So I drove five and a half hours last week, to Bend, Oregon for a date with a man I had never met in person. This is not something I would typically do, but there were a few different reasons I wanted to do this.
The Sheriff and I connected through OKCupid. He is smart and funny and he has a nice smile. He has a good vocabulary, spells well, and I didn’t feel pressured that this long distance coffee date had expectations attached. (Truth be told, I knew we both had expectations, but I was comfortable, he was comfortable, there was just good mojo all around.)
Sheriff is from a tiny town more than nine hours away from me. Tiny, like twenty thousand people. When I heard this, I told him it sounded like the town of Mayberry, from the Andy Griffith Show, and that I was just going to have to nickname him Opie, or, alternatively, just Mayberry. Apparently neither of these were masculine enough for him, and he requested (demanded) I at least give him Andy, after the Sheriff of Mayberry. Yadda, yadda, yadda, Sheriff had a good ring to it, and this is often how my brain works.
I think we were both good from the moment we met. It was comfortable conversation that we fell into, and an easy kind of rapport. We had been intermittently chatting online, and by text for a couple of months, so it felt natural to be with him in person.
One of the reasons I chose to go on this far-away date with the Sheriff, has to do with my relationship with Special Man. I think I need more of something, though more of what, exactly, I’m not sure. I wanted to experiment, I wanted to explore some different options. I have a deep level of intimacy with and love for SMF. It takes a lot of work to maintain that. I miss him almost all the time. Not curled-into-the-fetal-position miss him, but I often feel as if I’m waiting for the next time we can be together. And really, between his work, my work, our family obligations and everything else that constitutes Real Life, I’m not sure how much more of myself there is left to give to yet another person, even an additional casual relationship.
I’ve heard the term, “poly-saturated” before, and I love it. I like the idea that each of us, who identify as non-monogamous, may have a different level of poly- saturation. While one person may easily integrate two significant relationships and one casual relationship, another person may be content with one significant and one casual. Of course there are any number of combinations and possibilities, and I want to find that balance between my needs and contentment, and my abilities to maintain my connections.
It was a good date, we stayed overnight in Bend, and I had a good time. I was a little unsettled, being with someone new, but a preference for familiarity and stability is part of my fundamental personality. However, all in all, it was a very low-key, easy experience. There were many conscious pauses, where I took note of my feelings and and then filed them away for later processing. When it came near time for me to head home, the Sheriff asked me if I could stay another day.
“Maybe,” I said as we walked to breakfast.
Part of me thought it might be fun. Part of me was ambivalent. The Sheriff was engaging, attentive, conversational, and complimentary. But I missed Special Man. I knew that he would not be comfortable with this change in plans, had I decided at the last minute to stay another night with a new man, but in the end, I chose not to stay another night because I just couldn’t be comfortable with it. It felt too new, too unfamiliar, and I didn’t feel like I had the energy for twenty-four more hours with a brand new person. I needed to be back on familiar ground; my town, my bed, my children.
The unfortunate encounter between a tree and my car on the way home from Oregon, necessarily caused me to delay my thoughts about this date. I like the Sheriff, and I may see him again.
But I’m still looking for something.