Sunday, October 01, 2006

Relationship logic

Relationship logic is totally backwards.

I spent quite a lot of time with Owen this weekend. It was good. Very good. We ate dinner, watched The Philadelphia Story and laughed a lot.

However, on Friday, we had an awkward conversation that was close to our undoing. He said, "I don't want to hold you up." Meaning: given my age, he didn't want to waste my time. I thought that was crazy because who says that we're even going to be together long enough for that to be an issue? I said, "Let me decide what is a waste of my time." Somehow, we continued to enjoy ourselves but it left me wondering, "What the hell is going on?" We have a connection, a closeness, and real affection, but we need more time to figure out what is there before worrying about the rest. It's true that I've thought down the road, and I told Owen as much, but I know better than to bring it up. It's not time for us to discuss it. Those issues do not need to be on the table now. Also, dating anyone, at any time, is a risk. But I have such a good time with Owen, I could never think of it as a waste. I want more time with him and if I don't get it, I'll be sad. But do I want to marry him? How the hell should I know?

The plan was to meet again on Saturday afternoon, with his friends, for our second date of the weekend. I wasn't sure what would happen. How would he act? Would he be happy to see me? I couldn't get my head around our prior conversation. A friend reassured me that, "He's just confused. It's normal." That made sense. I was confused too. And if Owen was scared, so was I. It's easy to say 'life is short, it's good to take chances' but to act on it? So much harder. I was the one saying, let's have fun and enjoy spending time together and not try and figure everything out. But Owen put some tremendous pressure on himself. Would he be able to relax and enjoy spending time with me? Could I walk the "let's just have fun" walk?

When I got to the bar, Owen was there with a bunch of his friends and co-workers. I'd only met one of them before, and I didn't know him very well, but I was at ease. It helped that Owen was happy to see me. He was friendly, affectionate (but not over the top) and it was easy. It was our first time out with friends and everyone perceived us a couple. That wasn't a bad thing, but it was odd, particularly in light of the awkward conversation we'd had.

More people arrived and I hit it off in particular with "Teri," the wife of one of Owen's co-workers. She and I bonded over our inability to participate in all the work talk around us. Owen joined our conversation and we told Teri how he'd forgotten that we'd met in that very bar and had her in stitches. Then Teri said, "Do you guys want to go to see [obscure band] in a few weeks?" I didn't know what to say. She continued, "My friend wants to get a whole bunch of people to go. It's in November…"

I looked at Owen and he said nothing. I turned back to Teri and said, "November? I don't know if we're going to be together in November!" I laughed. Teri didn't seem to pick up on what I said but Owen heard me. He said, "I can't believe you said that! That's awesome." He gave me a big smile.

I said, "What?" I didn't know why he was smiling.

"The fact that you said that…it's so great. It makes me think we will be together in November."

Huh? I don't know what I was supposed to say. Did he think I would presume to start making plans for him (for "us"?) in NOVEMBER? I'm not asking for exclusivity or saying he's my boyfriend yet, let alone making plans that far into the future. It's just all so cart before the horse.

Apparently saying, in effect, "I'm not counting on this. I'm not assuming you'll be around or that there will be an 'us'" caused Owen to think that there would be an "us." Classic relationship logic. Gotta love it.

I'm still not counting my chickens. With age comes extreme caution, that's for sure.

Here's the crazy thing--the day after I met Owen for the second time, I was sure he was going to be around, that I really liked him and that things were going to "work out." I've been a lot less sure ever since because reality and time have intruded, but there it is. I was sure because of how I felt: calm, happy and satisfied. That's still how I feel.

Grateful for: a great weekend.

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