Monday, July 02, 2007

The Talk

At long last, McI and I had our overdue conversation. It went much better than I had expected. Things came to a head on Friday, when he didn’t bother to contact me to cancel tentative plans. He’d never done that before, and so I sent him a text telling him that we needed to talk (meaning whatever it is people who aren’t a couple do to “break up”).

I heard back from him, with an apology, saying that he needed to go hide and that he understood that the writing was on the wall. We wound up texting into the wee hours of the morning about where and when we’d meet and settled on the Charles St. T Saturday morning. I got about two hours of sleep, and smoked an entire pack of cigarettes (I know, I know, but given my self-destructive tendencies when I’m hurt, my choices were getting hammered or smoking, and I chose having a clearer head).

Throughout the night, I tried to figure out what I might say. I settled on being honest, and telling him how I felt and what I wanted—and what I didn’t want. I’ve never really done that before, and I was going to regret it for the rest of my life if I didn’t tell him. As best as I could, I prepared myself for hearing the likely truth that we didn’t want the same things. I resolved to remain calm, not to cry, and not to attack. I wasn’t going to be Little Sassy Schmoozer, but I was going to employ some of her communication skills. The Little One sets people at ease, and allows for people to respond calmly (and honestly), not defensively. I needed her.

That morning before we met was one of the longer mornings of my life. How do you really prepare yourself to say goodbye to someone you love and want to be with? How do you prepare to do it without reading rejection as a reflection on you and your worth? Although I have learned to value myself on my own, I think perhaps that meeting with McArtsyPants couldn’t have been more timely. Someone who’d dated me and treated me less-than well had just expressed regret that he hadn’t recognized what he’d had when he had it. That gave me some external strength, and I needed it.

I walked to the T a little early, preparing myself along the way. I looked at my watch and told myself that it would all be over in an hour. I just needed to get through this hour. I hadn’t really talked to myself like that since I took my Master’s exam. Like the exam, it would be OK. I’d live, even if I didn’t “pass” this one (I passed my exam with flying colors, even though I was convinced I’d flunk).

The train arrived and deposited me at Downtown Crossing. Just as I’d sat down to wait for the Red Line, in walked McI. We laughed at our punctuality, and he sat beside me. “Come here often?” I joked. We had an easy chat, interrupted at times by uncomfortable silences. We got on the train, and I learned why he had wanted to hide. His life isn’t for broadcast on this blog, but I will say that I would have run home to hide myself. But that doesn’t make it OK.

We got off at Charles St. and walked to the Esplanade. I’d thought that it would make a good spot to chat. Pretty, public enough to discourage a scene, and with plenty of exits. We chatted as we walked along before sitting down on a bench. I took a deep breath and started.

“I really like you, McI,” I said (OK, I didn’t say “love,” but Little Sassy Schmoozer knows how not to freak people out). “I’d really like to keep dating you. But I can’t have you blowing me off, even for good reasons, and I don’t like the way I’ve often wondered if you’d just disappeared. You’ve always had good reasons for doing this kind of stuff, which is why I’ve been understanding, but I can’t do it anymore. It hurts. I need to know if you still want to know me.”

“I know,” he said. “I’m sorry,” and he proceeded to tell me how he felt. We’re not in the same place, but he doesn’t want me out of his life. I learned a little more about why he’s been hesitant about getting more involved with me—things that have nothing to do with me. Things that in time could be resolved (like I said, his life isn’t for broadcast, so although this part of the story is incomplete, you’ll have to trust me that it wasn’t hopeless). I asked him if he thought that he could be better about communicating with me.

“Definitely,” he said without hesitation.

We talked some more, and we left it that we’d work on getting to know each other better. We agreed that there’s something there with us that would be sad to lose. It was really nice to hear that he likes me, and not matter what happens to with us romantically, he’d hate to lose my friendship. That might sound strange, but I’ve often struggled with feelings that I’m not worth knowing and that guys only want me for sex. That’s not to say that we didn’t talk about that—we laughed when we talked about how good other aspects of our relationship are. In general the conversation was calm, honest, and kind. The setting provided ample opportunity for diversions when things got a bit uncomfortable.

