(First) Anniversary

This past Sunday was our (first) dating anniversary. I can’t believe it’s been a whole year since our first nervous and shaky first date. At the time, I wasn’t sure if he was nervous or just shy in general, but since that first date, we’ve had many conversations about it and he was most definitely very nervous. Fast forward to a year later and we’ve had some amazing times together.

We decided to celebrate the dating anniversary, because it was a milestone for both of us, but also just an excuse to do cheesy and romantic things together (though, I don’t think either one of us needs a specific reason).

Sunday morning, we woke up around mid-morning because the teacher had some special event “planned” that was also a “surprise”. He referenced this surprise the other day when he asked if I had any specific phobias outside of snakes and spiders (which he knew) and when I told him I didn’t and asked why he was curious, he just left me with, “It’s a surprise that’s part of our anniversary plans”.

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The entire ride to the “surprise” I kept wondering what it could be. The Teacher is not typically a mysterious person or even a “plan in advance” person. He’s always been mostly transparent and “fly by the seat of his pants”.

Anyway, we pulled up to the venue, which happened to be a local arena where many sporting events, concerts, shows, etc take place throughout the year. As we pulled into the line of cars trying to enter into the parking lot, I asked him if we were there for a sporting event (hockey or basketball). He laughed, parked, and walked me towards the entrance of the arena. There were swarms of people, but literally no advertisements of the event until after we got through security and then we saw:

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No way! I had always wanted to go to a show, but never got around to it! I was definitely pleasantly surprised. The show (as I assumed) was wildly colorful and imaginative. It held my attention the entire time (which now a days seems difficult to do).

Post surprise show, we stopped at our first date spot, which was a local brewery not far from the arena. Like the year before, it was drizzling quite a bit and was a little chilly, but this time we didn’t have to stumble through all of the “get to know you” questions. We laughed as we recalled certain things we talked about, how crowded the brewery the year before and how amazing it was to return as a happy couple.

After a few quick beers, we traveled to another “early on” date spot just down the street. We visited this Mediterranean spot last spring (April, maybe?) after taking a stroll through a beautiful garden right around the corner. Again, it was nice to return to the restaurant and the food was still just as yummy as I remembered.

After dinner, we went back to his place to exchange anniversary gifts (we exchanged lists of gift ideas because he is a list person). As we entered his apartment, I felt a rush of anxiousness and fear. No, not over the gift I was giving him (a fancy watch he could wear when he wears suits), but what I wrote in his anniversary card! In a nutshell, I wrote some sentimental ramble about how much fun we’ve had in getting to know each other and closed it with, “I love you”.

Yes. I wrote in this card, “I love you”. Mind you, we hadn’t verbally said this to one another by this point, so writing that in a card was potentially risky! I’ve basically felt this way for a few months and felt that our 1 year anniversary was appropriate to just let it out. I thought long and hard before writing that message and genuinely felt in my heart that he felt the same way (he had pretty much been talking around it for months and his actions communicated it as well), but perhaps he was just as afraid as I was to say it?

Well, we read our cards at the same time (silently), sitting side by side on his couch. Upon opening his card, I noticed he had actually filled up the entire inside portion of the card with his “letter”. The Teacher almost never writes anything in cards and the past few cards that he’s given to friends or family were cards that I bought and insisted that he sign (he would just sign his first name). I’ve always been a sentimental person and appreciate writing people notes and receiving notes in return. I never took offense to this and assumed he wasn’t a card person (even though my primary “love language” is affirmation)

I read through his note, which mirrored mine about all the fun we’ve had. He also mentioned that our relationship had been his most serious relationship to date, how he enjoys regularly waking up next to me (even though I steal his covers) and last but not least, he closed it with a statement about how he had been holding in something for a while that he finally needed to let out: “I love you”.

charlie puth hearts

No way. We both chose the same way to communicate our love of the other. How crazy is that? I imagine (like me), he was also very nervous to write that, but also relieved when he saw I felt the same way too. There was definitely a collective sigh of relief after reading each other’s cards. It felt like this tremendous weight had been lifted off of my shoulders. I can’t count the amount of times I’ve had to forcibly refrain from saying it!

The anniversary day went well and was a lot of fun, but my favorite part of the day was reading his card. Knowing that you’re genuinely loved by the person you love is indescribable.

Into The Future

Life has been relatively great lately. I’m finally getting over the plague I dealt with basically the entire month of January. Slowly, but surely.

Work has been (at times) a bit chaotic, but I’m starting to notice the chaos is basically coming from leadership never being proactive and always being REactive to situations. It drives me insane, because I’ve always prided myself on thinking about all possible outcomes as I navigate any situation (especially work related). Reacting to every little thing dramatically sends bad vibes throughout the office. Lately, it’s been triggering my anxiety a bit, but I’ve tried to do a little better in this new year about setting “boundaries”.

I’ve decided that:

  • I refuse to work OT unless it’s absolutely necessary – this does not make me a bad employee, especially if I manage my time well (which I do)
  • I refuse to volunteer for everything
  • I’m taking more of a leadership role on projects and various other opportunities to showcase my skill set
  • Instead of doing someone’s job for them, I’m instructing them on how to execute a task and wishing them well–this is huge for me, because I’ve spent the last few years almost taking on aspects of everyone else’s job
  • I refuse to be “available around the clock”, especially on PTO days. I am allowed to have a life outside of work and I plan to do just that.
  • Speaking of PTO, I am setting myself a goal of taking 2 days off a month, with at least 1 true “vacation” (The Teacher and I are planning a vacation in April for a few days).

Speaking of the Teacher, things are continuing to go well with us. He still continues to be the sweetest and most loving person ever. It’s been hard for me to truly trust people and let my walls down, but he’s been extremely patient, supportive and loving, so my walls are just about gone. I feel very comfortable talking to him and being myself even if that means I’m dealing with depression or anxiety and he’s a lot more open about his own struggles with depression and anxiety as well. I think sharing those struggles with depression and anxiety has really helped us bond that much more over these last couple of months. Having the emotional support of your significant other is such a wonderful feeling and having them understand what you’re going through on an emotional level is invaluable.

