So now that my old flame has officially filed for divorce, he seems much more comfortable being affectionate with me in public. We spent nearly the whole weekend together, not attached at the hip, but fanning out to talk with other people, then circling back around to check in with each other with a pat on the back or a hug. It was nice. It felt very comfortable. And as my friend Salt Lick describes me, I'm a pair-bonder, so it works well for me in group situations. I like having a home base.
But by the end of the weekend, I was ready to come home. I've had strong feelings for him for seven years now, despite going months and sometimes years without contact. (I've never mentioned him on the blog before because it just felt wrong, somehow, to give a not-single man (he has only been married part of the time I've known him) that much space in my life. If that makes sense.) But spending so much time together over the weekend, our differences became more noticeable. The main one being our communication styles. I like to process things to death. To mull, to ponder, to analyze... together. He's an engineer. He's not silent by any means, and indeed, to my discomfort, he wanted to process his separation quite a bit. But he's less inclined, for example, to compare the disparate personalities of a couple who just became engaged and to discuss in what ways they might or might not be a good match.
Sometimes, when we were kissing, he'd give me one of those long, smoldering looks in my eyes. I mostly didn't think about it too much, or tried to close my eyes.
So when Salt Lick and I were boarding the bus to come home on Sunday, it came as a total shock to see him mouth three certain little words from ten feet away... and even more to have him come rushing back a few seconds later to kiss me and say out loud, "I said, 'I love you.'"
I paused, gave him a cheerful smile, and wordlessly boarded my bus.
Oh, and I forgot to mention: the previous day, he also semi-jokingly offered to be my sperm donor when I T42... and then brought up the topic again that morning. And said, "I can't believe I said that to you. But it's been something I've been thinking about."
So what does this even mean?
Does "I love you" mean "I am in love with you?"
Seems doubtful, because it's not like he's asking to spend his life with me or anything like that.
Does it mean, "I love you like a good friend?" Possible, but seems unlikely, given that we aren't good friends, exactly.
Does it mean, "I love you like a piece of art, something I admire from a distance?"
I've always felt like he's had me on a pedastal, just a bit. Like he only saw the good things about me. Several times (during multiple visits over the years, always at hashes), he's looked at me and said simply, "You're awesome."
So I guess that seems the most plausible. Only I don't actually consider this love. So maybe that's not what he meant?
He also said, "I want to see you again." Something he's never said before. So I responded lightly, "Okay, so be in touch."
Feeling a little bad about not responding to his last minute "I love you", I texted him today to suggest he come to our NYC Red Dress Run in late September -- an event where the entire group dresses up in, yes, red dresses, to streak through the streets of lower Manhattan. At the end of the day, he wrote back, "that could be fun. let me check my travel schedule."
If he was truly in love with me, I think he would leap at the opportunity to see me. And want to be a part of my real life, not just the hashing part. If he just admires me on a pedastal, he might prefer to only see me at far away hash events.
I don't feel like I have a ton invested either way. I'm happy in my life, and not at all convinced that we have relationship material (a few years ago, I felt totally differently, and was convinced we had a future together, if only he broke up with his wife). Which is really disappointing, actually. To have the object of your heart's desire -- the only man I've been physically drawn to in years -- finally, at least somewhat, available... and to find that you're not sure you care. It's disappointing.
I'm trying not to give up on him entirely. To give him time to work through his divorce -- luckily he's already in therapy to help process it -- and to give him the opportunity to get to know me in real life.
Still, I'm not about to discard my frozen embryos. It seems extremely unlikely that I will change my plans about forming my family... but I'm trying to keep an open mind. I think my ideal scenario would be an occasional friend-with-benefits who would be willing to travel to NYC monthly to see me... and wouldn't mind helping out with babysitting so we could go out for a nice dinner. And then come home and have heaps of sex.
My hunch is that this is not the scenario he is envisioning... but who knows? I'd love to know what he meant by his offer to be a sperm donor -- I'm guessing he really meant that, and not to be a co-parent, but I'm only guessing.
All very confusing... but luckily, somewhat entertaining as well. It's fun to have gossip to discuss, for once, instead of just potty training and sleep schedules.