I’d tried to bring it up before, but the conversation was again derailed- subject changed, glossed over, left for another day. I didn’t push. I was careful not to push.
Why did I think I had to last night?
It was late and we both needed to work in the morning, but it has been on my mind. I was afraid of the answer and the changes it could bring to this undefined, open-ended us I’ve grown fond of. Things between us have been light, fun, and tender. To lose what I’ve gained in the name of searching for something more, that might not even exist, seemed illogical.
And yet, it had been on my mind.
I dared hope things were going in a particular direction: upwards and closer. I’m a patient person. I thought it was only a matter of time. The hope was starting to approach expect, and I felt like I needed to bring it up or reign in my own thoughts.
I knew I might be the only one of two that thought this was going somewhere.
I was restless. He could see there was something on my mind. I don’t know how to hide things and lie, and I don’t want to.
So I ask if he thinks we’ll ever date exclusively, if he thinks this is going somewhere.
After a brief dance around the subject he comes clean. At some point there was the possibility, but at some point recently he also realized it was likely never going to happen for us.
So maybe at the exact moment where my mind dared hope, where romantic notions took root, he was having a revelation that we would reach a place, or have reached a place, an plateau out. It’s not a bad place to be, but it’s not going higher. We’re special, but not special enough, close, and yet still a million miles apart.
I’m reminding myself that not everyone I date is going to even approach the possibility of being someone I will be with for a long time. Not every person I feel for will settle in a deep place and stay.
He feels guilty for not telling me when he realized. He knew that I was headed in the opposite direction as him- where I started to hope, he started to realize. I feel a little betrayed. Why do I have to be the honest, courageous one and bring up the difficult topics?
It’s not a big betrayal, and he was honest when I asked him point blank, but it still hurts. And he disappointed himself and me and he knows it. It’s the first sad moment since we’ve been dating. I remember every reason I felt great to be free of this exercise in attempting this level human connection. If the results always equal less than, why do I keep trying the same equation? I think I’ll get bigger numbers to add up to something substantial.
I asked him why he dates people. He never gave me a real answer, instead he asked me. I told him I didn’t know. Then I told him I was looking for a real fucking connection: with understanding, yet learning and wonder, and once that connection was there, caring, and with that, ultimately, a companion. I’m not so naive that I don’t know most, if not all of these connections will be temporary, but I still sometimes want to settle for a little while in that comfortable place where there is someone.
He admitted he didn’t want to exclusively date anyone anytime soon.
I asked him why and he said he needed to improve himself first- to get to a place where he was settled and happy with who he was. I laughed and told him I hoped he never was, because it would a sad day that he thought he was beyond improvement. We’re young and unsure in life right now and he thinks there is a magic switch somewhere that is going to turn on adulthood and allow him to settle into someone and something closer to perfection.
I tried to get every ounce of hurt out of my system. I tried to let it move through me and out of me and not burrow its way into a hole where it could stay and fester. After it settled I tried to answer the question of ‘What now?’.
I knew he was looking at me waiting for that answer. He told me his sister went through something similar recently- wanted more from a guy and he didn’t have more to give. She broke up with the guy. It seemed like he was trying to give me an easy, natural progression to end it if wanted to.
He thought it was over for a moment, that he’d messed up. I looked at him and couldn’t be angry; he’s under my skin still. If things can’t move to a new height, I’m still not ready to come down quite yet. I’m glad to know where I stand, at least I have that. I let him know that at some point, I wouldn’t be able to wait. At some point I’d have to finish moving on, as we’re not going anywhere.
But in this moment, for right now, we’re going to keep having fun. I warned him though, we need to stay honest or we’re going to ruin trust between us and both be hurt. Honesty isn’t just about lying, it’s about disclosing expectations and revelations. You can’t knowingly let the other person living in a place of false hope or ideas.
He knew I thought this was going further and he knew it wasn’t. Even if it was a recent revelation, he should have told me. He didn’t know how to bring it up. He didn’t want to hurt or ruin what we had. He was scared.
Did he know how scared as I was, trusting and knowing this might happen? You lend a part of yourself when you trust and it’s up to that person to take care with that. I’ve always been good at doing that for other people, but I have never picked the right person to give my own. And now that he has it, I plead with him to not approach this place again. I need to be able to expect the truth.
I’m going to try not to make more of it than it is. I’m fast to forgive and I hope faith isn’t misplaced.
I feel like I have shut him out a small bit for my own sanity, while also feeling him thrust closer. I’m throwing up an arm to his throat and not letting him pass my guard. A comparison to jiu-jitsu is appropriate as we participate in this dangerous sport, both looking to improve, to find a better position, and having a ton of fun doing it.