Speaking of months, we’re coming up on our 1 year dating anniversary. In less than a week! Dating anniversary (not relationship anniversary). It’s hard to believe an entire year has flown by so quickly. I’m not entirely happy with myself for being kind of coy and stupid at first with the Teacher, but I think keeping an emotional distance, really thinking about our connection (and maybe what i wanted) and taking our time to get to know one another has really built a strong foundation for our relationship and has actually added true meaning and purpose to it. Anyway, we’ve been talking about celebrating the anniversary, which is the same week of Vday (ours is on Sunday). We’ve decided to do something “big deal” on the day of (he suggested going to the brewery where we had our first date and then going out somewhere “nice” from there) and then having a relaxing night IN for Vday, with takeout/ or making dinner and cuddles. I have a feeling that he’s probably buying a lot of shit for both the anniversary and Vday. I’m not entirely crazy about people spending lots of  money on me. He spent quite a bit of money on me for Christmas. Like, tons (granted, i spent a lot on him too, but that’s different 😉). Not only did he get the 3 reasonably priced items I asked for, he got me tons of other things too. He asked what my work address was today 👀. Either he plans on doing a B&E or maybe sending flowers or something? I’ve never received flowers at work actually, that’d be cool, but absurdly expensive 🤦🏽‍♀️.

Another thing we discussed last week was moving in together. This has vaguely crossed my mind a few times over the past month or so, but he brought it up over dinner last weekend in conversation and suggested we start looking for places since our leases are both up in July.  That’s a huge step in a relationship, but one I think we’re both ready for. I also think it will save both of us money, as we’d be splitting rent as opposed to paying two separate rents and commuting back and forth to each other’s places (we live about 15 minutes worth of a highway trip away from one another).

Speaking of relationship stages, I spoke to my ex briefly this afternoon. Our conversation started with him updating  me on how his family (who lives up north where the temps have been -48 or some shit  this week) was doing. The conversation somehow then went left and he spent an hour talking about all of these failed relationships and dating experiences he’s had since we broke up.

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Part of me felt sorry for him (because he is a good person), but in speaking to him, I see a pattern of him crashing and burning when it comes to love. His idea of love doesn’t involve a great deal of logic. He acts mostly on infatuation. It’s like he’s not patient enough to let something grow organically, which is important in building something. It’s like he’s in love with the idea of love. Love doesn’t always happen at “first sight”. It’s not like the movies. It’s not always perfect and just because it isn’t perfect, doesn’t mean you need to throw in the towel so soon. I’ve definitely learned my lesson after going through a whirlwind romance with him. I hope to never do that shit ever again. It’s not healthy. And it took a lot for me to move past it and fully heal.

He told me about dating some girl a month after we broke up only for her to break his heart and dump him two days before his birthday and how he had to go to therapy to deal with “feeling lost”. He told me he “loved” this girl 🙄. I admitted to him I also had a similar experience when he and I broke up (which he’s long been aware of–except, I didn’t “love” him). He apologized for causing me pain, I accepted it and reminded him that I have no resentment towards him (which I don’t). Life lesson learned. He also admitted to regretting the way he ended things between us. TBH, I don’t care anymore. I’ve healed. I’m over it. I’m happy. When he asked how I was doing, I wrestled with being transparent about my own love life, but decided to be honest and let him know that I’ve been in a long-term relationship with a guy that makes me truly happy. He seemed genuinely happy for me, which is mature of him, because I guess that might have been a dick move of mine to tell him that, especially after he spent twenty minutes complaining about his own love life.

Oh well. Such is life.

Outside of that, I’m just coasting and trying to remind myself to practice more self-care this year. I’ve done just ok so far, but I can do better.

 

I Thought I Would Be ELATED.

So I caught up with my ex yesterday…

A year ago, I was EAGER for the day when we would catch up and he’d essentially not be in the best spirits or “got a taste of his own medicine” (by ending things), because I was bitter and heart broken. I imagined myself as Demi, belting out how I was SORRY, I’M NOT SORRY for being better off without him (it is a hot song though, I’m not gonna lie).

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Obviously, time heals wounds and over the months I’ve gotten better, gotten over it, and learned some valuable life lessons.  I’m fine, but hearing that he perhaps is going through some “bad times,” (in regards to his love life) didn’t give me the satisfaction that I thought (a year ago) it would have and I felt like a shitty person for even telling him that I was doing, “REALLY well and was HAPPY” (though I didn’t necessarily reference my current love life, but we’re facebook friends still and I’m sure he’s at least seen clues or references of The Teacher and might have put two and two together by this point) .

It’s been a crazy year since we parted ways. Some ok times and some really bad ones…but I think I’m on the road to being ok. I’m glad to hear that you’re doing well though.

I thought when this moment came, I’d be elated to know that he felt some OUNCE of heartache, sadness or emptiness that I STRUGGLED with for MONTHS after we broke up, but if anything, I felt genuine empathy and a bit of sadness for him. I wouldn’t wish that feeling on anyone, especially this time of year. And while, I’ve moved on (and I am happy), there is still a part of me that wants genuine happiness for him too. Though we didn’t work out romantically (and now I can see that we probably weren’t as ‘perfect’ for each other as we both thought while dating), he’s a good person and deserves to find his peace and happiness too. He’s also continued to treat me with respect and not like a terrible ex, which I appreciate and I’ve tried to do the same with him.

I chose not to elaborate on my love life, but instead offered support and words of encouragement. I hope that he finds peace or some glimmer of hope that eventually things will look up for him. I hope that he finds that special someone that loves him in a way that I was unable to and treats him like fine china.

I have to say that I’m extremely proud of myself for getting to this point. This is HUGEEEEEEE progress!

Blending & Meshing

The last few weeks have been amazing, but ridiculously busy.

