(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”.

overwelmed

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:

cirque du soleil

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.

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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…

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.

“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.

 

Settling In…

While life continues to be in a consistent state of chaos daily, I’ve been on vacation (mentally) for the better part of the last week. Blame the odd ball holiday midweek, followed by a day off due to comp time (because I’m salary and don’t get OT), then the weekend two days later and it’s no wonder why I’m checked out.

Aside from work and other personal/family obligations, I can’t really complain. My relationship (still can’t believe I’m saying that) with the Teacher has continued to go well. I find myself learning something new and exciting about him everyday. I’m really enjoying getting to know him (better) and I’m starting to let my guard down a little more each time we interact. I have a bad habit in the early stages of a relationship of being a bit more protective than I should be of my emotions, but maybe this is from getting hurt in past experiences from wearing my heart on my sleeve. Going through these experiences has caused me to be a bit aloof (emotionally) and at times cold. Usually further along into a relationship I’m fairly committed, attentive and invested, but early on I’m very careful about how much I invest emotionally (in case things don’t pan out). Admittedly, I’m somewhat emotional by nature, so I’ve been trying to be more aware of my actions and feelings over the past year or so to gauge my emotions. I have to say that it helps to be with someone who is not only kind and understanding to this, but is also VERY PATIENT. The Teacher hands down has to be the most patient person I’ve ever been with, because I’m a little crazy and out of sorts, yet he’s supportive and rolls with the punches with a smile and makes me feel like I’m not in a constant state of losing my mind. With each passing day I feel more comfortable with him and with our relationship. It feels stable enough to me now that I’ve started to think ahead to introducing him to friends.

Of course, as I mentioned previously, I’m admittedly somewhat of a private person and I haven’t said much (if anything) about him to friends. I just periodically disappear from group outings like a ninja to be with him. I take that back, I have (within the past two weeks) mentioned him several times to one of my best friends, but not in explicit detail. Anyway, while attending a BBQ/pool party this weekend, I figured it was the perfect opportunity to “plant the seed” so to speak and clue them all in. While he was not physically at the gathering with me, it felt freeing to openly talk about him and express concerns/fears I’ve had about introducing him to friends. Most of this is on me and my own wackiness and need for “control”, but some of it is genuine concern that my friends (at times) can be a little intense and I don’t want him to feel overwhelmed.

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My friends were extremely supportive of my reasonings for keeping my mentions of him fairly limited over the past few weeks and told me to incorporate him into the group whenever I felt comfortable. Well, all but one of my friends who literally cornered me aggressively to demand to know WHY I like this guy. I’ll attribute the outburst to him being borderline drunk and perhaps being genuinely surprised that I was in a relationship in the first place. I’ve always had a hunch that this particular friend of mine might have a small crush on me and perhaps his extreme reaction confirmed that. I haven’t addressed this with him since the encounter as I believe he may not even remember doing it if I did mention it.

After opening up about The Teacher to several of my friends I left the party early for our date night. We decided to do a movie out followed by general hanging out post movie over his place. In conversation at some point during the night I referred to myself as his “girlfriend” to which he stopped me to point out what I had said with a smile. Apparently I haven’t done this yet and it meant a lot for him to hear that.

tom cruise happy

We planned on me staying the night because he had invited me to brunch the following morning with his group of friends and it made more sense to stay over than run back to my place to come right back over to his 10 hours later. We’ve had many overnighters, so this wasn’t anything abnormal. One thing that’s been kind of funny about these overnighters (which have primarily happen over at his place) is how he’s “reminded me” that I’m “welcome” to “leave things there” if I wanted. I didn’t really take him seriously the first one or two times he told me and replied jokingly that I’d leave a single tampon on his bathroom counter just to be silly, but he’s mentioned the “leaving things there” bit just about every time I’ve been over since, so I finally stuffed a few necessary toilettree sized items (that he obviously doesn’t have in his bathroom already as a guy) into a toilettree sized bag and intentionally left them on his bathroom counter.

