I am in a relationship with an amazing man. He is kind, thoughtful, funny as hell and incredibly supportive. We have been dating for about six weeks. While I know that doesn't seem like a very long time, in some ways it feels like I have known him much longer.
The more we get to know each other, the more we want to learn. Sometimes we talk on the phone four or five times a day and yet it never seems like enough. There is always more to say. We have a lifetime of stories to catch up on.
It feels like I am on the verge of having everything I ever wanted in a relationship. Yet the closer I get, I am also afraid. What if he turns out to be crazy, like my last boyfriend? What if we create an energy level that we cannot possibly sustain and it all starts to fall apart? What if I make a mistake or disappoint him in some way? How would we recover from that?
I think I am letting my fear hold me back from giving in completely to the feelings I am having for this man. I have always been cautious about saying what I want. It is as if the act of declaring something will somehow block it from actually happening, or make it disappear.
Meanwhile, he is so excited about our new relationship. He got divorced about three years ago and has not had a lot of success with his love life since then. As he has been re-connecting with friends, he is telling them all about me.
Yesterday he had lunch with a co-worker who got divorced around the same time he did. "We usually share dating nightmares and complain about our single status, but this time it was different," he explained. "I told her all about you and how everything in my life has changed. She told me it sounds like I am in puppy love."
"Oh really," I said, trying to take a pause and gather my thoughts. "Well, that is a pretty strong word!" As soon as that sentence floated off of my tongue I felt awful. I was actually really happy to hear that he is in puppy love, or any kind of love with me for that matter. And yet when I was faced with hearing those words, my instinct was to pull back.
I felt like he was being overly confident about us. Like if he said too much, he was somehow going to jinx it.
Everything is moving so fast. Each day is just a blur of phone calls and texts. Pouring our hearts out to each other, with each conversation leading to a deeper level of understanding. Last night he told me that he has never shared this much of himself with anyone. This is coming from a man who was married for 17 years.
Sometimes it seems like it is too good to be true. Could our relationship really be this easy and effortless? Maybe the more important question is where did I get the idea that if something is worth having, it has to be a struggle? I guess pretty much every romantic comedy, for starters. The couple meets, starts to fall for each other, then there is some obstacle in their way and they have to overcome it before they can find their true happiness.
I keep worrying that he enjoys the thrill of the chase and once he wins my heart, he will stop trying so hard and we will end up just like all of the other average couples out there. But maybe I am the one who enjoys the thrill of being chased. Maybe the Hallmark movie writer in me is always looking for the romantic story line and I am less certain of what to do after the boy gets the girl. That is usually where the movie ends and real life begins.
As I continue on this journey to finding my true self, I am noticing the gap between my old self and my new self. My old self was driven by fear and doubt. My new self is guided by curiosity and hope. I want to keep moving in the direction of my new self. I want to hold hands with this man and walk towards the light.
As we talked last night, I told him about the difference between us in terms of sharing the details of our relationship. "I don't feel like I want to tell anyone about us. I don't want to let any negative comments put a damper on what we are building. You and I are the best kept secret in town."
"Well, not in Cleveland," he replied.
"You know, it might be easier if you just get a billboard and tell everyone you are in a relationship," I told him. "It would save you some time."
The more we talked last night, the more I realized that it doesn't matter if we keep it a secret or shout it from the roof tops. Whatever we are going to be, that is what we are meant to be. The universe has a plan for us and we are just along for the ride.
And the truth is that I am falling in love with this man. I just haven't told him yet. In fact, I am just starting to admit it to myself.