About a week and a half ago, I broke up with The Leo.
And yesterday, we got back together.
Let me explain.
TLDR for those who don’t feel like reading the original post: The Leo called me and made it clear that he didn’t want to be “in a relationship.” Nor did he want to be a “boyfriend,” despite his self-proclaimed affinity for doing boyfriend things. The problem with that is…well, he and I were in a relationship and had been for 3 months, give or take. When someone you’re in a relationship with says they don’t want to be in a relationship, it feels an awful lot like rejection. The consolation prize, I guess, was that he wanted to keep seeing me, basically to continue with the status quo without the burden of labels or expectations or, well, clarity. I slept on it, then texted him the next morning that I didn’t think that fit with my vision of what I wanted for myself. And that was that.
I handled it gracefully, I think, after a teary phone call with The Confidante about the grim prospects of my love life, then jumped right back into the Great Unicorn Hunt of online dating.
But The Leo wasn’t satisfied with a text break-up and wanted some face-to-face closure. As the victim of a series of heartless ghostings, I couldn’t blame him, so I agreed and we met for lunch yesterday. By the time we sat down across from one another, it had dawned on me that I’d missed him. Usually cool and confident, he was suddenly tripping over his words, stammering that everything he’d planned to say had been so clear until just now. He feels it, too, I thought.
I needed to understand what he had meant. What was his hesitation when it came to romantic relationships when in most other areas of his life, he was driven and intentional? What were the roots of his dating philosophy?
He answered those questions for me, and I gained a clearer picture of his thought process and motivation. In some ways, though, the knowing was hard because it revealed the chasm that existed between us, in terms of how we approach dating. We could both see it, but we also wanted to figure out a way to make “us” work. So we talked about finding a middle ground, one that allows us both to feel secure.
I had walked into the restaurant expecting for it to be our last encounter. And here we were, having a long, serious talk about what each of us needed from the other in order to re-enter Relationship Land with a common language and mutual understanding.
As soon as I got in my car, I called The Confidante, who was predictably irritated. I could practically hear his eyes rolling through the phone. He had never liked The Leo, and he’d been there for me when I was processing through my disappointment and frustration the weekend before. He had anticipated that The Leo would seek reconciliation, but I think he was surprised that I’d agreed to it. When I sheepishly texted The Voyeur later, I told him that The Confidante was miffed, and he replied, “Honestly, based on some of your decisions…I kinda get his frustrations.” Ok, guys. I deserve that. The most exasperating person in my life sometimes…is me.
Regardless of how much this whole situation has me looking like a hormonal teen who doesn’t know what she wants, The Leo and I agreed that continuing the current level of candor would be critical as we continued to work through the give-and-take of meeting in the middle. I am at once hopeful and cautious. I’m not sure how this will play out, but if we can communicate like we did yesterday, I feel that caution will gradually yield the floor to hopefulness. The bottom line is that he’s a good man who’s willing to meet me at the table when there’s work to do. That’s not a small thing, and I’m here for it.