Brunch the following day with his friends went well. I’ve met this group of friends (actually two couples – one married, one engaged) previously, so the initial awkwardness of being introduced to them has mostly faded away. Anyway, we went to a dim sum dumpling place where the waiters served everything on rolling carts. It was trendy, yet overwhelming. I’ve always prided the Teacher on being super sophisticated (he drinks brandy out of actual brandy glasses, I drink bourbon and whiskey out of coffee mugs, plastic cups, whatever I can find really), so I was excited to be introduced to the world of dim sum. I admittedly didn’t eat much mostly because I’m embarrassed to eat with chopsticks (and told him this last week) and I was a little drained from staying up so late the night before. Even through all of that, I made it a point to observe him and his friends as we all sat there. He seemed slightly nervous and a little less talkative, but mostly collected. They all seemed genuinely welcoming to my presence and made sure to include me in on conversations and jokes and of course shared many stories of The Teacher…teachering (goofy things that he’s done or said)…I felt kind of bad because he’s been so open in welcoming me into his friend group sort of soonish while I’ve been a bit more protective of mine, but I’m working on it.

Post brunch, we went over to his friend’s place for a board game afternoon and drinks. His other two friend’s wife and fiancée’ ended up dipping soon after, so it ended up just being me and the guys for a bit. We drank bourbon and scotch and played some overly complicated strategy game that lasted at least two hours. I stuck around shortly after the game ended and eventually made up an excuse to go because I wanted him to spend alone time with his guy friends. It’s hard to truly catch up when you have your girlfriend, wife or fiancée’ hanging around and I get and respect that. I sense that it’s rare that the three of them truly get to hangout sans girls in tow, so they obviously needed that. He apparently ended up hanging out with them for several hours and caught up with me (via text) later on that evening shortly before I went to bed. It makes me happy that he had that time with them.I would never want him to feel like I “had” to accompany him any time he wanted to be with his friends (because I don’t), but I’m also (learning to be) happy to accompany him should he want me TO be there.

This week I have the task of semi coordinating birthday plans for his birthday. In briefly speaking to some of his friends yesterday (while he dipped off to the bathroom) they alluded that he’s fairly apathetic about his own birthday (as I’ve also noticed) and even failed to remind them about it the year before (what kind of friends don’t remember your birthday???). That ends this year! I’ve made it known to him that I’m a “birthday person” and we WILL be celebrating his birthday, especially since it’s a milestone (30). I feel like I’ve taken enough mental notes on things he’s either referenced or left around his place to have an idea of what to get him. Hopefully my hunch is right.

This should be fun!

 

Dark Horse.

I woke up around 11 a.m. yesterday in a mild state of confusion before remembering the night before. No, I was not heavily intoxicated, drugged or in any other sense of the word experiencing some out of body experience. I was simply just regaining consciousness after a string of days with minimal sleep.

Good Morning, Sleepyhead” a familiar voice said, while greeting me with a gentle forehead kiss. The voice calmed my somewhat rattled nerves and suddenly I wasn’t entirely concerned about getting such a late start to my day.

Let’s rewind a bit…

I don’t even know where to begin. I’ve been moving in far too many directions these past few weeks, mostly due to work (I’ve been pulling quite a bit of OT), but some due to my personal life too. When we last left off, I had decided to “end things” with BF and I did. I’m not quite sure how I expected that to go, but I found myself feeling surprisingly indifferent about him and the relationship/situation in the past few weeks. When I took a week or two to distance myself from him physically, it really helped me to see clearly and understand that I don’t have time to entertain that type of relationship. When I told him this, he at first seemed a bit annoyed/offended but then gathered himself and was fine. We haven’t really spoken since outside of one conversation where we spoke about how busy our jobs have been, but that’s it. I’m already over it, because I had never fully emotionally gotten INTO it in the first place, so that’s cool.

