It's All Coming Back to Me Now

Monday, November 29, 2010
I remember what happened with Marathon Guy last year. I kept inviting him to do things and he kept declining without reciprocating invites. I felt like he just wasn’t that interested in me, especially since at first he seemed perfectly capable of suggesting we get together.

I remember now because the exact same thing is happening. Ever since I got back from being out of town (shortly after he had been out of town) we haven't hung out as much. And when we have it’s always been at my suggestion. There’s a ton of texting and emailing, but he hasn't made any real advances. So now I’m right back where I was before, thinking he isn't really into me. Again.

Come to think of it, maybe my hesitation at inviting him to future events, or events with friends, is less about being freaked out about taking some kind of step in our relationship and more about good old fashioned fear of rejection. I have a decent amount of self-confidence, but eventually you gotta stop banging your head against the wall. For the record, my Bears game invite for two weeks out has already been declined, because of a race he’s doing earlier that day. Which wouldn’t actually overlap with game time; he could definitely do both if he wanted to.

Huh. What do I do now?

I know what I did last time; I just stopped inviting him to things. I think I still replied to his text messages, but those stopped pretty quickly. Within a week or two it was all over. This time around our communication is regular and ongoing, despite the fact that he’s completely stopped pushing to meet in person. So that won’t work.

I do remember him saying something before about having thought that I wasn’t interested in him, that he’d stopped pursuing me as a result of that. I’m not sure what else I can do to convince him of my interest though.

I shouldn’t have to, either. If he wanted to spend time with me, he would. Right?

“In the Arithmetic of Love, One Plus One Equals Everything" Mignon McLaughlin

Monday, November 22, 2010
For years, one of the things I’ve missed about not being part of a couple is not having someone to fill my “plus one” spot at events. Certainly there are the big events like weddings, but I even miss it at casual get togethers and dinner parties. There is something about an even number of people that to me seems more complete than an odd number.

Lately I’m finding more and more social scenarios where I’m short one. Say for example, Bears home games, in which I’m sitting on two tickets for a game, or I’ve got all four and another pair of folks who is in for the game but I can’t find another single to fill the gap. It makes me feel lonelier than I believe I actually am, not being able to put one body in a seat.

I think it’s one of the driving reasons behind my pursuit of a relationship, wanting a default person to attend events with (and travel with and make dinner with, etc., I’m looking for more than a dance partner, obviously). I usually don’t like anyone long enough to think about inviting them to group events, but I’m starting to think Marathon Guy would make a good plus one.

Having not had one in awhile, I find I'm unsure how to proceed.

First, the timing is tripping me up. I’m not sure how far in advance I can invite him. Two weeks? Three weeks? The more notice I give for the event, the more likely he’ll be able to attend. The farther out the event, the more likely I won’t be dating him by the time it comes around anyway.

I’m also worried about the implications inviting him to meet friends could have on our perceived level of commitment. Meeting friends is traditionally a big step, and while I tend to use it more as a helpful insight as to whether a potential mate would fit into my social scene, I can see that he might think that it was a sign I wanted to move towards exclusive dating. Which I don’t.

Of course even more terrifying than Marathon Guy thinking I like him more than I do (or at least am willing to admit), is the idea that he might want me to meet HIS friends. Which would mean that he is thinking about exclusively dating me. A double standard, yes, but while my friends would humor me and my maybe-boyfriend screenings, I’m sure that Marathon Guy wouldn’t have such a ridiculous pretense established with his friends about me.

And let’s not forget that all of these musings completely overlook the option that he might not want to go to events with me, might not want to meet my friends. I could be working myself up over nothing!

What am I saying? I have Bears/Jets and an Ugly Christmas Sweater party coming up. Marathon Guy would be a FOOL to pass on these awesome activities! Well, assuming I get around to inviting him.

If You Don’t Leave, How Can I Miss You?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010
I don’t know if it was because we sort of already knew each other, but it seemed like things with Marathon Guy were moving at a much faster speed than I was used to. That first week after reconnecting we saw each other three times. Three times! And that doesn’t even include the additional email and texting communications. I didn’t feel smothered… yet… but I found myself thinking it was a good thing he had a week-long vacation planned.

The thing about being a single is you get used to not having someone around all the time. You don’t have to coordinate schedules, to come up with new and interesting date ideas, to look casually adorable in both work and non-work outfits. You aren’t expected to recap your day, every day, in fact if you don’t have to talk to anyone when you get home from a long day if you don't want to.

