Countdown to 5 years: 28 days

I was pretty sure at this point I had found someone very special, but I also knew how important it was to NOT dive into another relationship. I was at a pivotal place in my own life, and working to figure out what was important to ME, and take care of myself. I very much got the impression that Alan like-liked me – in a “I want to date this person” way. Since I knew there was NO way that was going to happen, I immediately sat down to write to him and let him know where I was coming from. I figured that open, honest communication might be a little awkward/surprising/uncomfortable, but infinitely better than leading someone on, or having missed communication or unrealistic expectations.

I really liked this guy, but I liked myself more. I knew what I needed, and I wanted him to know too. I figured that this was certainly a gamble – what if he got my message and was angry? Walked away? Yelled at me?

But then I thought: What if he doesn’t? What if he listens and gets it? What if he’s okay being seriously “just friends”? We might get a chance to get to know each other for real, and then decide what we wanted to be. We could make this work for US.

Here’s my verbatim at the end of my first extra long message: 
“so if any of this is jumping the gun, or ridiculous, then no worries. or if it pisses you off or wrecks everything, then i’m sorry. but i think this is important enough for me to tell you immediately… and i really really really hope you get it, or get me enough to know that i mean this.

let me know what you think.”

Gosh, I’m glad I sent that message.

I will tell you that the hours I waited for a response were pretty nerve-wracking. Because even though I was comfortable with the “worst” outcome, I certainly didn’t WANT that outcome. It was tough, that waiting.

But so so worth it.

Here’s an exerpt from Alan’s response: 
“Alex, I like you. I like you a lot. I want to make sure that that point is clear. I am so glad that you respect me enough to be honest with me. I understand that you have a history. Everyone does. I also understand that you feel that your history still affects you. In light of the information that you have presented me, I'd like to let you know what I'm thinking…”
Because guess what? Alan didn’t just get it… he TOTALLY got it. He was kind of going through some major changes too. Just out of the Army, just starting with his Bachelor’s Degree, just finishing up the details of his divorce (!!!). So…. yeah, he liked me too, but he also liked the idea of just being friends. Taking things one step at a time. Being honest and open with each other.

This is something I’ve really tried to keep alive in our relationship over the last 5 years. Sometimes it’s hard. Being vulnerable and open is HARD. You have to have trust… and that’s scary, when you’re not being your prettiest, shiniest self. Sometimes I need to think or write first, before I can articulate what I want to say to Alan… but the easiest, best thing is to talk. He’s my person, he’s on my team, he’s my partner, and my rock (but never my stepping stone). Things are always easier and better with him.

(He told me later on that he knew that he didn’t just like-like me… he really liked me, right from the start. Absolutely wanted to be boyfriend/girlfriend/dating, but also understood where I was coming from… and was willing to wait.)


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