In the midst of ending things with BF, work had gotten ten times busier and so had my social life. I had found myself unintentionally being a bit “absent” in some regards, so I decided to make more of an effort to go out with friends, which involved some game nights, some bar hopping, dinners, trivia nights, a movie or two, an overnight trip and a 3 a.m. dip in a pool (don’t ask about this one because it resulted in me puking my brains out the following morning and driving home in someone’s boxers).

throw up

In addition to not sleeping and swimming in swimming pools after midnight in my underwear, I’ve also unexpectedly sparked a bit of a connection with…The TeacherI’ve known him for about the same amount of time that I’ve known BF, but our interactions (until lately) haven’t been as frequent (or physical for that matter). We’ve gotten to know each other a little slower (mostly my fault), but he’s still consistently “been there” this entire time. My plan (when I ended things with BF) was to also not entertain seeing The Teacher (or anyone) for that matter. A dating detox—so to speak…but The teacher (lately) has really made a huge effort to make it known that he very actively wants to date me and in spending a little bit more time with him over the past few weeks, he’s really impressed me actually and I’ve warmed up to the idea. It’s been a lot of fun.

Our dates have been consistent, well-thought-out/planned and interesting. He’s a gentleman. He’s always on time. He always dresses nicely for said dates. He never leaves me in the dark about how he feels or where he’d like “us” to go. He’s (mostly) transparent in his emotions and an all-around kindhearted person. He’s funny, charming, intelligent, affectionate and very nurturing and I hate that I wasn’t fully aware of this until more recently. I guess in my mind I’ve always felt like he wasn’t my “type” or well, what I think is my type, which has obviously not worked out so well, haha.

Over the course of the past week, we’ve seen each other three times, with one of those times being an overnighter (though not our first “overnighter”-this might have been our third). All of the times that we’ve seen each other have been legitimate well thought out dates. He’s always been very thoughtful in everything that we do together (and will also ask for my input while planning), which I appreciate.

The other night (Saturday) after working a very long 12 hour day (after already coming off of a 60 hr work week), we met up for dinner, drinks and a movie (we saw the Jurassic World sequel). Perhaps it was the drinks, heat, exhaustion or a combination of all three, but I ended up falling asleep on him for a smooth fifteen minutes, which I had sort of warned him might happen since I was so exhausted and he completely understood.

Post movie I got a second wind and took him up on the offer to head back to his place for some wine. The teacher is also sophisticated and can intelligently talk about things like wine, bourbon and beer (unlike some people)…he can just about talk about anything, really. We spent hours in his living room, cuddled up, drinking wine and just talking about life in general. I felt comfortable and I felt like he genuinely cared to spend time with me, even if we were just talking. At one point I apparently felt so comfortable (I actually wasn’t drunk, just tired) that I found myself laying in his lap and looking up at him as we carried on our chit chat. We talked until about 5 a.m. before he offered up staying the night (if I wanted, which I did).

I’m not going to lie, while there was some making out involved, we didn’t (and haven’t) slept together and I think that’s ok and he seems ok with that too, though he  has alluded to being open to that, should that happen (if/when the time is “right”). Awesome.

It took us hours to get out of bed later on that morning partially due to exhaustion and well…other stuff 😉 , but after getting up and getting dressed, he treated me to lunch and commented on how we had just spent close to 24 hours together. I haven’t spent such a long period of time with anyone (and not legitimately felt annoyed) since maybe my last legitimate relationship—which on another unrelated note, he ran into me at a stop sign the other day…like actually ran into me…more on this in another post…

So yeah, that’s been my life. Crazy ride of a life. I have no idea where any of this is going, but I really like The Teacher. He’s really grown on me and impressed me, especially lately. I enjoy our talks most of all and I think I’m starting to get used to how affectionate he can be (though his level of affection reminds me of my ex, who ironically enough is also a Cancer). I hate that I haven’t fully picked up on this until about three weeks ago…I’m a sadly misguided and terrible person…

