I could die in this moment and that would be okay. That everything would be okay. And it will be. I sync my breathing to hers and fall blissfully asleep. Only to repeat the cycle tomorrow night.
She may have settled for me. And for that I will always make her feel like she doesn’t regret it.