Sunday, January 24, 2010

Another Short-Term Love Begins

In June 2005, at roughly the same time Leif was writing to J about the end of their relationship and to his friend about his wild ride around Tampa Bay on his motorcycle, he struck up a correspondence with LA, a woman he met through an online dating service. I say "met," but they didn't actually meet until they had corresponded and talked on the phone for well over a month. This was to be Leif's new mode, spending a lot of time getting to know a woman before he was willing to meet her in person. This woman was a very prolific correspondent and he seemed to love it. The email between them was by far the most I saw him write to anyone. She brought out a willingness to express himself that I didn't see with anyone else, at least not to that extent. And, he quickly began to hope for a real love and romance again. After only corresponding for about a week, he wrote the message below to her.

July 3, 2005

Now its my turn to babble at you while a bit out of my mind. I have had a a few drinks and am tired and am freed of my inhibitions and logical nature. This will be one of the times you get to hear my thoughts without the filter of goal oriented, logical reasonisng. Enjoy and and try not t hold it against me or take too much advantage.

I know I have been telling you not to get your hopes up but I should be telling that to myself instead. I am not sure what it is but I have an instinct about you and I think we may have something. Despite my better judgement I am getting my hopes up. I have waited so long to meet a woman I could be happy with. Have I told you that I think that the most brilliant symbol in the universe is the Yin Yang? That is such a profound sybollic image for me, a full circle made of two parts, each flowing into the other, each one half of the whole; complete opposite, but each having a little of the other inside them so they can understand each other. But therwise opposites. Neither is complete alone.

That is how I have always felt. Like I was a Yang looking for a Yin. I am a brilliant man, tall, strong, and some say good looking. I am very smart and educated. Talented, and from what I hear, pretty good in bed. I am on one hand one hell of a guy.

On the other hand.....

I am a complete mess.

I am a horrible bachelor. I hate cleaning. I am totally inept at all things domestic. My bedroom is covered with piles of clean clothes that I will likely never fold. My kitchen will always be full of dishes that need to be done. I am on one hand very independent and impressive, and on the other a completely hopeless mess that needs a woman to take care of me.

I like the idea that two people can take care of each other, that a man can care for and support and provide for a woman and she can make a home for him and their children. I have much more respect for a woman that can be a good wife and mother than one that can be a CEO of a company. Not that women can't do such things, and not that I wouldn't respect a woman that chose to or doubt their capability, but I believe that the feminine tasks often considered "Women's work" are some of the most noble and valuable tasks in society.

I believe that the most perfect relationship we could hope for is one where each person takes care of the other, performing all the tasks that the other is not suited for.

Yes, he should have been telling himself not to get his hopes up, but as I've written before, once something "clicked" with a woman, he was racing ahead in his hopes and dreams, wishing so hard that he'd found the one who could be the person he was writing about above, the one who could make a home for him, give him something to come home TO, someone to work for, someone to complete him.

One of the other things he discovered in the course of this correspondence was how fulfilling it was to find a woman who was intelligent and literate. Here's what he had to say about it:

I never used to think that was a priority to me, having an intelligent mate. Friends told me it was what I needed but to be perfectly honest, and a the risk of sounding a bit arrogant, I am *($(%*&ing brilliant. I think I already told you that I test at between a 120 and 140 IQ, so I am used to being smarter than everyone around me. The only woman I have ever known that can match my intellect is my own mother, which in combinaton with my father's very strange and different sort of brilliance, produced my mind.

I never made finding a smart woman a priority because intelligent conversation was not something that I necessarily needed from a mate, if you can understand that. I can get philosophical discussion from a platonic friend. What I need from a woman is physical and emotional intimacy.

The problem I did run into, though, which I didn't foresee, is that on some level I did not have the same respect for women that I felt to be my intellectual and educational inferiors. While I never did anything to deliberately make any of them feel inferior, I would just be myself and some women, including my ex wife, would not understand what I was talking about, and as she said to me, "I feel stupid when I am around you," which is not something I want to hear. I don't want to hear that me being myself makes my significant other feel bad about herself.

By July 17th, he was falling in love with a woman he had never met, thinking already about a future together. In typical Leif fashion, he wrote things to her when he was drunk, when his inhibitions were loosened. Leif was a mellow drunk. Even when he'd had a lot to drink (and at his size and with his history of drinking, he could drink a lot without appearing drunk), he was lucid. I think one of the reasons he drank so much was to lower his inhibitions . . . and also to help himself sleep, to chase away the demons and the depression, but in the end, so much alcohol was terribly bad for his health, made him gain a lot of weight, and probably increased the depression he was trying to escape.

