Why do I mind? Why is my open-minded brain unable to be completely comfortable with the idea of the open-ended relationship? Why does the prospect of him picking up women really get to me. …or as he asked,
“What are you so afraid of?”
Besides the obvious, losing what happiness I’ve gained, not being able to get closer and missing an opportunity to be closer, not being used to this position… Besides the negative connotations of pick-up with ideas of manipulating people for sex… There is more.
I was finally able to get the clarification from the boy on the subject of pickup. There are many methods of pickup apparently, and apparently one of them goes along with what I was thinking and Steve described in one of his quotes on a post:
“I compensate for my lack of self-confidence by deceiving others.”
The boy admitted that a lot of guys do that. He admitted he tried it, and it failed horribly. He wasn’t comfortable with being fake and it showed. It also wasn’t getting him what he wanted.
And what does he want?
According to him, he uses techniques learned in pick-up to break the ice and be able to display his best qualities to someone. He can project the kind of person he wants and what he wants from that person.
There are two camps of people in pick-up apparently. One of them is the people who use pickup to rack up their ‘score’ in the game, like notches on the belt. The other is the people who use pickup to learn how to approach and get the women they want and then move on to relationships with those people. These people are not necessarily lacking in confidence in other areas of their lives, they just have a hard time meeting and getting anywhere with women. The latter type eventually move out of pickup, while the former stay there and rack up their ‘score’.
So where does the boy fall in this broader picture? He says he will at some point fall into the latter, but is not done with the journey. He feels like he has more to learn and experience. He may stay in it for not much longer, he may stay in it for a while yet. He doesn’t know.
I do have to ask, with how close and how serious we’ve been getting, why pickup now?
He admitted he wasn’t seeing anyone else right now, the people he was seeing when we started out were long gone. He’s been going to his pickup meetings, but hasn’t been picking anyone up.
He admitted that his intentions were to use pickup to attract people he wanted to eventually settle with. The settling itself though still scares him. It comes down to the classic fear of commitment. Like, he could buy a house right now. It’s a good market to buy a house. His rent is too high, it’d be a good investment. He doesn’t want to though. Why? He’s afraid it would ‘root him to a place’. Even though he could sell or rent it later, he sees this as an all or nothing, as if he’ll die in the house he buys. It’s symbolic more than anything, and the metaphor frightens him. This is the all or nothing syndrome I talked about him having before.
This fear goes even deeper into his relationship history: fear of repeating old mistakes.
The boy has had two major relationships in his life and both of them: unhealthy. One of the girls he lived with, and even financially supported. He was needy and so were they. He expected too much from them and as a result gave more and more hoping for himself to get back what he wanted and be fulfilled. He didn’t know how to express or get what it was he wanted. There was no good communication, expectations were unreasonable, and there was too much too fast.
Even with only two relationships, he’s gone further than I have, and made some of the same mistakes as me only even more hardcore.
He has been very needy in the past and is now firmly on two feet. According to him, what we have right now is the most healthy relationship he’s ever had.
He told me what he was afraid of: afraid of repeating the past and slipping back into bring this needy person. This is something I understand all too well, a common theme in my own worries.
Now I at least understand why our official relationship status is what it is. He’s afraid once he relabels what we have, things will change and the worst may come.
Now that I understand his fears, let me come full circle on my own. I didn’t realize this until we started talking, but the big issue really is that I am following relationship rules that I didn’t make and I don’t fully understand. They’re becoming defined, but I didn’t define them: he did. I’m still expected to follow these rules or stop seeing him. That’s an uncomfortable bit of control I’m giving him. I know that in other relationships I’ve had, I didn’t exactly control the parameters either- they were defined by canned traditions.
Things weren’t one hundred percent defined at the beginning, and they still aren’t. In one of my last posts I talked about whether or not people we both knew were off limits or not. We never talked about it, but he told me one day that yes, people who we consider friends are at least. There wasn’t a discussion, it was just something he felt like he needed so: new rule. The rule itself I don’t disagree with, but I do take issue with these rules seeming like they’re being made up as we go along and he’s the one making them. I know they are being made up as we go along because this is new ground for both of us. Even if I were to find myself being fully comfortable with a non-traditional relationship, feeling like I’m following someone else’s rules feels like it is against every fiber of my being. I am fiercely independent and fear people trying to control me.
The other side of that is with these rules, I can see other people. I don’t want to, however. I could try to make myself do it, but doing it because he is? That sounds like a bad idea.
I can flirt with other people, but so can he. Another undefined place is how far we’re allowed to take that while with each other. I don’t want to do the drama jealousy game when we’re out together. I also don’t want to have a double standard. This is the next thing we need to talk about.
I hate that I feel like I’m always the one who says, “We need to talk.” even if I only do it once in awhile. Even if parts of me feel better after wards, I’d rather be having fun than these sorts of discussions.
I’m all set with reading the rest of The Game. Maybe I should have forced the issue of talking about PUA sooner. He asked me why I didn’t. I asked him why he didn’t bring it up if he was waiting for me to. We were both scared of where that discussion would go. We can’t let ourselves be afraid of communicating, though. This isn’t likely the most scary discussion we’re going to have. Really, if we are too frightened to talk to each other at all, that’s where we should break it off.
So what do we do? The obvious answer is we keep talking, and discussing, and figuring these things out. We’ll see where things go from there…