A few months ago I told the Boy that I was making a plan for my life and we needed to decide once and for all whether we could be together for the long term. Instead of responding to my question, he asked if we could talk about it later. Two months went by and he never mentioned it again.
When he left to spend Christmas with his family in Kansas, I reminded him of our conversation. He said that he needed to think about what he wanted and we would talk when he got back.
Whenever the Boy and I contemplate our future, the discussion always revolves around one issue. A baby. The Boy wants to have one someday and I don't. Whether we are dating or just sleeping together in between dating, the baby debate lurks in the back of our minds until something forces it to the surface again.
Last weekend, the Boy and I were out at the bar. After a few drinks he revealed to me that he is no longer convinced that he needs to have a baby. Which definitely took me by surprise. I wasn't sure how to react to this unplanned extension of our relationship expiration date.
And that was not all. While he was in Kansas, the Boy had been doing some more thinking about what he wanted out of a relationship.
"If we are going to make it long term, I would like us to see each other more than two days a week," he explained. "I would like to be in a relationship where are together at the beginning or end of the day. Even if we go off and do our own thing in between."
"Have you ever asked me to spend an extra night with you during the week?" I asked. "If you want to see me more often, you could just come over after work and stay with me sometime. Even if we don't have any big plans for the evening."
We talked about it for awhile and the Boy explained that it always requires planning to come and stay at my house because we live 30 minutes away from each other. He needs to know in the morning that he will be sleeping over so he can pack a bag. We can't just decide at the last minute to spend the night together.
"So, you are asking if you can keep some stuff at my place?" I asked. I wasn't sure where he got the idea that he wasn't allowed to keep anything at my house.
"You always said that we wouldn't keep anything at each other's houses. Not even a toothbrush," he told me. "You are the only girl I've dated who has never asked to keep stuff at my place."
First of all, I am pretty sure the comment about the toothbrush was taken out of context. I might have been joking about the fact that the Boy and I don't keep things at each others houses. I don't recall ever saying that he couldn't.
The first time we broke up after Round 1, I remember us meeting up for the ceremonial exchanging of the stuff. I think there was a CD and some face lotion that I left at his house. I don't think I had anything of his at my house.
When we broke up after Round 2, I gave him a razor, some contact lens solution and a pair of pajamas that he kept at my house. He gave me a black wig that I had loaned him to wear as part of his Halloween costume. Maybe it is strange that after four years of dating on and off, the Boy and I didn't keep more stuff at each other's houses.
When I was with my Mr. Big, he had a small section of my downstairs closet where he hung extra clothes. And I bought him a little plastic set of drawers from Target where he could keep socks, underwear and pajamas. Every time he would stay over the weekend, he would leave a little pile of dirty clothes on the floor of the closet and I would just throw them in with my laundry. It felt completely natural and never occurred to me that it was a big step for him to keep stuff at my house.
Not only did my Mr. Big keep stuff at my house, he also had a key. I gave it to him almost immediately after I moved into the house and he did the same thing with his apartment. Our relationship was on solid ground from the day it began. I never questioned whether or not we were meant to be together in the long term.
It was strange to hear the Boy's impression of me as this distant person who will not let him keep a toothbrush at my house. I always consider myself to be an emotionally available person. He is the one who does not communicate his emotions, leaving me feeling uncertain and disconnected.
I know that I am capable of deep love and commitment to another person. I am not so sure about the Boy. He has had two serious relationships, each of them lasting less than a year. I am by far the most significant female presence in his life. Since the Boy was stating his relationship expectations, I figured I would do the same.
"The thing that worries me the most about having a future with you is that I am not sure you are capable of falling in love," I told him. "I want to be with a guy who appreciates me and knows without a doubt that he wants to be with me. Not someone who is constantly questioning whether I fit into his ideal of what a relationship should be. I can't live the rest of my life with someone who never says that he loves me and doesn't share his feelings with me."
"Wow, that's a lot to take in," he replied.
On some level, I knew it was unfair to put that much pressure on him. Here I was asking the Boy to express his feelings for me, when I wasn't even certain of my feelings for him. Do I love the Boy? And if you are truly in love with someone, shouldn't you know it?
I have been in love a few times in my life. And there were probably a few more times when I thought I was in love when I really wasn't. But I have never experienced the reverse, where I was in love with someone but did not realize it.
Part of me wonders whether the Boy and I should just give up now. When I think about my past relationships, I just don't remember it being this complicated. But there is another part of me that wonders if the Boy and I might just be the only two people in the world who haven't figured out that we are meant for each other. And if each of us finally lets go and admits our feelings, then everything will magically fall into place.
"I know it doesn't sound very romantic, but I would like for us to see where this goes." The Boy gazed across the table at me, waiting to see my reaction.
Since he is willing to give up his imaginary future baby for me, it seems like the least I can do is let the Boy keep some stuff at my house. And we will see if love comes along with it.