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Thursday, April 24, 2008

History of My Love Life, Episode 1: Ian

This is the first part of a partial telling of the history of my love life. Hey, it's a personal blog, right? Why not get a little personal from time to time. This episode is effectively the beginning of the end of the story so far -- the story of how Ian and I got together.


It was a dark and stormy night...

(Sorry for stealing that joke from you, heidikins.)

Well, it probably was dark and stormy, because it was the middle of December when I first met Ian on MySpace. Yes, we met through the "place for friends (and stalkers)" social networking site. How nerdy is that, right? Luckily, vegging out in front of the computer for hours upon hours every day while you stalk people online is now pretty normal, so I think I shouldn't really feel ashamed about how we met.

I got my first message from Ian while I was actually at the end of a four month "relationship" with someone who I had dated twice before and who I got involved with again, against all better judgment, as a means of healing my heart from a wrenching break up that previous summer. We will call those people "Specialized A-hole" and "Like me, but not in love with me" respectively. More on those two in future episodes.

At the time I was very interested in meeting new people through MySpace -- a practice which I now view as something people do only if they potentially want to meet and date those new people. When I'm in a serious relationship, I don't think it's appropriate to try to meet new people on MySpace. But my "relationship" with Specialized was, as you can see, a relationship in quotation marks. The entire month of December was spent waiting for the culmination of my break up with Specialized. I knew it was only a matter of time, but wasn't too keen on initiating the process for some reason. Still, I didn't feel that it was wrong to meet new people online. I wasn't actively looking, though. As a girl, you don't have to. You get plenty of solicitations without even trying. Just like the real world, right?

So anyway, I had placed a little javascript bunny on my MySpace page that you could pet and feed carrots. I named him Thlayli, and wrote beneath him that I'd buy lunch for anyone who could tell me why I named him that. I also added a list of my favorite types of cheese to my interests side bar.

Both of these things caught Ian's attention, and he sent me a message, declaring that I was the only person he'd seen who had listed her favorite types of cheese, and correctly identifying Thlayli as being a character from Richard Adams' Watership Down. If not for these two things, he might not have sent me a message, and we never would have met.

We exchanged several get-to-know-you messages in which I said I guess I owe you lunch, and he said whoa, slow down, turbo, we don't even know each other, how about some coffee instead? But we didn't meet in person until several weeks later. In fact, by January, I had almost forgotten about him entirely. During our exchanges in December, I had learned that Ian was an amateur musician who liked recording songs. He promised he'd send me some of his songs by email, but he never did, and after awhile I stopped hearing from him. So I wrote him off and continued meeting and dating other new people.

By the way, the official break up with Specialized happened on New Years Eve, and that's a fun story which I shall tell next time. But perhaps no more than a week or two later I had started up a minor fling with a Mormon boy during January. I attempted to corrupt him, and though he was eager, I was never successful in sealing the deal. I generally have a rule that No-Mos shouldn't date Mos, and I'm really not the type who wants to disrespect people's religious beliefs, but, what can I say? I was looking for a challenge after my two tumultuous breakups the previous year, and I suppose I was being a little vindictive. So I played with that poor boy's heart while casually dating a handful of other boys at the same time. This was the first time in my life I had ever gone out with more than one person at a time. Never was my style, but at this point, I suppose I just needed distraction.

But then sometime near the end of January, out of the blue I received an email message from Ian with two or three songs attached. This rekindled our communication, and I got a little more serious about getting to know him. That is, after I got over our age difference. I was 23 at the time and was accustomed to dating people within 2 years of my age. So I hesitated a little when I saw Ian was 28. But given my lack of luck with people in the 2-year range, I decided that it was acceptable to extend the range to 5 years. Beyond that I wasn't willing to do. So it was lucky that it was January and not April at the time, because Ian's age would have shown up as 29 in April, and I still would have been 23, so I'd have dismissed him as outside my age range. Incidentally, I now believe that it takes a guy who is about 5 years older than you age-wise to be about the same age as you maturity-wise. At least that's true when you're a girl in your 20's. Not sure if it extends to other decades, but I wouldn't be surprised if it did.

So we proceeded with our online flirtations for a few weeks.

Then one day, I was having a beer with my Bosnian friend Arminka at Piper Down. She was telling me about her new relationship with a great Austrian man, and I was telling her about my prospects. I told her that I was feeling a real connection with this guy I had been talking to online named Ian, and after I described our exchanges, she said to me, "I think it's time you and this Ian get together for a date." (Except she pronounced it Eye-an, and still almost always does. It's cute.) Just as she said this, however, my cell phone buzzed with a text from Ian. It said something along the lines of "One of the girls I go out with is such a drama queen!" My heart sank. To me, this is not the type of thing you say to a girl you are interested in going out with. Sure, I had been dating many people simultaneously, and that's acceptable, but one of the unspoken rules is that the other people you are dating remain unspoken. If he was telling me about other girls, then obviously he didn't see me as a romantic prospect. So again, I wrote Ian off.

