Should we “test” our lovers?

I began this conversation with a dear friend of mine sometime last week, and it’s kind of come to a head for me all of a sudden. Not exactly in a bad way, but I have been doing the whole introspection thing since I have no desire to even get out of my pj’s today (much to the dog’s dismay, since it is a beautiful day outside, and the perfect weather for a trip to the dog park instead of the short walks just to potty and back again), and the result is that I realized something about myself: I’ve not been totally open with the new guy, and I’m testing him before I’m willing to really be myself with him!

So. The new guy is really, supremely sexy!

  • He’s got the looks working for him: He’s in better shape than I’ve ever been. Seriously, I wasn’t in that good of shape even when I was a scrawny little kid. He’s got not an ounce of fat on him, and he goes to the gym to keep fit, but not that bulky, “no neck like a football player” kind of fit; just the “perfectly trim where you can feel his muscles move because there’s no fat between the muscle and the skin” kind of fit. His eyes are that perfect almond shape, with eyelashes that women pay tons to have glued to their eyelids, an amazing set of lips, and a nose that I particularly like (I have a thing for noses… can’t explain it). 

He’s super passionate about his art, which is insanely sexy. Passion of any kind is really good; passion that involves creating something from nothing is beyond hot. This is why the “brooding artist” is such a thing in romance books/movies. I could postulate that it has something to do with the subconscious desire to want to procreate, and how the artist is symbolically the mother all women desire to be, but let’s be honest, even if that were true, it wouldn’t matter: Artists are HOT!

  •  He’s good at the art he does! This makes him instantly hotter. There’s something to be said about being good at what you do. Today he sent me some of his art to look at, and it’s so very good! I’d share more of it, but then I’d have to ask for his permission, and he’d have to read my blog, and maybe that’s not such a good idea…

There are other positives, but those three are the big ones at the moment. It’s the negatives that have me a little leery right now. The negatives spawn a memory of the Boy and the problems we had; problems I don’t want to repeat. Ever!

  • He’s inconsistent. We make plans, and then they change. He’s been putting me off for an art project (mega cool), but 2 of the last 4 times* he’s canceled to work on the “art project,” he didn’t make ANY progress on said art project (very not cool). Or minimal progress at best. *This is what spawned the discussion with my friend, and let me add that we started the discussion after the third time he’d changed our plans, and I’d physically seen that he hadn’t made much progress. He has since made quite a bit of progress, but that’s because he had to; it’s due in a day or less.
  • Either he’s not as strong (as in as forceful) as I had originally thought, or he’s not comfortable enough with me to be as dominant as I’d like him to be… Part of this comes from the inconsistency above, but also that when we’re together he asks me what I want a lot. Sweet, for sure, but I liked it better when he was making the decisions. And when I suggested that he could be a bit more forceful, he disappeared on me…

Texting conversations do not work well for me…

woman-cell-phone-texting

So here’s the question: is it okay to “test” him? And if I decide to test him, do I need to give him the head’s up?

My friend and I discussed how she had a similar experience with her ex, where she was deciding that little things were tests, and that after he failed them, he would complain that he didn’t know they were tests, so the arrangement was that she had to tell him about the test beforehand.

I don’t agree with that. By telling the other person it’s a test instantly invalidates the test, doesn’t it?

For example, the Boy (the old one, not the new one) would tell me how much he enjoyed my company, and so I would wait to see if he’d invite me over (first part of the test). Then, when he didn’t after a certain amount of time (days or weeks, not hours or something asinine like that), I would make a suggestion of things to do, and the more he refused, the less I believed he enjoyed spending time with me.  The test was to see how much he really liked me, since he would never outright say where we were in our relationship, or whatever it was. Had I told him beforehand that I was testing him to see how much he actually liked me by seeing if he’d invite me to spend time with him, he probably would have immediately done so. In fact, he did just that when it came up later, but then it was because he was forced and not because he wanted to, and the quality of the outing was just bad…

redflagWith the new guy, the inconsistency is a big red flag. Partially because it directly mirrors the example I just gave about the old Boy, but also because he’s trying to make a major life change and follow his artistic dreams. If he can’t follow through with his art (which I know he’s passionate about), then how will he treat me as things progress? And is he serious about his art and making it a career, or is he just another dreamer who, in the end, I’ll have to “raise” like I’ve seen so many other strong women do with their partners?

