It’s been a wild week. Beginning with last weekend, which I spent absolutely and utterly alone doing whatever I wanted to do when I wanted to do it, I set out to write this blog about being alone and okay. And you know what, I was. It was great being able to do my own thing and to get up when I wanted, eat what I wanted, make the food I wanted. And I met someone over the weekend that piqued my interest. A lot. We hit it off… it was a connection that I have not had with anyone in a very, very long time. If ever.
I think we texted pretty much nonstop after that for five days, off and on. I was happy. I could see this going somewhere. At the onset, I knew that what I was looking at was not what I’d just left. In both bad ways and in good ways. Let’s start with the good – the guy was good looking (in fact he looked like the first boy I’d fallen for years and years ago), slightly taller than me, and clearly very smart. He was kind, you could tell. And because he was a Christian, I knew that he’d have morals and standards that he’d live his life by. I knew that it’d be different than what I was used to, but different is really, honestly, what I need.
Let’s think about what I just come from. I had been in a relationship with a man who, on the outside, and on paper, looked perfect. Perfect condo in one of the nicer areas of town, perfect job, good income, and right from the beginning he made it clear to me that he was more than comfortable thanks to the inheritance he’d received from his father. I remember the first night I’d stayed over, poking at his mattress that was clearly memory foam and realizing that this was the Tempur Pedic mattress that I’d always wanted and was never able to have. If this worked, I thought, laying there later, then I’d hit the boyfriend jackpot.
But it wasn’t all that it seemed. Things were great. Awesome even on many fronts. He didn’t get angry, it seemed. He had a good relationship with his mother. And the first time we disagreed, his solution to making it okay was to play a game where we said positive things about each other until we ran out of things to say. And neither of us ran out. There were red flags, sure, like the fact that when talking about his mother he’d say he really “liked” her instead of “loved” her – when I asked him about this he brushed me off, saying that I knew what he meant. I guessed I did. I wondered if he had issues with love, but it was still early and I didn’t want to rush him.
Then we went on vacation for Valentine’s Day to St. Augustine. And we spent a day, really more like two, seeing the town, looking at the historical things. It was a fun trip. And as it had been almost two months since we’d started seeing each other, I was beginning to get attached. I knew it, I felt it. And I told him. His response? “I’m almost there, hon. But I’m just not sold yet. I’m like 90 percent there.” It ruined the weekend. It honestly did. Sold? What did that mean? I had had many boyfriends – none of them had ever said that to me before. And I spent the rest of the next week or two talking to my friends, many of them men, asking them what “sold” meant. None of them could tell me. And one even asked why he was in a relationship with me if he wasn’t even sold yet. I admit, I couldn’t answer the question. And the question made sense. But I was determined. I didn’t want to lose him, I liked him, I was going to do what it took to make it work, to make him sold. So I redoubled my efforts.
Fast forward two months later, and he’s still not sold. We’re going to a wedding in Tennessee. I had agreed to go, thinking that he would be sold by then and I was disappointed that he wasn’t. I hadn’t wanted to go if he was not. That meant he was still on the fence. That meant that all of the effort I’d have to put in to go up there and make it okay would be wasted – and after all, by the time April had rolled around, by his count we’d been seeing each other six months. By my count, five. But no matter how I looked at it, it had been long enough. He should have been sold by then. I broached the topic in Tennessee, expressing my displeasure at being there with him not being sold. And miraculously, he assured me that he was. But even then I wasn’t sure if he was saying that because he meant it or just to pacify me. And I was soon to find that sold didn’t equal love – I don’t know that I’d ever expected it to equal love. But it clearly did not. And as the weekend we spent there went from bad to worse, some of it my fault, some of it due to his oversight on the lodging situation, I realized that going there at all had been a grave mistake. It had set us back.
And we never seemed to recover. For the next six months, things got worse and worse, more and more out of hand. I kept waiting for him to tell me loved me, he never did. And finally it ended. The ending is recorded in a earlier post. I’d said I loved him (and I did), he hadn’t been able to say it back. I was devastated, but I realized that after a year, if he could not love me, then he never would. And the more I’ve been reading lately about Aspergers, the more I am convinced that he has a mild form of it – if he can’t say he loves his own mother, then how can he say he loves his girlfriend?
