What Happens When Your Answer Temptation’s Call

On Wednesday night, I went out with The Renaissance Man, which turned out to be a fun evening with mixed emotions. Everything has been different since last week’s re-emergence of The European. Part of it has been TRM finding himself busier and more distracted than usual, but a lot of it admittedly have stem from the silent but visceral signals I must have been emitting ever since I disappeared to Boston on Thursday.

As some of you might’ve predicted, temptation and curiosity got the better of me when The European finally committed, several weeks too late, to get together again. I don’t want to mislead here—it’s not like this invitation came completely out of the blue. We’ve been talking for weeks and he’s expressed the desire to get together repeatedly, but there were also excuses about being so busy with work, not feeling himself due to a lot of emotional things he’s been going through and just feeling out-of-sorts in general. Perhaps they were genuine reasons at the time, but they started to feel like excuses, so to protect myself from getting hurt and disappointed again, I just made the decision I wasn’t going to be. I was going to actively start seeing others again. The fact that TRM came along in the process was an unexpected and wonderful surprise.

Yet, a part of me was still tied back to The European. It didn’t help that we often still talked at least once a week on FaceTime, where I could see his face grinning at me as if talking to me made his day. He observed all my expressions and surmised my moods and concerns just as he always did when we were in each other’s company. It was unnerving, yet comforting at the same time. During those conversations, it was easy for me to remember why I had started to feel like I was growing to love this person back when I trusted him.

But I’d started to believe that that is all they were—conversations. I was a friend that he trusted, with whom he shared his deeper emotions. He had his activity partners, even people he could philosophically or politically banter with occasionally, but he could be more vulnerable with me. I was safe—from afar.

So it was a total surprise as we were wrapping up one of our FaceTime conversations when he blurted out, “So do you still want to come visit me in Boston?”

Yes. No. I don’t know. Should I? Does he even deserve it?

I wrestled with these questions for almost two days, even up to a couple hours before I finally boarded a bus to South Station. I talked it over with my friends and my parents. My mom was wary and protective of me. My dad, ever the romantic, saw a bit of his and my mom’s love story in us, remembered their miscommunications and emotional conflicts that nearly led to a complete destruction of their relationship before they even took off, and even later, led to them spitting, before they finally reunited for good.

I thought about how I felt. I wanted to know if what I remembered was the truth. I wanted to see if TRM had erased some of that fairy tale magic I had once felt in The European’s presence. I wanted to see if there was still hope. I wanted, if I had to, the opportunity to say goodbye.

The European shocked me by meeting me at the bus station. God, he looked so good. His hugs. That accent. The way his hand slipped into mine like it belonged there.

There was an insistent ring on the cell as we headed back to his place. He usually ignored calls in my company, but this one he answered. He spoke in rapid Polish then he hung up the phone. His hand returned to my leg.

His roommate warmly greeted me before we headed out for dinner. We picked a lively BBQ restaurant with colorful ambiance and delicious food. Afterward, we crossed the street to an Irish pub, with a front room featuring authentic Irish music and a back room with an ‘80s cover band. After a drink, boisterous conversation and lightly tender caresses, we made our way back to the livelier music and dancing.

Dancing with The European is always electric. He comes to life on the dance floor, and together we have an energy that draws people to smile and watch. He put his arms around me, and I could feel the heat. Yes, it was all still there.

I was awakened the next morning by the doorbell. The European’s cell phone sprang to life with insistent noises that sounded like alarms that required more attention. I tried to rouse his attention, but it was finally his roommate who came to the door. “Someone’s here for you,” he said gruffly.

It was 6 in the morning. After what felt like a half hour at least, he returned.
Was it a co-worker?” I asked. No. A friend? No. A student? No. You’re not going to help me out here…was it someone you’ve been dating—a girl?

Finally, hesitantly, he says it is someone he had been seeing on and off. I think you can imagine what was running through my head. Something along the lines like, fuck you, when’s the next bus out of here?

