“At least I’m self-aware,” I say to my friends. But it’s no excuse, really. I’m conflicted about how to behave in the dating gray area I’m in.
I’m all about intention. Meaning, I care what someone’s intention is with me – their purpose for interacting with me and their end goal. I am dating Bruce (which I think I still call it even though I’ve only seen him once for 45 minutes in 5 weeks, yet talked on the phone almost every day) with the intention of seeing if he’s relationship material. I have told him that.
If I have sex with Lewis, it’s with no intention of developing anything deeper. He is the same. We are aligned and clear on the nature of our “relationship”. Jake and I each know we have fun together but mutually agreed we won’t ever be anything more than sex buddies. We are both cool with that.
When intentions are aligned and mutually understood, I’m good. When one person’s intentions change – say for example starting with relationship intent then realizing it’s not going to work – and they don’t communicate that to the other, that’s where the crap starts. Less communication, ghosting, hurt feelings. If the opposite occurs it can put the other person in the awkward position of having to let the other down.
Ultimately, when sussing out who to connect with and meet, I’m first figuring out their intentions. If I’m looking for a serious relationship and they are too, if they meet my other criteria I will give it a try. But I eliminate those I know aren’t because right away there will be an issue.
Of course, intention has to translate into action. I can intend to lose fifteen pounds all I want, but unless I change my actions, it’s not going to happen.
Any frustration or concern I have about whether Bruce might be right for me is related to this. I think he still has the intention of a relationship, and he still likes me as much as he did when we first met. But whether he can translate his intentions into actions – relating to his ex-wife and his schedule, which seem to be the roadblocks – remain to be seen.
Here’s the complicating factor. I believed him when he said he didn’t have time to date more than one person. When he met me, he said he wanted to see where that went and not bother with others. I still believe him. Having experienced his life has reinforced it.
I told him there was nobody else in my life I was interested in pursuing a relationship with. This is still true.
I didn’t proactively mention there were some casual partners in my life. I figured I didn’t need to volunteer there are a few men in my stable who fill my need for sex. And Bruce didn’t ask.
After our first couple of dates, I went away on vacation. As Bruce proved to be very communicative, I told myself I was going to let the casual partners go. Not with any proactive pronouncements, but if they came looking once I returned, I’d tell them I couldn’t engage with them sexually.
When faced with the option to engage physically with Claude, I told myself he’s always transcended anyone else in my life, and felt no guilt about engaging with him. He reads my blog, he knows what I’m doing, and we both knew there was no practical hope for a relationship forged across the ocean. Our intentions with each other were the same, and it didn’t change my intention with Bruce.
But then I came back, and I had to face the challenge of Bruce’s schedule switch and his seeming reluctance to set boundaries with his ex-wife and make plans with me.
My intentions haven’t changed. I’d still like to see whether we have relationship potential. Right now the ball is in his court: will he be able to make it happen. I will write about the last ten days with him but suffice it to say, I’m not entirely sure it’s going to be able to happen.
And this is why I think I may be a douchebag. I have the right intention with the only person I consider myself to be dating, but it doesn’t stop me from engaging with others on the side. But if I was to see the right behaviour and feel the feels I need from Bruce, I would have zero hesitation cutting off the others.
Bruce and I haven’t had a conversation about exclusivity. I can’t help but think it’s because he’s not savvy enough to know he needed to. And even if we did, would I be ready to give it up for a guy who may not be able to see me regularly or move things forward?
And here’s the thing. I am ready to give him all the time and attention I have that I might otherwise spend with other men. I did it when I was away. As Tony once told me, it’s really wonderful to be the center of my attention, to have all my light shining upon someone. But Bruce isn’t asking for it, nor do I think he can handle it.
He’s not seeing anyone else, but he also has very limited time and attention to give. If everything was the same but I knew he was dating others, I’d be pretty sure he wasn’t into me at all. I believe he’s giving me all that he can.
As I said above, while I may be engaging with others, I don’t want relationships with any of them. He’s the one who is on my relationship radar. Even if I fucked Lewis and Jake and Tony in a week, none of that would change the amount of time and attention and affection I give to Bruce. That’s one of my measures – do the others diminish what I’m giving to him. The answer so far, is no. Nor does it change my ultimate intention with him – to see if a relationship would work.
I could have titled this post “Ann’s attempt at assuaging her guilt fucking others.” I hope it doesn’t actually read that way. But I am wondering whether I’m simply engaging in mental gymnastics to justify why I might still be letting other men between my legs. But the alternative is cutting off others for a man who hasn’t asked for exclusivity and who may not be able to be in a relationship yet.
So what else is a hedonistic woman to do?