26 November 2008

Date #10: An Overdue Update

The last couple of weeks have been draining. Processing anger, being sick, caring for sick children, hosting out-of-town guests, and prepping for holiday travel have all left me feeling like I'm behind on everything, blogging included.

Among the many things that I have not blogged about is Date #10 with Mr. Coffee, a sleepover at his place last Friday. The truth is that my general lethargy is not the only reason I've put off writing about it. Here's the thing: it wasn't a very fun date, it's left me with a lot of questions. I haven't been sure how to write about it because I haven't decided how I feel about it. What I decided today is that perhaps writing about it will help me figure out how I feel.*

It's no secret from the Internets that I had a tough week emotionally last week. Mr. Coffee had an equally tough week but his stress was work-related rather than personal. The manifestations for both of us were similar: neither of us had been sleeping or eating well, and we both felt totally depleted, physically and emotionally. I was really looking forward to our date as a time to recharge. I knew I'd get a good meal, a good night's sleep, and some TLC. I know Mr. Coffee was looking forward to the evening, too, and I think it was for the same reasons.

The problem with this plan was that we both needed a lot and neither of us has much of anything to give. I wanted to be loved and taken care of; so did he. We both needed that, but neither of us could provide it. We ended up eating a lame dinner, talking about all of the stressful things that had happened to us during the week, feeling stressed out by talking about the stressful things, snapping at each other, and falling asleep on the couch at 8:30. Along the way, I was annoyed by the fact that he suddenly couldn't remember if I like white wine or red, felt a need to tell me a story about the flight attendant who hit on him on his last business trip, and lectured me about how I need to get better at controlling my emotions. Bah.

This is being in a relationship. It's not all fun and pampering. It's just unfortunate that Mr. Coffee and I both had such bad weeks at the same time. We've since talked on the phone, and that was nice; while we didn't specifically talk about Unlucky #10, it felt good to reconnect when we were both in a better place (although I'm still stressed about the holidays and he's still struggling with work). It's tough when we don't get to see each other very much as we only experience segments of each others' lives. Up to this point, I feel like we've worked on enjoying the time we spend together and not letting the Negative Life Crap intrude. It's been nice, but it's not reality. Now we have to figure out how to deal with the bad along with the good. As we struggle to do this, it becomes clear that because we haven't spent all that much time together, we don't know yet how to support one another. 

We'll see what happens after Thanksgiving. I asked Mr. Coffee if he could take me, Maddie, and Riley to the airport on Thanksgiving day, and he can't as he has his girls in the morning. It felt like a big step to ask him to do that, and he was very sweet about it, and he offered to pick us up, but we don't come back until work hours on Monday. I was glad he was willing to be there for me even if it didn't end up working out. We'll try to see each other during the week next week once Maddie, Riley, and I are home. I hope we're both less stressed then, or if not, that were better able to help each other deal with the stress in our lives. 

I think all relationships hit this point, the point where you realize that partnerships require work and effort. Not everything about life is pretty. Once you let someone in, you're eventually going to get to the ugly stuff, and then you have to figure out if you can handle it. If you can handle it, you have to make sure the way you handle it works for the other person in the relationship. Mr. Coffee and I are starting to let each other in. I have a feeling we can both take it, but I need someone who can jump in with both feet and be really present both physically and emotionally. I'm not sure he can do that, given the pressures he has from work and his family. We'll see where things are headed in the next few weeks. There's nothing like a little Relationship Drama during the holidays, right? Right.

*Which leads me to an interesting point of discussion: Do I process things before, during, or after I blog? It's a combination of the three, but the truth of the matter is that I don't tend to blog about something until I've given it a lot of thought, planned the structure of the post out in my head, and come to an initial conclusion about my feelings. Oh, sure, during the writing, I will often find myself in uncharted waters, surprised by the turn things have taken; posts sound one way in my head and another way entirely on screen. Julia over at I Won't Fear Love has a thought-provoking post up on the subject of why and how one writes, so I've got this on the brain. She, too, in her post discusses a difficult event that she has struggled to find words to explain. I guess it's going around.

24 comments:

Sara said...

Welcome to the other side of dating - the "newness" starts to wear off...I think it's healthy though - like you said - you can't be "on" all the time, everyone is bound to have a crappy day - and it stinks that it happened on the same day. Cheer up and have a great Thanksgiving with your precious babies!!

Lil Sis said...

Well, good that you're seeing the next step, thinking about it, I think those are all good things.

Safe travels and hope your trip goes well on all fronts, family, Detroit, food, kids, etc.

Hard hugs.

Jul said...

It's good and healthy thing... but damned if it's not also REALLY jarring and upsetting when the usual cavalcade of crap starts cross-contaminating the blissed-out cocoon of a new relationship. It's hard not to interpret every little thing as a sign of incompatibility, a jinx on long-term potential, etc.

