When The Fella and I first started dating (six months ago yesterday, as a matter of fact) he used to say, “I really dig you, man” at pointed moments in conversations or after too many Jim Beam and Cokes. I thought it meant the obvious- you know, that, uh duh, he digs me. That he thinks I’m cool. He likes hangin’ with me.
Months later he let me in on a little secret. “I really dig you, man” was code for “I’m in love with you.” I’m pretty clueless I guess because I had no idea. I mean I thought he liked me, maybe even like-liked me, but the L word? That came as a surprise.
We were sitting in a local bar on a white leather couch being couple-y and cozy when he blurted it out. “I love you.” I was taken aback thinking, this must be the booze talking/we haven’t been dating that long/he doesn’t really mean it. Blah blah blah. All those thoughts ran through my head quick like liquor through my bloodstream. I didn’t say it back to him right then. He said I didn’t need to. I wondered how long he’d feel okay with saying something so significant without a reply back.
The Fella knows my history. My triggers in relationships. How the last two men I loved weren’t available to me. How I can check out. How I can shut down when an old hurt resurfaces. How when things get too easy, too uncomplicated, too familiar, I can vacate emotionally. How I don’t want to be a “burden” so I push people away. It’s like I need it to be difficult to feel engaged. I am learning how to love without the drama. How to love in peace.
I’m learning because The Fella shows me how.
I don’t think I’m the easiest person to be in a romantic relationship with even though the Fella begs to differ. But then again, he’s biased. And he’s probably hoping I’ll put out. Since we started dating I’ve teased him saying, “Given my past, we’re probably only going to date for about 6 months. Enjoy it while it lasts!” We’d laugh enjoying the joke but then sometimes he’d ask me to not say that. And he’s right. Why am I such a defeatist when it comes to love? It’s really not fair to him or to me. And who needs more odds stacked against us? Why not just believe that good happens?
Hey Fella? Thanks for being you. I hope you know I really dig you, too.