Welcome to My Romantic Grey Area.

From the end of university until late this past summer (almost 4.5 years), I was dating Randy.  I don’t want to spend a bunch of time focusing on him, but to give you an idea of how far south the relationship had gone I will give you a rundown of some of the lies I discovered post-breakup:

  • He was using drugs.
  • He dealt drugs.
  • He was telling me he was in university, but was, in fact, not registered at all.

Did I suspect all of this?  Yes.  Had I talked myself into thinking that I was being paranoid?  Yes.  Should have set my fears aside and just broken up with him?  Yes.

Alas, I wish I could be sitting here answering “no” to the last two questions, but that’s not the way it went down.  Instead, he broke up with me out of the blue, which, in retrospect, was the nicest thing he ever did for me.  I’ve been happier, more positive, and am in a much healthier place than I was for… too long a time.

That sets the stage for my more recent romantic adventures, which are a few shades different than what transpired with Randy.

After the breakup, I set about rekindling the friendships that I’d let slide since 2005.  Thankfully, I have some amazing friends who were incredibly supportive and welcomed me with open arms.  No words will actually describe how far out of the way some of my friends went to be there for me, nor will they describe how much melodrama they endured.  They should all have major karma points coming their way from the universe.

With this resurgence of time with my friends came meeting new people.  One of the people I met was Ian.  Ian is from New Zealand, so I automatically noticed the rather appealing accent.  He’s also tall, perfectly proportioned, and has a full head of chin-length blond dreads.  Unique, to say the least.  The first few times we hung out it was in a large group of people, and I’d noted that he is a pretty quiet guy.  He won’t say much unless he has something of substance to contribute.

One weekend a bunch of us were set to congregate at his apartment prior to hitting the town, so I showed up early, only to find out we were being ditched by everyone but each other.  Thus began the awkward yet exciting dance of two people who’ve noticed that the chemical reaction sitting between them had started to slowly bubble and smoke.  We were on an unintentional date and both obviously enjoying ourselves.  This quiet man turns out to have quite a story of drive and adventure.  He’s travelled through parts of Asia, all over Europe, the US, and Australia, living for extended periods in different places on 3 continents.  A good chunk of this travelling had been done during breaks while doing his computer science degree.  He was taking German, Spanish, and salsa dancing lessons in the evenings during the week.  He is a certified rescue diver and fully trained solo hang glider.  He makes short films that he scripts himself.  There isn’t a lot this man doesn’t do – a true renaissance man! 

In a rare twist of events, I was actually feeling intimidated.  There aren’t too many of men in my life that can inspire me to that level of personal trepidation.  It was awfully exciting.  On the walk back to my car at the end of the night he put his arm around me, bringing me into his warm frame.  It was a feeling that I wanted to be able to wrap myself in for as long as possible.

After that night it was quite clear there was mutual interest, but there was an issue – he was set to leave Canada in March.  We agreed that we would keep our relations to the category of “just a bit of fun,” and off we went.  We certainly did have a lot of fun; we hung out several times a week.  We uncovered a shared love of comedy and action movies as well as nature documentaries, and he was always up for non-standard activities like comedy clubs, theatre, and museums.  The chemistry experiment went from a simmer to a boil, and we certainly had all of the rambunctious times that go along with that.

But here’s the problem with having “just a bit of fun” with such a potent chemical reaction: these things can get out of hand quickly.  One minute you’ve got a beaker of happily burbling liquid, and the next you’ve got the burn kit out.

We had an outrageous level of passion, shared interests, and were frequently challenging each other to look at the world in ways that neither of us had seen before. Suddenly, this idea of “just a bit of fun” seemed a bit light to describe what was happening.

I’ll cut to today.  Ian’s gone to Europe, where he plans to live, work, and travel until the end of the year.  After that, he’s planning on going back to New Zealand for about six months, and then he’s off travelling again.  We were in this monogamous pseudo relationship from the end of September until the beginning of this month.  In that time we had one misunderstanding, and save for that, everything between us was some shade of ideal.  We’ve acknowledged that we have feelings for one another, but that’s as far as it has gone. 

Ultimately, how does one navigate a situation like this?  I’d never ask him to change his plans, as it’s easy to see how that can be a foundation for resentment in the long term.  Before he and I started down this path, I’d made plans to move to Australia this year and switch careers, so it’s not like I don’t have plans of my own.

So here we are: two people with big plans and feelings for one another.  Our plans don’t line up at this time, so it looks like the best we can do is put things on the shelf until we’re in a place where we can/want to sort it out.

It’s a weird twist from the universe… I have this amazing experience with Ian so soon after the train wreck that was Randy.  I needed it.  I needed to trust again, and I needed to see how easy it can be to be with someone.  A constant state of tension isn’t a healthy relationship.  For this reason, I wouldn’t change a thing with regards to my experiences with Ian.  At the same time, I am still getting that heavy feeling in the middle of my chest thinking of how our days of watching documentaries and drinking wine are over.  I miss him.

Next week I leave for an 8 day adventure in Paris, and guess who is joining me for 4 days of my trip? – Ian.  We get an encore presentation of our dynamic in the most romantic city in the world after a month apart.  How could this not be mind blowing?  I can’t wait for the superlatives and clichés I’m going to be using afterwards!  I apologize in advance.

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