Sunday, June 20, 2004


How soon after you start dating someone can you bring them on a camping trip?

Well, Tim came with me to Yosemite this weekend. It was four of us - Ph, Les, Tim and I. We started out at about 3pm with a quick stop at In-N-Out Burger. He wanted to hold my hand as we drove to meet up with the others. It's only been two days but I can't remember any specifics from the drive conversation. My only thinking is that while it's nice to get to know each other and talk about important things, it has a way of taking the romance out of the courtship process.

The one thing I do recall bringing up is the money situation. We've both been very honest and forward about trying to determine if we are a good match for each other. I brought up my concerns about his ability to provide for a family in the Bay Area. Is he comfortable knowing that I make more? Going into this potential job he is realistic about the fact that his future wife could be making more. He said that while job satisfaction is high, the most common reason people leave the bureau is because of salary. I shared my concern that when I have children I want to be able to provide a good life for them. It's also nice when the husband makes enough to give me the luxury to stay home with a baby rather than have to hand them off to a babysitter at three months. I don't think he liked that idea either. He asked me how much I think one person has to make to be able to support a family in the Bay Area. It's a tough question, and I guess at least six figures considering the cost of a mortgage, living expenses, and child care. I don't know that we defined anything from the conversation, but at least the issue is out there and Tim knows my priorities.

Ph was not aware that Tim and I are dating. So toward the latter part of the drive to Yosemite, he asked about my speed dating experiences. It was a little awkward with Tim sitting right there. He played along and was a good sport about it. Fortunately, Ph did not ask for any specific details. I revealed my knowledge of all the various dating sites and they teased me, asking if I've been on all these sites including the alternative lifestyle ones. It was more of a general discussion about the current state of dating. What we did talk about was the e-mail process. During the conversation I revealed that I use an alternate e-mail address for contacting new people. My reasons are two-fold, first I don't want them to know my personal e-mail until I know more about them. Secondly, I learned that I do not want strangers contacting me by instant messenger. For whatever reason, everyone jumped on the alternate e-mail and began teasing me about leading a "double life." I think it particularly intrigued Tim.

Tim and I are still playing subtle games with each other. During dinner, he made some comment about having the time to put up his tent. In my mind, I thought, "oh, okay, he's planning to sleep alone." We hadn't discussed it yet, but I had imagine we could share a tent since it didn't make sense for him to have to set it up twice. I trust that he's a good guy and wouldn't try anything if we shared my tent. So when we finally arrived at the site, I asked if he wanted to stay in my tent and he seemed happy to go along with it. Later, he told me that he had wanted to but also wasn't sure whether to ask me.

Like our first date, we ended up staying up quite late talking. Of course this time, the talking happened in between mini makeout sessions. I'm always amazed at how serious and in-depth our conversations get. It seems too soon to be talking about so many life issues. Granted it's an important part of getting to know each other but normally this happens over a period of months not weeks. It's a very honest and open relationship which is refreshing though scary at times.

Since it's difficult to recall all that we discuss and in what order, I'm just going to write down what I can as I go.

We started out laying side by side. He was so happy to be next to me. Much of the time he was holding my hand and hovering over me slightly. Early on, he was telling me how he thinks of me every day. I asked him what he thinks about. He started his reply by saying something about how he needed to limit what he shares with me until our feelings are more equal. What he did say is that it's simply about spending time with me and being happy. I remember thinking that what he's not telling me is how he is thinking about our future together. I wouldn't be surprised if he was already thinking about being married and spending his life with me. I just get that sense when he talks about us.

He says many nice things about me when we talk. There comments about how cute I am in a pony tail and with or without makeup. I feel like the Bachelorette at times because I'm not comfortable or sure of what emotions to show to him. I'm scared because I don't know if I'm simply holding back my emotions or if I don't like him enough to make this happen.

I told him that I am concerned because it hasn't been that long. I don't know how to figure out if this is what I want. At the same time, I do not want to hurt him. I'd never do it on purpose. He calls me dangerous because he knows that I could break his heart. He's being very patient and understanding about the dating process. I've told him several times that I am wary because of my past and don't want to get hurt again.

