boundaries

I met a boy.  We liked each other.  And yesterday, I told him to go away.

I met him back in January, at a coffeeshop,  right before I left to move in with granma, and I enjoyed his company so well that I invited him to my Going Away Party at the bowling alley.  We kept in touch a bit over texting and Facebook, and when I got back into town last month, I happened to see him the very next day at the coffeeshop.  The day after that, he asked me out.

I didn’t realize what had happened at first.  I said to a friend, “Hey, I’m going to such-and-such with Nice Boy!”

My friend frowned at me.  “I thought you weren’t dating yet.”

“Uhh… is this a date?”

See, I’d made a promise to myself that I wouldn’t date for a year after getting divorced.  And, as it turns out, when a Nice Boy calls and invites me somewhere, it is a date.  Don’t laugh.  I learned something new.

So I called Nice Boy back.  “Uhh, hi.  This is going to be awkward.  I can’t go with you because I like you, and I’m not allowed to like anyone yet.”  I didn’t want to just start telling this guy “no” out of the blue without explaining myself somewhat, and I figured that if I had to tell someone to back off, it should be with a combination of wry humor, honesty, and flattery.

Once we established the time limit (three more months), whether or not he can see me at all (yes, with groups), and who can invite whom (I can invite him, but not the other way around), we had a deal and hung up.  Texting and Facebook communication continued as before, and I invited him to join me at a few group things.

Then he invited me to his birthday party.

At first, I said, “Sure, if you come to my party!”  (A few weeks later.)  Great.  Deal.  But then I started feeling uncomfortable– just a little.  He wasn’t supposed to invite me places.  I mean sure, it was a party and he invited everyone, later, over Facebook… but he texted me, invited me, and didn’t invite my roommates to come along with me.  It felt just a little bit not-right.  So I asked myself: am I overreacting?  And I realized there was a little Alice in the back of my mind, screaming, “NO YOU ARE NOT OVERREACTING!  You asked him not to do something, he said he wouldn’t, but then he did.  THIS IS NOT ROCKET SCIENCE.”

The thing to remember about overreacting is hey– at least I am reacting.  I am setting boundaries and expecting others to keep them.  My ex-husband did not let me have any boundaries, so now I am going to have to be extra-careful with new people I meet– not just males who ask me out.  I think this Nice Boy is a good bet– I’m gonna call him someday– but I had to do this for myself.  But I am getting ahead of myself.

I know where this guy hangs out– remember coffeeshop?  So I went over there before AA last night.  I found Nice Boy.  And I told him that because he’s invited me somewhere, I have a problem… I won’t see him on his birthday, and please don’t contact me– that I would call him.  He didn’t exactly argue, he said he understands, and I really think he does.  He did say that it was like using a shotgun to kill a fly (lawyers…), and I said that a shotgun is all I have.  I have to take whatever measures are necessary so that I’m not the person who married my ex.  The look on his face was a little bit “fuck! how do I get out of this?” and mostly resignation because I kindof got him on a technicality.  Plus the fact that I wouldn’t be doing this if I didn’t like him probably helped. 

I felt bad.  This poor guy didn’t do much more than have really bad timing.  Not only am I flailing about trying to deal with the simple pain and sadness of divorce and the last ten years of my life, I am trying to get my head on straight and trying to figure out what my damages are so I can fix them.  Nice Boy wasn’t the first person to get an overreaction out of me because something reminded me of my ex, and he won’t be the last.  I wish I had just said “don’t call me, I’ll call you” from the start, because that made this more confusing than necessary.  This wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t done it wrong– tried to have my cake and eat it too.

Of course I am also sad.  I enjoy Nice Boy and I will miss him.  He is fun and intelligent and a little bit crazy.  I would go so far to say he inspired me.  I am sure we will be good friends one day.  He told me to call him when I am ready.  So once I get myself in some order, recognize and set my boundaries… I will.

But I also feel good.  I made a rule about my world and I expected people around me to follow it.  I am making myself stronger, I am making decisions about my world and what’s going to be in it.  My life is a countdown, my time is limited, and I choose who deserves my time.

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One Response to “boundaries”

  1. Laura Says:

    You definitely have to do what’s right for you, and if people don’t respect that, sometimes that’s the best thing to do. Who knows? Maybe someday in the future something will work out. If not, you are an intelligent, strong woman who I am sure will manage just fine. Hugs to you.

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