The trip with Leo had my head spinning. I sat on the plane, watching the sunset, listening to music, and turning things over and over. What was it I really wanted, why wasn’t I content, could anything be done about it. What did I say to him, if anything.
Sometimes things are clear for me in dating and I only need to figure out what I want to say.
But with Leo it wasn’t as straightforward. On the plus side, I knew he was trying. He is a solid family man, a good dad, and has close friends. He’s self-confident and kind. He was chill about my blog and seemed to have no issues with my sexual history or even my current ask to be non-exclusive. None of these are qualities to be taken lightly.
On the negative, there are big problems with sex. His weight is an issue for me, mostly because of what it limits – and while I hate to admit it, it’s also an issue aesthetically. I am not slim but can put athletes to shame in bed (and have done so over and over).
He’s not as smart as me – his words, not mine. And this is one of the few times ever I will say this, but if I need someone to be as intelligent as me, it’s similar to trying to find someone over 6′ with my salary. I don’t say it to boast – because I never want to make someone feel bad for something neither they nor I can help. All that to say I don’t particularly care about needing someone to be as smart, but I need someone to keep me intellectually interested. That can happen when they have varied interests, is well-read, thinks differently from me, and likes to banter and debate.
And while Leo is a voracious reader, he doesn’t bring up topics for us to talk about. We don’t have the quick verbal sparring or banter I love. Interestingly, my Mom doesn’t have it with her second husband, but he has other qualities she wanted. She misses it, but it’s not everything. And if that was the only thing with Leo I think I’d make the same decision as she.
He makes promises he doesn’t follow through on – right now what he wants to change remains theory not practice. He’s trying, and I know these things can take a while, but he was keen for me to give it a chance, so I did.
I tossed all these things around in my head and kept coming back to how irritated I’d been in his presence and how I knew at this point in a relationship I should be over the moon with a romantic getaway, yet wasn’t.
We got back to the city and got in his car – he had insisted he would stay with me that night. I didn’t want him there, and couldn’t help but compare it to when I got back from vacation with Tony and we spent another couple of days together. I also had been with people non-stop for days and being “on” as a work leader is exhausting after a while, but with the right person I don’t think I’d care.
I needed to sleep and had no desire for sex. I told him as much. Yes, you read that right. I didn’t want to have sex. Which again reinforced things for me.
The next morning after waking up, we lay in bed for a while and I debating whether to say anything. I didn’t really know what outcome I wanted, but I knew I didn’t want things to continue as they were.
I said “Leo, I still don’t feel like we are in sync.”
And off we went down the conversational path. We discussed my frustration at the lack of significant progress on the sexual front. I told him where I’d seen some slight improvements but where I didn’t feel we were in the right place. I explained my frustration with his lack of spontaneity, using being on the pier in the car as an example.
He concurred he wasn’t where he wanted to be. He asked me to give it another month, and if things weren’t better, we’d call off the relationship and continue as friends.
And that’s when things became clear to me. I didn’t want to be in a situation where we tried for another month, just to continue to feel frustrated and break up afterwards. I didn’t want things to be so one-sided where he is the only being told he needed to change. I didn’t want to get stuck in measuring success by how much weight he’d lost or how many times we had good sex. I didn’t want to sit across from him at every meal and judge him for ordering crap food because somehow that would signal a lack of commitment to his health.
I simply didn’t want to continue giving it a try. I wanted him to make those changes because they are good and right for him, and not about me and any arbitrary deadline. I wanted to see whether he would do it on his own – because change is damn hard – and not worry it was just for me.
I told him all of those things. He told me it’s okay to change for someone when you really care about them. He told me that some of what he promised was bravado, but most of it was a sincere desire to change – for him. He shared that he thought we were more in sync, but could sense my frustration at certain situations. He knew he wasn’t being spontaneous enough, but couldn’t fully articulate what was stopping him from doing the things he said he wanted to do sexually.
He told me he thought we were soul mates.
I was incredulous and hope I masked it. I said simply, “well, if that were true, then why do you think we are out of sync?”
He said “Not sure, Ann, that’s a good point.”
I explained I didn’t want to date him, and wanted to see whether he could sort out his shit on his own. I suggested we didn’t have to cease all contact, but I did need a bit more space than before. We agreed to still go to a sporting event together the following week. He was concerned about wanting to “jump my bones” after the event and not being able to do so. I told him if for some reason we ended up having sex it wasn’t the end of the world.
He told me no matter what I would win, because I’d either have him in my life as a friend or a life partner.
We shall see.
Image from the 1960 film “Never on Sunday”