Saturday, February 27, 2010

I'm Completely and Utterly Confused

So I made the mistake of going out with Paul on Thursday and then Theo on Friday. Knowing that I'd be seeing Theo on Friday for a second date, I told Paul that Thursday was going to be a strictly friends outing for us. I had to specify this because Paul has recently told me that, while he is not ready to be in a committed relationship, he's very much attracted to me and isn't sure he can be "just friends." When I met up with him for a casual dinner, I was feeling really excited about my upcoming date with Theo. I was sure that I'd have no problem behaving like I do with any of my other friends.

Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Paul tried to play it cool during dinner, but by the time we went across the street for ice cream, he was rapidly losing his ability to be just friendly. There was much flirtation and flattery and it got to me. My rational brain was fighting a serious uphill battle against my emotional brain; his rational brain was nearly decimated.

And still, the night was young, so we went over to a bar to sit and talk some more. By this point we were holding hands across the table. He wouldn't let go, but I didn't want him to. Therein lies the confusion. Even though I'd only been on one, completely G-rated date with Theo, at this point, I really want things to work out with him. Were I to do anything with Paul at this point, I worry that it would come back to bite me later if things with Theo continue to go well.

To make matters even more confusing, the second date with Theo went really well, but it was just as slow as the first. We seem to like each other and enjoy each other's company, we share many of the same likes and dislikes, and we always have plenty to talk about. That last point has, oddly enough, been the only real problem on our dates as we've found ourselves rushing to get him on the last train home at the end of the evening and never have time for a decent goodbye.

On paper, Theo wins against Paul hands down. He's older, more mature, witty and funny in the same way I am, passionate about classical music, a good dresser (I never did tell him last night how handsome he looked in his suit), doesn't drink or smoke, etc. However, I can't ignore the fact that there's incredibly intense physical attraction between me and Paul. My rational self picks Theo. My emotional self picks Paul. Which one will win in the end? I don't know, but I sure would like to find out soon.

P.S. In my last post I mentioned that I'd messaged with Jesse while waiting for an e-mail from Theo. I'd not heard anything from him since, so I assumed that I wouldn't. Only I did. I'm incredibly flattered to have the attention of these guys, but it makes everything so freaking complicated. If Daria's Quinn Morgendorfer (top left) and Gilmore Girls' Rory Gilmore (above right) morphed into one person, it might very well be me.

10 comments:

Lanafactrix said...

Paul sounds like bad news. You made it clear what your feelings were, but he disregarded them. If you didn't have that attraction, his behavior probably would have made you extremely uncomfortable.
A guy who isn't willing to respect your limits isn't worth your time, no matter how hot.

Furthermore, he's made it clear that he's not interested in commitment, but you've made it clear that you are. This is an insurmountable obstacle.

That being said, your emotional self is always going to win when it comes to romance. You and Theo both deserve to be with people who light your fires, and if he's not the one for you, he deserves your honesty.

(By the way, through no fault of yours, I find your choice of nicknames super-creepy--my ex went by Theo online, and I knew him as that for long before we dated.)

Superquail said...

Dude, your life is totally like a soap opera right now!

I'm not sure I can completely agree with Lanafactrix. If you weren't feeling the same way Paul was and you had said "Seriously, NO MORE FLIRTING!" and then he kept at it, he would be the guy who didn't respect your limits. As it was, though, I think his behavior is totally in the realm of the reasonable.

As far as I can see, there is nothing wrong with going out on dates with a guy who makes you feel like a million bucks, even if he isn't husband material. If you were in a relationship with someone else, then going on dates with Paul would be a bad idea, but since your not, the occasional ego-boosting hang out seems to me to be totally a'ight.

And in the end, it's not how a guy looks on paper but how he looks in the morning that seals the deal.

My two cents.

Katie said...

Paul, ultimately, is being respectful of my limits. He was happy that I had told him advance of our dinner last week that I wanted a friends situation for the evening and nothing more. Nonetheless, we're attracted to one another and who doesn't love being told she's beautiful and wonderful and all that jazz (when it's said sincerely of course)?

If the thing with Theo progresses into a real relationship, things with Paul will have to come to an end, but until then, I'm leaving my options open.

Superquail said...

Sounds like you are handling things just fine!

Katie said...

All of the lovely and insightful comments left by all of you lovely readers have helped me figure a lot of things out. I am feeling much less confused!

Christina said...