When I last wrote, I was just getting back from a business trip and preparing myself to meet The Teacher’s parents and attend a wedding as his “plus 1”. I’m happy to report that while I had some minor anxiety going into it, all went well. I wasn’t quite sure really what to expect with his family (dad and step mom). Our conversations about his dad  were never overly specific. He’d mention things about his dad here and there (how he was retired from the military, enjoyed art, liked to cook, prided himself on yard work, was possibly at one point a hippie), but never anything super specific to paint a clear and defined picture of him. I had no idea what he even looked like or if the Teacher even resembled his dear old dad (he did slightly and their mannerisms were similar).  I felt like I needed to go into the situation overly prepared to make a GOOD impression, so in my usual “over the top” manner, I baked for him as a “thank you” for his hospitality.

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Our initial meeting was super abbreviated because we were running late for a rehearsal dinner about twenty minutes away from his dad’s house, but it went well. His dad and step-mom greeted me with open arms and were very appreciative of the baked goods (that I baked during a passing low grade hurricane the night before with flickering power). To my surprise, his dad and step-mom “set BOTH of us up” in his childhood bedroom. While we’re both in our 30s and have technically been dating about 8 months now, have traveled together and we definitely have “sleep overs” a few times a week, it still weirded me out to share a room–a bed with him in his family’s home…next door to his dad and step mom’s room. We later had some of the most mind blowing love making later that night (in said room), but very quietly (not that either one of us is usually loud anyway). That was wildly adventurous, to say the least.

Overall, the wedding and wedding festivities went over well. Many of his college friends were there, so it was nice to meet and hangout with them. They all seemed very welcoming. I also bonded (even more) with his two best friends’ wife and fiancee (now also wife!). It’s been a little while since I’d been to a wedding, but even longer since I’ve gone with an actual date. Like a legit, I’m with this person, date. But it was nice. It seemed like the majority of the guests there (young and old) were either married or in relationships.

During the wedding, The Teacher was fairly affectionate. I wasn’t sure if this was because he was feeling overly sentimental (due to the occasion) or simply because he felt like publicly making it known that we were an item, either way, I enjoyed the attention. We got to slow dance, which typically shouldn’t be that big of a deal, but we’ve never had the opportunity to slow dance (because both of us admit to not being great at dancing), as I mentioned prior to getting on the dance floor. In conversations since, we realized that he thought I said, “I’ve never danced“, instead of what I actually said, “We’ve never danced“. Ha, would have been a bit awkward had I never danced before.

During the times that we danced, it was as if the world around us disappeared and we were in our own little world.

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In keeping with the theme of the weekend it seemed, locking eyes for too long made my heart race a mile a minute, my face flush and butterflies flutter in my stomach with excitement. I felt a similar spark during the rehearsal and wedding while locking eyes with him while the bride and groom said their vows. Since he was part of the groomsmen and facing the audience, it was hard not to look at him, but every time our eyes locked I became a bit overwhelmed with emotion and would eventually look down or away while blushing. He called me out on it later and I made up the excuse that I didn’t want to “distract” him from his groomsmen duties.

I’ll keep it 100 (if the kids still say that now a days), the real reason I kept cutting my eyes after feeling all of warm and fuzzies is because the entire weekend, the entire reason for us even being there was to celebrate the love and union of one of his best friends and his now wife and In addition to the wedding, I was also meeting his family for the first time and many of his dear college friends who he’s very close to. The fact that all of these very important people in his life had been SO loving and accepting of me, just consumed me with emotion (and I tend to not display my emotions on the outside). On top of all of those gooey feelings, I’ve been processing the fact that I do indeed love him. Yes, I said it. I do love him and I have for some time now, I just haven’t said it.

I love him when he gives me forehead kisses while I fall asleep during some random netflix show we’ve (he’s) decided to watch. I love him when he’s being a sleepy head and will still be knocked the fuck out at damn near noon like he’s not a whole ass adult with actual responsibilities, I love him when he’s rambling off random useless trivia, I love him when he speaks passionately about teaching, I love him when he’s grouchy from lack of said sleep (or work), I love him when he’s silly, when he’s happy, when he’s annoyed, when he’s nervous, when he’s afraid, I just love him overall.

Without even realizing it at first, he’s literally everything I’ve ever wanted and didn’t realize I needed. He checks all of the boxes. He’s been nothing but warm and kind and patient with me the entire time we’ve been together, even when I truly didn’t deserve it and was being a fucking idiot. I get a little overwhelmed emotionally when I think about him, our relationship in general and just how much I genuinely care so much about him. Flaws and all. He’s an amazing person and it takes a one of a kind guy to put up with my foolishness.

I guess my hesitation in saying those three little words is that I’ve tried to really take my time with this relationship and truly let it grow organically. It’s so easy to rush into things only to crash and burn before you even know what hit you (Ariana Grande and Pete Davidson, for example). I felt that with my last relationship (the aftermath was so unbelievably painful) and I wanted this one to be truly meaningful and so far it has been. If you had told me a year ago or even 6-8 months ago that I’d be in this situation, I wouldn’t have believed it. While neither one of us has really point blank said those three words I think we’ve both talked around them either through actions or other creative phrases to make it known. Perhaps like me, he’s afraid to take that “leap”. Here is an  example of me talking around the word “Love” from this morning while he was asleep (“Oliver” is my cat, btw–and he likes to climb on both of us in the morning when it’s time for his feeding):

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All in all the wedding weekend and meeting his family went well. His parents seemed to like me and I was able to have several bonding moments with them between all of the chaos of the wedding. His dad even sat down with me and showed me every school photo of him from pre-K through his senior year of high school. It was sweet.

So fast forward to this weekend in the theme of mixing and mingling of friends and family…I finally introduced the Teacher to one of my best friends (that I’ve known since high school and probably knows more about the Teacher than anyone else in my life via our conversations about him). We met over dinner Friday night and both got along really well. The best friend approves of the Teacher, although the first thing he asked him when he met The Teacher was what did he do for a career?

