I've been surprised by some things in this relationship, and I have learnt other things. Its difficult to articulate, (ha! Lucky you lot!...) but its worth a random think, I think. This is surely (almost) what blogs were made for- a perfect place to write inexpertly about complex matters of the heart and soul! Please feel free to add any thinks of your own to the comments. Here goes:
I first tried to write out what we were, together, here- in the 'fella' section. It was the first time I'd stopped to think about it properly, (how do I introduce this guy who is sometimes on the scene, and sometimes not, but who is such a part of my life nowadays that I find him turning up in my blog posts with regular abandon?!) Well, I think it covers the situation well. We've had some fab times, a couple of less-fab ones, but I'm settled, I'm smiley... alot. There are some things about this relationship that are very different to previous ones, and I really think I'm ok about it. This came as a surprise! Its taken guts, and a 'steady hand', when sorting out my emotions, because my natural state as a girlfriend, is one of a girl that needs swooping up, and taking care of, and organising, and big emotional gestures (not to be confused with monetary ones).
This is where I have been going wrong. There are a distinct lack of those things in this Crazy Little Thing, and even though this was what I'd decided I wanted, I still had to take it as a challenge- to make myself try something new, something slightly out of my usual pattern, something less wrapped-up and co-dependant. This was needed after my previous experiences.
We give modest presents, (most of the time- tut tut for a couple of very sweet gifts he gave me last year) we don't call every day, we don't go out every weekend, and there are only four photos in existence of us together. Hey, we hardly ever even use the 'L' word. But is it neccessary just now? Is it too easy to over-use that one? Its only been a year. I'll come back to that. I've realised that what we do have is all thats required, as long as the Crazy Little Thing meets each other's needs, and feels cosy and warm. I do feel cosy and warm, without feeling penned-in. Let me tell you what things I do have with him:
- An understanding that we have lives of our own, but a flexi-cuddle arrangement, ie, as soon as one misses the other, we find ourselves making flimsy excuses to be together again.
- Also, that ability to be 'the only one' to the other, who understands things that happen occasionally, and can offer the right words or comfort.
- Separate living spaces. He is around 40 or 50 minutes drive from Here, and aside from the fact that he has to do the 'running' because I'm still without a car, this suits us fine for now. For now? I wouldn't mind carrying on in this way for a couple of years or more actually, although all-the-better if I had my own transport...
- There is little talk of 'the future'. You know? That Talk. It really isn't essential just now- we like to be around each other and that is enough for the moment. We're more than dating, but less than people that make joint decisions about what will happen. (Bad English? Yes. Sorry!)
- Stuff in common: spare-time stuff, and outlooks, and an appreciation of each other's hobbies. Theres a careful balance between this and 'couple-time' I guess, not that I've needed it yet, nor he for that matter- something thats been a struggle in previous relationships.
I've always needed another half to 'complete' me. No more. Taxi for Mr Freud please- you can no longer pin that one on me! I like my independance, and so does he, but it doesn't detract from the feelings. And because of how things are, I'm not going to declare that I've found the love of my life- not only is it doomed to fail if I do, nobody has asked me to profess it, so I won't. Who knows what the future holds? And yes I trust him, but its taken a while. And like I said- I don't use the 'L' word like its going out of fashion anymore. Can you believe it? I can't! But it wasn't helping my doomed relationships when I did. Still getting used to that one, because I sure use it on my children everyday, but its not as vital as I thought it was with a partner, I've decided. What do you think?...
He said something interesting to me near the beginning- he didn't want us to 'burn out'. He admitted to that 'butterflies' feeling after our first date, just like me, when we sheltered under a brolly in the pouring rain, and we both felt that there was a real chance that there might be something between us... but he didn't want to lose that in a flash. Butterflies aren't an unwelcome addition to the mix are they? He didn't want them disappearing too quickly. Its not really an old fashioned courting thing, but theres no hurry, and this is why I like an older man!- he's right.
You get to be in charge of things this way- not led by your heart. Theres still that element of emotional unpredictability (in a good way!), only without the 'jumping feet first' feeling, or the 'never knowing what will happen once you feel settled' feeling.
So it may read as though I had to join his camp and pick up on his way of doing things. I didn't. It was a conscious decision this time, to opt for a relationship like this one, and not in the format of my previous ones. I think with the children at the ages they are now, it was, and is vital, that we have our family time for me to do my thing with them in the Single Mummy Zone, without any relationship stuff around me sometimes. He sees them a fair amount, and I'm not saying this for the purposes of giving the right impression, but I genuinely mean it when I say: the children can't get enough of him. No plans for him to become a permanent live-in-role model in their lives just now though, even though they'd love that, so they'll have to get used to it! I'm determined not to involve him too much too soon.We come as a package, but they're not going to become his responsibility- they're all mine mine mine!
I'm not being smug- I haven't got The Solution to life's great questions of love, and its not perfect, in fact theres often lots of alone-times, (although I need them, if I am to work out who I am and what I need to do) but its damn hard being the single mummy trying to date a scrummy boyfriend, especially when his 'outside of us' life is family and going out, and having a laugh with best friends, and mine, (because I can't do those things very often, woe is me, blah blah blah...) is going to the park, catching up on phonecalls, or tidying the kitchen. But I love (ooh- I used the L-word!) being with somebody who makes me happy, and I have found somebody who does that.
And now I will stop writing about relationships like I have a Carrie collumn in a New York paper. Normal service will be resumed! Hope you are all having a lovely week.