So, for me, him finishing this art project is a BIG test. Humongous, gigantic, colossal, gargantuan level test. It’s a test to see how serious he can be, because if he can’t be serious about his art, which he claims he wants to turn into a career, can he ever be serious about a relationship?

I need to know I’m not entering into something that will be a waste of my time as bad as the last Boy.

And shame on the Boy for making me one of those girls!

To some extent, I’ve always looked at all the possible directions a thing could go–we’ve even talked about that on this blog–but there was a time when I would go with the flow a little bit better. I mean, I’m not planning marriage or children with the new guy yet, but I am trying to prepare myself for any possible bad things that could happen. My heart can’t handle another hurt like I got from the Boy. 8 months of my life lost to confusion, sadness, and fear…

Never again.

But it means I’m hypersensitive to certain things. And I find myself testing beyond my initial Conversation test to see if a guy makes the cut, even before there’s really a call for such a thing.

I mean seriously, I’ve only known this new guy (gotta come up with a new nickname for him) for a little over a month, and I’m already doubting his intentions and the possibilities that I think are possible, given my uncanny knack to see all possible paths.

I feel a connection to this guy. And we’re on the same page (really, not just assumed) about where we are at the moment. I’m again in an undefined place, but we’re both kind of testing out the waters to see where it could go… He’s said something along those lines. He told me that he wasn’t sure what this was, but it felt like something real, and he’s said before that he wanted it to be something real.

connection

But, I fear that I’m making up the connection in my head. I don’t really know him that well… How can I feel a connection to him? Am I just reaching for that feeling because I miss it from before?

Or did I make up the connection that I had with the Boy? He didn’t feel it, and told me as much. Maybe this time is the real one, and the other was just a sample of how great this connection could feel. How do you know?

Then there’s the dominance issue… I come from a fairly matriarchal family structure (shhh, don’t tell my dad!), in which the women rule the home, but the men think they have some say. The women are expected to be strong and not show their emotions, while the boys are allowed to be emotional. The women have higher level degrees, while the men tend to be blue collar workers. My mother and grandmother handle all the financial stuff, and while there is some discussion of major life decisions, it seems like they (the women) make the final decision.

Suffice it to say that my home life was not the traditional “Father Knows Best” kind of situation.

And I don’t want that life.

feministsvsdommenI don’t want to be the one in charge, making all the decisions. I don’t want to be the grown up, always trying to figure out how to balance the bills and the groceries and the important extras and the fun, not-so-important extras. I want to be able to hand over my check and have my partner tell me how much I can spend. I want to make major decisions as a couple, but at the end of the day, I do want a husband who is dominant enough that when he puts his foot down, that is the end of the debate.

I want a relationship with traditional gender roles.

In discussions about how we grew up, the new guy has expressed that his home life was similar to mine, and he views the gender roles the same way. So much so that he made a comment about how inappropriate it is for a woman to emasculate a man in a relationship!

dommenSo in theory this is a good match. Here’s the caveat: he has to earn my respect and make me confident that he is worthy of my submission. I don’t know him well enough for that. And the inconsistency with our dates so far does not make me particularly confident…

So I find myself setting little tests in my head: “If he finishes the art, then I’ll know he can be taken seriously, etc.”

I also find myself limiting my responses because I don’t want to completely open up to him until I’m sure he’s the real deal. My brain knows this is not a winning tactic, but I only just realized that I was doing this today… We’ll see how things go now that I’m aware of what’s happening.

Wish me luck! And if you have any suggestions for a nickname for the new guy (so I don’t have to just call him “the new guy”), leave them in the comments below.

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