He fell back asleep while I stewed. Finally he awoke to my questions. He claimed they were not “involved,” that there was no commitment. He said he didn’t understand why she came over, why she was emotional, but everything was okay after he talked to her. He apologized for the situation, but he assured me there was nothing fishy going on, that I was wanted with him. She had feelings he did not reciprocate, but it was hard to have to let her down.

Hmm. Yeah right.

Unfortunately, he left me with key as he went to work. I couldn’t just slip out and leave. I stewed. I called friends and my parents again. My mom said to forget him and the key, just come home. Drop the key off at his work if you have to. My dad said, act cool. Wait until he gets home, talk to him. You can come home then or wait until the morning.

He came home from work late as usual, stopping at the gym for a long session. We did a teleclass on meditation together. It was hard to stay pissed off at him as he coached me through things and made sure I was comfortable. When we couldn’t stand sitting any longer, we tried meditating lying down, but he fell asleep. We hung up the call and decided we needed to eat.

With all his Easter leftovers, we cooked up a nice meal at home, with the idea that we’d go out and catch another band at the same bar we’d hit the night before. But by the time we were done eating, it was nearly 11:30 p.m. We were both tired after an early morning and a long day. He was still game, but I honestly was too full and not sure I was up for a couple hours of dancing, and his eyes were pretty red. We wound up watching animal documentaries instead.

The next day we slept until noon. I had decided I was going home that day. The European said I could come again, but I didn’t respond. I was expecting him to leave for work right away, but he wanted to snuggle, talk and enjoy me until it was time to catch the bus.

Sometime before I left we got involved in a serious conversation that stunned me. Basically The European expressed to me his hesitations getting involved too seriously when he knew he was leaving his fellowship before a year was up. Chances are very high that he’s returning to Europe. He told me that he felt that length of time was too short to know a person before marriage; he’d made that mistake before with his ex-wife. He didn’t know her well enough before he married her to move them to the States, and she’d turned out to have major psychological problems. He didn’t want to make that mistake again.

“I get the impression that you want to get married right away, right?” he said.

Wait, what? Back up a second. I corrected him quickly. “I’m looking to find the right person. I want to follow my heart, not let obstacles get in the way of getting to really know that person, spending time with that person, letting the relationship progress naturally, and letting love flow in its proper course,” I said. “I don’t want to rush marriage. I’m looking for a partner to love first and foremost and grow with.”

“You Connecticut girls are very wise, aren’t you?” he said, giving me a squeeze. As opposed to the Massachusetts girls he’s been dating? “I’m so glad we can talk about things so openly now. There’s none of this pressure and worry about hurt feelings.”

Hmm. That’s when I realized he wasn’t necessarily talking about me.

Later, he waxed poetic about a dream scenario, how work would be, how his routine would be less stressful and leave more time for fun, socialization, and relaxation. And then he inserted me into that scenario, included aspects about my home and the things he loves about the area where I live.

And I knew then he was just a dreamer. I would never really fit into his reality. And I also realized that with all of his issues and drama and emotional imbalances, maybe he didn’t fit into mine either as much as I thought he once did.

Leaving for home felt like saying goodbye this time. It wasn’t as heartbreaking as much as closing a door, waking up to the next chapter.

Yet still, the other night, out with TRM, my mind began to drift when I got the first text from The European since I’d left. I think it was a feeler text to see if I was out because he never responded back when I told him I was enjoying a delicious meal out. Later TRM and I went to a blues open mic, where we were entertained not only by some excellent musicians but also by a group of college-age swing dancers as well. They were having so much fun on the dance floor that I wanted to be out there with them too.

But TRM doesn’t dance. That would be The European’s playground. Still it was nice to just be a spectator this time, and I snuggled into TRM’s big, warm embrace.

The next morning came with it’s own surprises. At close to 10, I felt the buzz of my cell, and I looked over to see a text message from The Music Man. The night before, he’d also texted me with the sad news confirming he does indeed have cancer. This morning, however, he had a surprise of a completely different nature for me:

You Triple The Risk For Burns When Old Flames Come In Threes

A couple of years ago, I came up with a theory about old flames: Like sneezes, bad news and abysmal Hollywood sequels, old flames seemed to pop back into my life in threes. Depending on the timing and the circumstances, this has been either comical and fun or just plain too much chaotic drama to rock the boat of an already teetering current relationship.

