The promised story of my trip to the States... Again, without all the gory details. And, I'll do my best to have it make sense... well, at least as much sense as this story can make.
I love socks. I have for as long as I can remember. Some people go out and buy movies or overeat or get drunk or etc. when they are angry/sad/frustrated. Not me. Buying socks is one of the most common things I do in those situations. But this story doesn't start with me buying socks... at least not recently.
Once upon a time, I bought a pair of socks. Well, once upon a million times I've bought socks, but this time in particular, I bought a little pair of pretty pink ankle socks with the inscription: "Kiss Me, I'm Single." I loved those socks. They were cute, comfortable, and I liked the message. No, I didn't want some random guy to come up and kiss me because I was single, but I really wouldn't have minded meeting someone who might change both my (seemingly) perpetual single-ness and my status as "23-and-never-been-kissed." However, year after year went by and no such guy appeared. Until, it seemed, this January.
For the past five years or so, I've had an account on CatholicMatch. (**despite this story, I do believe this website is a great thing, I've heard plenty of success stories and I may be back on CM at some point**) Sometimes, it was active, sometimes not. I had communicated with a handful of guys from around the US but nothing seemed to "click" until this year.
At the end of January, I began communicating with a guy from Texas. I was thrilled. Here was this guy I could talk to about anything, Catholic, had direction - was pursuing a medical-ish degree, similar values (although, I realized pretty early on that he was much more conservative than I... and it takes quite a lot for someone like me to say that), a number of the same interests, etc. The emails quickly became pages long and CM chat was cumbersome, so within the first few weeks we moved to skype chat (just type -- no voice/video). These skype chats soon became an enormous part of my life. Hours and hours at a time were dedicated to chatting with him.
Things were progressing rapidly. By mid-March, he had bought a plane ticket to come out and visit me in Steubenville this summer. We were sharing pretty much everything about our lives with each other. That only increased when we started actually speaking at the end of April. This was building up and building up towards July 1st and neither of us expected that it would do anything but continue to grow past that. My friends and family were generally very supportive with the exception of one sister who insisted that "this summer would be awful. I would get my heart broken and move back to Budapest lonely and depressed." While I didn't put much stock in her fear (it seemed to be motivated out of jealousy more than anything else), I did recognize that no matter how unlikely I felt that to be, it was still a possibility.
Finally, I arrived back in the States on June 26th with less than a week until he was coming to visit. The next few days were filled with cleaning and organizing the house, getting over jet lag, and freaking out. (One of the most memorable moments was when we discovered that the caulking which had just been used on the bathtub would render the only shower unusable for a day and a half before the time he was to arrive... Miriam, bless her dear heart, spent an enormous amount of time - tearing the original caulking off, putting down new stuff, tearing off the new, and recaulking it again ... I love her!!)
Friday, July 1st arrived and I found myself at the Pittsburgh airport waiting to meet this guy I felt I had known forever. I was nervous but excited. After all, we had such a connection online/on the phone that meeting in person could only be better, right? He came down the escalator and we hugged. There wasn't any "jolt" or specific "spark" but I didn't think anything of it because I felt just as comfortable as I had when we were talking. We spent that evening with my family, eating dinner, playing a board game, and watching a movie.
Saturday, I was both looking forward to and dreading. I looking forward to a Kennywood trip with some of my friends. I was dreading the time that he wanted to spend praying at an abortion mill in downtown Pittsburgh prior to that. That is so far out of my comfort zone. I realize that everyone has to do things that get them out of their comfort zone, but this was a stretch. It went fine, however, and soon that was over and we were on our way to Kennywood. I was very curious to see how he got along with my friends. It seemed that everything was fine. It helped that I had friends from both my "Catholic" group of friends and my "regular" group of friends (this is not a slur on either group... they are both great and represent two different parts of my personality... this is also very important later on). The day progressed and everyone had a lot of fun. Something was nagging me in the back on my mind but since I couldn't figure out what it was, I ignored it. The evening ended with a rip-roaring time at Eat 'n Park with three of my friends before the drive back to Steubenville.