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I also finally introduced him to my parents, which has been a long time coming, since they technically live locally (about 30 miles west). For weeks I had been tossing around the idea of a meeting, but timing never seemed to quite work out because we’ve both been busy being together. I finally opted for brunch today (as the teacher and I usually do brunch anyway after spending a Saturday night together) and my parents and I usually do lunch or dinner or Sundays. Two birds, one stone. During our time together last night, the Teacher admitted to being “mildly nervous” to meet my parents and referenced the entire event as “doing the parent thing”. I guess that’s natural because well, they’re the people that BIRTHED me and making a bad impression on them could potentially not go over well (with me, maybe). I could certainly relate though as I felt the same anxiety the weekend before. I assured him that while I was indeed bat shit crazy (and he probably knows this), they weren’t too shabby.

Brunch went over well and as I expected my parents really like him (especially my mom). They all seemed to get along just dandy and they didn’t embarrass me too bad or maybe now that I’m in my 30s, and don’t care. I think he made a lovely impression on them, especially considering some of the “things” we were doing right before meeting them for brunch 😉 .

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Well,  I don’t think there are any more introductions this week (because the last month has been saturated with them and quite frankly, I think we’re both a bit drained), but we both promised each other to accompany the other for various social obligations and gatherings with friends throughout the week. Should be a fun filled week…

Meeting the Parents?

As the weekend draws near, my plans of how to occupy my 48 hrs of “freedom” are starting to become set in stone. Lately, my weekend plans have included the boyfriend, even if I’m (or he’s) juggling many other obligations and we’re only able to get together for a short period of time. We both have this unspoken reoccurring priority set for one another and it works. We also try to incorporate at least 1 mid-week “get together”, which is usually something more lowkey and lazy like dinner in or netflix and wine…but weekends are usually for actual “dates”.

This upcoming weekend happens to be fairly family saturated as it’s my mom’s 60th birthday (Sunday) and I agreed to attend a football game with my parents (who, like me, are die-hard football fans). Already half of my Saturday and a good chunk of my Sunday are reserved for family time. In discussing weekend plans with The Teacher (I reference him in my blog posts by this nickname because he’s a high school teacher) via text today, he mentioned that we (he and I) were “invited” to dinner Saturday night with two other “couple” friends of his that I’ve already met. I always try to be as supportive as possible and attend whatever event with him as I know these things really matter to him, but I explained that we might have a potential conflict and mentioned probably having to meet him there separately (as I will be coming from the game), but that I would go regardless. I further rambled on about how I had considered inviting him to this Saturday’s game, but that I thought that might be an “intense” first interaction with my parents.

Let’s be honest, my parents just found out about him specifically maybe a month ago? I typically keep my romantic affairs under right wraps unless I see some longevity or seriousness in them. While cool (as far as parents go), my parents (by nature) are super inquisitive and I don’t like to give them additional reasons to interrogate me, specifically over a situation that I’m not entirely sure about. I feel really sure with The Teacher. I feel like we have a solid foundation in our relationship so I’ve felt secure in starting to reference him (by name) in conversations with my parents. I still don’t tell them everything (like the IUD mishap), but they have a pretty decent idea of who he is,  that we frequently spend time together and that he makes me happy.

When mentioning to The Teacher that I had “considered” inviting him to the game (with reference that it would involve him meeting my kin folk), he agreed that meeting them for the first time at a football game would most likely be “intense”, but that he “really would like to meet them soon” and asked me to set something up (with emphasis on it being more lowkey than a football game). I have to admit I’m a bit shocked that he’s essentially asking to meet my parents and I’m not dragging him to do so. I think that’s sweet and speaks volumes to just how seriously he’s taking our relationship.

I really value my relationship with my parents and I don’t waste time introducing them to people I’m not 110% fond of–friend or otherwise (if you’ve met my parents, I REALLY think highly of you), so for me to introduce a boyfriend to them IS a very big deal in my eyes. It basically means that I am telling them, “I am very serious about this guy. He MATTERS to me.” I’ve introduced boyfriends/romantic interests to them in the past and the meetings have usually gone over well. My mom still asks about two ( [1] [2] ) of my exes to this damn day! My parents are fairly open-minded and accepting unless they get wind of a guy treating me horribly. Ha, my dad won’t even threaten the guy, but does come across pretty intimidating because he’s relatively tall and doesn’t say a lot to people he doesn’t know well.

When I mentioned to my mom that The Teacher seems to want to meet her and my dad, she enthusiastically asked me to do this soon. She seems excited. Am I the only one in this equation that’s nervous?

now sis

Welp, looks like I’ve got a “meet the parents” meeting to set up, which I guess is fair considering that it looks like I might be meeting his parents when we travel out-of-town (where his parents live) to his best friend’s wedding in a few weeks. Hopefully that meeting doesn’t follow the plot of Crazy Rich Asians…I wonder what all he’s told them about me…

“This is How I Show My Love”

We were laying in bed cuddled up Friday night as we usually do for several hours before actually falling asleep. Usually this time period is split between being silly and having some of our more serious heart to heart conversations.

Per usual, he spent several minutes tickle attacking me (I’m basically ticklish everywhere). It’s quite amusing to him to see me squirming about and giggling uncontrollably. After about ten minutes of this he eased up before kissing my forehead and placing his hands on the sides of my face, squeezing them close to my cheeks.

“What are you doing???” I laughed as he stared at me with a wide grin.

“This is how I show my love.”

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WHAT?! Love. Like L-O-V-E, Love?

I wasn’t quite sure I heard him correctly, after all it was rounding about 2 in the morning and I had been up since 3 a.m. the previous morning without any sort of nap or downtime. Perhaps I was delusional?

“…This is how you show love?” I reiterated slowly.

“yes..”

“By squeezing my face…you show looo–that you care…by squeezing my face?”

I couldn’t bring myself to repeat it once again. I heard him loud and clear the first time, he didn’t stutter. He knew exactly what he said and possibly what he meant?