You can’t jump right back into that, no, you need to transition into it. You should transition, because truthfully, on a daily basis, I’m simply not that interesting. And neither is any guy I’m dating after the first 10 hours of conversation.

Despite looking forward to the forced break, I actually made an effort to squeeze in a late night rendezvous with Marathon Guy before his trip, since I knew I wouldn’t see him for awhile. The effort did not go unnoticed and I felt good about sending him off, sure that he'd still be thinking about me when he was away.

I know what you’re thinking, cause I’m thinking the exact same thing. Who is this girl and where did she come from? Could I have actually found someone who I not only did not feel smothered by but (gasp) wanted to spend time with? It’s too soon to tell of course, but given the magnitude of that kind of progress I can’t quite figure out why I’m not freaked out about it.

Maybe it’s because I feel pretty comfortable around Marathon Guy and have been acting like myself. Maybe it’s that I can see him fitting in with my circle of friends. Maybe after dating so many men who didn’t seem to have their act together, I am enjoying normal dating.

Whatever it is, I don’t think I missed Marathon Guy when he was out of town, but I was ready to see him again when he returned. And he definitely missed me. He even brought me back a present from his trip.

It's Not a Contest, but I'm Winning

Sunday, November 14, 2010
At least I wasn’t the one to fold first. Isn’t that what’s most important, after all? The one who can hold off without you the longest wins?

I have to give it to Summer Boy for choosing an appropriate subject for re-entering chat mode, feigning interest in my alma mater’s football game. I say feign because later that day, when I decided to respond, he rescinded his good luck wish for my team when I smartly refused to support the team he supports. What? He didn’t even go to school there. And we had covered that I hated Notre Dame. The only time I’ll cheer for them is when they play OSU, which they weren’t, and even then it was a lesser of two evils situation.

Of course that wasn’t the end of it. Text messaging about football loyalties shifted to why we were chatting at all which shifted to me sharing more of my angry feelings I hadn’t shared before when we ended things. And then he actually gave me his side of things.

It was your classic I’m going through my own “stuff” and don’t want to add any complications or drama to my life and I wouldn’t be able to give a relationship the time and attention it needed so I didn’t want to lead you on in any way.

> Except he did, kind of, because he hadn’t mentioned any of that to me, despite me having brought up the possibility of a relationship.

He also mentioned having started with an open mind about where things might lead, until he decided he was going to move down to central Illinios, at which point he “shut things down”.

> Except he hadn’t, shut things down, that is, until I pushed him to choose one side or the other.

I had wanted his reasons, but once I got them it was so clear that I didn’t actually need them. Not because they were so vague, but because it didn’t really matter. We wanted different things, and while I do wish he would have told me sooner, I (fortunately) don’t think I wasted any time on Summer Boy. He was, in a lot of ways, exactly what I had needed.

So what if he didn’t want to date me. The summer of fun was over and I was well on my way to replacing him. Have I ever mentioned how much I love the fall?

So… My Bad?

Thursday, November 11, 2010
Marathon Guy and I may not be able to recall the particulars of why our initial sparks died out, but it seems all of my girlfriends do. When relaying the story of my recycled find I received the consistent response that I had been to blame for things ending the first time. They touched on the same reasons I remembered, although R may have captured it best: “I didn’t want to say anything at the time, but I think you were the one that screwed that up.”

Uh, thanks gal pals. Perhaps the time to have told me this was last year? When I was still dating Marathon Guy?!

All right, so maybe I was to blame (and maybe I wasn’t), but what was with the overwhelming support Marathon Guy seemed to have within my circle? Almost everyone was in support of reviving this particular interest, having only good things to say about him despite us having only gone on two dates and talked for at most a few weeks. I can only assume they loved the stories I told about him, because of course they hadn’t met him. And let’s touch on that for a minute. I tell a good story, but it’s entirely colored by how I feel about someone, as I’m sure everyone’s stories are. They liked him because I liked him.

It’s funny, how we ask our pals to weigh in on guys or relationships, when at best they’re only getting one side of the story. A side very possibly crafted to place the storyteller and/or the guy in the best possible light, often by omitting very relevant, if unflattering, details.

Really I should wait until they can form their own opinions, by directly interacting with that person. Which is exactly what Marathon Guy said to me on our (second round) first date. He wasn’t referring to my friend’s opinions about him of course; it was about not wanting to read the blog. I had told him about it during our extended, drunken chatting, but he said he didn’t even want to read it, that he preferred to get to know me for real, the old-fashioned way. It was sweet.

As was the date, an unintentional recreation of our original first date in which we played bar trivia. Only this time we ate dinner as trivia had unfortunately been canceled. It felt... like the start of something that had somewhere to go.

