I have probably mentioned before that the Boy and I are dating for the second time around. We first got together in 2008 after things ended with my Mr. Big. I had waited for about a year before I even contemplated dating anyone else. But I was finally ready to get out there again.
The last thing I wanted was another serious relationship, so I joined Match.com and did a search for guys who lived within five miles of Royal Oak and were under the age of 35. For those of you who aren't familiar, Royal Oak is a local suburb filled with lots of bars, shops and restaurants. Most of my favorite hang outs are right in that neighborhood. I figured I would meet a cute younger guy, spend the summer drinking and have a place to crash each weekend.
As I was clicking through the profiles of my potential summer flings, I found the Boy. His profile picture was a shot of him leaning over the railing of a boat with a drink in his hand on a beautiful sunny day. You could tell from the scenery that it was some far off island location. The headline for his profile was "A Breath of Fresh Air." Sounds perfect. Sign me up.
When I met him in person, he did not disappoint. We were into each other from the first date and spent the entire summer together drinking wine, staying up late and sleeping until noon in his cozy bed. Talk about comfortable. I had not slept that well in years. If the conversation lagged at times, it was more than compensated by our physical chemistry. The sex was amazing.
As an added benefit, the Boy also had a great group of friends. There were weddings, concerts, parties, happy hours and anything else you could imagine. I had the exact summer experience that I wanted.
When leaves began to fall, reality set in. My fun and carefree summer personality was quickly being pushed aside by problems at work and other sources of stress. And I still missed my Mr. Big. I felt like my relationship with the Boy wasn't going anywhere. He was great to have around when I wanted a good time. But he was not as well-equipped to handle life's complications.
I broke up with the Boy in October, just a few days before the 2nd anniversary of my Mr. Big's stroke. We were laying in bed and I was feeling sad. The Boy had no idea how to communicate with me or help me deal with what I was going through. I remember telling him "I just feel so alone. And I think I could deal with it better if I was truly alone. But I shouldn't have to be alone with someone laying right next to me."
After that, I did not speak to the Boy for awhile. It wasn't that I was mad at him. I actually did not feel anything at all, which wasn't entirely his fault. He called me a few months later to invite me to a concert with him. But I turned him down and he didn't bother calling again.
Flash forward to summer 2009. I was still single and feeling a little bit restless. I had started my new job and was completely miserable there. I just wanted to go out and have some fun. Of course, the first person to pop into my mind was the Boy. So I looked him up on Facebook and sent him a message.
Here I am with the Boy again for Round 2. And a lot of things have improved since the first time we dated. In my past relationships, I was always doing things for the other person. I thought if I could just be the 'perfect girlfriend' and not make things too complicated then the guy would have no reason to break up with me. I know that is something I did a lot with the Canadian. I wanted it to work out so badly that I was on edge the entire time. I couldn't just be myself.
With the Boy, I actually ask him for things I need. Whether it is a massage after a long day at work or picking up something for me at the store on his way over. And the more I let him do things for me, the more he seems to want to do things. The way he explains it, he feels like he is contributing something and that makes him feel good.
What is harder to describe, but I think even more important is the nurturing side that he has been displaying this time around. Our physical relationship has always been strong, but now there is an emotional component as well. I feel like we are starting to understand each other in new and different ways.
A few weeks after we started Round 2, we were out with one of the Boy's girl friends. She is not my favorite person in the world. Mostly because I find her condescending and slightly narcissistic. We were having a few drinks and she was going on and on about how guys always disappoint her. They start out by taking her to art shows and the opera, but eventually they end up on the couch watching football. And she is always surprised to find out that these guys didn't really like opera, they were just pretending to like opera so that she would go out with them.
This girl has even developed a 10 point checklist of exactly what she is looking for in a man. For example, he must be attractive, intelligent, passionate, have a great job, come from a good family, be a supporter of the arts, not be obsessed with sports, and the list went on and on.
After hearing all of this, I explained to her that I used to have a list like that too. But then I realized that there was only one thing I really needed to know: Does he make me happy. Upon hearing this, the Boy just held onto my hand and smiled. And I got to enjoy the very brief victory of seeing little Miss Narcissist speechless for about 30 seconds.
But is being happy really enough? This weekend, I was over at the Boy's house. He had ordered us a pizza and cracked open a nice bottle of wine and we were just talking. "We don't really talk a lot about where our relationship is going," I said to him. With so many of his friends getting married this summer I was wondering if it had crossed his mind.
"Well," he reminded me. "The last time we talked about where our relationship was going, we broke up." Good point. That night we broke up in Round 1, it wasn't just about my Mr. Big. The Boy would like to have children someday. And that is clearly not on my agenda. It was a frequent topic of discussion, but it's really not the type of thing you can negotiate. Either you want to have kids or you don't.
In Round 2 we have danced around the topic in a variety of ways. Sometimes I joke with him that he should go out and find a nice woman to have a baby with. Then when they inevitably break up a few years later he can come and find me for Round 3. He doesn't find this particularly amusing. Other times I just remind him that men can have children well into their 40's, so he has plenty of time to do that after we break up.
The problem is that having kids is still a very abstract concept to the Boy. It is on his 'someday' list. And I am on his 'right now' list. So for the most part, we are just avoiding the topic because we are happy now, and that is what matters.
"So the question is, do all relationships have to be going somewhere?" I asked the Boy last night. "And if we aren't going somewhere, does that mean we're going nowhere?"
He looked at me for a moment and said "Maybe it just means that we're already there."
Deep down, I realize that my relationship with the Boy will not last forever. And he probably knows it too. Yet there is no compelling reason for either of us to walk away right now. We are comfortable, relaxed and happy.
Some couples stay together for the kids. Others stay together because they own a home. The Boy and I stay together for the sex and the wine. And for now, that seems to be as good a reason as any.