One Year with Traveler

hand on mouthToday is the one year mark for Traveler and I.  One year.  Wow.

He started out as just a nice guy that offered to answer questions for me.  I needed a friend.  I got a friend, and a lot more.

I messaged him because he popped up in my matches and I was intrigued by his profile.  I didn’t know how to start a conversation, so I just said he’d popped up and I was intrigued and I wasn’t sure how to start a conversation.  He answered “I think you just did!”.  We kibitzed back and forth, and I admitted I’d liked his interests and that he read to his wife.  Something about that… a man that reads with his wife.  It sounded like a guy who appreciated intimacy and like a man who knew how to treat women.

He was flirty but nice.  He mentioned my caboose, but also wanted to know about the games I liked and how my trip to the Shakespeare festival had gone.  We chatted back and forth for a few days, sharing tidbits and interests and finally I confessed that I was actually pretty exhausted from poly drama and wondered if he’d like to be friends.  He responded that of course he’d be interested in just being friends, and that he’s been open a long time and could relate to drama stuff, and that if I’d like to talk he’d be happy to be a friend.

We chatted then on gmail, and arranged to meet and talk.  He told me about his own difficulties with open relationships and was really thoughtful and kind.  And dammit.. he was so damn cute.  I remember seeing him for the first time like it was yesterday.  He was wearing these nice pants and a purplish grayish shirt with just the collar unbuttoned.  He smiled really warmly and was so welcoming and sweet, and ridiculously cute.  I remember thinking that he was a little too cute for me and I was glad we’d decided to just be friends.  He was so open and warm and generously shared some of his own really private struggles.  I just liked him so very much.  He was intelligent and kind and sexy.  But we were just being friends.

Since it wasn’t a date, we got gyros and talked like old friends and then hit a poly meetup together, meeting my husband there. We were just friends, remember?  Anyway.. the meetup was odd and afterwards we hugged goodbye.  I sent him a message later that night or the next morning, and I thanked him for coming and for telling me such private stuff.  It had really helped.  He said, of course, “It was good to meet and talk with you.  I had fun, even if it was a little hard not to flirt with you when you looked up at me that one way you do”.  melt. 

I hadn’t picked up on him being attracted to me.  I guess I’m a little dull.  I said I hadn’t even guessed.  He said “well, you told me you needed a friend, so that’s what I was.  I was trying to be respectful and I enjoyed your company.” melt melt.

I told him I’d changed my mind and I wanted to date him.

We met in Capitol Hill a little over 2 weeks later.  We had coffee and made out in the park, talked and walked, had Thai food, made out much heavier in his car, and broke ourselves apart just in time for him to race to the airport on one of his then weekly business trips.  He told me that he didn’t normally do this, make out in public.  He said he wasn’t usually big on public displays of affection.  I nodded and kissed him some more.  When we got up to go to Thai, at the park, he hadn’t been able to get up right away and had to wait a minute.  I didn’t understand at first, and then I did.  I grinned like a Chesire cat.  Mhmm.  Chemistry.  melt melt melt

We planned another date, an overnight in a nice place in Bellevue.  We planned to play pool and have dinner and explore.  We did eat.  Eventually.  I was nervous actually because it had been another 2 weeks and I felt odd planning an overnight date with a man that honestly I really didn’t know very well.  We’d been chatting a lot on gmail and in texts and such, but still.  He picked me up from the ferry and all of that melted away.  It’s hard to explain, but the man just kinda radiates good, you know?  He brought candles and music and we blissed out on touch.  It was the longest slowest build.  I’d been concerned about his piercings and if it’d make it hard to give him head.  He gave me a tip or two about dealing with them and it was perfect and I loved it.  We got coffee after we finally got dinner and I’d excitedly said, “ah, you plan on being up a while.  Good”.

