Today marks the start of the Philadelphia Writer’s Conference. This means—amongst other things—that I will probably find myself in the throes of an existential crisis in approximately 24 hours. I’ll likely decide to quit my day job (again), make plans to run off to Europe (again), and attempt—albeit subconsciously—to end my relationship with The Wedding Date.
I already did that.
Fortunately it didn’t work, but I suppose I should explain, shouldn’t I?
We’ve been together for nearly ten months now. He has become—without a doubt— my best friend. He’s the first person I think of when I wake up, the last person I think of when I go to sleep and we call each other every day—sometimes several times a day, in fact—and for me, this is a first. He’s also the first person I want to call when something good has happened (or, unfortunately for him, when something bad has happened) and everything is more fun when he’s around, whether its rescuing a turtle from the side of the road or accidentally driving to the wrong theater when I’m meant to be reviewing a show at the Suzanne Roberts and not the Performance Garage.
But lately, it seems like some of the shine of our relationship is starting to wear off. Maybe it’s just because we’re both stressed out, or maybe it’s because we’ve been together for almost ten months now and that no one’s “honeymoon” period is meant to last that long. But whatever it is, we’ve both finally admitted to ourselves (and to each other… ) that our relationship isn’t quite as good as it used to be.
It all came to a head last weekend when we went to the airport together to pick up one of his kids. We went from the airport to his parents’ house, then back to his place, then to Wildwood for his other kid’s band parade, then to Dave and Busters, then back to my folks’ place where we engaged in an epic two-hour game of Settlers of Catan and finally to the vegan coffee shop in South Philly where the eldest made it abundantly clear to me that tofu cream cheese was totally not cool.
This all transpired over a 48-hour period. A 48-hour period during which I tried my damndest to be the world’s greatest girlfriend/future daughter-in-law/quasi-stepmom even though I realize now (after the fact, unfortunately) that I shouldn’t have tried to be anything other than myself.
For the first time in the eleven months since we met at my former babysitter’s wedding last July, we found ourselves having one of those God-awful, hour-long conversations where you discuss—for better or worse—the true state of your feelings for one another. And even though you know you’re overtired, and even though you know you’re going to end up saying something you’ll regret, you can’t help it. Because the feelings are there. And they have to get out somehow.
I told him that I’m no longer as confident as I once was in my ability to date a man who has children. It’s not that I don’t like his kids—they’re pretty easygoing, actually, aside from their distrust of Vegan cream cheese—but dating a man with children means you can’t just move in together or run off for the summer or buy a cute little condo in Northern Liberties. And even though The Wedding Date does an excellent job of juggling his priorities and never makes me feel like his kids are more important to him than I am (even though they are and rightfully so), it’s a lot to swallow. Especially once you realize what having kids actually entails.
I’m afraid that I’m not cut out for this. Or rather that I am, but that I’ll inevitably lose myself in the process of trying to be a good girlfriend because in this case, being a good girlfriend also includes band parades and barbeques and evening spent at Dave and Busters when frankly, I’d rather be next door at one of the nightclubs. Or better yet: in a coffee shop with my laptop.
I know that I do this. In fact, I always do this. I get to a point in my relationships where everything is going along just fine and then something inside of my brain goes, “Oh sh*t! It’s been six/seven/eight/TEN MONTHS. Abort mission! Abort!!!”
My mother calls it THE SABOTAGE, and even though I like to think I’ve had perfectly legitimate reasons for ending my relationships in the past (and that I’m better off without all of the ex-boyfriends I’ve cast aside over the years) I’m no longer so sure. And I certainly don’t want to make that same mistake again.