We had decided long before the visit that on Sunday, we would take time just the two of us. He also had this idea that he wanted to make me like hiking (which has always been a "four letter word" in my book). So, on Sunday afternoon, we went out to one of the state parks in PA. And I enjoyed it. After walking a while, we ended up sitting on a huge rock for over an hour... cuddling, holding hands, talking, not talking (no, there was nothing more than that). Just like the hug when we met, it was nice. Nothing earth-shattering, but I was content and comfortable being with him. On the walk back to the car, he asked me if I wanted to continue ("make official") the relationship. Because I was comfortable with him and couldn't imagine not talking to him as I had been doing for months, I said "yes." (Note... some of my friends jokingly called me a "holding hands whore" because we were doing that before we were "officially together" ... LOL ... BTW I don't think it was wrong in the least.)
Monday flew by in a blur and soon we were sitting at the airport waiting for his, delayed, flight. At this point we changed our facebooks to reflect that we were "in a relationship" with each other. Although I wasn't happy when he left, I also didn't feel distraught like I expected to feel.
Over the next couple of weeks, I spent some time in PA with three of my closest friends, started preparing for a recital I was asked to give at the school/store where I took voice lessons in high school, went to MN with my parents and brother, got to spend time with my friend, Jen, who I hadn't seen in nearly 5 years, saw various relatives and family friends, and spent a ton of time thinking. I still couldn't put my finger on exactly what it was that was bothering me, but I knew it was related to the relationship.
Finally, after many hours talking with friends and mulling it over in my mind, I accepted the fact that I needed to end it. The bottom line was: I wasn't ready for a relationship. But it was more than that. I mentioned my two groups of friends above. I can function just fine in both, although, I act differently in those settings. In this case, I felt I was involved with someone who fell even further on the one side as do my "Catholic" friends. That is not inherently wrong! And compromise is always possible as he pointed out when I ended the relationship just shy of three weeks after it began. But, in this case, there were so many things that would have needed to be compromised so much. And because I "float" in the middle between both groups of friends, I would have had to compromise so far to one side I felt I would be losing the other part of who I am. Conversely, he would have had to move so far to the left, even to meet me half-way. So, perhaps, it's not even that I'm not ready for a relationship. Perhaps, it's just that I wasn't ready for *this* relationship. I am not secure enough in who *I* am, me, Rose, by myself, not in comparison to anyone else, to not have changed into someone I really am not just to make this relationship work.
Now, when I say "Perhaps, I just wasn't ready for *this* relationship," I am not implying that I see any possible future with this guy. To be blunt, I don't. He is a great person, but he's not the guy for me. AND... I wouldn't really be the girl for him either.
It would be nice if this story had a "happy ending" even on the level of we stayed friends. But that is simply impossible. When I ended the relationship, he asked if we could be friends. I cautiously agreed, but it soon became apparent that we have very different meanings and expectations of the word "friends." Add in the fact that, while our emotional chemistry (as seen by our online communication and to a lesser extent, in person) was great, there was - at least on my end - no physical chemistry. That's what was missing when we met. There wasn't any "spark" making it "better" than spending time talking online. When he left, I wasn't distraught because going back to talking online wouldn't be much different. Friends have told me, and I agree with them, that when I actually do meet the guy who I am meant to spend the rest of my life with, it will feel like an immense emptiness when he leaves. And, that when I am with that person, I will feel much more of myself. My whole self. Not like half of me would have to be compromised to become the "right person."
I'm not saying any of this to talk badly about this guy. Although things didn't work out between us and I can't see a friendship continuing for both the reasons listed and some that will remain unstated, I wish him well. The fact that my necessary decision has hurt him to the extent that it seems to have, makes me unhappy. But, that does not compare to the peace I feel knowing that I made the right decision. And, knowing that I made the right decision isn't even all of it. I know that I have nothing, NOTHING, to regret about this relationship. There is nothing that I would go back and "unsay" or "undo," nothing I feel guilty for, nothing I would have done differently. I wish it did not have to end with my being completely at peace while he is in pain. But, I can't change the way he has reacted. I only pray that he will be able to move on and find the same peace I have. And that someday, we will both meet the persons who will be everything we couldn't be for each other.
OH, and, Miriam, I know I gave you my socks, but I'd really like them back. They were my favorites!