Fingers crossed that I don’t mess this one up. Again.

No Trees Were Harmed in the
Making of this Love Connection

Sunday, November 7, 2010
So I wasn’t ready to meet someone brand new. But what if I re-met someone I’d known before? Maybe someone I’d only chatted with but hadn’t actually met... someone I’d liked but perhaps the timing had been off... someone who had decent potential but had been overlooked back in my finicky dating days.

Surely in all the men I’d dated there would have to be someone who fit that bill? Turns out there was.

Marathon Guy. Without rehashing all the details, there was a theory that my decline in interest was directly related to the resurfacing of a previous crush around the same time I had met Marathon Guy. I also seem to recall going through a very high maintenance dating mode surrounding text messaging.

It couldn’t hurt to see what he was up to, I mean in the entire year since we’d dated I had only run into him once (earlier this summer, Maifest). At the very least it might make for a good blog post.

So I sent him an email. I told him I had run across an old email (which I had, in my sent box where I was looking for his email address) and that I had remembered he was planning to train for the triathlon or marathon or both. Since it was just past the Chicago tri, I wondered if he’d done it, and how it went? I threw in the obligatory “not sure you remember me” as well as a statement about him not needing to respond given the randomness of the email.

But he wrote me right back! Email chatting ensued that same night and into the next day, and a mere 3 emails later he asked if I was seeing anyone. Since I wasn’t I was happy to send him my number (initially he apologized for losing it in a phone transfer but after I told him I’d deleted his he owned up to having done the same) as well as text him while I enjoyed my usual pizza/wine Friday night with friends.

I think you know what happens next. Marathon Guy shows up at the bar I’m at, ironically with one of the marathon runners I had run with the year before. He hits it off with her, chatting about FOID cards and the different gang signs from the shady neighborhoods they grew up in, but more importantly he hits it off with me. We can’t quite remember why things didn’t work out between us before.

We stay way too late at the bar, and after walking me home we stay up even later talking at my place. We also make out. And it is good.

We hadn’t really made out before, and it’s unfortunate, because it might have been the factor that tipped the scales. I had an early morning planned so I dropped him off on my way out for a run, pretty pleased with the progress I’d made in the last 48-hours. I am nothing if not resourceful.

Failed First Dates: Batter Up.

Thursday, November 4, 2010
I didn’t waste any time moping over Summer Boy but instead revamped the text on my OK Cupid profile and prepped myself for the weeding through of undesirable prospects that inevitably comes with online dating.

It hasn't been too bad, though. I’ve been contacted by some seemingly decent men and am thinking about reaching out to some even better seeming men myself. I even agreed to go on a date!

It was to one of the last Cubs games, which is a bit of a stretch given how long they can run, but as all of my gals kept reminding me, how bad could it be? I’d just be sitting there drinking beer and eating hot dogs.

Except my date doesn’t drink.

Oh of course he insisted it didn’t bother him when other people drank, and indeed he seemed fine while I drank a few beers during the game, but I was pretty sure this one fact alone would be a deal breaker for me. The truth is, alcohol is part of my regular social scene, and it would make me very uncomfortable dating someone who didn't drink. I would feel like an alcoholic. All the time.

That’s the reason I used when I said I didn’t think it would work out between us, but I could have chosen one of many, as it turns out.

Like say, introducing me to family. On the first date. Turns out his brother was at the game, too, and he came over to join us mid-way through the game. He’s a police officer at the station right by my house! And a cuter version of my date, I might add.

Or inviting me to his cousin’s wedding for which he was a groomsman. I politely declined, not because it was “serious” as he suggested, but because it’s weird to invite a stranger to a family wedding. Plus, I don’t think it would be any fun for me to show up at that kind of event not knowing anyone (including him, even). Don't get me wrong, I'm great with a crowd of strangers, but it's not the right venue.

Or displaying a startling lack of knowledge about the career one says they are pursuing. After a few years in landscaping-type sales my date was trying to get into the Sheriff’s program for a leg up into getting into IT work for the Justice industry. “IT” he says, “you know, computers and stuff”.

Okay, that last one was a bit mean. But as someone who actually works in IT and can explain the “stuff”, it was hard to continue that conversation without making him seem like an idiot.

Truthfully I think I just wasn’t ready yet to meet someone new. This guy wasn’t Summer Boy, but pissed as I was at that jackass I couldn’t help but make comparisons.

There’s such a thin line between wanting to feel wanted and actually wanting to meet someone new. At least I had toed up to the plate.