Bittersweet(ness)

I’ve admittedly been fairly distracted and occupied over the past month or so with work, friends and family obligations. I’ve found that this has started to make dating a tad more difficult as I just don’t have the same amount of free time as I did back over the winter/early spring. Not to mention, my desires and priorities have shifted over the last few months. Nevertheless, I haven’t quite kicked BF into oblivion just yet. I don’t believe me being busy is reason enough to be rude, dismissive or unresponsive to him, because aside from being a shit texter, he hasn’t really done anything wrong. He’s a nice guy. We’re just becoming more and more out of sync and emotionally disconnected.

Through talking, we decided to set aside time for a date for late last week. Work/life has been chaotically busy in both of our worlds (pulling longer hours, training co-workers, working on projects, road trips, etc), so I offered to invite him over for dinner. I’m not a fan of making dinner (and I really didn’t have time to) , but I figured it was a nice gesture and would give us a chance to catch up with minimal distractions. Plus, he pays for everything all the time and I wanted to do him the honor of not having to pay for anything. I wanted to do something nice for him. It makes me feel uncomfortable that he literally pays for everything we do and some of the things we’ve done have not been cheap.

He came over straight after work (around 8–he ended up getting off late) looking really run down and exhausted, but immediately embraced me once he stepped inside. I shamelessly love how I have to stand on my tiptoes each time we kiss, because he’s so tall (I’m 5’6 and some change, so I’m not necessarily short either).

We talked about our days (and well, weeks) as I wrapped up the finishing touches on dinner in my kitchen. I decided to make BBQ sliders as an ode to his southern heritage, since he’s lived here all his life. He seemed to be excited and told me about the “Three types of NC BBQ” there were. Did you know there were three? Because I certainly didn’t…

He graciously allowed me to make my plate of food first (even though as the cook, I’ve always believed that your GUESTS should eat first), asked me to sit down and told me he’d bring me a drink because he knew I had, had a long day and wanted me to relax. This makes the second time he’s borderline hosted me in my own home…

I halfway expected him to speed eat through dinner, initiate sex and abruptly call it a night and check off an obligation (just to say he stopped by), but he actually took his time, engaged in conversation and really spent genuine quality time with me. Of course, between our steady conversations, he made himself a second and third plate of food, but he’s like 6’3, fairly muscular and had actually been overseeing a major renovation project all day, so he was understandably starving.

After we finished eating, he gently cuddled me close and we continued to mindlessly watch tv for at least another two hours. His ability to shed a humorous light on the most mundane and at times ridiculous things is one of my favorite things about him, but is equally concerning, because it’s the only mood he’s ever in…if you were to ask me what motivates him in life or what makes him upset, I could probably make an educated guess (based on conversations we’ve had or the few preferences he has made known) but I wouldn’t be confident that those things are what really makes him tick as a person. Perhaps he’s not even aware of what makes him tick?

BF has the ability to make me laugh, even when I’m so tired or irritable that I want to curl up in a ball and cry. His sense of humor melts away my nervous energy and anxiety. He won major brownie points on our first date by basically turning our walk through the history museum into a comedy special. He was so funny and I really enjoyed myself in his presence. It was easy to shake the first date jitters. I just kind of wish my enthusiasm for getting to know him hadn’t stalled over the last few months, but I think part of that is coming from my assumption that his approach should be cookie cutter.

As we continued to talk, he alluded to realizing he’s been a bit more slower in his responses and that he had been burning the candle at both ends in regards to work because (like me), it’s a busy time of year at work and he (at times) really just wants to shut his phone off so his job will stop calling/texting him after hours. I guess I understand that and I do appreciate that he’s remained in touch (even if there are days where we may exchange one or two messages–which yes, some of that has been on me as well) and has still made time for us to get together. While to me, I may at times find his efforts “lacking”, I sincerely do believe he’s at least sort of attempting to still try…well, most days, but I can tell our communication has at times become obligatory and strained.

