I learned a lot from Big. Probably the most important lesson was - how not to treat people.
I don't mean to sound like Big's not a great guy - he is. We still talk sometimes, and get along fine. He's a good guy, and was good to me in a lot of ways. But after the way we broke up, I knew I'd never want to lead anyone on - even by mistake - and risk hurting someone else the way I was hurt.
When I first met Gardner, I had some doubts. But, I liked him; he was sweet and a wonderful date, so I decided to give it another chance. We had a fabulous second date, so, things kept going.
But I still have these doubts in the back of my mind. He seems to be stuck in the early-thirties bachelor stage. While I don't expect things to be serious now, I do want something that can grow. I get the feeling that what I'm getting from Gardner now is the most I'll ever be able to expect from him. It's enough now - but it wouldn't be enough long-term.
He's also at a stage in life where he moves from job to job - like a kid in college, looking for something fun, that doesn't interfere with his party schedule. That's not me, and it's not something I want in my life. There's no security or stability. I know it works for some, and that's great - but it's not me.
One of the biggest worries I had when we first got to chatting was that Gardner's life is so full of his friends that he wouldn't make room for me. The longer we know each other - the more true that seems. He has time for me during the week, when his friends are all with their wives/girlfriends. But he puts me on notice that he is not available on the weekends, when his friends need something or have time for him. Fine, if we're casual - but I don't see it changing, and I wouldn't be okay with that long term.
The thing is, I neither want, nor expect, anyone to change for me. That never works. So, if this is the relationship he's looking for - I think we'd both be better off if he got the chance to find that relationship with someone of a like mind. That someone isn't me.
The truth is, I want more.
The truth is....if he was really the right guy, I wouldn't be having all these doubts.