So things with [Lady] have been a little rocky for the past two weeks or so. I’ve felt like she’s been pulling back from me, so I’ve tried to show that I’m still interested while also giving her some space. After a good bit of not responding to my friendly texts this past week, I was ready to throw the towel in last night, but she opened up and told me that honestly, she’s been a little uncomfortable by the direction we’ve been moving in recently, and that she’d like to take things a little slower and more casually. We’ve agreed to meet up when I get back from NJ in two weeks to talk about each of our needs (her words)/what we want this to look like (my words), and I’m pretty much planning to not reach out to her in the meantime.
I told [Booskie] about that conversation this afternoon and he asked “What can be more casual than the way things have been?” which were my exact sentiments initially. It hasn’t seemed un-casual to me in any way. But realizing the discrepancy in how we’re interpreting the same things has me worried that what she’s going to say relates to things sort of inherent about me and the way I relate to people. Physically, we still haven’t done anything more than hold hands and kiss goodbye, so I know that’s not the arena she wants to slow down in. It has to be on the emotional side. I don’t feel anything more than that she is a person I vibe well with and enjoy spending time with, but maybe things like making a Google Doc listing all the places we’ve mentioned wanting to go to on our dates (in response to her joking about where we’re keeping this list of places) or texting her to see how events she mentioned that were happening later in the week went suggest more than that to her? Clearly something(s) that I am doing is more than she wants me to be doing. I am not invested enough in this to be particularly hurt that it’s coming from her, but adding a person to the list of people who have pushed back against me as a thing that is too much is never fun. Casual is a thing I can do, but in all of my relationships that are based around thinking a person is cool and enjoying their company, I’m going to be nurturing and checking-in and trying to aid growth and development, because that’s what caring about people looks like to me? I am not interested in a degree of casualness that means I can’t show that I care about what happens in her life.
Either way, I feel like when this conversation eventually happens, it’s going to involve her asking me what I want or what I’m “looking for,” and that question is exceedingly difficult for me to give a straight answer to, mostly because fuck if I know. I have a primary partner. I like centering my life around my relationship with [Booskie]. In my head, any relationships or involvements I have outside of that will at least start off as firmly secondary and be built around, rather than detract significant resources from, my relationship with him. That’s a thing I rarely say explicitly, and he doesn’t organize his relationships the same way, and that’s not something I think we need to do the same way, but that’s how it is for me. I fully recognize that relationships grow and change over time and need to be allowed to find their own levels, and so I’m not dismissing the possibility that someday something could develop into a second significant romantic relationship and make everything less hierarchical…I’m just also not sure I’m capable of that. I haven’t had the chance to explore anything that has potential to go down that road yet — each of my other involvements/relationships thus far have been fairly casual. [Between the ideology and the experiences, I’m not sure which is the chicken and which is the egg.]
On a deeper level, it’s hard to say in an abstract sense “I want to be romantic/sexual with someone who is not [Booskie].” It didn’t used to be. In the beginning, back when I was seeing him once or twice a month, wanting to go out on dates and have my sexual needs met elsewhere came a lot more naturally. That statement has only gotten harder for me to make as time has gone on and we’ve gotten more serious and googly-eyed in love with one another. But I’ve stopped thinking of that as a problem in and of itself. It makes logical sense to me that losing the desire to deal with a lot of the B.S. and FOMO of dating would pop up as a direct outcropping of dating from the position of being within a stable happy healthy relationship, as opposed to dating when you’re single or on shakier ground. Now that there is less imbalance in the number of relationships we each have, sometimes I catch myself wondering if I really *need* to make an effort to involve myself with anyone else (assuming things with [Lady] don’t work out). I feel like I could be quite happy being with just him. He’s awesome. But I know that could also be quite happy being with him and being with some other person I find awesome for reasons all their own. In practice, though, the process of actively going around and trying to find such a person leaves much to be desired — the hurdle of “what makes me think this person could possibly bring something to my life that he doesn’t” is huge and exceedingly few people make it to the other side. Finding such a person doesn’t feel urgent in any way, and feeling rather meh about most of the people I come across on OkCupid/Tinder/WingMa’am doesn’t feel like I’m failing at or missing something…most of the time.
Sometimes I worry that I should be more excited about the prospect of finding an awesome new person, or even that I should feel sadder about the possibility of my wants/needs not matching up with [Lady]’s wants/needs. That I should be more invested in the idea of dating multiple people generally. I also haven’t quite gotten over my last experience going out/sleeping with a guy — to summarize, it felt empty and weird and not really very enjoyable, and I don’t know how to know if that was because I got un-used to casual sex with someone I don’t know very well, or because of the man himself, or because he was a man who was not [Booskie]. Hooking up with BC and CC the weekend before last (which was the first time I’d even kissed someone who is not [Booskie] since April) felt totally fun and fine and normal, but I’d played around with each of them before and neither of them has a penis/nothing penetrative happened, so I don’t think that experience can serve as evidence for or against any of the possible reasons things felt so off with that guy from before. I think it was good for me to hook up with and spend a night snuggled up naked with someone else, though — just to remind me that I can feel good and fulfilled and safe and warm with other people when the right other people come along. It’s easy to forget that alongside consistently feeling the best and most fulfilled and safest and warmest with the same person every time I see him.
Maybe things with [Lady] will come to a level that works for both of us and maybe they won’t. Maybe I’ll stumble across some other awesome person on one of these sites/apps and maybe I won’t. I’m trying to listen to how I do feel instead of being pressured by how I think I maybe should feel. I’m happy in the relationship I’m in. I could be happy with another involvement/relationship too, but it’s not a priority. Who and what is a priority is pretty clear, and there’s no one I’d rather have in that spot.