We eventually moved on to talk about other things before eventually falling asleep, but I couldn’t help but to replay what he said in my mind. I even had a dream about it while sleeping next to him, which that in itself is weird. Was this his way of saying that he “loves me?” I mean, shortly before this we both said how “great” the other person was,  how we both “really cared” about the other and “enjoyed the other’s company” , so maybe? Even earlier that evening, he asked me to be his “Plus 1” at his best friend’s wedding in two months and suggested that we start planning out our trip (the wedding is about 3 hours out of town and would require at least an overnight or two stay and some days off of work). That’s kind of a big deal (in my books anyway) and shows that you’re looking towards the future with that person.

Maybe he was being silly (as he often is) because he was being mildly absurd in that moment by squeezing my face with his hands?

As goofy as he is, I don’t think he was (entirely) being goofy in that moment. He might have partially used humor to cover it up, but I think that might have been his way to
“test the waters”, so to speak to see how I’d respond maybe?

Lately, I’ve really been processing my feelings towards The Teacher and our relationship and I feel like I might be on the verge of…*ahem*, the “L word”, but I’m hesitant to admit that or even tell him that, because what if it’s too soon? What if he doesn’t feel the same way? What if it’s just awkward? I don’t believe my feelings are “lust” or even “infatuation” at this point. I’ve been there so many times and this is just…different. I care about him on a deeper level that I haven’t cared about very many people in my life. I know that I feel this way because even when he annoys the fuck out of me (which isn’t too often, but it happens), I still care just as much for him. I still want the best for him. I still want nothing more but for him to be happy. I genuinely care to know how he’s doing and how he feels. I’d much rather spend an evening IN with him watching GoT (which I don’t really care for btw–sorry) than being out with my own friends having a full out night of tomfoolery.

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Hell, I care so much about him that I’m willing to spend upwards of 8 hours playing a ridiculously (and unnecessarily) complicated board game with his friends just because it’s important to him that I’m there (but let me be clear, this is not going to be a weekly occurrence).

Because it’s not often that I find myself L-wording someone, I’ve been googling all of these articles on how to tell IF you actually do L-word someone and how to tell if they do too and let me tell you this, those articles are a bit all over the place. Honesty, if someone L-words you, I think you just know…you can just feel it…of course, outside of them saying it.

The Teacher is a smart cookie and he’s usually very careful with his words. Very careful. He’s always been extremely kind and tactful in everything he says. He teaches after all, so he would almost have to be, right?  I think he sincerely meant what he said. It came out too naturally for him to have not meant it. That’s not something someone would say on accident. Perhaps he didn’t mean to say it in that exact moment, but he said it nonetheless.

So where does that leave us? I don’t know. I had to make a quick exit the following morning to meet up with friends (he was still half asleep when I kissed him goodbye) and we were both busy through the rest of the weekend, though he seemed to check in more than usual?

I’d like to ask him about this, but in person. I’ll have to think about how I’m going to frame this so it doesn’t come out weird or self-righteous. I don’t want him to think that he completely weirded me out. I’ve invited him over for dinner on Thursday, so we’ll see what happens.

 

 

Persona(s)*

I keep clicking the “write” button in hopes that I’ll have some extravagant and wildly colorful blog post to share, but nope! Life is good, but I can’t quite organize my thoughts enough elaborate on any one thing at the moment.

I will say that aside from my writer’s block, I’m coming to terms with truly being vulnerable in my relationship. Initially (in a new-ish relationship), it’s the most uncomfortable feeling in the world to me to truly trust someone enough to be unapologetically naked (emotionally) around them . By nature, I’m an extremely private person. Like, really private. I share very little about myself with co-workers, acquaintances, family and even friends of mine that I don’t consider “close”. I’m the kind of person that will make you THINK you know a great deal about my life, but I’m very savvy in just giving you enough to think you do. Tip of the iceberg type shit. I’ve also mastered the art of redirecting attention or conversations off of my personal life. It’s not that I’m hiding any deep, dark secrets, I just don’t trust easily and I don’t want to be judged for who I truly am. I like to be in control of the persona others perceive me to be. It’s important for me to maintain a “certain image”.

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At work I’m the “I work HARD. I have all of my shit together personally/professionally and I ‘work well under pressure’. I also work and play well with others. I’m probably the nicest most team orientated person you know and I always get things done. I’m your girl, but lack of work life balance is non-negotiable. ”

It's handled

With my family it’s the, “I’m wildly imaginative (almost to a fault), but I’m kind, loving and a “good girl”. I would never say or do anything (purposely) mean spirited. I’m resourceful. I am intelligent and can take care of myself. I’m trustworthy.”

flower child

With friends I’m, “silly and fun, always up for an adventure. I’m very sweet and a good listener and always have a (mostly) positive outlook on life. I’d give you the shirt off of my back if I could. I’d help you move all of your stuff sans uhaul in the pouring rain. While I don’t think as highly of myself as humanly possible, I’m well aware of what I’m capable of and I’ve grown into who I am as a person and I’m confident-ish. I’m loyal, patient, creative, nurturing and loving. I am fearless.”

will smith

My relationship persona is the one I feel least comfortable in. It’s the persona where I’m THE MOST vulnerable and the one where (at times) I am the most afraid.

LEO Screams

When I’m in a relationship and I truly care deeply about my partner and start to really let my walls down I become a not so polished version of the personas above. I wonder if my partner can handle the unpolished, unedited, raw version of me. I may not always appear to have my shit together, a lot of things scare me, I don’t work particularly well under pressure (though I’ll roll with the punches and I’m flexible),  sometimes I allow anxiety to get the best of me, I’m sweet (but at times to a fault where it inconveniences me), I’m not as much of a “good girl” (I often take risks and consider the consequences later. I also tend to do really stupid and extremely self destructive things–I’m going to get to that in an entirely separate post), I’m fiercely independent and at times like to do things on my own (and will need to be alone), but I just as frequently want to do and experience things with my S.O. by my side, even if it’s just a netflix night. I’m stubborn, absurd and I daydream a lot. A lot. A lot. Sometimes I’ll get defensive if I feel like casual conversation is turning into an interrogation, when really my S.O. might genuinely want to know things about me or my past that I’ve failed to elaborate on previously. Each move I make is calculated and it might take me longer to feel “comfortable” to do seemingly insignificant things (like “sleep overs”, meeting friends/family, physical intimacy, etc) for fear of things not panning out and getting hurt. I have to feel an overwhelming amount of safety/security with someone to exhale in that way and it’s hard. It’s hard to put that much energy into something–someone, to not really know *IF* it will work out down the line. You invest a lot of yourself (time, emotions, etc) into it. While I won’t openly verbalize this, I’ll need the occasional reassurance that everything is ok.

