The One before “The One”
When I hit my mid-30s, I swore off casual sex. It was not that I regretted any of the “sexcapades” that had dominated my dating life up until then – steamy nights with friends who turned out to have surprising benefits, twists in the sheets with men I had met only hours before, my two-week tryst with a male model in Mozambique.
All of these encounters helped to build my sexual confidence. Little by little, I was reclaiming my sexual prowess from the fortress of shame about sensual pleasure that my Catholic upbringing had built. I felt alive in every part of my body, from A to Z (especially “G”).
But by 35, I realized that, for me, casual sex came with a painful story attached to it. Every time I had a one-night stand, my psyche would scream out: “This is all you get. You can’t have love too.” And at that point in my life, I wanted love more. So I gave up flings.
This strategy brought in astonishing results. By turning down the men who visually (and unabashedly) undressed me the moment they laid eyes on me, I began to meet only men who were serious about me. There was just one problem: the sex was uninspiring at best, and unworkable at worst. One boyfriend tried to blame me (“I know I’m a great lover. What have you heard from other men you’ve been with?” Translation: “Let’s figure out what’s wrong with you.”)
Many of these men gave me the kind of doting attention and adoration my soul had been yearning for. But I missed my sex goddess energy when I was with them. It was like we were friends who pretended to have benefits. I began to lose faith that I could have both love and sex.
Then I met him. Liam showed up as the Bagel to my Coffee on a newish dating site a trusted friend had recommended.
When he kissed me by the Venice beach canals, a bolt of energy coursed through my body, blind-siding me. Until that moment, I hadn’t realized how attracted to him I was. It was something in the way he pressed me tightly to his chest, and the way our lips lingered until the very last second of our kiss. I was hooked.
During the next few weeks, we found it laughable that we even bothered to make plans for our dates. Whether we said we were going to the LACMA or out to hear live music, we always ended up in bed first – and stayed there long after the museum had closed or the music had ended. One exception was a surreal January afternoon we spent skating in one of LA’s outdoor ice rinks. With the warm sunshine on my back, I watched him glide around the rink like he was in the Ice Capades while I was like his groupie, straggling behind and clamoring for his autograph.
Besides our electric compatibility in the bedroom, I had also met my match intellectually. Liam was a physicist and a yogi, the smartest man I had ever dated wrapped inside some seriously toned abs. There was so much about us that was right.
My quest for love could have ended with Liam. In fact, he did his best to convince me that we were amazing together, and that we could make it.
But in the end, I didn’t feel the warm heart connection I wanted to feel with my beloved. And I had to trust the tiny part of me that still believed I could have it all: an intellectual connection, a strong emotional bond, and hot sex.
So I broke things off. It was the smoothest, “no drama” break-up I had ever experienced. I’ve come to see this as one of the hallmarks that you’re getting closer to your One – the break ups get easier because you choose more evolved people as you yourself evolve. You choose mates who believe you when you say it simply wasn’t the right fit, without making it about you, or them, and without coming back at you with hurtfulness and blame.
Liam was essential to my path to love. He showed me something vital about chemistry: if there’s a lack of it, it’s not about one person or the other. It’s about the two of you together. Liam and I had it. Many of my past boyfriends and I did not. And I had to believe I could find it again, this time with a man who was gentle and led with his heart.
A year went by, and in that time I had zero sex. I didn’t so much as kiss anyone. Although that dry spell nearly made me mental, it taught me the last thing I needed to learn before I could embrace love: how to hold onto my vision on the inside, even when nothing yet was manifesting on the outside.
A little over a year after Liam and I parted ways, I met the man who is now my husband.
After five dates we knew we were committed, and I invited him to spend the weekend in my apartment in Santa Barbara. He wasn’t in the house five minutes before I beckoned him into the bedroom. My gut had always told me that when I met my One, he would be the whole package: a safe haven for my heart, my spiritual partner, my intellectual equal, AND a spectacularly compatible lover. Turns out I was right.
Our sex life has been the richest, most creative, and hottest that I’ve ever experienced. And even though having a 7-month-old baby has put a temporary damper on our sex mojos, we never stop wanting each other. In the morning when he’s making his coffee, I watch his shape, his back, his broad shoulders and brawny chest. I gaze up at his beautiful face and kissable lips and I can’t believe this Adonis is my husband forever. I didn’t have to choose. We have love and chemistry – a passion that’s built to last.
I’ll always be grateful to Liam, my “One before the One.” With his fierce devotion to me, he gave me a glimpse of what it could be like to have love, romance, and sex that sizzled all bundled into one committed relationship. He was my bridge to true, lasting love. I don’t know what Liam’s status is these days, but I can only hope that the next one was his One.