He stayed until a quarter til’ midnight before announcing his departure (and needing to get home to feed his dog). When I invited him over for dinner, I halfway expected him to agree to it only because of the benefit of physical intimacy, but to my surprise, he seemed more interested in talking and simply spending time together, which was awesome.

Even with a lovely dinner in, I still know in my gut this whirlwind of a ride is coming to an end. This realization at first caused be a bit of anxiety, but I’ve had some time to settle into reality and realize that while we have a lot of fun together, the casualness of our relationship can’t sustain itself for too much longer and we aren’t necessarily compatible for anything serious/long term. I don’t find myself interested him romantically or at least as romantically as I feel like I should at this point. I like him for really shallow reasons. I’ve come to the realization that I need a bit more stability in my life and perhaps he does too or maybe he prefers to keep everyone at an emotional distance as to not develop an intimate connection and that’s ok, but not something I want to entertain forever and always. Being with someone that doesn’t show vulnerability is difficult. Being physically intimate with someone for 4 or 5 months without even knowing anything deeply personal about them really bothers me.  When I met him, I was hellbent on not getting attached and it was easy for a month or two because I was “broken”. I was essentially, here for a good time, not a long time!, but I’ve healed, grown up and shifted my needs. I need someone that is not afraid of being all spectrum of who they really are, good, bad and otherwise.

We haven’t really spoken now in about a day or so and while that’s not entirely unusual (as of late), I know that’s probably it. Our interaction has run its course. We really don’t have a great deal else to say to one another and we’re both ridiculously busy with work right now (and me, also with my personal life/crises). Part of me feels the need for neat and organized “closure” (because I’m not a fan of dropping communication with someone who I’ve been seeing for 4 or 5 months just like that), but I don’t know if his sentiments are the same in regards to me. Perhaps I could just easily be disregarded? Maybe…

I like to believe that he’s genuinely a better person than that.

I have to decide how I want to proceed and handle this. The kicker is that I’m not even overly upset about it.

I think part of this need for an ending came from an “let’s better our lives” heart to heart I had with some friends this past weekend, but more on that in a separate post…

I’m A Mess.

I’ve had my head in the clouds lately. Sometimes it’s just easier to live my life in this alternative fantasy world where MOST things make sense than to trudge through my actual reality which at times has become strenuous, confusing and an overall mess. Sometimes I feel like I’m watching my life unfold as as a spectator and all I can do is just look on in total disbelief.

Dr. strange

I do this a lot when I don’t want to face the hard truth of things, like how what I want romantically isn’t actually syncing up with what I’m saying and actually doing at the moment.

I had dinner the other night with some of my female friends that I’ve grown fairly fond of in the past few months. I don’t have a great deal of “good” female friends, but these chicks get me. There was no special occasion, just simply getting together to catch up without the guys (mutual friends and baes).

The appearance of one of my friends in the group has been a bit more sparse lately due to her recently getting in a relationship. We’ve all met her guy a time or two and we all “approve” of him for now. He treats her well and she seems happy. While she didn’t occupy a great deal of time talking about him at our dinner, the times she did (briefly) mention him, she looked so happy and that made my entire evening. While I found myself genuinely being happy for my friend, I couldn’t help but to wonder what exactly am I doing with my life? My friend has been seeing her now boyfriend for about the same amount of time that I’ve been dating BF, which definitely hit me like a ton of bricks the other night as I thought about that…

Should I be at that stage? Do I want that? Do I even want that with BF specifically? Eh…

Tune in on next week’s episode of Issa situation…to find out!

