After our week in the “country” house, as CK liked to call it, it was time to utilize our city abode. It was in no shape, however, to be lived in. Sure, the new bed was delivered, the delivery of which was a bit of contention between us, but the bed was surrounded by towers of boxes.
The day the bed was delivered followed a week straight with CK. There were errands I needed to take care of I never got to do when we were together. Because of this, I dropped CK off for the bus and told him I would meet him in the city later. I was trying to be productive with my time, rather than waiting for the bed to be delivered with him. Looking back, we probably should have just done them together, but at the time, I didn’t want to subject him to my boring burdens.
We were both eating dinner when I cooked at my place, so there’s no reason I should feel guilty dragging him to the grocery store. Going forward, I learned to shed that guilt quite easily. But on the flip side, this meant I would be going to the grocery store with him on the other side of the river. That seemed like a much better arrangement. I was beginning to resent that I had to do the responsible duties while he had all the fun, but that wasn’t fair to him. He never turned me down when I asked him to help me, but in reality, I never asked him in the first place. I couldn’t resent him if I didn’t give him the chance to delight me. There were lots of not exciting things we would both need to do, like cleaning our apartments, that while not fun at all, they could be completed much faster with both our efforts in tandem. Our lives were blending together, and I loved it. It wasn’t smooth, but I loved it.
On the flip side, since we were spending so much time together, I was finding it hard to make the time to work out. My body was paying the price, and as a result, my self-esteem plummeted even lower. I needed to start running again. I needed to get back in the gym and start lifting again.
This posed the challenge of a delicate situation. CK proposed that we work out together. I knew I was a far better runner than CK was. That’s not a dig against him at all, but put simply, I ran cross-country in high school and swam in college. In order for me to get results from my workouts, I needed to push myself, and I needed to push myself hard! I wouldn’t be able to do that if I was holding back to run at CK’s pace. I didn’t want to insult him or his abilities, but I wasn’t sure this was something we’d be able to integrate.
Regardless of this, I decided to make an effort to give it a shot. When I told CK I wanted to go for a run one night, he wanted to join me. We both got ready and walked over to the west bank of the Hudson to run along the trail. As I predicted, we clocked a pace much less effective than I was hoping. I decided I needed to speak up. I was met with the response I had dreaded. He took insult to my comments that I needed to run faster. I didn’t know any way to navigate this without creating a conflict. He took it personally that I was insinuating he was holding me back.
As a result, he played the role of the martyr and told me to take off. The result of running at our own pace was what I was hoping for, but the hurt feelings and passive-aggressive response was exactly what I was hoping to avoid. I tried to talk to him about it to make it a discussion so there would be no hurt feelings, but he wanted none of it. He’d rather I just go, so that’s what I did.
While I ran, I thought about how to deal with the fallout of this. It made sense to me that we work out together, but we needed to do it in a way that benefited us both. I was going to resent it if I wasn’t getting the full potential out of the workout, and that benefits no one. That’s when I came up with a solution:
When we ran together, we would start out together at a warm-up pace. When I was sufficiently warmed up, I would pick up the pace and run ahead of him. When I felt I was half way through the workout, I would turn around and pick him up on the way back. When I overtook him, I would slow down to a cool down pace. I thought it the perfect solution.
It’s also basically what we were doing. When I turned around, I quickly came to find myself right behind him. As we ran, I proposed this new idea, but he still wasn’t having any part of it. I realized I was in a losing battle, and this would have to be addressed later when his ego healed.
Working out in the gym was also a whole other battle. When I go to the gym I like to be by myself. I do not treat it as a social excursion. I am there to work out and go home. I don’t even like spotting someone when they ask me for help. I resent it because I am there for my workout, not theirs. I don’t ask anyone else to spot me. I am not a trainer or an employee. Why should I be “working” at the gym? I know this sounds very antisocial, and that’s exactly what it is. I’m not the biggest fan of lifting. I see it as a necessary evil. I want to get in and out of there as quickly as possible.
When CK asked me to lift with him all the time, I was very hesitant. I loved him, but I was so used to lifting by myself. I knew if we did this together, I would get cranky, and it would start a fight. I was trying to save us from that. I also liked to go to the gym during my lunch break at work, so when he would ask me to hit the gym with him in the morning or the evening, I wouldn’t want to. I would want to use that time for far more fun things.
