Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Honesty is my policy

I have been told that I am too accomodating in relationships. I'm too available, too nice, too understanding. I give a lot, without expecting much in return.

The other day, though, I was told that while I am accomodating, I do expect something: Unabridged honesty. While I am understanding, I do have trouble grasping that this might be difficult for some.

I suppose some people think honesty means I want them to be open about the things I want to hear - but keep the other stuff to themselves. Some people have trouble saying anything to anyone that might be hurtful. They definitely don't want to say anything to me that will hurt my feelings, because in all likelihood, I have been nothing but nice (and accomodating, understanding...blah, blah, blah) towards them.

Which, if you think about it - kinda stinks. It's almost like I give kindess and in return, all I get are lies. It could easily make me want to start being less honest, less likely to trust, and quicker to leave.

But I really don't think that's the best way to look at things.

That same friend pointed out to me that I tend to surround myself with people who will give me honesty - even when it makes them uncomfortable, and even when they know my feelings might get hurt. I know a lot of people, and obviously not all of them are 100% honest with me all of the time. But those with whom I am closest, the ones who really know me, will always tell me the truth. They know I want to hear what they honestly think about me or my situation, so that I can make good decisions, and improvements where needed. They tell me what I need to know - not what I want to hear.

I do not want to get discouraged from asking for, or expecting, honesty. I also don't want to stop being understanding, or start assuming everyone is lying. I don't want to change who I am or settle for a man who is less than what I want.

I will continue to be accomodating. I will continue to be available and nice. I will continue to be honest - even though it means putting myself out there. I may try to be even more understanding, and realize that not everyone is capable of the sort of honesty I want.

That honesty exists - my friends are proof. So I will keep looking for that honesty in any sort of partner. After all, if I need that from my friends, it only makes sense it should be on my list.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Top of the list

Everyone has a list of what they want, both from their relationship and in the person they choose. Some people are specific (he needs to be tall, she needs to like video games, we need to travel, etc.), while others are more general.

Every list is personal and unique. What works for one person will not necessarily work for another.

But I do think every list should start out with one primary requirement: I should be happy.

That may mean that you find someone who wants to spend a lot of time together. It may mean you finally find a guy who is taller than you. It may mean you find a guy who doesn't mind that you don't cook, or a woman who doesn't want kids, or a man who wants to help you train for your next marathon.

A friend recently pointed out to me that we all have something we want from our relationships. One of the greatest things we can learn about ourselves is what that something is. Once we know, we are in a much better position to choose the relationship that's best for us - whether or not it makes sense to anyone else.

I'm not in the best position to offer advice right now, but I hope you'll take some great advice from one of my dearest friends: 

Top your list with happy - and the rest will fall into place.

Friday, November 14, 2014

(Un)Setting expectations

To say Turtle has waivered in what he wants would be an understatement of epic proportions. We've gone from hanging out as friends to casual dating to ernest discussions about what we want back to casually dating to....whatever the hell it is we're doing at the moment.

We are still talking, but we haven't spent any time together in a while. My understanding is that he's not up for time with anyone, other than casual friends. We both agree there is something more than friendship between us - which is not something he can deal with right now. I already knew that, and told him it was fine, that we could put a pin in that discussion until he was ready.

I've been completely honest and upfront with Turtle. I was totally sincere when I said I'd like to go back to just hanging out and seeing where things went. I enjoy spending time with him, and while I would like a relationship someday with someone, and he has potential, I do not see us in a relationship now. I am kind of over the serious relationship discussions, and ready to get back to having fun, getting to know each other, and seeing where things end up.

Turtle does not seem convinced that I really feel that way, or that we can really make that transition. He seems worried that I say it's fine, and then when we're together, he'll feel pressure to say or do certain things. (Personally, I think a lot of that pressure is in his own head; he admitted that's probably at least partly true.)

That said - I have been thinking a lot about how I've behaved since we first discussed "where we were going."

When things first started getting a little weird with Turtle, I was talking to Engineer about what I could, and could not, handle in terms of a relationship. Engineer suggested that Turtle seemed like he needed a lot of time and space, and that if I was willing to give that to him, it might make sense to do so. "I'm talking about spending time together, as friends, without expectations," he said.

I wanted to let go of any expectations. But I also wanted to understand where I stood. I wanted to know - is he saying he just sees me as a friend? Or is he saying he has other feelings and just can't do anything about them right now? To me, those are different. That difference would affect how, or even if, I stayed in Turtle's life.

