another word for control

“I don’t know why my friends care about my life choices – just because I’m not married with kids or obsessed with my career, like I have a different kind of life.” 
“Maybe it’s less about judging your life and more that they want you to be happy. Are you happy?” 
“I work too much and I’m not good at saying ‘no’…to anyone,” Hotman laughs his loud, vivacious laugh, “well, actually I’m getting better at this, I’ve been hiding away more. But happy? No, not really.” 
Hotman is heavy. The weight is more than the big superhero suit and all the different characters and the narcissistic friends and the married girlfriend and the being overworked, it’s the visceral g-force of circling these issues without a sense of resolution and a willingness to change. 

Change is really fucking hard. 

I’d anticipated talking to Hotman about our unavailable interests but now that we’re hanging out and cuddling, I don’t really want to tell him the truth about the married man who holds that place in my own life and connect with him through pain. Instead, I want to be soft and accommodating and warm. Though given what I already know about him, and about myself, being soft is the wrong move. I should resist my affections, be glassy and difficult, observe, and then give myself the option to decide, but because of something he said on Sunday night, I’ve already concluded that Hotman and I are good together. 
That night, I explained my love conundrum: “I need to be alone a lot and it’s weird because I’ll catch myself having like, moments of real loneliness, but then I’m so happy when I’m alone and safe in my own world…” 
“’Safe’ can be another word for control.” 
“Sure, right, and I get that I protect myself, but my time alone is also the source of my creativity, or at least it’s the nest. I feel very protective of it and I haven’t yet experienced intimacy with someone where that part of me is seen and understood but not fucked with.”
He chuckles and eats a spoon of ice cream, “I think only Aquarians get other Aquarians. We spend a lot of time in space.” 
“Yeah I guess wow. I’ve never really met any other Aquarians, or I haven’t dated any that’s for sure.” 
“I’m a rising Leo so that’s where all the vanity comes from,” he moves his hand through his hair and poses for a second.  
“I fucking love talking about astrological signs even it’s anti-intellectual or whatever, I love it. I’m a Cancer moon so I love making a home and like, loving people into submission, but then if you hurt me, I’ll pull deep into my shell.”
“That sounds about right.” 
“This is the conundrum in love – wanting the safe, warm, loving home with another person and also the safe, warm, loving home with myself. I want both.” 
“I’m right with you on that. That’s the dream.” 
Hotman puts his right arm around me and I soften into his body, lifting my legs up onto the bench and laying back as he smells my hair and kisses the top of my head.
We’ve talked about authors we love, but he doesn’t yet know what kind of writer I am and I’m eager to share. “Can I read you my story?” I ask.
“Ahh yes, of course the writer comes with her stories. I’d be honoured.”