I spoke with L this evening over text message. The thing with L is that he says he treats flirting as a sport. It is hard to tell when he is joking, especially over text.
Tonight, he flirted a bit, then he used a line he already used on me once. He called me his muse. The first time he did this, I asked how he inspired him and he said that I made him want to be a better man. I fell for it at first, then I thought about it and called him out, saying that it sounded too familiar. It’s a line from As Good As It Gets. Not exactly a fucking love story. The point is, tonight I called him out on using the “muse” line again. He forgot he had.
He also forgot that we had spoken about watching the third debate together (we didn’t because he ended up going out; whatever). He forgot he had already told me he was in Miami this week, too.
I am not naive enough to think that I was the only woman he was seeing. Hell, L wasn’t the only guy I was seeing.
But we finally had a discussion about what we were both seeking.
He told me he has been in an ethical non-monogamous relationship with a primary partner. But with his move to Ohio, they will just be friends (she has two other men in her life). He is also separating from the asexual girl he shared with his primary partner.
Some of you reading this might be thinking, “No big deal. That’s how people do things now.” Others reading this might be thinking, “Holy fuck am I glad I’m not dating in this world today.” In fact, some of you may be screaming that I need to run in the opposite direction, and fast.
We were honest about our expectations.
He doesn’t want to settle down immediately, but is looking to make friends and meaningful connections that could potentially lead to a traditional, monogamous relationship. He says he could be very happily monogamous.
I am looking for an intellectually stimulating relationship between equals, where two people share their ideas, passions, and feelings. I want to ultimately be monogamous and exclusive with my partner. I do not anticipate settling down with anyone immediately, not even L. He hasn’t won me over yet; he still has work to do if he wants to do that (and I with him should I want to).
So what does this all mean?
I think I am going to proceed with extreme caution.
Unless and until L does the work to win me over (and I him) and we agree on exclusivity, I’m going to continue to seek out dates and attempt to juggle. I think that is what adults do now, although it is important to have such conversations with honesty so that both members are on the same page.
In an ideal world, it wouldn’t be this hard. There would be a meet-cute, eventual declarations of love and loyalty, and relationship time. In other words, I’d love to start a conversation with a guy, go on a few successful dates, decide to be in an official relationship, continue to date just that person, and take the additional steps from there. That would be great! That’s a Leslie Knope-Ben Wyatt type of situation! Will it happen? I don’t know.
Having the discussions about expectations is hard and uncomfortable, though beneficial and highly recommended by the numerous self-help columns I read (Ask Polly, Dr. Nerdlove, Captain Awkward, among others).
I’ll be honest: I do have concerns about dating L given his relationship history. I don’t know that I would be able to fully trust a guy who was in polyamorous relationships to (1) not try to force one on me and (2) not stray, especially since he treats flirting as a sport.
I am the type of woman who wants to be more than enough woman for my guy. I want flirting to be done with me, not other people.
As I said, I’m proceeding with extreme caution. Maybe we’ll end up being friends. Or not. I don’t know.
I hesitated in writing about this because I thought it would prejudice my parents against him should they ever meet. They would be distrustful. But then I considered that the possibility of that happening is very slim at this point – totally jumping the gun there. Even so, my parents are very accepting of the partners my sisters and I choose (for example, my brother-in-law has transitioned to my sister-in-law over the course of the past year or so). They just want us to be happy.