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.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Hope instead of worry

"You're doing that thing where you analyze his Facebook, and make yourself crazy, aren't you?"

Baking Suit pointed that out to me the other day. To be fair, what I was analyzing was a picture of Turtle and one of his female friends, which I don't have to search out because it's his profile picture. Grrrr.... But, yes - the truth is, I have been doing that thing. I can be as foolish and girlie as the next woman.

I do have doubts. Lots of them. Things are still a little up in the air, and while Turtle has made it absolutely clear that he likes me, it is still not really clear exactly what he's going to do about it. Any minute now, he could drop a "it's not you, it's me" bomb, and I just know I'll be sad.

I told Turtle this can't go on indefinitely, but I did agree to give him some time. (Without going into details, let me just say he's not letting it sit around; I know he gets it.) The waiting and wondering is killing me, though. I have thought about how long I can wait before just pulling the plug; just telling him we are not on the same page...I can't do this anymore....let's just be friends.

Those thoughts usually creep in when my doubts make me worry. I am tired of letting my doubts win. When I stop and really consider things for a moment, I realize my doubts have way more to do with me than they do with him.

Doubting myself is a bad habit, that's tough to break. I realized the other day, while writing a post that will probably never see publish in its entirety, that I like this man enough to give it all I've got.

"I am ready for a wonderful man in my life. I'm ready to accept that I deserve it, it is possible, and it is in God's plan for me. I am putting all my faith in God on this one. I've chosen to spend my energy hoping, not worrying, and believing this will all work out the way it's meant to."

Normally, I would worry. They say hope takes the same amount of energy. So I've decided to try that instead.

Monday, September 15, 2014

My heart knows

So the "what are we" conversation happened. It wasn't totally planned, though I gave it a lot of thought beforehand. Mostly, it just happened.

It went fine, though a little unexpected. We sort of agreed to hold off and continue the conversation at a to-be-determined time - but also, agreed to keep communication open. He wanted a little time to think, which seemed fair.

Or, so my brain tells me.

My brain knows that there's no need to rush. In fact, it doesn't do any good anyway, because stuff is going to happen when it's going to happen and not a minute sooner (or later).

My brain also knows that if this doesn't go my way, it just wasn't meant to be, and that's OK. It opens up the door to something even more wonderful.

My brain even knows that I am very lucky to have met a great guy. No matter what, I learned the advantages of taking a little time to get to know a person. I learned a better way to value myself. I had the chance to put my feelings on the line again - and was reminded the world won't end when I do.

My brain is super smart. My heart? Not so much.

My heart has wondered a couple of times why I can't just have what I want, when I want, and how I want. My heart wonders why things can't just be simple. My heart wonders why it feels like it's being punished, when it did nothing wrong.

Rejection sucks. No matter how rational or well-adjusted you are, it stings to lose something, even if all you're really losing is the hope for something more. Doubt sucks, too - even when you know you'll have an answer soon, the wondering can mess with you, just a little.

My brain tells me I'm weak, for even thinking any of that. I disagree; I think it proves I'm strong. Strong enough to put myself out there. Strong enough to say what I want, and will accept, while still allowing someone to get close enough to know what I'm feeling. That takes some courage - courage I was never sure I had until now.

My brain may be super-smart - but my heart is strong as hell.

Friday, September 12, 2014

How to ask

While I do kind of enjoy the "getting to know each other" thing, it occurs to me that I may, sooner or later, need to ask what is up with Turtle and me. It's probably unrealistic to expect some sort of Hollywood-type romantic revelation, complete with a scenic backdrop and theme music. My life needs better writers.

Theme music aside, I absolutely dread "what are we" conversations. I think they cause problems on so many levels.

First, it forces everything. Once I tell what I'm thinking, I'm practically committing myself to a relationship I'm not even sure I want. If I'm going to bring it up, I have to be prepared to put my money where my mouth is. Meanwhile, he's forced to rush to a conclusion he hasn't come to yet. This could go one of two ways; the point being decisions made under duress don't always turn out well.

Second, I don't care how good a communicator you are, how carefully your words are chosen, or how nice a person you try to be. There's really no way to raise this question without sounding like you're giving an ultimatum. That's really no way to start an honest, healthy relationship.

Then of course, there's the obvious problem. I'm not too "cool, aloof single gal" to admit I like Turtle. If I don't ask, the possibility of something more remains. Once I ask, I may find out that possibility is gone. This is the real bummer no one ever wants to admit.

Once I get past that insecurity, I know I'll need to do something.

I do not want to mess up a nice friendship by making Turtle feel as though he's been backed into a corner. I do not want to let my severe lack of patience ruin what could possibly be a good thing. I do not want to unwittingly paint myself into a corner by coming across like I want something serious right now.

I also do not want to spend my time wondering what is happening between us. I do not want to over-think every text or Facebook post. I do not want to waste precious energy worrying about something that I don't control.

All I really want is a little context. We met on a dating site. Presumably, that means at one point, there was the potential we would date. I am really just curious if that potential still exists, or if he's made a friend-zone assignment already. If he has, I'd be disappointed, but at least I could deal with that set back, and move on.

So, here's my question: How do I ask for that context, without backing myself into a corner, sounding like I'm giving an ultimatum, or making things so incredibly awkward that friendship is impossible?

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Right time, right pace

Turtle and I are still seeing each other. He was out of town for 10 days, and I will admit, I really thought things between us would just die a natural death while he was away. I didn't think we had enough of a connection to withstand the distance and time.

Before he left, he added me on facebook. This opened up a whole new way for us to get to know each other (more on that in another post). It also allowed us to keep in touch, even when we weren't texting.

I give credit where it's due, and Turtle did keep in touch. A lot - definitely more than I expected. We texted just about every day, and less than a week into his trip, he asked to make plans for after he was home. Then, even better - and totally unexpected - he called the day he landed and asked me to meet him for lunch.

It may not seem like a big deal, but I thought it was a nice thing, that he wanted to see me the day he got back. Especially since we still planned to keep a date that was two days away.

I still find myself wondering. Are we just friends? Actually, I know right now that's really what we are. But it feels like something a little more. Like we're investigating the possibility.

I told Baking Suit that as long as there's progress - even subtle - each time we get together, I think it's worth the time and effort. If it stalls, and we seem stuck in a particular place, I'd probably have to bite the bullet and, you know, ask.

This is truly unlike any other dating situation I've been in. I haven't made it to date number eight in years - and I've never made it this far and only hugged a guy. My first reaction is to run away. Tell him it just isn't working for me, we don't seem to be on the same page. You know, before I really start to like him, and risk getting hurt.

I stop just short of that because, while I know there's always the possibility it'll fizzle and we'll just remain friends, I find myself really digging this guy. Plus, the change is refreshing. At the very least, this will teach me a whole new way to value myself and my relationships.

I have not put my feelings on the line since Trooper. I've been too scared to feel that pain again. Even though I know every date, every hug, every Facebook "like" puts me a little closer to the fire, I feel like it's finally time to put myself back in the game.