However, in July 2005, he was still hoping for love, falling in love fast, and writing this to LA after corresponding and talking just over three weeks. The subject line on this email was "Slightly Drunken Ramblings."

Hello My Sweet.

It is late, not  really late, but kinda late, and I am not really drunk, but kinda drunk. Just cracked my 6th Corona, which is enough to have me feeling mellow and a bit less inhibited.

Somehow I feel compelled to talk to you, though I am not sure I have anything specific to say. What does that mean? That I crave contact with you for no reason in particular. The truth is, I missed you tonight. That is a strange and bitter-sweet feeling. I have not even met you, yet I already am missing you.

Tonight I am filled with incomplete thoughts, things that are going on in my heart and mind that I can't necessarily articulate. I do have one thought in my head that is bouncing around. I seem to remember saying it to you, but then it may just be deja vu and I only thought of saying it to you.

That thought is that I want to tell you things that some other part of me says I should not. It is that the part that remembers all those stories saying how you do not reveal to much and never admit to anything so that you can maintain power etc., all those bullshit games that people play to get what they want according to what players of the dating game tell us what we are supposed to do. Don't reveal to much. Don't give up control, don't be too enthusiastic. I HATE THAT!!!

I have always hated the game. Hated the bullshit maneuvering, manipulation, and defense mechanisms that people use to try and get what they want without ever exposing themselves or relinquishing control. Never give up the advantage. I am sick of it. Does no one know how to be honest anymore? Does no one have the courage? I suppose not. I have been guilty of romantic cowardice on many occasions.

So that part of me is trying to tell me that I should keep my mouth shut and maintain the advantage. That may be the way to play things if I was looking for a piece of ass but I feel something different with you. The very thought of not being honest with you disgusts me right now.

Pause, sorry if I am rambling or if this is a bit random and disorganized, but as I said, this is not a coherent thought. I am just typing what comes to me.

Anyway, what I am getting at is that I feel a real connection to you. My rational mind tells me I am nuts and that I should not put much stock in this but my heart is in another place. You said you had a feeling about us. Women's intuition. I, too, have a feeling, a feeling I often try not to indulge.

I suppose that after my last relationship with J, where I got my heart broken so badly, I am wary of getting my hopes up. I don't ever want to feel that way again. Yet I can't deny what I am feeling with you and that my instincts tell me there is really something here.

So anyway, I am rambling again. What I am trying to say is that I have a powerful feeling about you. I am, despite myself, very hopeful about what may become of us. I have often dreamed and hoped that I might one day meet that perfect girl that could complete me, that could fulfill me and give me everything I need and want, and who needed and wanted everything that I could give. But now I am on one hand elated that I just might have found her, and terrified that this could just be a cruel joke played by the fates.

I hope this is not a dream that will not be. On the other hand, I have many thoughts that are quite premature and things that few men would ever acknowledge. I picture moments in our future. Moments men are trained not to get into and images we never seem to want to admit.

I find myself lying in bed, or alone and tired and bored at work, and I have images come to me that are beautiful and wonderful but of which I have no guarantee they will ever be. When I am in bed going to sleep, I often find my arms around a pillow, imagining it is you, and imagining we have been together. I imagine what it would be like to tell you that I loved you and to have you tell me so also. I miss saying those words and meaning it. I love the thought that if we do work out that someday I might be saying them to you everyday. Of course I imagine making love to you but I also imagine our lives later. Imagining our wedding. Imagining you pregnant with my child.

This may be a little much. Now I worry about scaring you off. I am not insane. I am telling you things because I am conflicted between my practical self and my hopeful self.

I am suddenly fading fast. Beers gone, very sleepy. Bottom line, LA, is that you are special to me and I have a very strong feeling about you. I want to write more but I must crash. I hope that you will value this uninhibited glimpse into my mind.


Despite all his love of gadgets and guns, his need for speed, his cars and motorcycles, deep inside Leif was an old-fashioned romantic looking for an old-fashioned relationship, one of love and rather traditional roles . . . but he would have wanted a woman who could tolerate those aspects of his personality that would have been challenging, and I wonder if he could have curbed them, or moderated his drinking. Perhaps. Sometimes it is love that makes things change. We will never know.
The photo of Leif was taken May 31, 2003 in Dover, Delaware at his brother's home where we were holding a surprise family reunion in honor of Leif's grandmother's 85th birthday. He had just graduated from Kansas State University and was opening his graduation gift from his brother. He was 28 years old.

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