The romantic in me thrives on the challenge of dating, but shies away when the thrill is over and the love appears.
by Jane D.
Last weekend I jetted off to a Bahamian resort with the new guy, a balding, free-spending, and very chubby guy who will soon celebrate his 50th birthday.
He's really into me, but he is direct and blunt and has the annoying habit of having to talk about our relationship every five minutes. (Can’t say I’d recommend nagging as the way to get through to the adult with ADHD.) The truth is that I don't consider him a boyfriend yet, and I keep wondering what he means by "us." We are getting to know each other better and I feel it's important to do that before making any commitments, I repeat, like a parrot.
Despite his hots for me, he's already expressed his many concerns about me. He says he hates that I often cut him off, or that I’ll say, "I don't want to talk about it." He also hates that I don't listen to him, and he’s concerned that I seem unable to compromise. "Compromise, respect, and listen," he repeats, like a mantra.
We've been fighting and frustrated for about 50 percent of the time on this trip, and the truth of the matter is we've only known each other for two months. So what is keeping me in this relationship? Well, in many ways, I need to learn how to compromise and listen.
I haven't had the courage to tell him about the ADHD and the medication yet, and to explain why it is that I need downtime, why it is so important that I swim. He's seen the importance of the downtime already; how it is night and day after I've swum or eaten. He joked, "You are pretty easy to please, just give you a pool and feed you."
And yet there were times when I swam and was fed and I still had a meltdown. I am very resistant to the new guy's touch and turn angry when I perceive he is bossing me around. I value and cherish my independence. I am used to living alone and running my own ship, not returning to have someone there, not having to return to a room and having to compromise. It is a recurring theme in the dating life.
I am trying hard to turn things around, I am. I explained that I am not a touchy-feely person, and, until a few years ago, did not allow anyone to touch me. I am tying to come across softer and less direct too, but it takes a long time to change a person, I keep telling the new guy. He nods and tells me he thinks he understands, and he wants to give this a try and do things right.
And of course there is the greater problem that could be ADHD; I remain attracted to men, like the Chef, who have made it clear that they don't want to date me. I want the thrill and challenge of forcing someone who doesn't see me that way to change their minds.
Perhaps chasing and dreaming of these unavailable men is an escape, too. It is the romantic in me who has fallen in love with the idea of being in love, but shies away when love appears.