So The Dude came over tonight for dinner. Yes, I invited him. No, there was no hanky panky, and yes, we are still firmly broken up.
I made dinner.
Caesar salad (with Ann Burrell’s eggless dressing, which is, in a word, superb).
Risotto with Crimini Mushrooms (basically the recipe from How to Cook Everything, though frankly I don’t even really consult a recipe for risotto anymore, and I used beef stock and red wine rather than chicken stock and white wine, blah blah blah.)
Crusty bread and butter.
[I had bought gelato for dessert but we ate too much dinner to eat dessert.]
Now, you might be asking yourself, why is Dr. Crazy preparing a gourmet fucking meal for her ex-boyfriend? Is she mentally ill? Well, don’t think I didn’t think that myself, especially in the hour before he arrived (when it was too late to back out). Part of it was that I wanted to use my knew Fancy Pot (the Le Creuset Dutch Oven) to make something delightful. Part of it is that we haven’t seen one another since the Fourth of July… and I just wanted to see him. Yeah, we’ve been texting… but texting isn’t hanging out.
You also might be asking yourself why The Dude would drive 40 minutes to have dinner with a “friend.” Don’t think I didn’t ask myself that question either. (By the way, I asked him that question, too. Basically, his answer is that he might be mentally ill.)
But so anyway, it was weird for about 30 seconds when he showed up, and then it was grand. Was there a “vibe” between us, a “spark”? Yes, but neither of us acted on it, although we both acknowledged it. And we also had a good talk about how things ended with us and why, and it was, frankly, a relief to have that talk and not fucked up or angry or emotional or anything unpleasant. This is gross, but it was like I finally got to talk to my best friend about what’s been going on with me. I think he felt the same way. And also that good talk only lasted like 20 minutes of the three hours we were together, and that was grand, too.
Now, I did come away from this evening with some insights.
The first insight is this: The Dude wants to be in a relationship with me without the pressure of being in a “relationship.” From the moment of his arrival until dinner was served (so, say, 30 minutes) here is a recap: 1) “I feel so relaxed now that I’m here! I haven’t felt so relaxed in a month” (which, let’s note, we’ve been broken up a month). 2) “If you’re not dating anybody then you need to go to the Over the Rhine show with me in December.” 3) “You know, I would still like to hang out with CC and G with you (these are my friends who are getting married this weekend). Like in the fall they can come over and we can watch football! And maybe I’ll make a new dip! ” (Dips are The Dude’s one culinary thing.) At this point I could remain silent no longer, and I was like, “Ok, so you are totally at peace the moment you are in my presence, you are making plans with me for four months from now, and you want to do couples socializing with my friends What exactly do you think a relationship is? Because what you’re describing? That’s a relationship! You’re crazy!” And later, I astutely noted: “Dude, you still think that we are together, but now you don’t have the pressure of having to see me! Like, you still think you are my boyfriend!” and he responded, “Well, kind of….” to which I said, “Well, that’s a raw deal for me because I still have to be a girlfriend but I don’t get to have sex. Lame.” He was silent.
The second insight is this: He really is trying to figure shit in his life out that has nothing at all to do with me. And I actually respect him for not making that shit about me. Like, he’s not doing the “I’m so noble that I won’t be with you” thing, but he really is trying to figure his shit out. I’ve been there, and I understand why you can’t (and shouldn’t be) be committed to another person when you’re doing that.
The third insight is that I think I really did need to see him and to explain my perspective on the end of our relationship, because he hadn’t understood how I’d been chafing at feeling “trapped” with him in May and June, and he hadn’t really understood the role that that played in the breakup. So that’s good that he now gets that I instigated a lot of what he did.
The fourth insight is that neither one of us really understands why we broke up because 1) we are happy when we are together and 2) we get along really fucking well.
But so the night ended, and we hugged and kissed each other on the cheek, And we are totally broken up, even though we’re in love and we like each other better than we like any other people. And I’m still pursuing dating, and he’s still trying to figure his shit out, which he may never be able to do.
So, yeah, it’s stupid. But here are my ultimate thoughts: 1) It’s good that we are not together right now. He really does need to figure his shit out, and I really need not to be tied to a person who doesn’t know what he wants. 2) It was SOOOO good to see him! Honestly, this was the best I’ve felt since we ended it. He may be fucked up and confused, but he remains my favorite person in the whole world, and I like to spend time with him. 3) Who knows what the future holds, but where we are right now we have the potential to transition into a really grand friendship or to find our ways back to one another. And I like that there is potential in either one of those directions.
Now, I might be a dumbass, and he might be emotionally retarded, and what we’re doing might end in a veil of tears. But he matters enough to me to take that risk, I guess. I’d rather take that risk and lose than not take that risk and shut down the possibility.