When I met Date #4, I wasn’t looking for anything serious. I was simply mixing a little business with pleasure when my online dating research yielded a surprising result – a dateable, attractive man with whom I was compatible. My life was run at a hectic, but efficient and highly effective pace. There simply wasn’t a whole lot of room. I liked it that way.
Things started slowly. I told him I wasn’t looking for anything serious, that I was, ahem, very busy and important. No time for a relationship, not looking for that sort of thing. He said he understood, respected my priorities, etc.
Then I fell in love with him.
The “serious” thing needed revising, obviously. As two people are apt to do when they find they enjoy one another’s company, we spent a lot of time together.
I stopped running. I stopped blogging as regularly. I stopped doing laundry and grocery shopping. I was deep in Cloud Cuckoo Land, as I like to call it. That place where newly formed couples spend way too long looking into each other’s eyes, sleeping really late on weekends, and having lots and lots of hot monkey sex.
As much as I knew this was going to happen, I couldn’t stop it. Perhaps I didn’t want to stop it. What the hell? Falling in love is fantastic. Why skip all the fun stuff and move straight into routine?
Incorporating Date #4 into my life isn’t the same as making a new friend or having a relative move into town. This is someone that I hope to have a meaningful relationship with. Anyone who has been in a relationship for a period of time knows that it takes time to get to know someone. I liked Date #4 and I wanted to learn about him – that takes time. Granted, you can take your time getting to know someone, but I tend to be an extremist with a “good” button instead of an “easy” button. If it makes me feel good or happy, I’ll slam that damn button till it’s broke. Luckily, I didn’t do that here.
Armed with a little bit of knowledge of myself and my habits, I tried to resist Cloud Cuckoo Land, but it was simply too alluring. GIWS and I had managed to see each other only once a week, twice tops, throughout the few months we dated. I tried to do this again, but to no avail.
When I got sick (again), my frustration reared its head. I had gained 5 lbs. I was completely out of racing shape. I’d been eating entire meals out of the vending machines at work. Thanks to my fourth sinus infection this year, I was waylaid and unable to stay awake long enough to do anything other than go to work. I reached my breaking point when my libido disappeared. WTF?!
A week later, I got better and I got some perspective. Date #4 and I have been together for only two months. I realized that I could maintain my old schedule and kick him out of my life or I could find a new routine. That period of everything going to hell was just a slash-and-burn method of prepping the soil for a new life. One that involves the man that I love and all the activities I love.
What I ended up having to do was first explain to him what was going on in my head. He understood and didn’t take it personally at all, which was essential for me to feel comfortable moving forward. I explained to him that there are a lot of things I enjoy doing that I haven’t been doing lately, and that I need a routine or schedule in order to make it all fit into my life.
I looked at my schedule, needs and priorities. I looked at his schedule, needs and priorities. He has two dogs, so he can’t stay over too often. I live out of the way of my work and his house, so I have to bring all my stuff for work if I’m staying over. It made more sense to do all that if I were staying two nights in a row. For both of our sanity and respect of personal space, I decided two nights apart would be good for us. Thus, a schedule emerged. I would stay with him Wednesdays and Thursdays, and he would stay with me on Tuesdays and Fridays. Sundays and Mondays we had off, and Saturdays I left to whim (even I don’t try to plan everything).
I make sure to bring my running shoes to his place and try to take the dogs out with me. I also run on the evenings we’re not seeing each other. The beginning of the week can be overwhelming for me, so that’s why I picked those two days to spend apart. It gives me the time to work on my blog, get my clothes ready for the week, and to generally spend time with myself, which I think is important in any relationship.
Once I identified the problem and communicated that to him, I was able to then ask, what now? How can I have both – him and my old life? Planning the nights was a great first step. It allows me to plan what will need to happen and when. The other stuff is simply up to me. Once I finished the relay marathon I had spent months training for in May, I had a hard time staying motivated, so I signed up for a race on July 4 and started looking for more to keep me running.
Maybe this is easy for some people to figure out, but I was really happy being single. My life was happy and whole when I met Date #4, so much in fact that if it weren’t for my sister’s sage advice to not let opportunities pass me by, I probably wouldn’t have made the leap.
I’m glad that I did, but that period of transition can be tough. I think it’s important to be honest with yourself, to communicate your frustration without laying any blame, and to get into the solution. Dwelling in the problem while I was sick yielded nothing but a depressing blog post (sorry!). Once I decided to try a solution, I was already feeling like my old self and it didn’t take long to get back on track.
Oh, and my libido came back. Thank god.
[Photo credit: Evan Romine]