Sunday, August 24, 2008

How to fall in love in 12 Steps

I spent some time last week in my archives looking for good posts re: bad dates for Hypatia's blog. What I discovered there was that I'm glad I didn't listen to myself about my first impressions of Friendster Guy, the man I now love and live with. Apparently, I was playing a modified game of "He loves me, he loves me not" called "I like him, I like him not."

I love that I have this chronicle of our beginnings 3 years ago because I can see how very lucky/smart I was to keep trying to connect with him. And he with me. Go us!

If you care, here are my thoughts on our relationship from it's inception to solidification or monogamization or whatever. (I've excerpted from longer posts linked to in the titles.) Reading it all the way through made me a little weepy actually.

First Impression:
"I know you’ve been waiting with baited breath to hear about my first two dates!!! The first was with Friendster Guy for lunch. He’s even cuter in person than in his picture. He has beautiful gray eyes. He’s also very nice and sweet. I was really unsure of myself with him. But I don’t think it’s a match. I think we could definitely be friends but he’d have to grow on me to be more than that. Unfortunately, he is way too similar to my STBX [Soon To Be X Husband]. 1) Same name 2) grew up in NJ 3) only child 4) raised catholic. The more he told me about himself the more I wanted to start laughing at the irony. He explained at one point that if he lapsed into silence I should try not to feel uncomfortable, he was just quiet. Here I was, eating with someone I met at complete random on the internet and he was my STBX’s doppelganger. I think I need to email him and say I had a good time but I want to be just friends. I can use the completely valid excuse of him being the first person I met after the divorce. In fact, my divorce came up in conversation and I came totally clean about the timing and I even told him about his similarities to STBX. I told him if he wanted to run screaming from the room he could. He didn’t. He was very nice about the whole thing. I think he took it upon himself to make this transition as easy as possible for me. He mentioned that our date was a training date. Gosh he’s a nice guy. I think I already know what friend I'll set him up with."

Second Impression:
"In other news, because my life just seems to be one big ball of craziness, I left the mildly dull date and ran into Friendster #1 at Walmart. Why did I decide we weren’t a match? He’s really cute, and personable, and intelligent, and funny. I think I might need to give him a second chance. Do something as friends. There was much more of a spark there than there has been with these other guys. I’ll keep emailing him as friends and see what happens. I think I decided that because he was my very first post-divorce date that I shouldn’t go there. I’ve also already sort of passed him on to a friend of mine (I gave him her email address). Maybe she can’t have him (Sorry H if you’re reading this ; ) ) Hmmm…"

Third Impression:
"Friendster Guy and I have been emailing each other. I told him about the pot incident and he agreed on the lameness. He's going to make a nice friend."

Fourth Impression:

"I just got home from a date with Friendster Guy. He really is a sweetheart. A foot taller than me but very cute and less quiet than he was on our first date. We had Indian Food and then we went to a bookstore and wandered around while drinking coffee. It was very relaxed and we'd both like to get together again. We had a nice conversation about our experiences with Match.com and the people we are also currently dating. It makes me feel less sleazy and underhanded to know he knows I'm seeing other people. And it's good to know he is as well. Takes the pressure off of me a little."

Fifth Impression:
"You can't fake chemistry.

Even if you really, really want to. If you are waiting for someone to grow on you, that's a sure sign that there is chemistry missing. If, hypothetically, your first kiss with someone you've gone on 5 dates with turns into a 2 hour make-out session with partial nudity (hypothetically!), and even though you're enjoying yourself, you still don't feel that spark ("you" being someone else entirely. Not me. Definitely not me.), that's a bad sign.

I would give that person the following advice: Stop the relationship before it goes even further.

But then they'd say, "but he's nice, handsome, sweet, intelligent".

And I'd reply, "So? If you aren't feeling that spark, find it with someone else who is nice, handsome, sweet, and intelligent."

"But!"

"No buts! You're looking for a connection young lady. Not someone who's nice enough to hang out with. If you're forcing yourself to feel something it means you aren't feeling anything. Piss or get off the pot."

"But I don't want to hurt him."

"Oh please! You aren't in a committed relationship. Stop it before you'd feel even worse if you 'broke up'. You've met a nice guy who can now be a nice friend you happen to have seen naked. End of story."

Damn it, I hate when I'm right."

Sixth Impression:
"My first act since declaring it the year of me was to follow my own advice, and email Friendster Guy about our relationship or lack thereof. Granted, I wasn't 100% honest with him - i.e. I didn't say "Hey. We have no chemistry. It was nice meeting you." I don't know if that would have been the 100% honest thing to say anyway. The thing is, on the one hand I don't think the relationship is going anywhere. On the other hand, we could just be communicating on different levels and I am just not tuned in to the chemistry. Yes, yes, I know I am second guessing myself. How can you not be tuned in to the chemistry you ask? Isn't that just the point? Doesn't chemistry find you? Yes. But then again if he thinks he's giving off "you're hot" vibes and you just aren't hearing them, what happens when he gives you the decoder ring and you hear the vibes loud and clear? All you need is a way to decode what he's been saying all along and you're good to go. I wanted to give him a chance to give me the code. So I emailed him about it.

