Ok. Here we go again. This is the main post recreated.
It is actually about yesterday and requires a bit of background.
Boyfriend and I decided to date exclusively rather early on in our relationship. I can’t remember if he went on any dates after we met, but I had only one date: the one with the Nerd. My decision to date exclusively went as follows:
- I’m a bit burnt out on all these energy draining first dates so I don’t intend to go on any other dates, and
- I like Boyfriend enough to keep seeing him.
Now, let me make two things perfectly clear:
- I didn’t pressure Boyfriend to do the same–he initiated all of the early conversations about the relationship and I also told him that he needed to do what he felt was right. If he wasn’t ready to stop dating other women, then he shouldn’t stop. I told home that I hoped he would choose me, but I want to be with someone who wants to be with me and sometimes dating other people helps you to figure that out.
- I didn’t settle for Boyfriend. If I ever stop enjoying things on balance, I’ll end it and spend more times with the cats.
Poor neglected creatures.
After I had told him that I wasn’t seeing anyone else, a few weeks went by before he told me that he didn’t want to see anyone else either so that’s how we agreed we were exclusive. (True romance) He is [overly] conscientious to avoid ghosting, so he wanted to politely wrap up conversations with a few women before deactivating his dating profile. (Admittedly, I kept mine active a little while longer for blog purposes: you’re welcome and you’re welcome again.) During his winding down process, a new woman messaged him and they had a friendly exchange, which led to setting up a non-date. He has expressed some frustration at making new friends as an adult, which is so ridiculously hard that an online dating app has created a function where you can make friends with members of the same-sex. He fully disclosed the non-date, and while I was not admittedly thrilled, I wasn’t about to stop him from making new friends.
The day of the non-date came and I was in New Jersey visiting friends. In the evening, I received a rather frantic phone call from Boyfriend. It was clear to him that the woman had wanted the non-date to be a real date and he was confused about what to do. Was he rushing things with me? Would he always want to see other women? What should he do about the situation? He was rushing to get to dinner with his family so we agreed to talk later.
I spent a moment alone thinking about what I wanted to do. I was feeling annoyed, confused, and angry with an ever-increasing and overwhelming urge to end things with Boyfriend. Why was I putting up with this? What does he want me to do? Was he ever going to want to be serious? However, as the urge to end the relationship grew, so did the realization that deep down I didn’t really want things to end with Boyfriend. So why, then, was this urge building? While pondering the cause of my disjointed feelings, I rejoined my friends.
Later when Boyfriend called, I spoke first. I told him that while his first phone call was confusing and hurtful to me, I realized that he had just been quite stressed out and often thinks through feelings out loud so I wasn’t mad, just hurt. I told him about how I had the urge to end things with him, but that I think that was out of a feeling of self-preservation–I wasn’t going to let him hurt me by deciding to date this other woman instead of me so I would take control of the situation and end it myself. I told him that ending the relationship would be a rash decision that would hurt us both and that instead I thought it better to tell him about it. I really do believe in open communication.
He broke down a bit. He was confused, but didn’t want to hurt me. He hadn’t thought about how thinking through these feelings would be painful to me. (He is genuinely a bit obtuse.) He knew he wanted to keep seeing me and that he should seek friends somewhere other than an online dating website. We agreed to table the discussion and that he would not work through his feelings about the relationship with me in the future.
SPOILER ALERT. Our relationship survived that non-date. He later told her that he didn’t want to see her again (even as friends) because he had too much going on–health issues, interviewing for a new job, and enjoying time with me. Apparently, however, curiosity got the best of him when he started the new job.
He found her on LinkedIn and viewed her page. He didn’t message her, but she saw that he viewed the page and messaged him as she was understandably confused about why he would be looking for her. He told me that this exchange had occurred, but he wasn’t sure what he wanted to do. I told him that he could do whatever he wanted to do. That takes us to yesterday.
Yesterday, he told me that they had exchanged a few messages and were going to get drinks and dinner as friends. He wanted to be fully honest with me about his interactions with her. He had made it clear to her that he has a girlfriend, his relationship is serious, and that he only wants to be friends. While I encouraged him to go and have fun, I was secretly scared that this new non-date would cause him more confusion and turmoil (and, in turn, pain for me). I finally told my fears to my close guy friend.
He asked if there were other signs of trouble. I thought about it. He has been a bit moody lately, but I chalked that up to the transition to the new job. He also hasn’t been sleeping over (though generally cuddly and warm) and I believed him when he said that he didn’t find my bed that comfortable. I also know how important sleep is when your mood isn’t stable. Had I become naive in my attempt to stop overthinking things?
I decided to shake it off (literally) and went to dance class at the gym. Predictably, when I got back to the locker room, I had a missed call and text asking if I was home from Boyfriend. Here it is, I thought apprehensively. I told him I was leaving the gym and he asked if he could call in a few minutes. He needs a few minutes to get his thoughts together before he lays his jumbled emotions on me.
The phone rings and after normal pleasantries:
Boyfriend: I had a good time tonight, but I realized something that I want to make sure I say right.
Boyfriend: I realized that I really appreciate what we have. I always feel comfortable around you and we have a really easy way of communicating.
30withcats: So, you made the right choice a few months ago?
Boyfriend: Of course, babe!!
I told him that I was glad he had a good time and that I really app reacted him telling me how it made him feel because I had been a bit afraid that he was going to tell me that he was confused about his feelings again. He was a bit taken aback that I would think that he would have had the same reaction, but we moved on and he proceeded to tell me more about the decidedly non-date.
I am certainly glad about his reaction, but I’m also glad that, regardless of the outcome, I didn’t try to stop him from going. I have to remind myself that I don’t want to be with someone who doesn’t want to be with me. But I also want my partner and I to have a rich life outside the relationship, so I’m glad that I’m living in a way that promotes that goal.