Saturday, May 4, 2013

The Slow Decider

I'm a slow decider. It takes me a few months to decide if I really love a new item of clothing, or new jewelry. It's not just a process of looking and deciding whether or not I objectively like it; I need to wear it for a while and see how it feels on me and whether or not it feels like a match for me. 

And boyfriends are no different. My feelings about exes tend to gradually morph and change shape over time. Sometimes they mellow and improve, like old wine or fine cheese; other times they behave more like rotten vegetables. Nearly four years after La Moustache broke my heart, I am finally ready to think about him as a nuanced person with faults as well as good qualities, and I even wrote him a couple of friendly emails this winter.  It took me a few years after our breakup, but I now consider l'Artista to be a good friend and one of the best exes one could possibly ask for. Dreamy, on the other hand, is like one of those vegetables that dry up and shrivel in your vegetable drawer. He's not really ever on my mind, not because it's painful to think about him but just simply because I don't feel any connection to him.

Monkeyboy, though a brief affair, is someone who I avoid thinking about because it's painful. In just a few short weeks he managed to win my trust, then break my heart in a way that seemed like it should be impossible in such a short time frame. His last communication with me was a note in which he refused to see me to talk about the breakup, and I don't foresee ever contacting him or hearing from him again. Leif Ericson is another one who I don't think about much, though in his case it's more because he just wasn't so memorable. By now I think more often of the delicious concoctions his friend cooked up than I do about Leif himself, whose personality always seemed a bit amorphous, probably because he was an alcoholic. And, although I only went on just four short dates with him, I continue to have a big soft spot for Theradate, to whom I managed to recount my entire life story on our first date and STILL have plenty to talk to him about on our subsequent dates. I ran into him at the movies a couple of months ago, and giggled when he told me that he managed to cry four times during 56 Up (I'm still not sure how that is humanly possible). He checked in with me after the bombings a couple of weeks ago, making sure that not only was I ok but asking about my sister and brother-in-law, too. He can be a bit over-the-top, but he's sweet.  

These days I'm dating 95%, and am beginning to wonder how I'll think about him in a year's time or two. He's kind and thoughtful and would do anything to make me happy, but after three months of dating I still don't feel that I really know him. He's smart, interesting and a great match for me in many ways, but I'm just not as excited after three months as I probably should be. 

Meanwhile, Theradate contacted me a week and a half ago to ask me to get together. He had told me when we broke up that he wanted to stay in touch, so I was happy but unsurprised to hear from him. I didn't really have time to see him, but I said yes anyway. It turns out he didn't really have time to see me, either, and he ended up canceling, saying he'd rather get together when we both have the time to hang out, maybe spend a weekend afternoon together. I didn't feel disappointed when he canceled. 

Still, it got me to thinking about Theradate, and a few days later I found myself doing some Internet research about him. I found out that he seems to be recently single, which made me wonder if his contacting me was in fact just the friendly gesture I had initially interpreted it as. I decided to check in about when we'd be hanging out. This led to an increasingly frustrating series of texts that went along the following lines: 

TD: Heeeeey!! Love to see you. I'll be in Boston twice this week: on Tuesday for a business dinner and then again on Friday. 

Me: Cool! Maybe we can get a drink before your business dinner or after?

TD: Not sure. There's a slim chance my dinner could be over by 9 so maybe we could see each other then. If not, I miiiiiight be able to squeeze you in on Friday before my plans. I'll check in with my colleague about Friday. 

Me: Let's aim for one or the other. Which one seems more likely?

Then, feeling that this was becoming ridiculous:  Theradate, much as I'd love to see you, all these "maybes" are making it difficult to plan my week. Let's postpone until you have a time when you're sure you're able to hang out. 

TD: Totally understand, Heathen. We'll do that. Sorry for all the craziness -- my schedule should be more open in a couple of weeks. 

Me: Okay, it would be fun to hang out the weekend after next if you're around!

Then,, in a last-ditch attempt: Any chance you are free for a beer tomorrow?

TD: Would LOVE to see you but I'm heading to Boston in rush hour traffic and I have to be there right after I'm done with work!!! 

At that point, I growled at my phone and gave up. Maybe it'll happen someday; maybe it won't. In the meantime, I'm finding myself thinking about Theradate and feeling annoyed at myself for doing so and annoyed at him for reappearing and making me think about him all over again after MONTHS of not thinking about him, but seeming incapable of making plans that don't include a "maybe."

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