Here's an except: ( I mentioned that he was hard to read. He has already admitted this is true. I am explaining that there were certain things about my X that drove us apart. Being hard to read was one of them.)

My X was very hard to read as well. I had no idea if he was enjoying my company or not (so far I can tell you are, although it's subtle) and his most obvious expression was annoyance, usually at something I was doing. You can imagine how painful that would be. I got very little information from him as to how he felt about me. The main feeling I got was ambivalence. And even disinterest. For the last two years I was married to a person who did not seem at all attracted to me. To the point where I seriously thought (and even hoped) that he was gay. Seriously. To be in a relationship where you constantly wonder (and in your heart know) someone is not attracted to you is very, very difficult. I may be more scarred from that than I realize. I don't want to say I'm needy because that wouldn't be true but I do have a high need to know where I stand. I don't want to guess if someone is or is not attracted to me. Obviously you and I cleared that up a little recently. : )

Where does this leave us? I'm not exactly sure. I have no idea what your expectations are and I'm entering the very new territory of the dating world so I don't know the etiquette. I am dating other people. I know your Match profile is still up. Sometimes I just shake my head and say what the hell am I doing? I'm not sure if I actually want an answer to that question. I'm interested to hear from you and get your side of the story and your take on our situation. I get a sense that the woman you were with before hurt you. That I could read.

I'm sorry to have opened up the proverbial fire hose on you. But 2006 is my year of honesty. And also the year of me. Every one of the other 28 years was about me thinking about someone else. I'm not going to stop that but I'm putting myself first.


Very sweetly he emailed me back saying he's trying to compose a response but in the meantime wanted to let me know he was not upset with me. How great is that? You know how I feel about email and the way it makes you crazy in the head when someone deosn't reply. How cool that he intuited that."

Seventh Impression:
"After my email, Friendster Guy really took the time to let me know at least some of what he was feeling in our situation and he's growing on me again. Slowly and persistently, like a fungus, but growing none-the-less. I think part of the missing chemistry had to do with our very early decision after our first date to just be friends. He took it to heart. I had loosened up on that restriction but hadn't let him know. So, when we were out he wasn't being all that flirty. And I am receptive to flirting. Since we hadn't done any flirting foreplay I didn't think there was chemistry. We need some more time to go out when both of us are thinking we're dating and see how it goes. I bet it goes well."

Eighth Impression:
"A Phone Conversation:

Me: "In the spirit of full disclosure, I should let you know I am signed up to auction myself off at a batchelor/batchelorette auction next month."

Friendster Guy: "How much does a single girl go for these days? Will I have to bring my checkbook?"

Right thing to say Friendster Guy. Right thing to say."

Ninth Impression:
"The results of this test were dead on. John Cusack and I are already secretly involved so there was no surprise there. But please keep that on the down low. We like to keep that under wraps.


My celebrity love match is - The Boy Next Door: Matt Damon


When it comes to love, you're looking for a man with "white picket fence" potential: the guy who will compliment your mom, helps clean the dishes and could melt the polar ice caps with his smile. He's not always perfect and can be a tad too predictable at times, but you'll love the fact that he's got a dependable job, coaches Little League on the weekends and still finds time to let you know how much he loves you. He's more "apple pie" than "devil's food cake" -- but that means the last thing he'll want to do is break your heart.

Other matches: Usher, Zach Braff, John Cusack, Michael J. Fox, Denzel Washington

I'm definitely getting a crush on Friendster Guy because as I read the description above I'm finding myself annoyingly happy that he fits the bill. All of a sudden a switch has gone off somewhere in my brain where I now want to use the word "we" in a sentence involving him. And not in the sentence "We decided to just be friends.""

Tenth Impression:
"In reponse to Jen M's comment, Friendster Guy is pretty much perfect. The jury is still out as to whether he is perfect for me. I can wish for one verdict but sometimes that's not enough, or not the right one in the long run.

If my life were a movie (and why shouldn't it be?) this would be the part where the audience yells at me for being an idiot for letting a good guy go. Don't worry, so far he's still around. We're making plans for Friday night that hopefully will involve a lot of talking. No couches. He's so quiet I don't feel like I know him yet and I want to give him every opportunity to surprise me into sparks.

I have a fear that I need to be aware of and counteract. My fear is that because Friendster Guy shares many similarities with my X I am making assumptions about ways he might respond to certain situations. That's not really fair. For instance, there is a semi-formal I am planning on attending next month. If Friendster Guy is like my X, he will not enjoy himself and I will feel like I'm forcing him to be there. However, he could, and probably would, surprise me and be all for dancing the night away with drunken graduate students he doesn't know. At the same time, I'd rather not have to "test" him to figure this out. I just want to have a good time. I want to go with someone who I know I won't have to babysit (I did a lot of cajoling and compromising with my X to get him to go to things with me. Even though he ended up having a good time it wasn't fun having to practically grovel each time I wanted him to join me at an event). I think it would be more fun to go with High School Guy now that we have established boundaries as friends. He's social, funny, and can work a crowd. Plus, if I go with a friend I can flirt with people at the dance and my date won't care.