So last week, when The European waved his tempting flag of invitation in the air after the lovely budding of a new relationship, I wasn’t overly surprised to also hear from The Music Man. Ever since we broke up a little more than two years ago, after a tumultuous six months of dating, he has shown varying degrees of regret for not being fully appreciative of us in the moment.

Yet I was completely unprepared for what he lay on me as I blissfully enjoyed a hot fudge brownie sundae at the restaurant we’d agreed to head to once he realized I was not going to cave in and get horizontal with him.

Find out how it all went down over on The Singles Warehouse in my latest post:

http://www.singleswarehouse.co.uk/2012/04/you-triple-the-risk-for-burns-when-old-flames-come-in-threes/

Icarus Vs. Goliath: Old Love or New Beginnings

Much to my surprise, things were going better than good with the new guy. The past weekend, our first unplanned sleepover had turned into a delicious entire weekend together full of comedy, music, lively intellectual and spiritual conversations, a long bike ride, decadent breakfast buffet and late afternoon at the beach. If I had any doubts that this man 16 years my senior could keep up with me, they were more than silenced by his joie de vivre and seemingly boundless energy—even in the middle of the night. On top of all that, this Renaissance Man turned out to enjoy inventively cooking and sweetly cuddling and had a wicked sense of humor that came out when I least expected it.

With all that goodness, I should’ve had my guard up for interference, which sometimes seems inevitable in my complicated love life. Because I was entirely unprepared for when The European asked me over FaceTime, “So do you want to come up to visit me in Boston again?”

Find out how it all went down over on The Singles Warehouse in my latest post: http://www.singleswarehouse.co.uk/2012/04/icarus-vs-goliath-old-love-or-new-beginnings/

Can You Overdate At the Start of the Relationship?

We all know how easy it is to get caught up in the amazing rush of a new relationship. Sometimes it’s just like that Black Eyed Peas’s song, where you’re feeling: “I’m addicted and I just can’t get enough.”

But is it possible to see too much of someone too early on in a relationship? Read about my own most recent experiences with that issue on The Singles Warehouse:

http://www.singleswarehouse.co.uk/2012/04/is-there-such-thing-as-too-much-dating-at-the-start-of-a-relationship/

How About We…Forget About Age for A Moment

src: brokelivin.com

Everyone is the age of their heart.  ~Guatemalan Proverb

My regular readers know that I haven’t been too shy about trying out various dating sites with varying degrees of success. Though I’ve had my share of horror stories and hilarity, I also met the V-Man and Mr. Etiquette through Match.com, and more recently, my heart and mind became entangled with The European off OkCupid, which prior to I had mostly referred to fondly as OkStupid.

Then I started hearing some fellow dating bloggers talk about this site HowAboutWe. What set this site apart from the rest, as far as I could tell, was that its aim seemed to really be focused on getting people right off their computers and meeting in real life. One could suggest a date:

How about we….check out a Poetry Slam on Great Poetry Reading Day

or

How about we…pack a lunch and hike to the peak of Talcott Mountain

or

How about we…grab a beer and watch the NCAA Basketball Finals together

Whatever floats your boat, you can throw it out there, and see if anyone else is intrigued enough by your date proposal or your profile alone, and you can go from there. It seemed like a pretty interesting idea, so I put up a profile but refused to pay money for a membership.

A few weeks ago, I received an email for a 72-hour free access to the site, meaning I could exchange emails and do all the things a regular member could do. Honestly, there were only about three or four people who were even vaguely interesting, but one profile in particular caught my attention. One guy, whose proposed date was a fun and active one, had done a mountain bike race through EMS in Nepal, of all places!

Nepal—the country that had mystified and bewitched me more than 10 years earlier when I accompanied my college boyfriend on an organized study trek there at nearly the last minute. With the breathtaking sights, the myriad of sounds, the vibrant colors, the tantalizing smells, the warm and friendly people, the completely unfamiliar yet intriguing culture, the spectacular geography, it was love at first sight.

