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There will only ever be one me and one you

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I used to think

that other people loving him

took something away from me

I wanted to be the only one

and I resented all his memories


Years ago on a trip to Hawaii

we met a naked man

who sold jewelry

from the back of his pickup truck

I bought two pieces

but one was too big

so he invited us back to his home

so his wife could fix it


While we waited

they served us raw bread made of seeds,

green tea and fresh herbs

and the man took out a photo album


“Can I show you my loves?”

he asked,

to which we agreed readily


He opened the book

and began to turn the pages

It was filled with pictures

of beautiful women

of all colors, shapes and sizes


And he began to speak...


"This is Tanya,

Oh Tanya, she always knew how to stop time,

when I was with her

I knew everything was always okay

Sara, now Sara was amazing,

a dancer, the way she moved her body,

took my breath away

Laura, she stole my heart,

I never met a girl so smart and kind,

we would laugh together for hours on end"


He kept going

page after page

after page after page

story after story


The smile on his face

was of a man in ecstasy


But I felt incredibly



His wife was there

and he was sharing about women

from before?


From everything I had ever learned

this was a no no

a big no no


Aren't we supposed to act

like the person we are with

is the only one ever?


But I watched his wife's face

and she was lit up and smiling

seeing him in so much bliss


So I began to ask questions...


They had been together 11 years now

living in this remote part of Hawaii

with very little outside contact

They spent their days making art and love

and seemed happier than most anyone

I had ever met


After an hour,

I garnered up the courage

to ask her...


How do you feel about him

being with all these women

and sharing their pictures?


She laughed without hesitation

and smiled at me knowingly,

“Well, he loves women,”

she said,

“so I am glad he has had so many”


I got misty eyed


this is not how I would feel

this is not how I did feel


The part about saying goodbye

to a relationship

that grasps often at my heart

is my fear of being forgotten

And that fear is bigger

with those who have been with many

because then I am just literally

one of many

more easily forgotten in the crowd of love

the odds are definitively against me

or so I imagine


I have always struggled socially

and with intimacy

so the people who are close,

really close

are few and far between


So, many of the men

I’ve been with

or been close to

have had many more relationships than me

and definitely many more lovers


So I’ve always felt

easily replaceable

easily forgotten


At this point in my life

I had kissed

as many men as I have fingers

and here he was showing me

a book of women

he had loved,

I didn’t even know that many people


So I asked her...

“Have you had as many boyfriends?”

to which she said,

“Oh no, not at all”


She explained,

I grew up in Sweden

and didn't really understand my sexuality

until I was in my late 30s


I was afraid of men

and avoided intimacy


“Till I met him,”

she said

pointing at the man

still looking at his pictures happily


“Oh,” I said

amazed at her strength


I would just be so incredibly insecure

I thought to myself

I would never be with someone

who had dated so many


She put her hand on my shoulder

and as if she could hear

what I was thinking

and said,


"There will only ever be one me

and one you

We don’t have to worry about competing

we have already won everything,

you are you, uniquely you”


Tears filled my eyes

and I asked to use the bathroom


I remember looking in the mirror

carefully wiping the tears from the corners

so as not to ruin my mascara

and thinking to myself...

it's true

I cannot argue

there is only ever one of anyone

but what if I am not

a good enough one...


We left

and that night

we drank tequila, and told stories


I asked my boyfriend at the time

to tell me

about the love before me


At first it was hard

I felt my stomach in my throat

and my heart was pumping rapidly


But soon

we were both smiling

and yes, sometimes crying


It was so incredibly healing

to hear about what helped shape

the man I was so in love with that day


Envy can poison everything


We are taught to compare

and compete endlessly


We are taught that love is limited

and someone having something

takes it away from you

It keeps us trying to control

the uncontrollable

It keeps us focused

on small and insignificant things

that drain our life energy

And it keeps us separate

and disconnected

even when in relationship


We keep secrets

for fear of punishment

or scarier yet

for fear of being seen


But I see a different possibility

and it’s one I’ve been fortunate enough

to live


Where we let go

of what we have been told

and design relationships

that reflect our values


Where we own our humanity

and yes, how scary jealousy can feel


Relationships where we choose

to share what's true


Because being true

is more important

than keeping you,

or you

or you



when you aren’t being true

you might lose

the very most important thing



Emily Rosen

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