So, when it ended and when I’d healed, I kept looking. This time I was determined to watch for those early clues – someone who says they really “like” their mother but cannot say they love their mother probably would not be a good fit for me. I need to pay attention to those red flags. So I set out again, dating. Broderick was nice, and he met that criteria, but there was no chemistry. And the chemistry is so important – especially in the beginning. I could have been friends with him. I could not have ever loved him. I knew it as well as I knew that 3.0 never loved me. And that’s what happens, sometimes, when you date, so I moved on.
Then I met the new guy. Christian, we’ll call him. Nice guy, as I’ve said. And within the first twenty four hours he told me (as part of a conversation) that he loved his parents. He didn’t seem robotic or emotionally unavailable. That check mark was easy to give. But that’s where the similarities between he and 3.0 ended. Where 3.0 had been settled, successful, Christian was in the middle of a huge transition. His life was in serious flux. He’d quit his job to go back to school. He was living with his parents (at thirty-two). He was trying desperately to find a job he could do that would mesh with his school schedule which would have him, he said, temporarily working in a restaurant. On the outset this worried me. I am thirty years old. I have a seriously awesome job. I am comfortable, settled, successful. Granted, I was not always like this, but I’m here now and I don’t want to leave it. And truthfully it’s what I’m looking for in someone else.
But, assured that Christian was looking for a job – that he did not WANT to spend his days sitting in his parents’ house, gaming away, that he was trying to move into an apartment here in Tampa, I decided to give it a chance. And we started talking. I’ll be honest with you, it’s been a long time, if ever, since I’ve had this kind of connection with someone. A week later (and it’s his fault that this wasn’t posted in time) and we’re still texting from about the time we get up to the time I pass out in bed. I don’t tell him everything – I can know you for years and talk to you daily and you still would know only what I want you to know about me – but still, it passes the time. It makes the days go faster. And it’s something to get excited about during a long day of work when it’s more of the same routine, over and over.
We went out on Friday night for the first “actual” date. I’d wanted to see The Hobbit since it had been released and he said he’d wanted to see it too, so we decided that after I got off work, we’d do that. He picked me up at my apartment promptly at seven, I got into his nice, toasty car (it’s been cold down here lately) and we went to the movie theater to check on the times. It wasn’t coming on until late, we had a lot of time to kill. And as there were plenty of places to eat nearby, we settled on a steakhouse. I did something unorthodox and bought dinner. It’s not something I usually do – but as he did not have a job, I felt bad taking anything more from him than the price of the movie tickets. And anyway, I’m not hurting for cash anymore – I can afford to pay it forward a little. Occasionally. I don’t and will not make this a habit.
The night went well, though. We went to dinner, talked, there were silences, but they were not awkward silences. Just comfortable ones spent sitting in the heated part of his car as I showed him the area where I lived and pointed out some of the places where he might apply for work while he tries to get finished with school. And the movie was fantastic. After a night of handholding in the theater and a hug at my door, I was literally glowing. Two days later, I am still glowing.
And yet, still, there lies the problem. I am not sold. A year later, after I was told this myself from a guy I had been sold on, I finally understand what this means. I like the guy, he’s fun to be around and he’s a really good guy, but he has a lot of circumstances that will make this difficult. Getting texts from a thirty-two year old man complaining about life with his parents flashes me back to adolescence. Having his mother call on a date to ask when he’s going to get home are yet another reminder that he has no independence. The drama of the transition and the drama of the finances and his comment that his mother does not like any of his sister-in-laws remind me of the early period of my relationship with the ex that I did marry. And the reminder that he does not get along with his brothers and sisters makes me wonder what kind of stability and drama there would be waiting for me if I did decide to get serious about this. I finally understand where 3.0 was – not that my drama ever has been comparable to this – but to 3.0, it must have seemed that way.
So what am I doing about it? I am still not sure. There’s too much of a connection here to ignore it. I won’t be exclusive. That I have already made abundantly clear. There will be no exclusivity until the job thing is cleaned up and he doesn’t live at home anymore. But the time frame – the time frame I don’t know. Three months seems too generous. A couple of weeks, especially given the holidays, doesn’t seem long enough. Like everything else, I’m riding this out. I am still talking to the others I was talking to before – I am not changing a thing. Patience is not one of my better virtues but I also know that my gut never lies and my gut is confused at the moment. When it reaches a conclusion, I’ll have to trust that I’ll know what to do. And until then, I guess, there is the cosmic humor of finally learning, after nearly a year, what it means to be “sold”. I don’t want to go back, I don’t want a do-over because 3.0 was not right for me and I wasn’t happy there. But if I could revisit that girl in the St. Augustine shower for a minute and enlighten her, I totally would.