Viewed more positively, though, it's kinda like stress-testing your relationship... squeezing it in a vise, letting it hurtle through a wind tunnel, etc. If it comes out the other side in decent condition, you know you've got something good. Then you have crazy-ass sex and eat ice cream to celebrate.

Within our first year and a half of dating, {@Boyfriend} and I tackled a difficult divorce, a nasty custody fight, an arrest/conviction/incarceration, a license suspension, combining two single parent/kid households into one, aging parents, troubled siblings, sadistic supervisors, dueling depressive episodes, mounting debt, a breakup and reconciliation... etc., etc., etc.

We've been friggin' battle-tested... and if the fact that we're still absolutely stupid for each other is any indication, we passed. :-)

Amy & Jay said...

It sounds like you are feeling better. (Yea!) Sorry about the 'unlucky' date, but reality was going to rear its ugly face at some point! It seems like you both know where you stand in terms of stress playing a part in your date.

I was thinking a lot about you today. I kept thinking about the line your wrote a few days age when you said you were so angry you could punch someone in the face. I felt the same way today - although for MUCH different reasons. I have such a love/hate relationship with holidays. Reality never lives up to warm and fuzzy expectations.

Thanks for sharing.

alice said...

Snick,

Like Amy and Amp I was thinking of you today too because I was thinking of how angry I was and how I might even try to skip Thanksgiving with the in laws so that I don't hurt anyone's feelings by mistake! So my point is that some of what you feel is probably situational/seasonal. I think it's so normal to feel a little angry over the holidays because they raise emotional expectations so high and reality often can't meet these expectations. I read your blog and I see a healthy strong woman, who sees joy, who feels love...who is healing and who is really cool.

I hope you have wonderful "unangry" holidays. From your last couple posts it seems like you are realistically guaging your expectations so you will be fine.

Alice

Ali said...

I agree that it was only a matter of time for some of the newness to wear off a little. What you had was a "real life" date. Not that they haven't been real, but when real life (the good, bad and ugly) starts to enter the picture things don't always turn out how we would like them too. It it to bad that you were both in the same place at the same time. Married or dating we have all been there. Now you just have to figure out how to move on from that and not analyze it. Think of a marriage with the husband coming home from a crappy day at work to a wife who has been at home all day with the kids that have driven her nuts. In most cases they both need something from the other but are so much in their own zone all they can do is maybe listen to the other one vent. You can't always help.

The fact that you did that and shared that with each other is a step. You did say you are starting to let each other in and sometimes a crappy date does just that!

Have a great trip. I am sure it will all be just fine.

Coral said...

The thing that I don't understand is why Mr C cannot mix you and your relationship with his girls. From all accounts they are not children, they are adults. Do you know why?

I hope that is not too forward of me.

Have a happy thanksgiving, and be thankful that John's parents are still around for M&R.

Relax and enjoy your time away.

moo said...

Ah, yes, the "downturn" of dating ... that "magical" time when some of the newness rubs off and suddenly your rose colored glasses have a little crack in them.

One bad date doesn't mean the end of the relationship, but it SHOULD and DID raise legitmate questions for you ... it also highlighted the fact that NONE of us are perfect, no matter what we like to portray to the outside world.

Hope this next week is better for you!

Anonymous said...

Snick - you have a lot on your plate. Mr. C sounds like a really nice person, he does. I don't get why he couldn't take you to the airport. I don't know the logistics but he wouldn't have been away from his "girls" that long or for pete sakes, they could come with....you are a "friend". Why would they need to know anymore. I find that weird and this is coming from someone that has been married for 20 years and when I met my husband, he had 3 little boys from previous marriage. I know.

I'm not sure how you can continue without some serious "talking" on what you both want/expect out of this relationship. If this is just a casual friendship with occasional sex and your both ok with it fine, continue. But if this is suppose to be more, which from reading, I would think it was for you....then stuff needs to be laid out on the table.

I like what "moo" said, no, no ones perfect and we are all bound to have bad days but in the "mess" of life, you and your partner must be able to comfort each other, no matter how tired, no matter how bad.

You are still working through the "grief" cycle. Your job is demanding, you are raising twins by yourself....enough said!!! You have to get YOU healthy in all ways before you can possibly try to take on another person...no matter how nice or good or handsome they are.

Have a great trip....enjoy your in-laws....enjoy your toddlers...RELAX.

And yes I am signing "anon" even though I normally don't because people are stinken judgmental and always assume your commenters are idiots if we don't agree 100% with you. By some of the reactions of your readers, they all have enough hot air (including me) that we should be able to solve the "world" problems :)

Snickollet said...

Anon:

Here's why he couldn't take me to the airport:

Two toddlers in carseats, two adults, and two fourteen-year-olds + luggage won't fit in either of our cars.

He needs to pick up his girls right when we need to go to the airport.