It was going to be a delicate balance, trying to integrate our lives, but eventually we would find equilibrium. Both sides would have to make sacrifices and concessions, but both sides would benefit from each other as well. Needless to say, CK was the first guy I’d gone to these steps with. It was new territory for me, but it was certainly exciting as well!
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I needed to be honest and upfront with PR. He deserved that at the very least. However, this was going to be a very delicate situation. I wanted to make sure I didn’t hurt his feelings. I really did like him and wanted to be his friend — I just didn’t think we’d be a good match to date each other. I gathered up a little courage (if I was truly courageous, I would have called him on the phone), and I we had the following exchange:
Me: After you left yesterday, I gave our compatibility a lot of thought. I have bigger doubts now. You and your friends are into the scene, and that’s not really my thing. Then there’s the sexual compatibility issue was well… And we’re in very different places right now. I can see you’re still recovering from your breakup. I don’t want to seem callous, but I don’t want to lead you on. I’d rather take a step back from this now, rather than when we get deep into things and serious feelings develop. You’re a great guy. I think very highly of you, and I hope we can remain friends. I’m sorry if this comes as a shock, but again I thought it better to speak up now.
PR: Okay. I just saw this. I understand your concerns. But I would like to say I’m not all about the “scene.” I do enjoy going out with my friends, and that is exactly all it is to me. Regarding our sexual compatibility, I thought I was making it clear that I am willing to be versatile for you. I get the sense that this is more about my moving back home and where I am in my life right now. Obviously I recognize I’m not in the most stable position in terms of my job, but I’m working to change that. As for my emotions, I can honestly say that I’m over my previous relationship. Yes, this is a bit of a shock. I know we were moving quickly. And I am willing to slow down, but as I understand it, you are asking to just be friends. Is this correct?
Me: I know you’re willing to be vers, but I’ve been down this road. With my last relationship, I put sex on the back burner for things I thought could make up for it. I learned my lesson. I told myself I would find someone with great sexual chemistry with me. I told myself I wouldn’t settle. As far as the scene things, Griffin doesn’t sound like fun to me, and I know how much you enjoy it. We’d end up constantly making sacrifices for each other. I have no desire to put on a wig and dress up. I’m not judging. It’s just not my idea of fun.
PR: I guess what I’m asking is have you made up your mind? I thought the distance might be a good things so we would take things slower.
Me: You’re moving home and the job search thing are factors, but not the main obstacles I foresee us running into going forward. I just think we lead different lifestyles. We have a lot in common, but we also have a lot of different priorities. I don’t think slower is going to change things.
PR: As far as the dressing up thing, I did that for the first time in my life for a couple of hours! I never said or expected you to do so. I understand the sexual aspect. And, I agree it’s a big concern. But I thought it was workable. I felt our chemistry was worth exploring and being versatile. My priorities and getting myself in a stable position in my work and home and to one day be able to share all I have to give with someone and build a home and life together. Listen, I thought we had great chemistry. I’m not trying to argue or beg. I just feel like maybe you have some misconceptions about what I value and look for in a person.
Me: I think I have an understanding of what you’re looking for, but I don’t want to sacrifice who we are to make the other happy. It never works. Been there, done that.
PR: I just don’t understand what sacrifices you’re talking about. I don’t believe you were faking the whole time. I feel like something spooked you and you’re not telling me. It sounds like you’re saying I’m too gay for you. But you have never voiced anything like this when I spoke of things like Griffin. I mean this is a drastic reversal from when I last saw you yesterday.
Me: I wasn’t faking it, but we only spent time together. We weren’t out with your friends or mine all that much. It is a reversal because I took a step back and looked at the week and what I learned about you. I didn’t say anything about Griffin because I try to have an open mind, but I need to make changes or I’ll keep repeating old mistakes.
PR: Okay. I wish you the best of luck.
Me: Please don’t be that way. We obviously have a lot in common, so we should be friends.
PR: I would like to be friends. But, I am hurt.
Me: I’m sorry. That’s not my intention at all. That’s what I’m trying to avoid!
PR: I know. It’s better you told me now. I’m not angry or anything towards you. Just sad. I was really looking forward to seeing you tomorrow and had something special planned.
Me: I’m very sorry. I didn’t want to get into tomorrow under false pretenses. That wouldn’t be fair to you. I knew you’d do something utterly sweet.
And with that, our week-long intense relationship came to a close…
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