In my effort to understand, I think I may have unintentionally put some pressure on the situation. I intended to let go of my expectations, but to be honest and fair - I'm not entirely sure I ever did.

Somewhere in all of this, I have learned that I am not very good at letting go of expectations. I may not be in a hurry to get anywhere, but I do want to know where I am headed. That alone is an expectation - and probably one that he wasn't ready to manage.

So where does that leave me? Well, since Turtle and I haven't spent any time together, one could hardly say we're "dating." I suppose we're friends - but just barely. I am not sure if we'll ever get past this point, or what could happen if we did.

But I suppose that's the point, right? I need to learn how to let go of expectations, keep moving forward, and just see what happens.

I may be incapable of just doing things the easy way.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Worth the effort

There's, like, four of you that know the whole Turtle story. The rest know this little bit, in which I said I was willing to take a step back and let things just play out.

Everyone, regardless of what they know, seems to think I'm crazy. Which is fair. They are my friends, and want me to be happy. They see what I'm doing, and wonder why I'd put this much effort into a guy who, in their collective opinion, is not worth the trouble.

Here's the thing....

I have, as we all know, been on roughly a bazillion dates in the last 2+ years (since Trooper). I haven't really found anyone worth crossing a street, much less multiple conversations, and compromise.

But Turtle seems to be. Why? Well... He's kind and smart and respectful. He's hilarious and always makes me laugh. He's fun and likes some of the same things I do. He's a great listener. He makes me feel special. I feel like I can trust him.

But he is not 100% available (emotionally) to be in a relationship. That's a problem.

You may wonder - well, GGS can't you find someone who has all those qualities, but is ready?!

Well....see above. We've seen no evidence to support that theory.

I am totally OK with the slowing down. What has proved to be a challenge is the inconsistency. I still find myself wondering where I stand. Am I being friend-zoned? Will this phone conversation be the last I hear from him? Has he changed his mind? Because Turtle is all over the place, it's hard to pinpoint just where I stand.

The questions are endless, and I have given myself (and, I suspect, others) a headache trying to find the answers.

I do think Turtle is worth the effort. I accepted a long time ago that the relationship I want isn't one that is necessarily simple or easy. Sure that'd be nice - but what I really want is amazing.

Amazing is worth the effort - and I think Turtle could be amazing.

But, admittedly, all this back and forth wreaks havoc on my insecurities. It brings back every fear I have ever had about being left, about losing someone, getting hurt, or about being misled.

To say I'm scared out of my mind would be putting it mildly.

I have thought about just walking away. Telling Turtle this just isn't working, and I can't hang out with him at all. Letting myself off this hook, allowing myself to heal, and then hopefully making room for someone else in my life.

While I know that may be what happens in the end, I've decided I want it to be a choice I make because I know in my heart I've given all I can. If I walk away simply because I am insecure or impatient - I'd feel like I lost. Like I let my flaws shape my world.

That may have been OK when I was discarding my flavor of the week, whose name I couldn't remember. But it is not an OK way to treat someone amazing.

I need to fix these things about myself. I may always be a little impatient, and a little insecure. No one is perfect. But I don't have to let those qualities define me.

So, for anyone who thinks Turtle may not be worth the effort - you might turn out to be right. He might friend-zone me, he might mislead me, he might just break my heart.

But even if that happens, I've still had the chance to work on some things about myself.

Which, I hope you'll agree, is totally worth the effort.

Monday, October 20, 2014

The truth is...

Confession: Sometimes, when I'm confused, I reread my own blog posts to try and make sense of how I'm feeling.
 
Turtle and I have been going back and forth...in and out...over and under this conversation about where things are going.
 
The truth is, he doesn't know. He was able to tell me honestly how he feels, where I stand, and what he can offer.
 
The truth is - that was what I needed all along. I didn't need some declaration of commitment, or a label, or even for things to go anywhere. I just needed to know where I was. Now that I do, I am OK staying in this place, at least for now.
 
Hopefully, we'll move on from this point as a couple. Maybe. Down the road. But maybe not. The truth is, I am OK with that, too. Trust me, I'm as surprised as you.
 
So, this was the confusion that led me to stalking my own blog posts...
 