He only gets the girls for four hours on Thanksgiving. It would be over an hour out of that time for him to leave them at home and take us to the airport. That doesn't seem fair to the girls.

It's all about the logistics, which just don't add up this time, I'm afraid.

Maybe at Christmas :).

Anonymous said...

I wonder if your thoughts on the writing process come from the curious form of blogging. It's not exactly writing for yourself as in a diary or journal because there very clearly is an audience. But it's not as formal as writing an essay for publication. I find it a very interesting mix of the two. I see that you think it through ahead of time, plan it out, but then write loosely and see where it goes.

Sherry in Tempe

OTRgirl said...

It's weird how the blog and comment format means that I feel like I have to either have advice to offer or something profound to say in response.

In terms of Mr. Coffee, I don't know what to say, not for any bad reason, but I just feel like I would love to have time to sit and ask more questions, hear more about what you're thinking, needing and getting or not getting out of the relationship before responding. (Phew! I'm sure the editor in you is ready to attack that run-on sentence!)

The point being, I'm glad to hear what's happening. Just because I'm sitting back a bit is not out of judgment, but out of still gathering facts. I like that you enjoy him, but want what's best for all of you in the long-term.

In any case, Happy Thanksgiving! You're an amazing woman. I totally respect your willingness to be so transparent about your life. Well done.

Melissa in TN said...

From what I've read, 9/10 of the dates have been good (some really good). You were both tired and stressed and the holidays coming up make it even harder.

At first I thought you might be a little hurt by him not taking you to the airport. I would be but you explained in your comment about the logistics. It was sweet of him to offer to pick you up.

The good outweighs the not so good by a longshot. You could do way worse than Mr. Coffee especially when either of you are not sure what you want (I think).

Anyway, after lots of rambling...don't read too much into it. And I hope you had a wonderful holiday.

Melissa

PS I bought a rice cooker and thought of you. I want to do a little culinary exploring :).

Anonymous said...

I agree with anonymous. I think you are looking for more than Mr. Coffee is willing to give.

I also have a question. How come none of your sleepover dates involve actually going out somewhere? Don't you think the guy should take you out to dinner, the theater, something. I appreciate that he's a good cook and all, but I am very leerie of the never taking you out thing.

django's mommy said...

Hi Snick-
I'm like OTRGirl- nothing original or particularly interesting to say, but just gathering information, wishing we could talk more in person, and nodding my head furiously at how your post mirrors much of my life.

I personally think so much of this post-widowhood dating is figuring out what we even want out of it. Maybe you do want more from him, maybe you don't.

Dating scares the bejeepers outta me, and yet I keep going back for more. Please process that for me. Thank you. ;)

Ellen said...

Um...it's not solely up to him to take her out. It's the 21st century...she could take him out if she wants to...

Piker's Mom said...

Heh! Anonymous agrees with what Anonymous said! How can you argue with that!

Kim said...

I would have been a little irritated by the 'I got hit on by an air hostess' comment too. Sounds like it gave him an ego boost but hello, there's someone under your nose hitting on you - doesn't that give you a big enough ego boost? you still need to prop yourself up even further - men! I guess you have gotten over some of the excitement of the chase and it is established that you are both interested in each other so now it will be interesting to see if you are actually compatible for each other. Some people are prepared to put in a lot more effort when the chase is on than when it isn't so it will be interesting for you to see.

Anonymous said...

I'm with anon on the not going out. If what you want is a comfort place to go, it seems, prior to date #10, that he has provided that for you. Good food, good wine, good conversation, comfy atmosphere, comfy bed, hot water in the shower. But. Why no going out dates? Have you meet anyone in his life yet - friends, family, co-workers?

Anne said...

My husband once said, early in our dating relationship, that love affairs only last two months. After that, the relationship either becomes "real" or it ends. And, I remember that we had our first argument at the 2.5 month mark--about tattoos, of all things!

Good luck with Mr. Coffee--I hope things work out with you guys.

Becky said...

Sometimes in relationships, there's only room for one person's drama. I'd say give it another couple of dates, but date #10 seems a little too soon for the magic to have worn off.

Keen said...

P and I each have our own independent ups and downs. If only one of us is down, it's fine, but when we're both down, it sucks.

Hope you had a great Thanksgiving, and that you get to have a more fun date soon!

Sandi said...

Ha! Ha! All the Anonymous people agree.

I am not anonymous, but I've been wondering why you never actually go out in public with Mr. Coffee myself. I understand the night's he comes to your house, the kids are in bed, but the nights you go to his house, you never seem to actually go out.

Of course this is coming from a widow who can't even bring herself to have coffee with a man, so take it all for what it's worth.

amber said...

nothing brilliant to add, just sad for you that you weren't able to get the comfort and listening ear that you needed from mr. coffee. like others have said, one bad date doesn't doom a relationship, but i think it's good that it's bringing up some other potentional issues for you.

still wishing you all the best.