When Are You Two Getting Married?

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My ex-husband and I dated for 5 months when we became engaged and were one week shy of dating one year when we married, so our relationship didn’t give anyone time to press us about marriage. The anniversary of my first date with WFB is this coming Sunday and the question is starting to hit us like a tsunami. Every friend and every co-worker has been grilling us like we need to get hitched and do it now! The funniest part is that neither family is pushing us. I haven’t heard a single, “when are you going to get married and start having my grandchildren?” from either side, which is greatly appreciated. I’ve been there once and, though I’m not as scared to do it again as I thought I’d be, I’m just not ready at this moment to have WFB slide a ring on my finger and claim me for the rest of forever.

That said, if he were to drop down on one knee I might be inclined to say ‘yes’ but I’m pretty sure we’re on the same page of “let’s not rock the boat yet.” For that, I love him even more. We’re both a bit selfish and I don’t believe that either one of us is ready to make a life-long commitment. I’m preparing to go back to school to work on my BSN and he has goals and aspirations for the next couple of years as well.

Why do we pressure people into marriage? Working with an older generation helps give me perspective on how things have changed in the world over the past decades. We have older patients who were high school sweethearts and the fellow wanted to take care of his lady and he’s still doing it sixty years later. We have younger patients who come in as married couples, only to have one partner come back the next year having changed her name back to her maiden name, checking the “divorced” box on the form.

I grew up with two working parents. Mom stayed home until we were school aged, then went back into the workforce full time. Both incomes were needed to get by and raise the two of us kids, who were a definite financial burden. We, as women, don’t necessarily feel that burden these days. Some of us are having children later, marrying later and focusing on our careers and establishing ourselves before we dive into serious relationships. Others, like me, marry in our early 20s before we know who we are and what we want in life. Then, when we figure out that we don’t need another person’s monetary support, or their negative attitude, we leave the relationship in search of something more fulfilling.

My parents’ 39th anniversary is next week. They don’t always get along, and they almost divorced twice when I was a teenager. They’ll tell you that they don’t like each other every day, and there are days that they don’t even speak to each other. They’ll also tell you that they love each other so much that they can’t imagine being apart. I actually saw my dad cry (one of two times I’ve witnessed) when my mom threatened to leave. He told me he was devastated and didn’t want to live without her. This is what it is to marry and be monogamous. It’s not always glamorous, but it works for them and it works for a lot of couples.

Then you see couples who are married and have a girlfriend or boyfriend together or they have an “open relationship” and freely discuss together their escapades with other people. These couples seem happy and claim to feel even closer to their partners because they’re able to enjoy a variety of people but still return to their main partner for their basic emotional needs. I don’t understand how jealousy doesn’t wreck these couples, but I’ve never been a part of one and can’t imagine being a part of one. What works for some does not work for all.

For now, I’m content in my monogamous relationship with my sweet fellow. We’ll keep on keeping on until we’re both ready to move in another direction. Whether that’s marriage or something else, only time will tell.

Space

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I usually think it’s incredibly sweet when my boyfriend shows up unannounced to see me. He brought me two dozen roses on February 13th over his lunch break, even though it meant he wouldn’t be able to eat. Sometimes I’m selfish. Tonight, we were supposed to watch the KU basketball game together. I called him on my way home from the gym to tell him I wasn’t up for hanging out. I just wanted to come home from the gym, take a bath, and watch The Killing on Netflix while eating Ben and Jerry’s Peanut Butter Cookie ice cream.

He didn’t answer his phone, and I came home to my boyfriend in my shower and ESPN blaring on my T.V. I was barely able to wash my face before my hot water ran out. No bath. By the time I was finished showering, he was yelling at the basketball players like he was the only motivational voice they could hear. No Netflix. I don’t feel like farting in front of him tonight, so no Ben & Jerry’s. I’ve been at the computer for the past two hours with my headphones on, listening to my Head & the Heart channel on Pandora. It’s great if you like folksy, easy-going music.

I love him, but some days I miss my space. He doesn’t like to be in his space. His roommate is a mess and a hoarder, and their house makes me claustrophobic. I don’t feel comfortable there, and he tells me he feels more at home here, in my apartment. I understand completely, but my space is a 500 sq. foot studio apartment. Sometimes I need quiet, Sarah Time.

I’m starting to believe that I’ll always be learning in my relationships. This relationship is teaching me patience and how to use my voice. I think tomorrow is going to be “Sarah Day.” I need that, and I know he’ll understand.