Revealing my inner most mess(es) to my S.O. is starting to stress me out a tad because I wonder what he makes of it all. He’s easy going and doesn’t seem particularly phased, but my anxiety of course says otherwise. Not that I’ve revealed anything particularly earth shattering or have anything particularly earth shattering to share? Aside from my relationship fears, I’ve pretty much at least touched on other pivotal parts of my life thus far (and he’s done the same). He knows enough about me at this point to form his own opinion of me. But is that enough?

I don’t know, but so far he seems: Supportive. Kind. Patient.

A few weeks ago, he saw me in a very unexpected and vulnerable state of extreme frustration. An unexpected expense concerning my car really caught me off guard and the building stress and frustration of it all practically left me in tears. Up to that point, I had been (at times) robotic in my emotions and had really only shown him a relaxed mood, a nurturing mood, a happy mood, a silly mood and an adventurous mood with very little deviation from that heavy rotation. In that moment, I forgot he was there and panicked when I snapped back to reality. I apologized all over myself for the slip of “professionalism” in those moments.

I don’t cry.

Well, I rarely cry and when I do, I don’t cry in front of people, so to have him witness me in a very emotionally raw state where I temporarily lost control was uncomfortable at first. Would he find me to be annoying or a big baby? Would he be dismissive? What if he thinks that I’m crazy? 

crazycrazy

Actually, I know I’m crazy and I’m learning to accept that in my 30s!

I don’t know if he felt any of those things in that moment, but he did the best thing he could do in that situation when your girlfriend is in a panicked state: he hugged me, told me it would be ok and offered his support if I needed anything from him. He later drove me to pick up a rental car (since I was also going to be without my car for a week). Just those little things were HUGE to me.

Wow! I didn’t mean to ramble on that much. I guess I wrote all of that to say that this “L” stuff (like, love , yes, like), is scary. I really like this guy and I don’t want to fuck this up. I’m going to try not to fuck this up. In order to do that, I’m going to eventually have to suck it up and fully let down my walls.

Vacay Get Away

The last couple of weeks have been a weird combination of total cloud-nine bliss and red line stress–very little regular “in between moments”, but I’ll explain.

Things with the home buying are not going as well as planned. Without putting all of my business on front street, I’m really struggling to save money for a down payment due to some unforeseen expenses that have recently come up (most notably with my truck). The expenses of my truck have started to make me seriously weigh the options of getting a new car, but I can’t buy a house and a car at the same time, so I’ve got to determine which expense is more dire. I guess if I can’t get to work, I would eventually not be able to make money, which wouldn’t look so great in terms of buying a home.

In happier news, I just got back from my first vacation with my boyfriend (that still feels weird to say–well, type).

It seems like only yesterday we were just drunkenly tossing around hypothetical scenarios of “getting away”, but surprisingly everything panned out and we didn’t end up killing each other in the process.

We opted for a weekend in the mountains because we both prefer mountains over the beach and because he felt a burning desire to visit his Alma mater after a decade of graduating just for nostalgia’s sake and wanted me along for the ride.

Our trip initially started off a little shaky due to some unforeseen issues with my suv (which we had planned on using for the trip), but we effortlessly switched gears and took his 4 cyl, rear wheel drive car instead (which fucking struggled up those damn mountains). In addition to my suv being a royal pain in the ass and dying, we also ended up facing a great deal of rain our first night away. Since he booked an AirBnb on the edge of town (on top of a mountain), we opted to stock up on snacks at the local grocery store and barricade ourselves in for the evening, into the following afternoon. We spent practically the first 24 hrs as you would expect any couple with tons of freedom, privacy and downtime to do. Yep.

I will go on record and say that while I was opting for more of a spontaneous and open-minded attitude this weekend (for myself), I don’t think I’m a huge fan of shower sharing (which, I’ve avoided doing in previous relationships).

shower time

While wildly romantic-in-the-moment-fun, logistically speaking it’s messy, distracting and cuts into my alone time to process all of my internal chaos. I prefer to have those few moments of peace to myself.

The majority of our trip lacked a specific itinerary (mostly because we’re both equally lazy and equally laid back and agreeable), but I did make it known that a good friend of mine from graduate school lived in the area and I would feel guilty if I didn’t make it a point to catch up while we were in town. I figured it wouldn’t be a huge deal, as The Teacher has met about ten of my friends in the past week, what’s one more right? We’re on a roll here…I’m finally integrating him into my social circles and he seems to fit in well.

Ha. From the moment I even introduced the idea he seemed uncharacteristically indifferent and shamelessly critical (once I mentioned feeling guilty about not visiting my old pal) to say it didn’t seem like my “pal” had really made that big of an effort to visit me either so my guilt wasn’t even truly justified.

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WELP.

To further add fuel to the fire, he intentionally initiated a wildly intense and passionate session nearly an hour before we planned to link up with my friend, causing us to be flustered, messy haired, wrinkle clothed and half an hour late. I blamed it on getting lost.

Anyway, lunch ended up going mostly off without any drama, though I could feel the tension between the two of them the entire time. Oddly enough they’re both very similar (both teach, both have the same interests, both grew up in the same area, etc). I’ve always felt like my old grad school buddy had a “thing” for me, even if a very *small* and *innocent* thing and I think the Teacher (without me even directly pointing that out), could pick up on that energy and was not here for ANY. OF. IT. Outside of the obligatory lunch, The Teacher managed to surpass my expectations in meeting about ten of my friends over the course of two separate social gatherings in the past week. The friends of mine that he’s met so far seem to think highly of him.