Things progressed this way, seeing each other usually every other weekend when he was home.  He was in town only on weekends and I was insanely busy.  I was married to Hubby and dating 3 people at the time.  That is simply batt-shit nuts, even if one is as low maintenance as Traveler was.  We played 20 questions on the phone, and video chatted for hours when he visited friends back east for a party.  We saw very little of each other in December, meeting for a few random afternoons and lunches, between my daughters in town and his travels and commitments, and I began to realize that my casual-fun-easy-light but not-too-casual thing was not so casual.

I said it during a chat first.  I was glad he couldn’t see my face. I told him I liked him and flapped my hands like a bird I felt so nervous about putting that out there.  In my playspace, a week later in a long and leisurely lunch turned into hours long afternoon, before Traveler ran off to errands, I told him finally, face to face,  “I like you”, and then I hid my face against him.  I wrote a blog about it.  And then finally in April, after it took me a few months to see it and a few to work up the guts, and I told him I loved him.

We talked earlier that evening about how it was throwing a gauntlet when you tell someone you love them.  He said it didn’t have to be if the people communicated well.  I thought he was letting me know it was okay that I loved him, that he could tell I’d almost said it 400 times in the last 5 or 6 dates but that he didn’t feel the same.  Later that night, when I told him, I put my hand over his mouth and told him not to say anything and not to feel like he had to ever say it back, and I lost my courage, and then got it again, and told him “Don’t say anything.  You don’t have to say it back.  I love you”.  He held me really tight and waited, like a minute, saying nothing.  Then he said “I did what you asked, and I didn’t say anything.  I love you”.  I was shocked.  He’s so calm and cool and collected.  He’s so sweet and affectionate and kind and thoughtful, but I just didn’t see that coming.  I was SURE I would hurt things by falling for him, sure that our easy and wonderful thing would get messed up.  Everything with us was just always so nice and drama free and good.  He’s a good communicator and a great listener and he’s level headed and manages his emotions well.

A short while after that, maybe a month or a month and a half, I saw it.  I hadn’t seen it before and now I couldn’t un-see it.  He loves me too.  He loves me in this simple way.  He loves me by things like remembering I needed clean sheets.  It’s in the little kindnesses and thoughtful things.  He loves me with his time and his thought and his attention and it was so obvious.  melt melt melt melt

It’s built so slowly and is still building.  He’s a guy that takes 5 years to get to know, according to his wife, and I believe her.  I was scared for a while, wondering what he is thinking and isn’t saying, because he’s so quiet and calm sometimes.  It’s scary for me to begin to let down those defenses and rely on people.  I can tell stuff and let people in to a point fairly easy, but to trust them, to really trust them, is hard for me.  It takes a long time for me to stop looking for that other shoe.  I find myself constantly asking “what are you thinking”?

It was harder with him  and easier too.  It’s easier because he’s so clearly honest and trustworthy.  He’s good and kind and reasonable.  He’s clear.  He treats people well and tries, as far as I can tell, to do absolutely the right thing in pretty much every situation.  You know?  I mean, he’s the only person I’ve ever met besides me that won’t download pirated movies and music because it’s wrong.  He also shares my love of order and processing and organization.  I love to label things and catalog them.  I LIKE alphabetizing my movies.  I do it to my books to, by author, and non-fiction by genre.  These things make it so much easier to feel safe loving him. melt melt melt melt melt

The things that make it harder are that he doesn’t go on and on about what he thinks all the time and his mind is pretty uncharted land to me.  I worry sometimes that I could be projecting onto that canvas the things I want to see.  For the record I don’t THINK I am, but at my weak times I thought I COULD be.  But that’s the beauty of such a long slow fall.  It was scary but reasoned too.  Of course that’s all a lie.  I began to fall for him a few months in, but how sweet of him to let me pretend I didn’t and that it developed later when I felt more sure and more safe.

I told him the other night, and as far as I can tell he didn’t flinch, that he’s becoming a part of the little family I create for myself.  It’s been a year.  Good times.

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