We kissed quite a bit in the tent. This another area of question for me. I am trying to figure out how important "fireworks" are. I don't really feel them when we kiss. When I think back to all my other first kiss situations, there was a nervous anticipation. It was exciting to finally press the lips together and get a little taste of the other person. With Tim, however, it's nice but it's almost like we've been together for years - the passion is not there. Maybe we just need a little bit better communication. Neither of us are sure what to do with our tongues. There were times he seemed a little hesitant what to do. I will admit I'm probably not that great a kisser but I've definitely had better encounters. I'm hoping this works itself out soon. Chemistry is important. It would be frustrating to not have a sexy kiss. What do you suppose is the problem?

In the beginning, one of the things I asked him was if he thinks he's changed in the past few years. He feels that the last two years have been the most impactful in shaping who he is. For him, work was his life. Like with many people in the dot-com era, his life revolved around going to work and staying there late. There wasn't much reason to do anything else. He did date W during this time, but I don't know that he would have pursued it had she not been the one who first hit on him. (And that's another concern of mine when it comes to his relationship judgment.) Once he quit his last job (he worked at Savvio and knows of SL), he signed up for karate. Through an outdoor adventure mailing list, he learned about volunteering in Search and Rescue. He told me about how these activities have improved his skills. He's also become better at interacting with and making presentations in front of people. Participating in these activities are what made him consider a career where he could help other people and contribute. I was really impressed and proud of how he assessed the challenges and changes in his life.

At least he's into exploring a little. We behaved very well that night. The only other things he did were run his hands along my back and kiss my neck. It's been a long time since someone's has put in some gentle attention to my favorite spot. I responded to his neck kisses so he made a mental note to remember that spot. The first time he focused on my neck for a good minute, boy, did it drive me nuts. In later visits, it just didn't seem to work as well. I guess the moment had passed. But his willingness to try things is a nice sign.

Soon after that I also expressed to him my concern about going too fast physically. I started by reminding him that men are better about separating physical and emotional attachment. I then indicated to him that I am much more the type of person to associate to two which is why I have to be very careful about what happens. I said that I like teasing guys a little, even though it could be dangerous. It's titillating to talk about walking around the house naked or in underwear. He joked that I need to tell him to come over the next time I do that. I explained how there is a part of me that wants to "go crazy" and have fun with him. It's a struggle for me to keep that desire under wraps and be patient. He assured me that it takes two people to go that direction and that he wouldn't let that happen for awhile. His analysis of that was that it was good for him to hear that I am afraid of getting hurt. Somehow it sounds like it reassures him that it's not just him who is taking a risk.

I have no idea what time it must have been. We did get a little into our sexual histories. Previously, Tim had implied there was something unique about his first girlfriend, K. The relationship lasted 4-5 months. Several months after they broke up, she came out of the closet. I forgot to ask him if that bothered him. When I did ask him how many people he's been with, he had to qualify the question because there are so many definitions of being sexually intimate with people. In the truest sense of the term, he's been with two people. My guess is that it's Ap and W. He said that with K, they fooled around quite a bit, even being naked with each other but not actually having traditional intercourse. Knowing that she's a lesbian, I can imagine how that might have worked.

When my turn came, I reported my three. He asked if it was the last three boyfriends. That's where I hesitated before implying that there was one circumstance that was not normal. I was very hesitant to talk about it. I wasn't sure if this was the appropriate time to get into detail versus waiting until we are more involved. I made it very clear that it was something that was not like me and that it was something I would not choose to repeat in my life. At first when the subject came up, he thought of all sorts of terrible things like cheating on a boyfriend, cheating with someone who's already unavailable, kissing a woman, being with multiple people. I finally relinquished my secret and admitted that I had a purely physical encounter with a friend for a period of two months. He was surprised and agreed that he never would have expected that from me. I was still unwilling to say who it was and he didn't pursue the question. I did indicate that it's someone I still talk to. For Tim, on the surface at least, he seemed more satisfied that I was willing to reveal that information to him than anything related to the actual secret.

