There is something to be said for recognizing one’s patterns. With the reactions I’ve had to Tony and all of his unknowns, I find myself thinking back to one of the true loves in my life.
One of the men on my list, we first dated for six months when we were just 12. Yes, you read that right – six months. We remained close friends and got back together when we were 16. But it was never meant to be. We still keep in touch and he gave me great advice when I became single again – having been the first of my friends to get divorced.
One thing he used to tell me when we dated all those years ago is that I pushed too much – for knowledge, certainty, more time, more dedication. It drove him crazy and although he loved me, my pushing had the opposite effect. He pulled back. For those of you who are curious about such things, I am a Virgo and he is a Capricorn.
It occurs to me he was right when we were 16 and some things haven’t changed. I am comfortable that Tony likes me. I don’t think I am being played and other than a nagging need to ensure our next date has activities other than eating, talking, and sex, I trust that when he says he isn’t engaging others, he means it (and for the record I didn’t ask for exclusivity – but given how often I’ve seen him lately, I suppose it’s a good thing I’m not also worried he’s engaging others at my expense).
But when I think about him, I find myself wanting to know about what he wants, what he’s ready for, whether he will need to explore others before being in a relationship, whether I’m the first woman he’s slept with since his split, even what kind of sexual experiences he’s had since he met his ex-wife in their early 20s, and whether I can ask him if he wants to go out with me and a girlfriend visiting from out of town in two weeks – and if he would bring a friend.
I also know that the answers to those questions (except the last one) don’t matter. He may not even know the answers. Hell, I don’t even know what I want from him in the mid or long term.
And I think this is how I get into trouble with relationships. I push before I know what I want. Then if someone gives me what I ask for, how can I turn around and say I don’t want it anymore?
This is a revelation for me.
Many have asked why I stayed with my ex. It’s been hard to answer. I think at least at the beginning, this tendency certainly contributed. Once I started to see some of the emotional and behavioral issues that were a problem, I was already down a commitment path with him.
So why on earth would I push before I know if someone is right for me? I absolutely know that you don’t really get to know someone until you’ve spent some time with them. I like to say you understand what someone is like when you see them under stress or angry. That is the real measure. Not when we are being all happy and saccharine.
All this knowledge is useless if I don’t do anything with it. So what am I going to?
I had a date with Tony last Saturday night that lasted until Sunday afternoon (yes, a part two post is coming). It’s a few days later and I haven’t seen him nor talked to him on the phone. We’ve had a few brief text message conversations since then. We have no concrete plans for a next date.
This Friday I have my son since my Mom left the city for a funeral. Tony told me he’s starting sports lessons with his child early Saturday morning for 10 weeks. So although he has said Friday night will be mine, he also said it could be a problem since he has to be up super early the next day. Oh, and his ex will be there as well.
The weekend after, I have a college roommate coming to stay with me. Perhaps on the Saturday night we can go out and he can join us with a friend. I’m not sure if I should ask or if he’d be weird about it. But that’s the only way I will see him that weekend.
The weekend after that I’m away…as poor me has to be in a sunny locale for a week on an annual awards trip for my division of the company I work for. So I’m not back until that Saturday.
Which means it’s not until the last weekend in January before I will be free and alone on a Friday night.
So if he wants to see me before then, it will have to be an after my son goes to sleep drink and snog at my place. Or come out with me and my girlfriend.
I’m worried he will think I am generally unavailable and he could move on. But there is a whole lot of nothing I can do about it.
I have enjoyed my four nights post-date of getting to bed a little earlier than I got used to over the holidays. I’ve put down my phone and focused on my son in the evenings. I’ve managed to get home a little earlier from work. The men in my phone have been very silent – and I’m actually okay with that for the moment.
I’m still quite likely to freak out at times about the whole thing…but right now, I am feeling resoundingly….alright.