Friday, March 10, 2006

my dysfunction

I just looked at the calendar and realized that it has barely been over two weeks since my record fell and yet I feel as if I have been on this wacky ride of whatever it is that is evolving here with this guy for much longer. Is that a bad sign? So far the pattern has progressed like this: he kissed me, I was entertained but not sure how interested I was; he called me again, I started to think he has potential; silence for a day or two and I deem him a player and vow to ignore him; he calls/texts/shows up and I see him as having potential again; I feel myself starting to like him and I freak out and become defensive. I can recognize that I am a piece of this dysfunctional pattern but I think the problem is he is also dysfunctional, just in a different way.
He tells me he needs to go slow because he just broke up with someone. I'm good with slow because fast freaks me out. But then we saw each other Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday this week. Does that sound slow to you?

Wednesday night was the best, except for the miscommunication (which is far too common) where I thought we were having dinner and he thought not so ate in advance. We met at the Shops at Columbus Circle which is one of my favorite places in the City. It is new and modern with a window several stories high looking at Columbus Circle and into Central Park. We wandered around a bit there and then I picked up some dinner at the Whole Foods in the basement. I was slightly annoyed with him when we initially met up (he has not completely clued into the irritable until fed thing I have going on) due to my dinner presumption but when we were in Whole Foods something switched. I was taken aback at the way he acted toward me and around me in public.

As an aside, I must explain that my last boyfriend was very affectionate but only if we were absolutely isolated from the world. He had a "no hand-holding at Home Depot" rule and it was huge for him to hold my hand or put his arm around me in any kind of public setting - especially at my parent's house for dinner. This was after several months of dating and after serious discussions involving our future and long after we had affixed labels to each other (you know, "boyfriend/girlfriend").

So when I am standing in line at Whole Foods with my soup and corn bread along with the 50 other people who decided to get in the 10 items or less "express" line on a Wednesday night at 8:30, I was startled when he started rubbing the knots in my shoulders and the way he looked at me, then again when he took my grocery bag out of my hand and carried it so I could latch onto his arm as we walked. I was surprised when at the pharmacy he casually draped his arm around me while we waited to drop off my prescription. I was the one thinking what if I see someone I know? I have a neighbor I run into at CVS all the time! I wasn't uncomfortable with the affection - it felt good. I was uncomfortable, no, I was confused by the implications of such outwardly public affection. He was relaxed with me. If he was relaxed with me and I became relaxed with him I might start thinking of him as my boyfriend but that isn't slow and this is too early so do you understand my confusion?

So how did I handle that? Later that evening when he explained that he felt "comfortable" for the first time in a long time I decided to stir that up and make him unsettled again. Fixated on my own need for clarity, control and predictability (and forgetting how young this undefined, unlabeled thing is) I questioned and challenged it. I told him for me to be more comfortable I need plans more in advance of an hour or even a day. I want my time respected and if he couldn't do that now then we would just have to wait and try again later. I wasn't quite that harsh or blunt but the message was the same and I had to clarify that I wasn't trying to make him "commit" to a "relationship" I was only asking him to inform me of whether or not we would have plans on Friday or Saturday night so I know how to proceed.

Hopefully right about now you are thinking - what the hell is wrong with you?? I get all worked up in my head fearing the worst that I forget the reality here - a boy likes me, I like him. Why can't I leave it at that? He has said multiple times that I "intrigue" him. How great is that? I need to leave it alone and let whatever happen just happen. If I have plans when he wants to see me, fine we can schedule another time. I don't need to have it all scheduled out. Too bad I don't operate that way.

So you probably think all of this means he has now disappeared or faded away. Wrong. I called him yesterday when I got home from work with the intention of asking him to do something Friday night - feeling I should take some control and make the plans that were somehow lost in the discussion from the night before. Before I had an opportunity to ask about Friday, he informed me he was not too far away and invited me to meet up with him and a couple of his coworkers at a bar near my place. He didn't want to come to my place because he needed to get home early. I agreed. I did my fastest make-up reapplication ever and thanked all of my weightwatchers points counting for allowing me to fit comfortably in a pair of jeans that looked good and ran off to meet him at Cosmo, what turned out to be the smallest bar I have ever been in. I think it may have been smaller than my living room, if my living room had a giant bar in the middle.

No more comfortable public interaction. We were with his friends in an odd setting - not principally because it was a bar but because it was such a strange, small bar with about 12 people all of whom were somehow connected to his co-workers. I felt conspicuous which resulted in immediate social awkwardness on my part. At one point he got a call and ended up outside for what felt like ages but may have been five minutes while I chit-chatted with his co-worker. He made a couple of efforts to touch my leg or my hand but I think I may have been the uncomfortable one and it wasn't the same as the night before.

Ultimately we made our exit and he volunteered to walk me home, even though he had vowed to go home early. Nothing was smooth. When we got out of my elevator on my floor he suddenly said he needed to go home. I convinced him to come in for five minutes which passed fairly clumsily while we stood in the foyer trying to schedule something for the weekend. Then he left. I questioned the jeans and make-up and getting done up for nothing. He was remote, but mostly just appeared very tired. After he left I changed into pajamas and planted myself in front of the tv. A few minutes later I thought I heard something, then the doorbell rang. Strange. I opened the door and he was standing there - he came back. Honestly the awkwardness didn't get better but I think we are just two fairly dysfunctional people trying to feel our way through, or into, . . . . . something.

p.s. as a disclaimer, I never intended this blog to be my social therapy but I also decided to let myself write on whatever inspired me. For better or worse, this is what is rattling around in my head and needs an outlet and this is the available outlet.

1 comment:

Tiff said...

Okay, I admit it. I was thinking, 'what the hell were you thinking?', but that's the great thing about love stories--they're totally illogical!

I love your blog and I'm glad you share your social therapy. It makes for great reading!

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