There’s also a hint of desperation, like we know our days together are numbered and some day, maybe sooner than one or both of us would like, this will dissolve. And what will be left then? Will we speak with each other? Look each other in the eye?
Usually when these things are done, they’re done with only memories remaining and an unlucky bit of bitterness. Maybe this time, I hope this time, we can skip the chapter of hurt, betrayal, and unnecessary drama and have a fine farewell at the end. Dare I hope for a lasting, meaningful friendship?
In the meantime, we still have this. Togther we will train jiu-jitsu, eat sushi, cook, dine, party, visit the aquarium and tour the chocolate factory, talk about inane topics and subtle psychology, exchange strategies for our careers, share insights and passions, play and banter, geek out, and make as many fond memories as we’re able.
I’m a bit sad, but I’m also relieved at a bit of added definition. These thoughts have been aired out so I can move past them. I don’t know where I’m going, but now I do know that in the end he’s ultimately not coming with me.
When past comes to the present,
and hindsight suddenly sheds light
on things long forgotten in the shadows,
how can I still stare into the night?
I take a step back to the sign
where once stood a crossroad I never saw.
Again today it stands, not the same but
I’m still in danger of wandering down some lane
without the slightest thought of choice.
We thought we’d fly to the next path
on the backs of dreams only to find
the ground comes up faster than it seems.
Those that were left behind were left to wonder
where their paths took them
while their own paths took them
to far shores, where it was hard to be sure
why and where the wonder was left.
Here we stand today, many miles but side by side
nestled in the hope of memory.
What we missed before won’t be missed again
and each other not missed again
and opportunity not missed again
and that crossroads not missed as
we turn to a new journey.
Let lead the way with hope that the night has passed
and cast aside our blindness at last.
I take chances mostly to make sure that I experience life while I can. Carpe diem is a cliche, but routine is a well accepted one I try to cast off from time to time. I try to trust that things which are worth while will come from a night spent with something new or a day driving to a different destination.
I’m not saying I don’t like where I am. I’m not saying I don’t want to move forward either. Right now I’m all for little tweaks and changes after thinking and examination, but I’m not ready for a world turned on its side.
I guess I’m ready for nothing, in both senses. No one is ready for anything really and neither am I. I am also more than ready for nothing earth shattering to happen for awhile. It’s been nice not riding swells and feeling sick, going up and down, constantly having feet slipping out from under you, being lost at sea.
I may be a pirate at heart, but for now I want to sit on my island and drink some rum. Yar.
Maybe I want to be ready for more, but wanting doesn’t make it so. Before I dive in head first, let me stare and try to see through the muddy waters for signs of danger a bit longer before taking a plunge.
I exist, try not to make mountains, but even the mole hills are dangerous. I’ll try not to trip and I’ll see you next fall…
I’ve finished my first month of work. I am almost at the official end of training. It has been an entire two years since I jumped into a self destructive relationship. I’m proud. I’ve had time to begin to get a handle on my own identity and spend time proving that I can build a life for myself by myself. I’ve got a good job. I’m done with my classes. Now that I’ve come so far and am fulfilling more parts of my life every day, I wonder if I’m ready to let some new people into my life and maybe even date.
Truthfully, the thought scares me to death. I don’t want to fuck it all up over some feeling over falling. I’m not afraid of the fall, I’m afraid of the brutal landing below. I’m still sick of picking up pieces of myself after losing people. So what do I do? I don’t let anyone new on the inside.
This obviously can’t continue if I’m for moving further foreward.
I’ve been meeting some great people. I don’t know if they’re at the highest of high bars, but I know enough that I respect them and even admire them. I’m feeling connections and they seem to feel that way as well. People are placing trust in me, so why can’t I do the same? When I fell silent Saturday night and just listened for hours, interjecting laughs and utterances, why was I the sudden introvert? Is it because I’m afraid that I’m sitting in a still fragile framework of my recent success of life, made of tissue paper, sitting with a match that might spark if I say too much?
I’m so honest that I have to fall silent to protect myself. I’m scared to shit at how close I can feel to people that I’m still just getting to know. It doesn’t matter if I get to know them if I block them from knowing me.
I’m not as confident as people think. These thoughts pool inside the space behind my eyes until the people I see make me too nervous to speak.
I’m proud to have come so far, but it’s a shame how far I have left to go before I fell wholly myself again. It takes so little time to break a person and forever to remake. I’m rebuilding one brick at a time so that when the time comes, it’ll be much harder to blow down.