After the obligatory lunch, we had the rest of the weekend to ourselves and mostly meandered around his old college campus and the neighboring downtown before grabbing some beers at a local brewery and opting to pick up take out to eat in. Our vacation together included a lot of down time, which I appreciated, because my life has been so busy lately. It was nice to not have to go anywhere or do anything at a specific or set time. We also had very shitty reception, so it forced me to unplug. If we felt like laying in bed and eating Thai food while watching netflix, that’s what we did. If we felt like showering at 2 in the morning and then playing a board game while eating rock candy, that’s what we did. If we felt like sitting on our porch watching a rainstorm while cuddled up and talking for hours, that’s what we did and it was fun.

I think traveling with someone really shows you a more three dimensional version of who they truly are because you’re around each other for long periods of time (or in our case a straight 72 hours–maybe minus a collective 30-40 minutes for combined bathroom breaks over the course of those 72 hours). I’ve found that this can be both a good and bad experience, but this particular experience (minus his indifference about my old college buddy), was wonderful. I truly enjoyed spending those moments with him.

Some things I learned about him while on this trip

  • He has the sleeping habits of a bat
  • He needs at least one “lay in the bed” nap a day (and is very serious about this)
  • He refuses to drink “off brand” bottled water
  • He’s not big on eating breakfast (neither am I–so we skipped it mostly)
  • He likes to read for at least an hour before bed
  • He’s not crazy about driving long distances (or up mountains in the rain)
  • He packs relatively light
  • He doesn’t like nature or woodland creatures
  • He claims that the army taught him to how to hide that he’s “somewhat ticklish”
  • He’s not here for someone crushing on his girlfriend–AT. ALL.
  • He likes to use my conditioner in the shower
  • He apparently spent a lot of time in college missing classes due to sleeping
  • He very rarely smiles normally in photos. He prefers to be goofy

Well, one trip down, hopefully more adventures to come.

 

Passed The Test?

Per usual, I overextended myself this past weekend and never quite caught up on sleep that I lost in the previous week/weekend, but this wasn’t just any run of the mill overly social weekend, it was The Teacher‘s 30th birthday weekend and I really wanted to make him feel really special because he deserved it…annnndddd…I just really love celebrating people’s birthdays.

Since he and I had, had some solo time a few days before the actual day, he asked if it would be ok if I basically spent the entire afternoon/evening with him and his friends, to which I was perfectly fine with. His friends (who we had brunch with the week prior) coordinated a game afternoon of sorts. While his friends are very different from mine (they’re a little more calm, maybe a bit more reserved and way more sophisticated)  I’ve gotten used to them and I can tell they really care a lot about him, which I think is very sweet. They seemed just as excited about his birthday as I was, which was far more excited than The Teacher was. I think he was mostly just excited to have an excuse to day drink the bottle of Scotch I bought him, because birthday!

Shortly after arriving, his other two friends (the married couple) arrived with a gang of snacks in tow. I’m talking groceries from Whole Foods, bih! The couple that was hosting (the engaged couple) had a plate of cheese, lunch meat and bowl of pretzels, but this couple upstaged them in their own house, which was kind of funny. We all stood around in the kitchen as they unpacked their bags. We had dinner plans later that evening, so I was confused as to why they felt the need to bring so much food until they unpacked bag #3 and handed me chicken jerky, halo top ice cream and two different kinds of cheese sticks (I ate the cheese sticks before snapping a photo).

 

The Teacher mentioned that you were doing Keto and we’ve both done it and we know it sucks when you don’t have many choices of things to eat, so we brought you keto snacks so that’d you have something to eat too because he says you often don’t think of yourself and sometimes you forget to eat.”

Ya’ll. YA’LL!

I don’t know if it was the alcohol (I had downed a drink on an empty stomach), the exhaustion (I had stayed up til 3 a.m. frosting birthday cupcakes I made for him), my blood sugar (I had actually forgotten to eat that morning) or just genuine flattery from the nice gesture, but that really warmed my heart and gave me that burning sensation you get when you feel like you’re about to shed (happy) tears. They in no way needed to do that, but the fact that they took time (and money) to think enough of me to bring me food was sooooo sweet. I was very appreciative of the love.

charlie puth hearts

Shortly after snack time we got started playing board games. Now I like board games and my friends and I have game nights fairly frequently, but The Teacher and his (guy) friends like some SUPER complex board games–games I’ve never even fucking heard of, but in the handful of times I’ve played with them now, I’ve faked tried to be a good sport and at least pretended to really enjoy and understand the game. I didn’t realize I wasn’t alone in this foolery until the girls (the wife and fiancee) asked for my cellphone number so we could group text about how much we hated whatever game we were playing. It was kind of a relief that I wasn’t alone in feeling that way and to my knowledge, the guys never even noticed that we were communicating with one another.

who run the world

During the board game, the Teacher would periodically show affection. He’d gently rub my back or place his arm around me or on my leg, he’d even kiss me here and there, but nothing overly inappropriate, just brief and sweet expressions of affection. I typically don’t like a great deal of PDA, but since we were in a more intimate setting with friends of his that were also in (more serious) relationships, it felt natural. I’d say 3/4 of my “friend group” are single(ish), so doing relationship-y things in their presence would feel strange–at least at first…which is part of my apprehension for integrating The Teacher into my friend group, but I have some smaller things planned in the coming week with friends of mine that are in relationships.