For a few weeks now, I’ve definitely come to the conclusion that I want something more out of these interactions I’ve been having. Sure, several months ago (freshly off of heartbreak), I wasn’t interested in anything of substance or long term. My last relationship (I feel) moved entirely too fast in that general direction without allowing me a lot of time to truly assess or even process how I felt or what I even wanted. The period of time between our initial stages of getting to know each other and full blown relationship was super condensed and blurred. It felt like I was watching a car accident in slow motion the entire time and I kept waiting to feel the impact, but was powerless to stop it.

 

Car accident gif

I distinctly remember very early in approaching the entire thing logically and keeping my distance emotionally, but eventually the pool of absurdness and infatuation creeped up on me. It was mostly about how my ex felt, what he wanted and I just joined him along on the whirlwind of a ride because I genuinely liked spending time with him as a person. I found myself mostly doing things he wanted to do or doing things for him instead of for myself, but I wanted to because he was kind and  nurturing. It was like someone took all of the things I strive to be to others and threw it into this guy. He’s probably the nicest and most genuine person I’ve met, but he’s just not “my person”. I felt uneasy during 95% of the relationship because I felt out of control. He was the driver and I could see we were heading full speed ahead towards a cliff, but I felt I needed to balls up and push through because I had, “made a commitment” to be in the relationship (even though it felt slightly forced and rushed). He was the kind of boyfriend that wanted to show off our relationship to the world and told everyone in his life about me in explicit detail very shorty after we met and started dating. Meanwhile, I was more quiet and kept him and the details of our affairs on a “need to know basis” until I felt I was ready to disclose it (my mother found out we were in a relationship by stalking him on FB, since I gave very little details about the “guy I was dating”). The entire thing gave me emotional whiplash (and left me black and blue) after plummeting down that cliff, so after dusting myself off, I decided I wanted to ease back into the “dating pool” in a very casual, non-commitment kind of way and I wanted to take total control over that. Never again did I want to go through that whirlwind BS. I wanted to approach dating from more of an, “maybe I need to date around to figure out what I want”, or “I just want to have fun getting to know someone without the expectation or assumption that we’ll get married someday” perspective.

Simple, right?

On paper, yes…but IRL, dating can be a bit more complex than that at least as time moves on. You fall into habits. Your interests intertwines. You experience things together, but feelings aren’t necessarily stagnant and nothing is promised. Initially things sort of went my way and all was right with the world. I was having my cake and eating it too. I was dating, but not formally feeling required to commit. It was all fun. It was freeing. I had the benefit of doing all of these quasi-relationship things, but on my own terms and with very little responsibility. It was exhilarating. It was liberating…

Now I’m just a bit bored, jaded and cranky. Mostly cranky, haha. What started out as being a lot of lighthearted fun has now become a bit of chore and at times an annoyance and a huge time suck. I don’t particularly find myself being overly excited about any of it anymore, at least not for the reasons I should be. It just interferes with other things that I’d prefer to be doing. It’s become a task that I feel like I need to check off of my “to-do list”. I also find myself being legitimately exasperated if we’re not physically intimate each time we’re together ESPECIALLY if we’re over my place. I’ve never been this person before. Yikes.

This isn’t to say that I don’t like BF or he’s not a great guy (at times a bit silly and a bit reckless, but means well), but any time I try to place him in the role of someone I could see myself actually working towards something more with, the image doesn’t really translate in the way that it should and I get agitated. I’m not sure if he’d jive well with my friends (maybe he would), I’m not sure what my parents would think about him (my dad hates every guy I date–). I don’t know how he’d take knowing that I have anxiety and bouts of depression, I don’t even know if he’d have the patience to understand that sometimes I just need my space and that it’s not personal. It’s like he has the potential to be all of these things, but I would need to trust that he’d take it seriously and trust that I won’t go through the trying experience I went through before. I’m on the defense, like a wounded animal at times, but I hide it all under the facade of being carefree, sweet, charming and “content”. I don’t need anyone, I tell myself, because I don’t. I’m fine on my own, but the idea of having someone there, isn’t necessarily off putting.