Slow down, 2015

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I used to babysit WFB’s roommate. When we met, I thought she looked familiar. She and I graduated from the same high school, but she was 5 or 6 years behind me and I figured we didn’t know any of the same people. Then it hit me last night. The kids I babysat every summer I was in high school lived next to a girl with the same name as his roommate. I asked her on Facebook Messenger if she knew the two kiddos I used to sit. Yes! They had been her neighbors growing up and the boy I sat had helped her move last week. I told her I remembered taking the girl over to her house to play, and I actually babysat her a few times in the evening when my day ended with her neighbors. It’s pretty weird telling your boyfriend’s roommate that you were her babysitter 14 years ago.

Two unpleasant things happened last night. The first, was Jeff calling me around 10:30 pm, asking for my birth city and the date of our divorce. Seriously? He was with me for 7.5 years and doesn’t know where I was born? He said he was getting a passport and needed the info. This afternoon, he came by my office with his fiance to make his eye appointment. It makes me crazy that he does this. It’s so much easier to call, and it makes me think he’s messing with me. Anyway, he’s coming in tomorrow. I called him today to tell him congratulations and ask why he hadn’t told me he was getting married. His response? “Well it’s not like we talk anymore.” We don’t talk because he has a new woman in his life and he doesn’t want me as a friend, even though that’s what he originally said he wanted. I asked him not to bring his lady friend with him, and explained that he’s the only ex-husband who comes around the office. Everyone else’s exes seem to be capable of finding other eye doctors to see. I’ve been working there for 10 years, and we were together all but my past two years there. My co-workers know him, and those who don’t are still very protective of me. I’m incredibly stressed about what is going to happen tomorrow.

The other unpleasant thing? My brother, my niece, my nephew and I went to the KU basketball game, the first time for all of us. When we got back in town, WFB sent a text that he and some friends were going out for drinks. It was around 7:30 pm and I was tired, but agreed to go out. I want to hang out with his friends and get to know them a little better. He was blitzed when I showed up: glassy, red eyes and a drunk sway. Apparently he’d been out since 3:30 that afternoon. After we figured out how to get his car to my place and his friend back to her car, he was pretty feisty but I was ready for bed. Apparently I irritated him because he called me a bitch when I rolled away from him to go to sleep. I know he didn’t mean it, but that was the word of choice for my parents and my brother when I was growing up. Their favorite thing to call me was, “Spoiled Little Bitch,” so when someone calls me “bitch,” I get very upset. I started crying and he immediately apologized, held me and tried to console me. Shortly after, I started a tickle fight and momentarily forgot about the whole ordeal. However, as I write this, I’m tearing up. I know he didn’t mean it, but it’s the first time he’s hurt me. I love him, and it’s something that’s easily forgivable so I’m sure I’ll be over it soon. He’s a sweet fellow but I know he has a temper. Until last night he had hidden it well. Here’s to hoping it’s not a trend.

