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Do I Define My Relationship and Risk Losing Everything?

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What is the point? What are we doing? We have been going on six months of this back and forth, of this companionship that has become nothing. Or looks as if it will become nothing.

I let myself enter the dating world after a hiatus of over a decade. I let myself try to date again in my late 20s, after I sorted out some of my treatment options, after getting on a more effective medication combination, of figuring out some of my chronic health problems. I stayed away from dating since high school due to an abusive relationship that was hard for me to move past. Thus, last summer, when I started to open up my personality more, I caught the eye of someone I had my eye on for over a year.We met at ultimate frisbee pick-up games. I joined at the end of the summer season in 2018, where he played. I thought he was too young for me. I sincerely thought he was in his early 20s, just out of college, enjoying life. I never imagined him to be closer to me in age. We spent that summer playing and saying “hello” politely to one another. The offseason came and went, and the beginning of the 2019 pick-up season started. I came to games here and there. I got sick, I had to sort out things in my personal life. Life was chaotic but ultimate frisbee was the only constant in my life. He was too, I guess, but I did not think much of it.

I was moving apartments one weekend in August 2019 and reached out to my friends for help, as moving was taxing on my body, as well as trying to coordinate cleaning the place I was vacating and care for my two dogs. On the Friday evening of my move, he offered to come help. We spent 20 minutes figuring out how to fit my futon into the back of my SUV – successfully, I might add – and moved it over to my new place. I offered to take him to dinner, my treat, as a thank you for spending Friday night moving with me — a casual dinner turned into almost two extra hours of talking and playing with my dogs at my new place. I did not recognize it then but do see it now: he was interested. I kept my distance and was rather awkward. A couple of weeks later, on a Wednesday that happened to be his birthday, I gave him a gift card as a token of appreciation. I guess it was his birthday gift, too. To celebrate, some ultimate frisbee friends went out for dinner. I joined in despite not having played much that night. I walked to the park from my apartment, so I had to get a ride home. Being the only one I knew, I asked him if I could hitch a ride. He needed cleaning supplies so we stopped by CVS on the way to drop me off. He was moving at the end of the month. I offered to lend him some of the extra supplies I had from my move, things I could grab for him when he dropped me off. A simple drop off turned into coming in for a seat, which turned into conversation, which turned into simple happiness. I had never felt happier in recent memory. I felt so comfortable. I felt taken care of. I felt seen.

He told me he noticed me for the first time on my fifth day at our old company. I had come to the company party with my service dog and he said he remembered me, mostly because of my service dog. Who can’t? (My dog is a black English Labrador that is hard to miss.) One conversation led to another and I let myself fall into his arms. I let myself let down my guard and open up to him the darkest parts of my heart, the most painful parts of my existence.

Six months later, here we still are. Nothing defined, yet my heart aches. Do I define it and risk losing everything? What does my mental illness say? What does my heart say? I do not know what to do anymore. This has been the best six months of my life, yet the hardest in some strange ways too. What does this all mean? I cannot wrap my head around it. I am confused. I am lost. I am hurting.

Sometimes, all we need to know is that we belong. Sometimes, all we need to know is that we are loved. Sometimes, all we need is a little compassion, a hug, and the reminder that no matter what, at the end of the day, what is meant to be will be. Hang in there. Don’t give up yet, my dear.

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Originally published: February 11, 2020
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