Anyway, at one point his friend’s fiancee felt the need to stand on a soap box to talk about how “FUCKING CUTE” she thought we were being and how happy she was for us and how apparently when we first started dating he showed them a photo of me and they thought and STILL think I’m beautiful and how much they LOVE me and so on…It was sweet to hear all of the kind words, even though most of these compliments were coming from the most sauced up person at the table. Everyone seemed to agree with her though. Cheers. I felt like I passed some sort of test with that declaration.

scotch

Shortly after her table speech (and adding me as her facebook friend), she asked why he and I were not “facebook official”, to which we both admitted to having the “facebook discussion”, but that both of us were too lazy to ever login to facebook and use it on a regular basis, so it never became a priority to even be facebook friends, let alone publicly display that we’re in a relationship with one another. This honestly hadn’t crossed my mind since talking to my friend’s boyfriend a few weeks back where he also admitted that they weren’t facebook friends either. In time when we both stop being lazy, I’m sure we’ll eventually become facebook friends to never tag each other in photos, statuses or even each other’s walls–is it still called wall?

no idea

We ended up downtown some time later for dinner and while the Teacher was quite sauced, he was more of a goofy, free spirited, I-still-have-my-shit-together, kind of sauced. The kind of intoxication peak that most people hit right before everything goes south (luckily he never went south). He was happy and I could tell he was genuinely enjoying everyone’s company and that made my heart smile. His cute little acts of affection continued throughout the night and I was surprisingly not entirely weirded out by it.

We ended the evening well after 2 a.m. back at his place just enjoying a few low energy moments together before being old and crawling into bed. He continued to express how appreciative he was for everything I had done, as he knew I really made a huge effort for him! It felt great to hear that from him, because I really wanted him to have a good birthday and practically stressed myself out over it, when he’s really a simple person that doesn’t require or ask for much.

For the first time since we’ve been seeing each other, I actually allowed myself to lazily sleep until noon (he normally does this with no problem at all). My anxiousness around him is starting to fade. I feel a level of comfort with him now that I haven’t felt with someone in a really long time and it feels amazing. It feels wonderful to wake up next to this person and knowfeel that they genuinely care about you…

Ugggh, what is all of this sugary sweet babble even???

And to think, I almost let this pass me by because I was being stupid and blind (not that being blind equates stupidity, because it doesn’t).

 

 

“Only IF YOU want to”

I think I’m in that part of the relationship where the two parties involved really like one another and only want to do things to make the other person happy and suggest/invite/plan for things without the other person feeling the pressure of obligation. Good ol’ honeymoon phase we meet again.

The Teacher and I had a lovely date night planned last night. We’ve recently started incorporating more midweek “get togethers”, especially now that my job stopped requiring me to work 80 hrs/week and I can see straight again.

Anyway, on our way to dinner, we discussed plans for a weekend get away at the beginning of next month. We have sort of been casually (and hypothetically) speaking about this for the better part of 2-3 weeks (mostly while one or both of us are sauced out of our minds), but finally made firm and concrete plans as of this past weekend. Since he has a little more time than me right now (school is out for the summer), he’s planning the logistics of the trip (when we’re going, where we’re staying, whose car we’re taking (probably mine since I have 4×4 and we’ll need it in the mountains), what we’re doing when we get there, etc) and only asked me to just confirm with work that I could get the Thursday and Friday off that we’re planning on being out-of-town.

Done and done. Our first trip, should be oodles of fun, hopefully.

Towards the end of the conversation he apologized for requesting to cut our trip short by half a day (coming home Saturday night instead of Sunday afternoon) due being invited to an old friend’s birthday dinner that Sunday.

His mention of this dinner didn’t even phase me. I just assumed he had plans with friends, have fun. I’ve never been the kind of person to tell my S.O. that they can’t go do things with their friends solo. That’s absurd. Plus, two solid days in the mountains is plenty, his apology seemed unnecessary.

“Yeah, my friend such and such is having a birthday dinner that Sunday. You haven’t met him yet actually. You’re more than welcome to come ONLY if you want to.”

Pause.

If I want to. ONLY if I want to.

what me

Obviously I know what that *really* means, but if I’m looking at the statement completely out of context (and without any sort of emotion) it comes across more of choice or an option on my end almost as if he’s saying, “you get to decide if you want to go, but I won’t be phased either way”, which is fine, but doesn’t really communicate the underlying notion of maybe him wanting/needing me to go if for no other reason just to make an appearance? Or suppose it went the other way and he genuinely didn’t care if I went. Why would I want to go somewhere with someone who doesn’t care if I’m there? This is obviously somewhat important to him or he wouldn’t have mentioned it or be cutting vacations (that he initiated) short to go. And suppose I had no interest in going and took his statement to face value he would absolutely be phased AF and probably suppress his anger over it until “snapping” one day over an argument about juice.

juice

Yes, I said juice, even though neither one of us cares for juice.

So ok. I’m being a bit facetious–sorta. I’ve been around him enough at this point to know that these things really do matter to him and he probably would be legitimately offended if I chose not to go and I don’t blame him. That would be fucked up of me unless I had some legitimate reason for not being able to attend. When you’re a couple it’s just sort of assumed that you’ll make attempts to be as selfless and accommodating as possible and sometimes that means really understanding how important something is to your S.O., being there to support them and compromising.

Am I excited about this party? Hard to say to say at this point–but I’m not really focusing on how I feel. It matters more to me at this point to do whatever makes him happy and if that means accompanying him openly/publicly as his girlfriend and rubbing elbows with whatever friend of his I’m meeting this time, bring on the party favors. I’m all for it with a smile on my face. I think I left my response,

“If you genuinely want me to go–like if you’re asking if I’ll go with you, like your ‘plus 1’, I’d be more than happy to go with you…that sounds exciting, I appreciate the offer 🙂 .”

D’aww. But seriously, he’s used the, “only if YOU want to” phrase a little too much lately…he’s even used it during–well, that’s TMI. and it’s slightly starting to become a pet peeve of mine. Of COURSE I want to, we’re in a fucking relationship! If I’m genuinely dead set against doing some activity–like robbing a bank, I would speak up and say that (and I have and with tact). I’ve said this to him a few times (maybe jokingly), but communicating something he needs comes across better if he’s not framing it in a passive aggressive , “it’s up to you” sort of way, though I think that’s just part of his non-confrontational personality in general. Perhaps he doesn’t want to come across needy.

This can definitely be worked through, but I think it also comes with time and comfort level on both sides. I know I created this “monster” from how aloof and emotionally detached I came across a few months into casually dating him. I’ve really been trying to make up for it by overly expressing my feelings or gratitude, but I still feel like I’m not doing enough. The guilt consumes me daily.