Future Stuff

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Since my divorce, I get a little weird when someone starts talking to me about the future. “Let’s go to Costa Rica in March.” “What do you think about going to Vegas in the fall?” “Next Christmas, you’re going to have to wrap everything for me.” These are things WFB has said recently. He likes me. He REALLY likes me. I REALLY like him. This whole thing is freaking me out.
WFB has a female roommate and they are moving in the next month or two. My lease ends next week. There was brief discussion of combining our households, but that was quickly abandoned when we both had the “oh wow, shit’s getting real” moment. Neither of us has said the “L” word. The last fellow with which I shared “I love you’s” told me later that he never meant it, so I’m a bit frightened to let it out. I don’t know why I’m so terrified. A) That fellow was a certifiable sociopath and B) I’m pretty sure there’s a 98% chance WFB will say it back and mean it. Anyway, I told him last week that I was planning to sign a six month lease with my current place. Saturday, he and his roommate put in an application for a place not too far from me. The next day, he gave me the rundown of the place: big backyard, nice front porch, and two bedrooms, one larger and one smaller. He said his roommate would have the larger bedroom for the first six months, then they would switch. I gave him a puzzled look and he paused for a minute before saying that he would like for me to move in with them after my lease was up at the end of June. So… he sees a future with me. (AHHHH!!!)
Just in case there was any question that this fellow has serious feelings for me, this next thing is possibly the sweetest thing anyone has ever said to me. We were sitting on the couch at my place watching some boob tube a week or two ago when he blurted out that he needed to go home to get something. I asked “‘home,’ like your apartment?” He replied that he meant his parents’ house, but then said he guessed that wasn’t really his home any longer. I tried to be cute by saying, “well, home is where your heart is…” He looked me in the eyes and said, “then I guess this is my home.”
This is what love is supposed to be! He tells me I’m beautiful and that he feels comfortable with me. We have “weird-offs” where we try to figure out which of us is the bigger weirdo (it’s him, for sure), and we laugh for hours. When it’s been a day or two since we saw each other, he holds me for a long time and whispers in my ear he missed me, and I know he’s sincere. He says he smiles more and is happier than he has been in a long time. I’m happier than I’ve been in a long time. I know my ex-husband and I had a period of blind love, but we never had the level of comfort and mutual affection that I have in this relationship. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I’m older and more experienced in life. I remember the stress of my ex-husband’s constant criticism and judgment. I know he didn’t mean to hurt me, but I didn’t know that it could be better.
We’ve been together about three and a half months, which I know isn’t much time in the scheme of things, but I feel like I’ve found real love. I could share any thought or feeling, it would be heard, and feedback would be given with honesty but also with care. Sure, there are things that irritate me about him (no one should pop the collar of a sweater-coat), but they’re all silly small things that don’t matter in the big picture.
I’m still scared that I’m sugar-coating things between us, because I have a history of making my relationships seem more effortless than I let on. However, this relationship HAS been incredibly effortless and positively stress-free. I think I found a keeper.

I’m Hilarious… and Awkward

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Awkwardness

As of this Sunday, I have a boyfriend. It went a little something like this:

Me: I’d like to claim you. Is that okay?

WFB: *laughs* I was actually thinking about that today. Yeah, that’s cool with me, but only if I can claim you too.

Me: Absolutely.

WFB: Did we just have “The Talk?”

Me: I think so…

WFB: Well, that was easy.

Then he pulled the covers over my head and caught me in a Dutch Oven. Ah romance…

Truths and Realizations

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Sara is going to bring me a book on love addiction. I’m not sure that’s my problem. I think it’s more an attention addiction. I’m inclined to believe anyone who reads my writing would agree.

WFB took me to a mystery dinner theater last Friday. I can be a bit socially awkward, so I spent a large portion of the night following him with my hands in the pockets of my dress while he interrogated suspects. He seemed to balance my nerves well, as he pulled one of my hands out and used it to drag me around the room. He wanted to stay the night with me, so after dinner we watched a movie and went to bed. I was feeling a bit odd that we’ve been out five times, yet I’d not been to his place. As if reading my mind, he said we’d have to do something closer to his place soon so I could meet his roommate and her dog. I invited him to my friend’s show the following Friday, but he was going to be busy with a friend’s rehearsal that night and wedding Saturday. He commented that he wished I would go to the reception so I could meet his friends and we could dance together. We’ve talked about taking dance lessons, and if things progress we’re going to look more seriously. I said I’m too socially awkward and wouldn’t feel comfortable attending a wedding to which I wasn’t invited when we’d been dating such a short while. He kind of frowned then tackled me on the love-seat. When he left for work the next morning, we didn’t make plans for our next rendezvous and that always makes me a bit nervous. I have a habit of psyching myself out of a good thing because of my insecurities. I remember on our first date when he said he wasn’t a fan of text messaging because he felt people should communicate in person rather than through technology. I try to remind myself of this when I’m stressing that we haven’t communicated in two or three days. What I need to do is relax and realize I can initiate. Wednesday, he sent me a couple of pictures with a great caption. He had attended the Chiefs game on Monday (where we walloped the Patriots!) and the Royals game on Tuesday (holy shit we’re in postseason for the first time since I was 2 years old! AND we’re doing well!). He was excited and wanted to share that with me. I thought it was awfully sweet and felt silly for being so caught up in my head. He wanted to see me Thursday, but I had plans, so we’re doing something tomorrow evening.