So I was slightly surprised when a few days later I received a text invitation to meet for a beer with Ian soon. It was a Friday, so I said, how about tonight? And we agreed to meet at Piper Down. We talked for several hours about many things. The only thing I really remember talking about, though, was western religious history. Well, Ian did most of the talking. He knows a fair amount about the subject, and I know probably a bit less, but enough to keep up. Still, as an Atheist, I generally don't like to get involved in religious discussions. But Ian's religious convictions seemed compatible enough with my own, and I was impressed at his intellectual prowess, so I thought the night went fairly well. I still wasn't sure if he saw me as anything more than a friend, though.

A few days later, Ian invited me to get some coffee with him and some friends. I accepted, but told him that I was going to watch a friend play a gig at a bar later that night, and so I'd have to work around that, and then added that he could of course join me. Big mistake.

I've made a few love blunders in my day, but this was an error in judgment that nearly cost me my chances with Ian. You see, this musician friend was also a person I had been exchanging messages with on MySpace, and there was potential interest involved there as well. Never, I mean never, put two of your love interests in the same place at the same time. It seems so obvious now, but I somehow thought it was alright, because I still thought Ian probably was only interested in a friendship. But I was wrong, and the tension of competition was palpable when I got those two together that night. It was a very uncomfortable situation for everyone.

As I watched Ian grow more and more quiet and distant, I knew I had made a big mistake. I tried to play it off as not a big deal, but when Ian dropped me off at my car later that night and drove off, I received a text from him that bitterly expressed his feelings about how he had never before been treated that way and that he wasn't going to compete for me.

I felt awful. I mean, really really awful. I had felt great chemistry with Ian, and was really interested, but was unsure about how he felt, and so I made a mistake. I tried to explain myself and asked him to forgive me and give me another chance, but he refused.

So that night I had a long conversation with my friend Sov via IM. I described everything that happened, including the misunderstandings and miscommunication, and my horrible blunder, and how I felt like I really blew it with someone who could have been really great. Sov is a great listener, and the conversation was very cathartic, even though I still felt bad afterwards. But by that point, I decided I had nothing to lose, and so I sent the IMed conversation to Ian via email, with the words "For what it's worth." I figured he could see how I felt and then make up his mind whether he wanted to forgive me.

And wouldn't you know it, it worked! Ian described how he feels powerful emotions but has difficulty expressing them, and the whole thing was a painful little misunderstanding, but we could start again.

So we did, and from that point on, I stopped seeing other people and I've been seeing only Ian for over two years now -- my longest relationship ever by about 22 months. But who's counting?

So that's the story of how my true love could have gotten away.


Next time: Episode 2: Specialized A-hole, or "yes, girls really do go for jerks"

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7 comments:

heidikins said...

I am both cringing for you (see "blunder") and smiling and googly for you (see "end result"). I had no idea how you and Ian met and this is absolutely classic.

xox

Loralee Choate said...

I am the blunder queen, so I can totally empathize.

I think the way you met is adorable. A shared love of cheese is always a good thing.

Sov said...

I remember these events like they were yesterday. It's hard to believe it's been almost three years. Where does the time go? You did have a bit of a soap opera life there for a couple of months, and I'm glad you rethought the whole age thing too (you know this already).

I like Ian, and I think he's a good guy. I'm also envious of his ability to play guitar and make beer. I think those should be inborn abilities for guys and not have to be learned, like how parenting is instinctual for women. Anyway, (sorry to get off track) I'm glad you two found each other, and the drama at the genesis only served to strengthen the bond over time. Many happy years!

PS. Kraft singles are the shizz.

The Over-Thinker said...

At the risk of sounding terribly cheesy (you can put this comment on your myspace side-bar): This is a lovely beginning.

Drea said...

awww...it's so sweet! and we are so happy that you met ian! we love you as much as we love him.

Sra said...

Over-Thinker: compliments -- one of my new favorite types of cheese! :)

Drea: Thank you! (Psst... you guys are my favorites of Ian's friends... don't tell anyone!)

Sov said...

I remember these events like they were yesterday. It's hard to believe it's been almost three years. Where does the time go? You did have a bit of a soap opera life there for a couple of months, and I'm glad you rethought the whole age thing too (you know this already).

I like Ian, and I think he's a good guy. I'm also envious of his ability to play guitar and make beer. I think those should be inborn abilities for guys and not have to be learned, like how parenting is instinctual for women. Anyway, (sorry to get off track) I'm glad you two found each other, and the drama at the genesis only served to strengthen the bond over time. Many happy years!

PS. Kraft singles are the shizz.

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