The couple of times I had met someone who had also been to Nepal, it was as if we immediately became members of a society with our own secret language and shorthand. So here was another person from Connecticut who had actually been to the country in an intense way. I didn’t even care if there was a romantic connection, but I knew I wanted to meet him.

We exchanged an email or two on the site before he disappeared for a couple of weeks. In my email back to him, I told him I only had free access for the weekend so gave him my personal email address. Not hearing from him, I was a bit disappointed, but life goes on.

Then I got an email from an unfamiliar address, and it was the man of Nepal, telling me he had been in a work bootcamp for the last couple weeks. He didn’t pull any punches, asking for my number if I was willing and suggesting that maybe we could meet sometime. How about we, indeed?

To abbreviate, we had a nice phone conversation and quickly set up a date for a few days later. The plan was to go this restaurant in the city, where we’d grab dinner before heading downstairs to their comedy club. I arrived to the place a little late, fortunately at the same time as he was coming in, and I was surprised by his appearance. He seems quite a bit older-looking than I thought he’d be, I thought to myself, but I returned his very warm smile and we went in to dinner.

We had great conversation over our meal, finding out that we shared many things in common. Not only did we have very similar impressions and spiritual takeaways from our respective trips to Nepal, but we shared a lust for travel in general, a passion for health and wellness, music, foreign and independent film and, more importantly, we seemed to have similar philosophies on many aspects of life.

In the course of our talking, he also told me how he had previously been married for 26 years, that he had met his wife as a late teen. He had a son and daughter, the latter graduating with a five-year degree this year, and I sat there me trying to do the math in my head. Okay, technically he could still be 45 or so, right? Not that it mattered.

The night progressed to the comedy club, where we were fortunate enough to actually see three humorous comedians. None of them made me want to cringe or throw tomatoes from my seat. Renaissance Man, as I have dubbed him for having a plethora of talents and interests in an array of fields, who laughed at all the appropriate times too, told me, “You have the greatest laugh!”

With his hand on my back, we made our way back up to the restaurant where a two-man band was playing. Again, fortune was on our side as these guys made up a phenomenal act. In addition to enjoying the music and our conversation with each other, I was also noticing how personable Renaissance Man was with everyone—male or female, young or old, waitress or performer, it didn’t matter. He praised them, asked them interested questions and you could tell made them feel good about themselves.

I told him I noticed this later in the car, after he’d paused in the middle of a surprisingly heated kissing session to say, “You are incredibly beautiful. Here,” pointing to the bare skin at my neckline, indicating my heart. “Here,” tenderly caressing my face. “And here,” he said pointing to the side of my head, making reference to my mind.

So, it seemed, was he.

After he dropped me off at home, with ideas percolating for future dates, curiosity got the better of me, and I logged into the site to see if I could still see his profile. That milestone birthday he recently celebrated certainly was a big one, I thought, laughing with surprise. But other than a few signs of enjoying the weather on his handsome face, one would hardly guess.

Ironically, I had just had a long conversation that week with a classmate of mine who was married to a man 20 years older than she (there’s less of an age difference between me and Renaissance Man, btw). “He looks so much better than a lot of men 10 years younger than he is,” she told me. “He is so full of energy, and we don’t even notice the age difference. He takes such great care of me, and we just are a great team.”

That, I thought, is what really matters.

I remembered how once Mr. Etiquette was around his kids, the 10 years of age difference between us that sometimes became apparent in his old-fashioned thoughts and occasional parental way of behaving, melted away instantly. While he was more mature than all the previous guys I’d dated before, he was also one of the most playful, and we had so much fun in the happy periods of our relationship together.

So I look forward to my second date with Renaissance Man tomorrow, and our third date on Saturday, and we’ll just take it day by day. If there’s one thing my years of dating has taught me, romance can sometimes come in the most unexpected places and in the most unexpected forms.

Age is a question of mind over matter.  If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.  ~Leroy “Satchel” Paige