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The Sunday Post: Fences (Day 94)

I had a revelation last night. It didn’t happen while washing dishes, or taking a shower, or while driving. That’s usually how and when they happen, of course, when I’m in the middle of something else and all of a sudden the pot that was simmering in the back burner starts to whistle and demands my attention. At least that’s been my experience with most revelations in my life. They happen or appear when you least expect them.

That wasn’t the case last night. It happened in the middle of a conversation, while I was taking my turn listening. The fact that I was listening will not come as a surprise to anyone who knows me. I’m sure they would expect that I spend most of my time listening simply because I’m usually the quiet one (in case you forgot: introvert over here). But that hasn’t been the norm when I’m having conversations with this particular person. Maybe that’s what happens when I’m not with an extrovert or someone who is the life of the party: I pull my own weight in conversations. But I digress….

So what was the big revelation? I realized that just because I spend so much time being emotional it doesn’t mean that people know how I feel about them. I thought I was wearing my heart on my sleeve and my soul was exposed. Turns out there’s still a semipermeable wall around me, or maybe not so much of a wall but a fence, maybe a chain link fence. This fence allows people to see most of what’s beyond the fence, but it doesn’t let anyone in, or out. There’s a gate, but of course it’s locked.

As I write this though, I’m realizing that this big “revelation” isn’t news to those close to me. I’ve never been the first to say “I love you.” I didn’t grow up hearing those words all the time. We weren’t that kind of family. I didn’t say it to my parents enough, or my brother and sister. I’m trying to remedy that now but it’s a hard habit to break. It was always easier with my kids, and I’m thankful that neither of them seem to have that same hangup. Hangup isn’t the right word, but I hope you know what I mean.

I don’t love easily. I’m always surprised when someone expresses how much they love someone that they (maybe only barely) know, or even how much they love something that they just got. I can’t figure out how someone could know so soon that it’s love, and not like, or even tolerate. I wish it did come easier to me, faster.

But back to the present….

It surprised me to hear that someone didn’t know how or what I felt about them. In my mind, it was obvious. I thought my actions said it loud and clear. Turns out no one else can hear the words that float through my head, the words that I thought match and reflect my actions. Most people aren’t mind-readers! 🤯

If I’m honest with you and myself though, there’s at least one person out there who has told me to stop having all these conversations in my head and say things out loud so that they’re not the only ones talking. Duly noted.

So I’ve still got work to do. Maybe a lot of work. In addition to exploring creative outlets (tomorrow I’m trying a watercolor painting class!) I need to work on my communication skills. I’ve been concentrating so much on creativity and written communication, that I’ve neglected my verbal skills. I have to stop hiding behind blog posts and tell people how I feel in person.

You may be wondering what this has to do with my single life since I’ve placed this post in that category. Or maybe you’ve already figured that out and assumed (correctly) that the person who I was having the conversation with is someone I’m dating. Yes, of course it was. This is someone who I’ve now seen almost 20 times since the end of February. I thought that alone was enough to suggest that I enjoy spending time with him. Turns out I need to use my words.

We were having this discussion because I told him I have paused my dating profiles. I’ve closed some accounts completely or at least taken them off my phone. I told him I did this because I wasn’t finding anyone else out there that interested me and that it felt like I was going through the motions for the sake of a promise (to myself, to others) that I wasn’t going to rush into anything serious and that I should date lots of new people to see what’s out there. Well, I’ve seen what’s out there and it’s nothing like what was sitting right in front of me. I also told him I didn’t expect or need anything to change on his end or with us. I am happy with the status quo.

So I told him that I am happy when we’re together and I enjoy spending time with him. I said that I care about him and that I love how I feel when we’re together. It’s honest and true and this is how I feel. It’s exactly what I want right now. I don’t need to date a different guy every week. I’ve made a couple new male friends who I still would like to meet up with for a beer or coffee or dinner, or do things with. But as much as I thought I wanted to try it, I’m not built for multiple romantic entanglements at a time. Kudos to people who can have non-monogamous relationships in which everyone is happy and satisfied.

I’m not looking for marriage and fortunately neither is he. I think we’re both looking for the same thing. And I say “I think” because there’s still more we need to talk about. I can’t make assumptions and expect him to interpret my actions or gestures with 100% accuracy. All relationships, even “situationships,” are works in progress. I’ll keep working on mine.

Speaking of work and relationships: I’m on the road for work this week, back to my old stomping grounds. So much has changed since I was last there. This time I have plans with several old friends for dinner, and I will even have time to see my sister. And don’t worry, I’m going to stick to my “no contact” resolution.

PS: I’m just four posts away from 500 blog posts! I’ll try to make it a good one!

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