On the 3rd of January I began dating a guy from the internet. Things were going really well, but I didn’t want to tell anybody anything until there was something to tell, i.e. we moved from the dating phase into a relationship. At almost precisely the two month mark, I found that I was having the same recurring thought nearly every day: …but I can’t do/say that, because that’s a “girlfriend” thing.
So one Sunday morning, I brought up the fact that we had been dating for two months, and things were going well, and I didn’t want to be elaborate fuck friends. He was completely blind-sided by the topic and we more or less didn’t speak again.
I was done. I didn’t have time to waste with someone who didn’t know they wanted to be with me. And it sucked, but I pushed it out of my mind and didn’t think about it.
On June 2nd, a Tuesday morning, I got an email from said guy apologizing for running away. Now, had he proposed we get back together, thus assuming that I would be eager to get back with him (i.e. he was an arrogant jerk), I would have deleted the email in disgust. But it was nothing more than a sincere apology and well-wishes. I was, frankly, flabbergasted. And I emailed back that he should text me if he wanted to talk things out over coffee or drinks. He texted me a few minutes later, and we’ve been dating again ever since.
I’ve taken to calling him “The Once and Future Boyfriend” because he was (technically) my boyfriend, and he (fingers crossed) will be again, but I just can’t bring myself to say definitively, “this is my boyfriend.” But I mean, he is. We’ve communicated as much. But-
When a guy who’s my type walks by I think, “I wonder if he’s single.” And then I have to remind myself that I am not single. In other words, I am very distinctly not in girlfriend mode. I am a very monogomous person. When I’m kicking into girlfriend mode, I don’t even notice other guys. I was in this mode, oh say, early March when Once-and-Future panicked. But now, to say I’m a little fuzzy on how girlfriend mode works is putting it mildly.
I feel like, since I shut down all my girlfriendly urges and purposely suppressed thoughts of Once-and-Future, I can’t just jump in full steam ahead. I mean, I thought I could. And I’m really trying to. But I’m finding that where- back in March- I had no trouble whatsoever knowing where the girlfriend boundary was and just automatically had the urge to call or text or suggest or help or wonder or… I just automatically and comfortably knew when to make contact and in fact had to hold back a bit since I wasn’t actually his girlfriend. But now- uh… should I call? Should I text? Would chatting now be smothering? Am I being stand-offish? I. HAVE. NO. CLUE.
The girlfriend-guage isn’t broken so much as it hasn’t been powered up yet- it’s still offline. And in the meantime I feel off-kilter because I feel like I should know what to do and say and when, but I don’t. It’s like any relationship I guess. With your best friend, you know when to message them, and when they’re busy, and what would be perceived as being clingy, and whether you’re being too distant. But I just- I don’t know. And I feel like I should. And I feel like he probably is sensing something off about me, but doesn’t know what it is. Or maybe he does. Maybe he totally gets that I need a little time. But I don’t know what he’s feeling/thinking and I don’t know how to read him because I literally made myself stop thinking about him and forget everything- a critical memory dump- for the sake of survival. (I didn’t have time for broken hearts!)
Cut to the Chase…
I need to have a conversation with Once-and-Future. Because regardless of how much he is or isn’t picking up on, I need to make it clear that I am not running at full speed. It may look like I’m keeping pace, but that’s just the momentum leftover from being slingshotted back into the race. In a few more steps I’ll begin lagging behind and it’ll be apparent that my engine is still stalled out and its inertia that’s been pulling me forward. And that is no way to move ahead in a relationship.
So Once-and-Future has been out of town on business since Sunday evening and won’t be back until tomorrow (Thursday) night. And I may just be procrastinating, but I feel like this is the kind of conversation you have in person. So even though I’ve had my emotions worked out since Monday (it took me a bit of time, but I figured out what my feels meant eventually!), I haven’t actually communicated any of this, and it’s driving me crazy! Plus, he’s going to be tired when he gets back into town and we won’t get to see each other until Friday… or not cuz Fringe Binge Friday. Which might be put off for the sake of my sanity so I can instead have this conversation. I don’t know. Either way, it’s going to be another day and a half at least before I get to talk this out, and it’s already making me nuts. So- yeah- that’s how it’s going on planet Chelsea. I’ll see you soon, Lee!