For now we’re both free to date other people. I know this sounds weird, but that’s fine with me. He’s a busy guy, and I’ve wanted a little more company. I like knowing that I can have some without feeling like I’m sneaking around. He also knows that I’m not going to wait forever and that I’m going to live my life. We’ll see what happens, but things are no longer on his terms exclusively.

“Well,” I sighed. “THAT was somewhat unpleasant. Thank you for taking the time to talk to me. I know you weren’t looking forward to this conversation.”

“Yeah, I know. These things are never fun, but we needed to do it, and I’m glad you said something.”

All in all, we talked for about an hour, and then we parted company with a hug. “I’ll be in touch, and I won’t disappear,” he said, smiling. He went his way, and I went to the North End for a coffee.

I’m proud of myself. I was able to say what I wanted and to express what I didn’t want honestly and in a way that didn’t put him on the defensive. I found out where we stand, and I realized that things weren’t as dark as I’d thought. He agreed to communicate with me more, and ultimately, this was what I really wanted. And the thing is, even if he doesn’t follow through with that, and even if things don’t (and there’s every possibility that they won’t) work out with us, it won’t be because I didn’t say anything. I don’t have to live with that regret.

This concludes the blogging I’m doing about my dating life for a while. Things are fucked up enough in this world these days that a good ol’ political rant is in order soon.

16 comments:

Dear Prudence said...

Sassy, sounds like the "talk" went ok. I am sure you wanted a hell ya I'm all in reponse, but he was honest and you can hope for nothing more than that! "I like knowing that I can have some"
Some of whatever you want! Good for you.

dive said...

Whew!
I'm so glad you managed to talk things out at last, Sassy. Well done.

Now can I have my ranty girl back, please?

Conan Drumm said...

Well done you, and ok, we'll take on trust what you take on trust. Let the ranting begin!

zirelda said...

As my father would have said, "You done good."

Beautiful job. That has to feel better.

Robyn said...

As I have said before, I am also impressed with your ability to communicate with people in an honest but sympathetic approach.

Good for you, Sassy. Do you feel like you have unloaded a burden?

ali said...

I very happy that you're happy with the results. I'm also very proud of you that you laid it all out. Congratulations!

Full said...

It's better to regret something you have done, than something you haven't.
Well done for being true to yourself.

Rant on dude.

Medbh said...

OOh, but remember, Sassy, the personal is political. But you probably need to focus on other issues to get some perspective and a break from all the emotional stuff.
You handled yourself with aplomb.
Cheers!

Terroni said...

You must be relieved to have had "the talk"... and I look forward to your return to political ranting.

Manuel said...

Ranting is so much fun, so let the fun continue/commence....

Sassy Sundry said...

Thanks, Everybody. A good update is that he got in touch, and we're going to see each other tomorrow. So. Progress. We shall see.

Proxima Blue said...

I'm proud of you too. If someone can't make you a priority in their life, then you can find someone else who will, regardless of their issues.

Take Care, easy on the cigs.

-P

Conan Drumm said...

Ok, enough of McI... what's with Bush letting his pal off his 30 months in the slammer?!!

Maria said...

I'm glad you got things settled. It is best to know where you are on the map (or even if you share the same one.)

And yeah...what about Bush's helping out his lying sack of shit friend?

All I can say is that if I were Paris Hilton, I would feel so...disrespected, so injured.

Old Knudsen said...

Poor thing but yeah you weren't both at the same place, it happens, even to Old Knudsen sometimes its so easy to fall in love than it is out of it.

Conortje said...

Aw Sassy - Well done, it seems you made a very tough situation go as well as it could. I really want you to have fun now - you really deserve it.