Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Keeping it To Myself

So I’ve been busy. Frighteningly busy really. I bought my townhouse and have spent much of the past couple of weeks working on furnishing it and getting my things moved out of the old apartment. I’ve also spent much of the last couple of weeks dealing with the train-wreck of BS that is still my every interaction with PC – but I’m mostly going to leave that alone in this space. Suffice it to say that six months after we broke up, he has still not come back to Florida to pick up his stuff (which truly is almost every one of his earthly possessions) and he is now scrambling to try to get his act together before the end of the lease on the apartment. It’s not been a stress that I’ve needed, but I don’t seem to have any say in that.

I’ve also been trying to analyze why I haven’t been more eager to tell you all what’s been going on with Joe Montana. I think that I’ve come up with a couple of viable reasons:

1. I chronicled a lot of my elation at the beginning of my relationship with PC and I just can’t bear for anyone (including myself) to make comparisons between that and how things are with Joe Montana at this point.

2. Part of me wants to keep this happiness all to myself and not share the intimate details with anyone.

What’s going on here is too good and too special and too realistic to really be described. It’s also hard for me to talk about it publicly because I know that there are people who will think that it’s just me rushing into something again and that I’m destined to get myself into more trouble (people like The Sister, especially). But it’s just not like that, although I don’t know if I’m able to truly articulate why. It just is, and that’s what’s amazing about it.

A brief break-down is that Joe Montana’s Labor Day visit was amazing. There wasn’t a single thing about the weekend that wasn’t fantastic and not a single thing about it that I wish had gone differently - except maybe the part about him getting on a plane and flying 3000 miles away from me afterward. We’ve talked every day since. We’ve been doing this phone thing for three months now and last night we still managed to accidentally stay on the phone for over an hour because we just didn’t get to the end of our conversation.

I’m going to man up and be honest here, because it’s what I usually do, even though it’s something that has always been hard for me – to be honest about my feelings. I’ve fallen completely in love with Joe Montana. It’s serious stuff here kids. Like, someone-may-have-to-move-across-the-country kind of serious. No real decisions have been made at this point, but we both know that eventually we will actually be able to be together. Because we know this, it’s somewhat easier to be patient with the distance now – though it’ll never be a cakewalk. I’m going to Montana for a weekend to see him in October and he’s coming back to Florida to visit for New Years. It’s not often enough, but we’re doing what we can. And as for that whole “we can date other people” stipulation, well that’s just a moot point. I can’t imagine wanting to, and it’s quite possible I’ll never date again.

Lyrics of the Day

“You know I dreamed about you for 29 years before I saw you. You know I dreamed about you. I missed you for 29 years.” The National Slow Show

Friday, September 04, 2009

I Should Be Committed

Speaking of commitment, Joe Montana and I (rather inadvertently) had The Talk. We were on the phone one night and he just threw out the “boyfriend/girlfriend” words. So I said, “Oh is that what’s going here?” Then we proceeded to have a stammered, halting discussion about the idea of being monogamous from three thousand miles away. I shared my opinion that in a situation like this, if one of us were to meet someone that we truly wanted to go out with, we should be able to do that as long as we’re honest about it. Joe replied with the conviction that he had no intention of meeting anyone else, that he couldn’t think of anyone but me. I had already thought this over from my perspective and had realized that Joe had set the bar pretty high. I couldn’t imagine myself engaging in a random, flip cup-fueled make-out session and it would take quite a lot for a guy to impress me enough to want to give him a chance.

So whether or not Joe Montana and I agreed on my stipulation (and I’m still not sure whether or not we really did), we did agree on the boyfriend/girlfriend words. So, here I am with another long-distance boyfriend: a long distance boyfriend who is on a plane on his way to see me at this very moment.