Overall he expressed how happy he is that we can be so comfortable with each other. A couple times he would say, "I wish I had met you a couple years ago." I reminded him that based on our conversation we were both different people back then. We wouldn't have appreciated each other as we do now. He told me how recently he has just come to assume that, while he wants to get married and have a family, that he would be content if he got the FBI job and did some good. Somehow he thought that the satisfaction from work would be good enough to compensate for missing out on the rest. I don't get the impression that he was counting on meeting anyone significant which is why the training and potential relocation for the job was something he was willing to make a sacrifice for.

Now, I think he finds himself second-guessing where he wants to be. He confided to me that he's thought about if it would bother him to give up his dream. Only after he received his acceptance letter did he start to tell people that he could be going to the academy. So the question is would he be satisfied knowing that he got in but not go through with it? He seems to think he'd be fine with it. His mother would certainly be happier if he just gets a normal job. She's worried he'll become jaded or desensitized to life because of the job. I also made sure to ask him if later he regret or feel resentful later if he gave up the job and, for example, our relationship didn't work out. It sounds like he thinks it would be worth the risk. Alternatively, he's thinking he could go to training and find out his assignment. If it's not what he wants, he'd finish the academy and come back home to find a regular job. At times, he sounds so sure that I'm the one. I'm uncomfortable having him make any sacrifices for me this early though I do appreciate knowing that he'd do what's important over his own wishes if necessary.

Do you see why am I a little scared of this whole situation? His feelings are quite intense and serious for two people who've only known each other one month. It makes me incredibly nervous. I am concerned that this is just an easy setup for major disappointment.

Another indicator that was sweet yet disturbing happened Saturday evening as we prepared to cook dinner. A large group of families set up camp behind us. In our struggle to light our charcoal without lighter fluid, we asked them if they had anything lighter fluid we could borrow. They didn't, but the boys came over with other aids including a lighter and metal pole. The older boy was rather precocious and kept making unhelpful suggestions. I tried to strike up a conversation with one of the other boys, asking why they were hear and what activities they had planned. The 8-year-old told me about their rented rafts. He also told me they would probably play Big2 at night. I asked him to explain how to play the game. After the boys ran off, Tim came over and told me he liked seeing that I could interact with kids and gave me a kiss on the forehead. I know previously he had mentioned that he is looking for someone who can get along with kids. He seemed very pleased with me. For some reason it seemed demeaning. I tend to think it would have been better if he had kept that to himself.

A couple hours later I took him over to his Search and Rescue camp site. As we pulled into the gated road, he chose to mention something rather serious. I can't recall the exact wording, but basically he said how some people are on the dating track and that there are others who are boyfriend/girlfriend. It was clear that he was trying to tell me that he wants us to move beyond dating. I kept getting distracted with driving in the dark. As we finally reached his campsite, I told him that I respected his opinion, but that I need more time. I hate giving myself hard deadline but that I understand not wanting to drag this process out too long. I came to the conclusion that I wanted until the end of July before making a decision about us. I couldn't look at him while I was driving, so I don't know what his reaction was. He seemed okay though a little frustrated. He reminded me again that he'll be happy for me whomever I may end up with but that he'd be sad if it's not him. After we unloaded his stuff he asked if the weekend had been okay. I think he wanted to make sure that I wasn't feeling uncomfortable with our conversation and intimacy. I assure him that it was good.

He came with me back to the gate and gave me a couple kisses as he exited the car. He didn't want to leave me. If there had been a way, I think he would have bailed on his responsibilities to spend more time with me. His last comments were, "don't fall in love with anyone this week... fall in love with me." I smiled but wasn't sure how to respond to that.

Sitting here now and writing this, I have to admit I'm a little more uneasy than before. I am very concerned that he's too wrapped up in me. Thankfully, we have a one-week break from each other. I am hopeful the time apart will calm things down. It could very well go the other way and make his feelings more intense. He's trying hard to be patient and not pressure me, but I am starting to feel it. We need to talk more when we're both back at home.

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