He slowly, triumphantly plucked a cherry off its stem. “Ultimately, you’re going to have to make a choice at some point in your life. And that choice is to decide: Do you want to find a woman to spend your life with and make a family together? Or do you want to keep giving in to your impulses and continuing to have sexual adventures and relationships of varying lengths until you can’t anymore?”
“Doesn’t sound like much of a choice.”
He popped the cherry into his mouth and sat contentedly on the sofa. I used to think that his slow gestures and exaggeratedly calm demeanor were on affectation, a sign of faux spirituality. But I’d since come to envy his stillness of mind.
“So let’s say I choose to be with a woman forever.” I continued. “You’re saying that I need to make that relationship a project and devote the energy I once used chasing women to getting better at it.”
“Yes, and?” He was holding out on me.
“And the challenge is to find a woman you love who not only loves you in return but is also willing to work with you on this life project.”
“That’s easier said than done. How do you know when you’ve found the right person?”
“When you’re with someone you grow closer to over time instead of apart from,” he said. “A lot of people make the mistake of trying to defend principles in relationships. My goal is long-term happiness. And I make choices that aren’t going to undermine that goal. Even if it means giving up a freedom in exchange.”
“Man, that’s scary.” I hated that he was winning. I hated that the answer had the word ‘work’ in it. I hated the idea of making a decision that closed other doors of possibility and experience behind it.
“Or exciting. As with learning anything, it will be difficult and there will be obstacles, but eventually you’ll master it. And you’ll find a strength and confidence that no amount of one-night stands can ever give you.”