This first one is a doozy and frankly makes my head hurt just thinking about how to navigate the act of..
FIGURING OUT “WHAT” WE ARE
There are so many terms to describe the beginnings of a relationship between a man and a woman. In years past, it was so much easier to understand where you stood with a guy. He could be courting you, you two love birds could be “going steady,” he could “pin you” or ask you to wear his letterman jacket. All of these implied that there was a commitment to see where things could go and that there wasn’t anyone else in the picture. If the relationship went along swimmingly, it was a quick hop..skip and jump to engagement and marriage after that…without much grey area in between. I should know. My grandparents met, fell in love and got married within 2 months.
Now I’m generalizing here, but really..things were so much more simple back then. Times have changed (thank you Captain Obvious) and therefore, so has dating. I really think this was influenced greatly by this sort of “second wave” of the Feminist Movement that took place in the 1960’s and 70’s. It used to be a fairly common occurence that once a girl got engaged/married, she would leave college behind and take on the role of wife and mother. This started to shift however, when women were needed to fill a sudden boom of jobs and with the creation of the pill (hallelujah!), women knew they could stay in school and pursue a career, without the worry of an interruption due to pregnancy. All of the sudden, women had way more options..and they didn’t include vacuuming the house in pearls. They began pushing marriage to the back-burner and began to revel in their newfound power and freedom..and men had to learn how to do their own vacuuming.
Fast forward to today…men and women are waiting longer and longer to get married. Some are choosing to not even get married at all. Just look at one of my favorite Hollywood couples. If you’ve never seen Overboard..do yourself a favor and check it out..you’re welcome. Can we please just talk about this hair?? These cuties just celebrated thirty-one years together as a couple..and an unmarried one at that. Yes Bob Dylan…the times are definitely a’changin’. And while change can be good..great..wonderful even..it does come with some new obstacles.
These days, it seems like every step you take in a new relationship is riddled with question marks in all shades of grey. Everyone seems to want to keep their options open until the very last minute..leading you to this weird no man’s land of labels. You could be any of the following:
TALKING – HANGING OUT – DATING – TOGETHER – SEEING EACH OTHER – BOYFRIEND & GIRLFRIEND – HOOKING UP
And what the heck do any of these really mean? I’m sad to say that I have used all of these terms before to define a relationship (not necessarily just my own) and still have no earthly idea what the exact definitions of these are. For instance, couldn’t you be “dating” one guy, but also “seeing” another? Not to toot my own dating horn, but I have definitely have had periods of my life where I was “talking” to multiple guys at one time. As I got to know them better, the numbers decreased until I had weeded out the OH HELL YES’ from the OH HELL NO’s. My point in this little baby ramble is.. that until you have THE TALK about what you and your new guy are, it’s kind of hard to know where you stand. It can be scary even trying to bring up the topic in the first place. Do you wait..floating in no-man’s land..just so things can happen organically? Or do you grab the proverbial bull by the horns and just throw the question out there (and hope you don’t get skewered)?
About three weeks after Josh and I started “dating?” “seeing each other?” “talking?” he said something that immediately made me turn into girly mush. We were all snuggled up with one another and having a pretty epic make-out sesh (LORD I SOUND ABOUT 15 RIGHT NOW) and Josh turns to me..holds my face in his hands and goes “I want you to be my girl.”
I know right? Instant knee-weakener. It was such an old-fashioned thing to say and it totally got me. All caught up in the sweetness of the moment, I nodded and felt a stupid grin spreading across my face. I laid my head on his chest for a few minutes and then, to my dismay..felt tickles of panic rising in me. I wanted to be his girlfriend, but the idea of it slightly terrified me. I hadn’t been someone’s “girl” in over a year. I felt like I had wanted this moment for so long, but I also knew what being single had done for me. Was I ready for this? Had I learned enough..grown enough and healed enough for this? I panicked..took a deep breath and blurted out. “I mean, I want to be your girl. I don’t want to see anyone else. I just..I…well could we maybe slow it down just a little?” He pulled me tight to his side and calmed my pounding heart. “We can go as slow as you need. I haven’t felt this way about anyone in a long time. I think you’re worth waiting for.” And just like that..the pressure was off.
Over the next three days…a few things happened.
1. Josh stocked his fridge with Diet Coke. He doesn’t drink Diet Coke. Guess who does. Yep. 🙂
2. While searching for a snack in his pantry, I found my favorite..Parmesan Goldfish. He only likes original.
3. He DVR’d the Bachelor for me..I had dance class and didn’t even realize I would miss it. (And yes I know that show is complete crap, but it’s my one reality tv show guilty pleasure)
4. I began to notice that he had this habit of stroking my hair…softly..slowly..steadily until it made me want to purr like a cat in a patch of sunshine. He would also sometimes just look at me and smile..make this happy sound in his throat and kiss me on the forehead. It made me feel cherished.
And then suddenly I wasn’t afraid anymore. It felt right. He felt right. What was I waiting for? I was going to grab that bull and take my chance..I knew this would mean opening myself up to potentially get hurt again, but I also knew I was opening myself up to the possibility of a relationship with an amazing guy. And so, one night..while we were watching a movie..I said it.
“Ask me again.”
Confused, he turned away from the screen and looked at me. “Ask you what?”
I smiled at him and laid my hand on his heart. Felt it thumping softly against my skin. “Ask me again.”
It took a second and then I saw the light of understanding come into his eyes..the corners of his mouth turned up.. “Would you be my girl?”
“Absolutely.” I told him..and this time, the only thing I felt..was happy.