It was a rainy Tuesday night and Robert and I were huddled under his umbrella walking through midtown to one of our favorite restaurants. Our dinner that night was a last minute decision after work, but it seemed like the perfect opportunity for me to get things off my chest.
We made small talk for a while as we waited for our food. I took a few small sips of wine and tried to remember the speech I’d been preparing but I couldn’t, so I took a deep breath and jumped right in, while praying that my words would make sense.
“So… I’ve been thinking– I date a LOT, but its hard for me to fully pursue things with other guys because of what I have with you.”
I took a breath and kept going, “I know you’re not like, my ‘boyfriend’, but I feel like we’re more than ‘friends’ and… we’re in this kind of… like, grey area… so I just figured I should bring it up, you know– so we could like, talk about it.”
(Yes, I say “like” a lot when I’m nervous.)
When I finished stumbling through my speech Robert just stared at me, stunned. He didn’t say anything for what felt like hours. “I think what you’re asking is completely fair,” he began. “I’ve been thinking that we should have this conversation too….”
“Okay,” I replied slowly.
“I like you… a lot, and lately I feel like my feelings for you have been getting stronger…” I nodded quietly as Robert continued.
“I’ve been holding off from starting a relationship since my last one ended because relationships are hard work, but you constantly make me reconsider that,” he said, looking me in my eyes.
“So, why have you held back?” I asked.
“Because relationships are hard work…”
My heart sank, “so you don’t want us to be in a relationship.”
“I do want us to be in a relationship, but I think our timing is important. We have something, I just want to make sure we don’t mess it up, so I think we should take some time and figure things out… together.”
As we began to talk through what we wanted and what we needed, I started to realize something about myself. Although I date constantly, an exclusive relationship isn’t something that I have a lot of experience with. I assumed a relationship meant that Robert and I would hang out, make out but basically keep things exactly as they were. Robert brought new things to my attention. He said that if he were in a relationship with me, he would begin to take me into consideration when making decisions and it wouldn’t only be about “him” and “me”, but it would be about “us”.
I hadn’t considered any of those things… to me that type of thinking comes more with living together or marriage, but if Robert takes relationships that seriously, I would need to asses myself and see if I was up to the task. When I broached the topic of a relationship with Robert, I thought it was something I was ready for, but now I wondered if I needed to slow down a little bit.
Luckily Robert was ready and willing to give me (I mean… us) time….