Bonding v. FallingCategory: General   Mar 4th 2013  03:11PM   0

The relationships I have with patrons are almost always extremely close. That’s partly what distinguishes “patron” from “client”—longer, more frequent visits make for deeper intimacy. That’s how I approach this work—that’s what I’m about—so it should come as no surprise that I am saddened whenever I lose one of those special connections.


As emotional beings humans are always (hopefully) evolving, and never more so than in our romantic relationships. Through the mirror of our mates we see our true selves, the parts we most like and dislike, which traits need nurturing to grow and which are toxic and should be relinquished. As we change individually so follows the relationship. If it isn’t changing it isn’t growing, and if it isn't growing it is likely dying. Happy, long-term couples tend to evolve together, but that’s not always possible, and in my line of work it’s not even always desirable.


Sometimes the best I can hope for a patron is to be his stepping stone. To help him from a place of loneliness or stagnation to a more receptive and aware state where he’s better prepared for the civilian dating world. I’ve lost some of my favorite patrons this way yet how can I be anything but pleased to know they acquired real girlfriends, the kind that can actually be introduced to kids and coworkers? I’m especially delighted for my widower-patrons, those dearest of gents who would never have been ready to date again before sticking their toe in the water with me.


What happens more often, though, is that a patron falls in love with me. This is always a sticky situation and one I usually wish they’d kept to themselves. Once that cat’s out of the bag my patron has two options; fully accept our relationship as-is or bow out gracefully. It comes up about twice a year, and about one third manage to do the former and one third choose the latter, whereas the remaining third will whine, assign blame, and then attempt to manipulate the situation until I get bored and walk away entirely.


I wish I knew how to prevent this from happening but the very nature of my work—the way I approach it—is to be authentically intimate, and, well…that is how people fall authentically in love, isn’t it? Still, I can’t be anyone other than myself or risk losing all the fun and satisfaction in what I do.


It’s a conundrum, but since I never misrepresent what I’m available for I’m hardly to blame that a patron can’t have “more." Yet I know as well as anyone that unrequited love HURTS. Everyone goes through it at least once and there’s no shame in it. Show me a man who’s never been hurt and I’ll show you a shallow, tiresome bore, and a ridiculous one at that. Ah, but a man who’s willing to risk the pain of loving? Now, he has my respect, especially if he also practices restraint and abides my boundaries (or at least makes amends when he falters).


I invest a little piece of myself in every relationship; I do not wish to work any other way. But while I’ll never belong to any one patron (not any time soon, anyway) I can offer almost everything else a civilian mate does (minus the crazy in-laws, mood swings, sexual frigidity, or potential costly alimony).


Yes, relationships, by nature, must evolve but don’t overlook the joy of emotional intimacy for the pitfall of unrequited love.


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