Last night, Matt and I were out and about watching some friends play at a local venue. After their show, and several beers, I decided it was time for dancing. Luckily, Matt follows me around to ensure I’m not making terrible life decisions when I’m intoxicated. The fellow I took home a couple of weeks ago decided that last night at 11:00 pm was the perfect time to strike up conversation, even though our last exchange was the morning I dropped him off almost two weeks ago. He called me six times. SIX TIMES between 11:00 pm and 2:00 am. He was at a bar nearby watching the baseball game and I’m sure he just wanted to hook up. I was distracted by my need to dance. We danced a bit, then I realized I was alone on the floor. I’m used to Matt ditching me somewhere and I was sobering up fairly quickly, so I wasn’t worried when Dark and Beardy came over to dance with me. Told me his name was Jeff. “Great!” I yelled toward him. “That’s my ex-husband’s name!” He must not have heard me or at least wasn’t fazed enough to comment. He danced with me and we chatted. He’s one of those 35 year old guys that looks younger with his ginormous beard and perfectly messy on purpose hair, so no one bats an eye at this older fellow checking out the early 20-somethings at the bar. He lives close to the district, so I’m sure he’s out there every weekend night hitting on the ladies. He was wearing a Canadian Tuxedo and, though I wasn’t feeling it, I chatted with him while trying to decide if I should drive home or call a cab. Matt reappeared and asked if I was okay. He left a bit disgruntled because I was obviously handling myself just fine without supervision. Long story short we dance a little, he doesn’t put his hands on me (I would have probably yelled at him if he did), and he asks for my number. I give it to him and tell him I’m heading home to bed. He says he’ll text me and I say “if you’re a real man, you’ll call me.” He raises his eyebrows, realizing I don’t fuck around. I get in my car and head home, wishing it wasn’t 2:30 am and I could cuddle with WFB. Then I get a text from not-my-ex-husband Jeff:

NMEH Jeff: Shit! Where did you go?

Me: You must have missed the part when I said I was going home because I was tired.

NMEH Jeff: Oh I got that. I just dreamed of an end where I’m going down on you… (Seriously? Does this work on ladies?)

Me: I don’t get intimate like that with fellows I’ve just met, so enjoy that dream… (So this was a little white lie. I’ve done it in the past, but I might actually be *gulp* falling for WFB.)

NMEH Jeff: I will! I just want to tell you you’re gorgeous and seemed smart: An appropriate sex fantasy for me!

Me: Thank you? I hope you get home/arrived home safely. Have a good night.

I wasn’t in the mood to indulge this drunk monkey any longer and went to bed. In fact, I’m not really in the mood to indulge any one else’s attempts to get in my pants. Does this mean I’m ready to be exclusive with WFB after dating him for only three weeks? I need to keep my options open, but it’s so hard when there’s a real connection. I’m not talking about a connection like I’ve had in the past, where I’m in constant worry about the state of my relationship with a given fellow, but rather a connection where I don’t feel the need to be in constant contact or have constant validation of his feelings for me.

I’m excited to see WFB tomorrow. I have no idea what we’ll be doing, but there’s a large possibility it’ll start with me tackling him with hugs and kisses.

Getting Comfortable

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Date number two with Whole Foods Boy on Tuesday evening was fun. We didn’t do anything profound, but I definitely feel a level of comfort with him. I discovered he is poor at communication when we’re apart because he prefers phone calls to text messages and he works more evenings than days. He picked me up for dinner, though I should have given him grief for not coming to my door but rather waiting for me to come out to his car. We sat in his car in front of my apartment for at least 20 minutes before deciding where to go. Conversation about where to go kept turning to something completely off the subject. We started driving, picked one place then changed our minds half-way there. The final destination: pizza and beer. We had good conversation and learned a bit more about each other. It seems our religious and political beliefs are similar, though we didn’t get into too much detail. I asked him what he wanted to do after dinner, and he suggested we make out. I laughed because A) that was really blunt and B) I haven’t been asked to “make out” since I was in my teens. I think he’s insecure about having me over to his place due to his having a roommate. I live alone, so the only interruption we have is my cat. After we paid the bill (we split both this dinner and our first date dinner), we headed back to my apartment. We talked and kissed, but no nudity. I started to get sleepy and he stroked my hair, telling me he enjoyed talking to me but he also enjoyed silence with me. He asked when he could see me again. He had work the next two nights, and I have plans with my brother Friday night. I invited him to join my friends and me out and about to celebrate Matt’s birthday Saturday night. He accepted and then asked if he could hang out with me before we go out Saturday afternoon. I said I’d be happy to spend the day with him. Then he asked if we could hang out Sunday morning. Um… I told him we’d see how Saturday goes. He laughed and said he was probably pushing it. Yeah, let’s take this one step at a time. Apparently this fellow has a thing for me.