Sounds like Paul wants to have the physical chemistry without having to commit to you. If you're ultimately looking for a relationship in your life, that's never a good person to get involved in because eventually you're going to want more from him and he's say he told you he didn't want a relationship from the beginning. Even if you are okay with just being friends now, you might change your mind later. That's just what I've learned from experience. Plus, if you put Paul aside for a while and tried to see Theo, you could probably convince Paul to hang out again in the future things don't work out with Theo.

As far as Theo goes, I'd give the simple, good guy a little more time before putting him aside. He seems to respect you more than Paul, but he just might take a little time to open up and feel comfortable, fun, flirty, etc around you. I'd give him a change without the other guy distracting you as a comparison. Then if you're not thrilled, I'd reassess the situation.

Just my opinion...

Superquail said...

I have never fully understood what people mean when they say that they "aren't ready for commitment." What does commitment mean to them? Are they afraid that if they "commit" then they will be required to do your taxes for you while looking after your aging grandmother and simultaneously teach you how to hot-wire a motorcycle? Because that does sound like a lot of responsibility. But here's the thing a lot of people don't get: commitment works both ways. If he's going to be doing all that for you, he can be sure that you'll be helping him with loan applications while taking care of his incontinent dog and simultaneously teaching him the ancient art of Arabic calligraphy. Or whatever.

It might be interesting to sit down and write a list of "things I want in a relationship" and a list of "things I don't want in a relationship". The should be specific things like "I want to be able to tell you about my day" and "I don't want to have to clean up after you when you vomit" rather than vague terms like "I want trust" and "I don't want clinginess". If you could get Paul to write out two similar lists, it might make for an interesting comparison.

Just a thought . . .

Wayne said...

I'm always floored when women can't differentiate between what makes someone attractive and what qualities they have that make a relationship work. If you really want a relationship, to pay attention to the first and not the second is, for lack of a better word, really stupid.

As for Superquail's comment, going out with someone who makes you feel like a million bucks but is not relationship material is a very short term gain. It feels good that a sexy guy wants you, but it sucks when you realize he doesn't want ONLY you.

Superquail said...

Wayne - you sound like, for the lack of a better word, a complete jerk. Any person who starts a sentence with "I can't understand why women do X" is implying that:

a) ALL women do X
b) men NEVER do X

Neither of which could possibly be true.

If you think that attraction doesn't play a role in "what makes relationships work," then you have never been in a relationship.

You say that spending time with someone who makes you feel good about yourself is a "very short term gain." I don't know about that, but I do know that spending time with someone who makes you feel like dirt can do very long term harm.

It is true that what K is looking for is a long-term relationship, but that doesn't mean that she wants a long-term relationship with Paul. And believe it or not, people can have more than one relationship in their life at any given time. If she wants to have a friends-with-benefits arrangement with Paul, I don't see a problem with that. I also don't see it as in any way contradictory to her desire to have a long-term relationship someday with someone else.

Wayne said...

Superquail:

I'm sorry that your reading comprehension skills are so lacking that the meaning escaped you.

To explain, the phrase "I am floored WHEN" something happens means it DOESN'T happen often. Why would I be floored over something that happens all the time? The whole point was that most of my female friends are able to differentiate between "attraction" and "relationship material" so it SURPRISES me when women CAN'T.

And again, no one said that attraction doesn't count (reading comprehension again), OF COURSE it does. What is sad is when people (men AND women) let their attraction overcome their common sense about what they are looking for in another person. And the ones that do it tend to do it repeatedly, and then whine because they can't find a good relationship. Huh.

Now on to the "short-term gain" part. We certainly agree that no one should spend time with someone who makes them feel like dirt, but even more insidious are the people who make you feel great when they are around you but are making other people feel great when they are not around you. Players are called that name for a reason, and not noticing a player is as dangerous as putting up with an obvious jerk, if not more so. From watching and being there for female friends, the deception by someone who made them feel special hurt far worse than any words that an obvious jerk had ever said to their face.

And for your last point, I guess from all my experience having many female friends over the years, the most common reason I see for them not finding a long term relationship is that they waste time with people who are not relationship material. I have seen friends waste YEARS with the wrong person; the danger is that in those cases they are often getting just enough of their needs met that they don't look for the real thing. And that's a shame, because everyone who really wants to share their life with someone should have that opportunity.

So if those opinions make me "a complete jerk" as you stated, then I'm fine with that.