I’m that cool chick that doesn’t nag to you about trivial shit. I’m agreeable. I’m easy. I’m not “emotional” (HA), I get it.  I’m like one of the guys…but…you see where this is going, haha. He has no idea any of this is going on in my head, but then again, he’s a smart guy, I’m sure he’s aware that something’s brewing in there. I’m just not sure I feel the level of (emotional) intimacy with him (or anyone right now) to reveal my vulnerability in that way, without appearing weak or needy. Essentially, I’m using our physical intimacy as a replacement for all of that, because who has time for emotions? Who has time to have a soul? No one wants to talk about that uncomfortable shit. It drowns out the conversations we should be having. Our silences, grins, embraces and sounds of satisfaction fill in those gaps. I seek out reasons to be “annoyed” with his actions (some are justified though), to lessen my lukewarm admiration for him, so that I have the upper hand, so that I can back out of this at any time without remorse or regret or too many losses…so that I’m in control.

Jesus. I just psychoanalyzed myself. I’m a mess.

img_5818

Other friends of mine (without fully understanding the finer details of our interactions because I intentionally gloss over talking about BF in a lot of detail–some of them have just now learned his first name) have decided that he’s “practically” my boyfriend based off of “time in”. No, no, no, it doesn’t work that way. Like, at. all. That’s not how any of this works.

I thought about this yesterday evening as we linked up. We had been making plans to see Infinity War for the better part of a week and decided to meet after work (midway between our jobs) to check it out. Even though this would make my third time seeing it, I really wanted to see it with him because he had been excited about it for some time. He paid for our tickets, held my hand, asked about my day, made little jokes to make me laugh….all of those cute little date effects. While, I’m not crazy about movie dates and I’m even less crazy about formalized WEEK night dates, it was good to see him. It’s been about a week and a half since we’ve seen each other due to work, traveling and other obligations and part of dating I guess, is maintaining that momentum of…well…seeing each other? I guess at least we’ve been in touch daily? But is that necessary? If I suddenly decided not to respond to his messages today, would he notice? Would this trigger alarm for him? Would he care to know that I was “ok”?

Obviously, since we were seeing a movie, we were’t able to talk much (outside of before and after), so none of my ridiculous thoughts came up. We small talked mostly (about our work days, the weather, the themes of the movie, being tired…) I just attributed my serious composure to being tired (I was actually very tired). He walked me to my car and  embraced me for a while, before calling it a night to head back to his place to get ready for bed.

Wow. This was much longer than I anticipated…

All in all what it boils down to is that I was burned and while I’ve licked most of my wounds and moved on from it, I’m hell bent on never repeating that situation again. How stupid could I have been? The idea of a genuine relationship seems appealing, but scares me all at the same time. It’s a lot to risk. There are all the what ifs. While I’d eventually like to work towards a relationship, I’m definitely not ready for one now. The trouble is, I’m not sure if the guy I’m dating is “my person” or even the person that I want to work with in moving towards a relationship. I need to figure out what’s more important to me in this moment: Doing casual, quasi-relationship things with someone fun and carefree without responsibility for my actions (or responsibility for his) or starting over again and seeking out a more embedded and complex connection with someone new with the specific intentions of long term, but with the understanding (for them) that it won’t happen overnight.

Hmm…

I Have DF

You ever notice that when you’re not “actively” looking to find that special someone, it kind of just happens by chance ? The few times in life where I’ve been lucky enough to find my special someone (at least for that time period) has come when I’ve pretty much taken the blood, sweat and tears out of stressing about it and just focused on myself and what truly makes me happy. Last year for instance, I was about as happy as I’ve been in a while (solo) and wasn’t actively looking for anyone and someone wonderful waltzed into my life. Well, maybe he slid, moon walked or two-stepped, possibly even tripped over a curb, can’t remember…point is, I’m getting to that stage in dating where I’m exhausted and the simple act of dating is sucking me dry of energy.  Read More