This is turning out to be interesting, though perhaps for different reasons than I thought. Different pictures pop into my head when I’m sitting in front of the keyboard than when I talk to Jeff. And I’m getting to know a different side of him too.
It would have never occurred to me, for example, that he was “working hard to push back on his family (my words not his).” At the time it felt like, though I know that’s not what happened, he asked me to have breakfast with his parents after our second date. Yes, honey, I do exaggerate, but may I remind our readers that I live over 6,000 miles from my family? Which has made dropping by with mom or dad an experience I haven’t had in over 13 years. Not to mention that my dad passed away 19 years ago and the last time I had a meaningful conversation with my mom was about five years ago. I’ve seen he many times since, but her Alzheimer has taken away a lot.
But back to my topic. For me, moving in is about getting closer. It is about giving up the safety of retreat should togetherness become too much. It is about trading a safe distance for a safe closeness. That thought triggers a stream of questions and prompt answers: Do we have to move in with each other? No! Can we continue to date as we do right now, spending mostly weekends with each other? Of course! Do I have doubts whether Jeff’s the One? You bet! I’ve never met the One. So how would I know? Can I imagine a more suitable husband? Yes, I have a vivid imagination! Can I think of another living, breathing man with who I’d rather try this experiment in cohabitation? Definitively not!
The very fact that we are writing this column instead of just packing our bags and renting a U-haul is pretty telling. We’ve both been hurt and that makes us tread carefully. I remember rushing in the last time, and it not lasting very long. Generating much more hurt than there needed to be. More walls left behind that now need to be negotiated with care so our dreams don’t get tripped up in the rubble.
My panic attack came about a week ago, after spending most of three weekends at Jeff’s place. No particular reason why we did. Our social plans had just come out that way. Before that we had spent a number of weekends at my place. When I came home that Sunday, I felt like kneeling down and kissing the floor in relieve. My neat, clean, un-crowded, air-conditioned apartment in a gay neighborhood, far away from suburbia. For a moment I forgot that Jeff and I had long agreed that we would live on this side of Hollywood. For a moment I forgot all our ideas how our place would be different. I only heard the voice in my head: “This space is mine!”
And it is and always will be. That’s one of the key reasons why we had talked about building our space together somewhere else. Start with a new apartment that would be ours. After the panic wore off, I remembered the reason why this place was so neat and clean: Because I’m here by myself. Nobody else is here when I’m not, unless Jeff comes over early when we have plans. I don’t want to be by myself in the long run. Not even in the short run. While Jeff and I have a lot going on in our separate lives, there is the us I want to come back to at the end of the day. To share stories, to laugh, to joke, to play and cuddle together.
If that makes me a sentimental fool, I’ll accept the label happily. We might even figure out the cleaning thing over it.
This series of posts was first published in 2006 and 2007. Jeff and Rolf are now happily living together. For those of you who have missed it the first time around and for everyone who’d like to read it again, here is the full story line in an updated format.