A couple months back, I wrote a post called "How do you spell love?" At the time, Turtle and I had been on only a few dates. I had no idea where it might go, and had no plans that the guy would be in my life for another week, let alone another couple of months. The post was really all about me, and had nothing to do with him.
.....I want something that makes sense. Something that can start off slow, but has the potential to grow into something lasting. Something that feels good. Something that just works....
The truth is, I'm not looking for a specific person, or a particular relationship. I want to feel special and beautiful, and empowered. I want to be content in what I have, and excited to find out what's next. I want to be passionate, and easy-going at the same time. I want to be completely uninterested in meeting anyone else - and  I want him to feel the same....
Reading that, I guess it is a little vague. Which, I suppose could make it tough to find. But the truth is, I threw out my "type" and my "rules" years ago. I promised myself that if I met someone, I'd give him a chance - until there was a reason not to.
So I guess what I'm looking for is just tough to describe. I'm not worried,  though - I'll know it when I feel it.
The truth is.... I knew all along.

 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Compromise

After much back and forth, a lot of anxiety on my part, and several surprisingly good talks - Turtle is not ready for a relationship, or even serious dating.

He asked if we could continue hanging out, so we could "see what happens." In my experience (Anyone here remember my Big?), that's guy-code for "I want you around for now, but don't get attached because I'll drop you the minute something better comes along."

Something for which I wasn't looking to sign up.

But, when I thought about it - really thought - what he wanted wasn't unreasonable - or even objectionable. He has solid reasons for asking, that go well beyond "I'm just not sure." The truth is, I like the guy, and I love spending time with him. I liked it when I thought we were just friends.

So what was it that bothered me so much? And while I'm pondering stuff....how did I, she of the no-boyfriend rule, find myself in a place where someone thinks that's what I want?!

I felt it might be time to regroup.

I came to the conclusion that I didn't need him to say a particular thing, or agree to a specific set of rules. It wasn't the pace that bothered me; I'm not in a hurry to get anywhere. What bothered me was I had no idea where I stood, or if he was standing with me.

I realized I'd been trying to force a specific action in an effort to ease my own insecurity. "If I get him to agree to dating, I'll feel better."

That, for the record, is a stupid freakin' plan.

I'm not saying I don't like the guy. I do. A whole lot. Otherwise, I think we can all agree I would have been long-gone by now. But just because I like him doesn't mean I couldn't use a little work on myself, too.

Since meeting Turtle, I've come to realize that I have spent the last two and a half years avoiding feelings. Since Trooper broke up with me, I have not wanted to let anyone in. I have not trusted myself to feel anything. I couldn't rely on myself to decide if anyone was trustworthy, because I got it so wrong with Trooper.

During that time, I made some OK choices about men and dating. I met some nice guys, learned a few lessons, and had some laughs. I also made some bad choices. I let men devalue and disrespect me. Worst of all, I let myself get to a point where I questioned if maybe that was all I deserved. I stopped letting people see the real me because I was afraid they wouldn't like her.

Part of me thought I needed to draw a line with Turtle and demand to be treated a certain way.

A bigger part of me realized what I needed was to finally let someone in and see who I really am, insecurities and all. I needed to walk away feeling valued, and like he wants me in his life. I need to let myself trust, and be OK with myself if I get it wrong.

If he could give me that, then maybe he's worth a little compromise on my part, too.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Good advice

For those keeping track at home - things are basically still the same between Turtle and me. Well - to be fair and accurate - our status has not changed. We did have a chance to have a long conversation. While we didn't walk away as a "couple" or anything, I walked away with a much better understanding of where he's coming from, and his concerns.  He's still "sorting through things" and I'm still "giving him time."

I know some people think I should cut this off. The uncertainty isn't fair to me. Admittedly, it doesn't make me happy - and I deserve to be happy. It would be nice if it was as simple as "Do you want to date? Check yes or no." But it isn't that easy - at least not for him.

Here's the thing....

I can't even describe how happy this guy makes me. When I'm with him, all I do is laugh. When I think of him, all I do is smile. Do I ever have doubts? Yes. But they are way more about me than about him. I know I have every right to protect my feelings. But I also refuse to let my own self doubt and insecurity get in the way of something my gut says could be amazing.

The advice to walk away makes sense. Honestly, it's likely the advice I'd give, if someone else were in my shoes. But my gut says something totally different.

So, I've decided to keep stuff a little closer to my heart, at least for now. I know this can't go on forever. I also know that while I figure out that time frame, it could resolve itself (one way or another). In the meantime, I don't want to miss out on enjoying one minute of my time with him.