The fact that I want to flirt with other guys at the dance seems to indicate that I am either not ready for a relationship or not ready for a relationship with my current options. I think the latter is true.

SassyPants' prediction for 2006 (it may not be smart but it's probably true): Here's what I predict is going to happen. I am going to give Friendster Guy the old college try. I'm going to drive myself crazy wondering why it just isn't working with such a great guy. I'm going to get in deeper than I wanted to. I am going to wonder why the hell I didn't nip this in the bud when I first saw the no chemistry signs. You are going to get to watch me spiral into stupidity and doubt."

Eleventh Impression:
"Friendster Guy being at least superficially like my X is turning out to be a good thing. For one, he keeps surprising me by not being like my X. A pleasant surprise now and again does a body good. You know what else does a body good? Well, something else I choose not to talk about directly on this blog that's what.

Anyway...

Another reason the similarities he has with my X (and my fears around that) are good is I am forced to take note of how I react to things he does or things I think he will do. With some other guy completely unlike my X I'd still have the same fears but I might not address them directly or even recognize the way they make me react. For instance, I am slightly nervous, or at least shy, to ask Friendster Guy to dinner with some friends of mine. As mentioned previously, my X was not really social and made me jump through hoops to get him to go anywhere with me. I find myself making assumptions that Friendster Guy will not want to go. However, because I am aware of his similarities to X and am trying to counteract my potential reaction to them, I am working against those assumptions. Does any of that make sense?

Let's see if I can make it simpler -
Acknowledging you have a problem is the first step in any 12 Step Program. With a guy dissimilar to my X, I might not realize I have a problem (i.e. all the neurotic crazy things floating in my head as a result of my last relationship). But with Friendster Guy they pop right to the surface and I must face them.

I might have to share this with Friendster Guy so he can be aware of why I might do some of the things I do."

Twelfth Impression:
"...the closest thing I have to a boyfriend at the moment, Friendster Guy, is taking me out this evening to the theater. HMS Pinafore by Gilbert & Sullivan as a matter of fact. Since I had no idea this show was happening in my area when he invited me I wonder how much thought he put into the date. Did he see the ad and think, Gee, I'd really like to see a Gilbert and Sullivan production? Or did he think, Gee, Sassy Pants likes musicals, I wonder if she'd like to see a Gilbert and Sullivan production? Either way, he gets bonus points because 1) it's a Gilbert and Sullivan production, and 2) he invited me. In fact, he invited me a week beforehand. Bonus points again for forethought. So far, my sister and a friend of mine have both given me Seriously? looks when I told them what I was going to this evening. I'm not sure if the look was a reaction to their disinterest in seeing a G&S show or their curiosity/disbelief as to why a guy would. I don't really care.

I think it's great. It's nice to know he's cultured and even knows who Gilbert & Sullivan are, or at least what they do. I'm looking forward to it. I've even gotten all dolled up. I have on nylons and a dress people. This is not an everyday occurrence. Even though I have great legs (if I do say so myself) I choose to wear pants most of the time. I just can't be bothered with keeping a no run stock of hosiery. I go to the gym most every day, sometimes twice, and having to get in and out of nylons is a pain in the tookus. Plus, if truth be told, I'm not the most consistent shaver in the world. Luckily I am blessed with soft, fine hair so I can go a couple days and no one would even notice. Unfortunately this soft, fine hair is also all I have on my head so I'm stuck with very few hair cut options. Thank goodness I can pull off a pixie cut.

Gotta run kids. Time for my date. : )"

And Finally -
"I had a great conversation with Friendster Guy last night. I got over myself (and insecurity and fear of rejection) and finally told him about this blog (and some other stuff). His main reaction was surprise that he hadn't found it already, until I told him that it was anonymous. I told him some of the content, and how it started out as a journal of my life as a single girl and therefore chronicles the early days when we met. I said I'd be happy to let him read it but if he went into the archives he'd have to promise me he'd keep reading because otherwise he'd only get bits and pieces of my feelings right at that moment in time and that wouldn't be fair. He agreed and said he understood. He said he wasn't sure he wanted to read it because he didn't want to change the art of the thing. See, he totally gets it. He keeps surprising me that Friendster Guy.
I told him that what I write has already changed out of respect for him and our relationship. He laughed when I said he had a fan base and people rooting for him.

I asked him to tell me if anything I wrote affected him in a negativeway. He seems to be a much more private person than I so he might not appreciate some of the things I've written. Or he could continue to surprise me and thinks it's all hilarious. It's a little bit of an experiment I must say. It's a risk I'm willing to take."

3 comments:

Chalcuckles said...

I loved reading this post. Since we haven't seen in other in 8 years or more, this really caught me up on FG. Sounds like a very nice guy. I'm happy for you, Sassypants!

Anonymous said...

i thought FG knew about the blog awhile ago and was posting for you while you were gone?

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