Although this long-distance business is familiar ground for me, everything about this relationship feels like uncharted territory. I don’t think that anything has gone so easily before (although I’m sure that I have said similar things in the past about relationships that were not going nearly as easily as I was imagining they were) and I’m both excited and nervous about where to go from here. If things go as well this weekend as I am hoping they will (and there is every indication that my hopes are based on reality), I think that this relationship is going to get pretty serious. From my perspective, Joe Montana’s perspective and the perspectives of River (who knows us both very well) and the therapist that I’ve been talking to (that’s a long story, but she’s been listening to the events since the beginning of things with Joe and she’s been behind it the whole time) Joe and I are just about perfect for each other.

The therapist said that a person’s life is like a movie script and when you’re dating someone, you’re letting them audition to fill a role in your movie. So far, Joe Montana seems perfect for the role and I’m thinking he could actually make the final cast. (Though we do disagree on which way to put the toilet paper on the roll; it was almost a deal-breaker for me, but I decided to try to be open-minded.)

When I was younger, I thought that it was perfectly reasonable for people in their 30’s, or thereabouts, to move more quickly in relationships. Obviously with more years of life and dating experience under your belt, you can figure out much more quickly what you like and what you want in a partner. Hopefully you can also figure it out more quickly when it isn’t working at all. Now that I have reached this venerable age group myself, I am feeling like it would be irrational for me to move too quickly with Joe. Or rather, a large part of me thinks that he really could be someone that I could be with long-term; the rest of me feels like I need to justify having this belief a mere couple months into the relationship. But I do believe it.

Lyrics of the Day

"I’m getting lost in your curls, I’m getting rushed back on a whim. Our breaths get wind back to the time when we were green. I know we have changed, but I still grin cause I can’t wait to see you." Animal Collective Bluish

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

"He's Scared, She's Scared"

When I decided that I would be doing a little bit of research for posting material, I went to my local Barnes & Noble to browse the love and relationship section. At the time, I was curious about my self-diagnosed commitmentphobia and found the perfect book with which to educate myself. Who better to reference than the very authors who originally coined the term “commitmentphobia”?

Having been published in 1993, the book He's Scared, She's Scared, written by Steven Carter and Julia Sokol, is slightly dated in its references to the changing landscape of modern dating. It refers multiple times to the new, independent, modern woman – the type of woman that I’ve always considered myself to be and a gender role that has become common and familiar to my generation. The book addresses this subject to emphasize the evolution of gender relations and the shift from the perception that men have the monopoly on fear of commitment. Aside from these slightly dated details, I think this book is as useful as any I have ever read in addressing a subject so comprehensively.

Unlike The Man Plan, He’s Scared, She’s Scared uses scores of anecdotes and partial case studies very effectively to illustrate its points. The authors use these stories to put the behaviors they outline into real-life context. I don’t think that anyone could read this book without recognizing a relationship that they’ve been in or witnessed in one or more of the cautionary tales. The Sister’s relationship with her first boyfriend was so classically commitmentphobic that I almost believed she must have been interviewed for the book. (I actually Priority Mailed her the book almost as soon as I was finished reading it. It should be quite useful to her.)

The ideas in He’s Scared, She’s Scared are complex and involved. I won’t outline even the basics here, but if you have any reason to believe that you have issues with commitment or that your partner does, I highly recommend reading this book. It doesn’t treat people with commitment problems like they’re crazy or like there’s no hope for progress – it’s actually quite the opposite. There is even an appendix at the end with tips on how to deal with a commitmentphobic relationship, whichever stage it’s in and whichever role you’re playing in it.

Surprisingly for all of my asserting that I need space and my independence, I don’t seem to be an actual commitmentphobe. I have made mistakes in selecting partners and I have repeated a couple of odd patterns, but I don’t perpetuate the same destructive patterns that are detailed in He’s Scared, She’s Scared. The reason that I didn’t want to stay with PC and didn’t want to marry him wasn’t that I’m afraid to commit: it was that he was just the wrong guy for me. So there is hope for me (and maybe for Joe Montana) after all. If you think you might have issues with commitment, I think this book can show you that there’s hope for you as well.

Lyrics of the Day

"If you'd only seen yourself hating me, when I'd been so much more than fair. But then you'd have to lay those feelings bare. One thing I know has still got you scared." The Shins Turn On Me