There was the epic makeout session that felt like the long-ago days of being in the basement, listening for parents feet on the stairs so as not to get caught with tongues down throats and hands down pants. The early days of dating can be so much fun.
There is the feeling of not being able to get enough of someone.
I’m not relationship dumb like I was at 16, but it doesn’t mean I’m not acting like a teen at times.
Jack and I have a tendency to talk late at night, after the children are asleep, and long past our bedtimes. We talk about our days and things on our mind and relationships and our idiosyncrasies. I know we are in the stages of still getting to know each other, but given how easily the conversation flows, I feel like it will always be this way.
Gosh, I hope so, anyway.
It happened again last night, and while my body is suffering the effects of a late bedtime plus the early morning wake up of a child wanting me to read to him, my brain is happy.
We spoke for almost two hours. I was irritated I hadn’t heard from him all day and my after work brief check-in went unacknowledged. After Liam fell asleep I was in bed finishing a blog post and sipping a small glass of rosé when my phone pinged with “hey there”.
I like to use humor at times, so I said “Thought you’d been run over”, to which he replied, “nope you’re not so lucky”.
A few minutes later he called me. I was still annoyed and I’m sure had he not been driving he would have heard it in my voice and slightly terse replies. As he described his day – working on a big deal, after work shopping for the house and his children, then a few hour visit at the hospital – I told myself to get my head out of my ass and get over it.
We ended up talking about it anyway. He asked me how I resolved conflict: whether I was the type to sit on an issue or if I brought it up right away. I explained I am now (shockingly) mature enough to be able to step back and think before I act. I consider first whether it’s my own shit to deal with and if I even need to bring it up. If I decide I need to talk to someone about it, I also consider the right timing.
I told him I wasn’t always that way. I used to feel I had the right to tell anyone anything, at any time. And now I consider what my desired outcome is.
I used his lack of communication that day as an example. I told him while I was irritated, I was able to step back. I knew it likely wasn’t some personal statement. I knew he was busy. I knew his communication style was different from mine. I talked about cognitive biases. He completely understood.
He explained his relationship with his phone. Unlike me, he doesn’t check it when he wakes up. If I send him a good morning text he may not see it until he gets to his desk. He said his phone is almost always on silent and if I need to reach him I should simply call.
He told me even if he’s not texting me, he’s thinking about me.
He said he was surprised I was “even with him” and when I asked why he referenced how much shit he’s going through with his parent in the hospital and having just moved out. He said while he knew actions spoke louder than words, he wanted me to know that he would normally be more communicative and we would normally see more of each other. He hoped I would stick with him while he sorted it out.
Honestly, it’s not that bad. We manage to see each other a couple of times a week. We text almost every day. We talk on the phone plenty. I don’t feel disconnected from him nor do I feel neglected. So if there’s even more in the future? Awesome.
I reassured him I like him a lot and understood his current situation. I took a deep breath and shared the concerns that were knocking around in the back of my brain.
First, his being fairly fresh out of a long-term relationship (five months since they decided it was over, but only two weeks since he moved out), and the risk that he was still emotionally processing it.
He said he knew there wasn’t much he could say, other than to tell me that the relationship had been declining for a long time. I could relate to it, as it was the same in my marriage. Once we decided it was over, there was no looking back. They have not had any contact since he moved out and I don’t have any sense that he has any lingering feelings. If anything, he should be more worried about my being in love with someone who can’t be mine. So I’m going to put that worry to bed.
Second, I was only his second date after his last relationship, and there was a risk he didn’t really know what he wanted. Did he just want to be with someone, or did he want to be with ME? I told him he could rest assured I was dating him because I’ve had lots of experience dating and knew exactly what was important to me. I was choosing to be with him.
Third, his asking for exclusivity wasn’t about me at all, since it was so soon after we met. I told him any time I’d wanted exclusivity with someone, it was because how I felt about them, and I didn’t want to be with anyone else.
He said he’d always been that way when it came to dating. He’s never dated more than one person at a time, and when he’s with someone, he wants to be only with that person. He said he couldn’t handle it emotionally. So he understood completely that I would feel it wasn’t about me. But he also said he felt that strong chemistry between us right away as well, so why would he want to keep dating anyone else?
Yeah, I understood that too.
I told him I liked him, a lot. He said he liked me a lot too. We joked we felt like we were 16, talking into the early hours. We could have kept talking but forced ourselves to get off of the phone. I can’t wait to see him again.
Image from the 1959 movie “Teenagers from Outer Space”