Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Counseling Intern

I was really excited about this guy for a while. In fact, so excited that I didn’t write anything about our first three dates because I was hoping to one day be able to post something like, “and now we’re married with three kids and a dog”. But, alas, Date Four dashed those dreams.

He’s a kind person with caring eyes. I appreciate his smile and especially appreciate the many cool things we share in common-both having been in the Peace Corps, both practicing Buddhist meditation, both being in the field of counseling. These are near the core of who I feel I am, so I thought I had found someone I could truly connect with at a deeper level.

For the first three dates, we got to know each other better and it felt like there was a good mix of listening and talking, and just general good connecting.

Date four went like this: I take the bus to Boulder and meet him at his place. It takes me a little while to get there because I have to bike ½ hour from the bus station. He lives with two other ladies and one of them is home and lets me in. We chit-chat for a little while, get the gear together, and then he and I take off for a hike.

He’s chosen a place for us to go hiking in an area I’ve been to before. It’s a nice, well-marked trail. We go for six miles. The weather is warm. I had forgotten how much I enjoy hiking. It’s good to be out. Unfortunately, though, something suddenly seems stifled between us. All of that good relating or the hopes I had that we were relating seem to be breaking apart and turning to dust before my eyes.

I put on my counselor cap and start trying to lead him into conversation. It’s feeling like a lot of work for a Saturday morning. I’m asking questions, giving lots of time and space for him to respond, giving more silent time for him to possibly think of a question for me, but he doesn’t have any. Eventually, I just usurp the moment and start talking about what I want to talk about. Sometimes he responds and sometimes not. A few times he interrupts me to say something totally unrelated. Once, he looks at his watch.

Suddenly, the pendulum swings the other way and we end up talking about some very personal things-things that overwhelm and shock me. I think we have put ourselves in a position where we are “over-sharing”, pushing ourselves to be more emotionally intimate than we are really ready for.

He, being a dude, is still totally down for being physically intimate. I’m not so much, but am also having a hard time explaining any of this to him, especially given how eager I was about him in the times past.

He graciously offers to drive me all the way home with my bike. We end up talking about some more very personal and intimate stuff. Once that door is open, especially for two counselor types, it can be hard to shut. I think we both want to move on to lighter topics, but the weight of what was already said still lingers in the air.

Throughout the day and really since having met him, I notice (finally) the distinct absence of laughter. This, above anything else, is a tell-tale sign for me that we are not moving in the right direction. I don’t know it yet, but I have already made up my mind.

Once home, he asks if he can come in for a glass of water. I think of the book, “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” (he’ll want a glass of milk to go with it…), but I say yes. He comes in. I’m thinking I have things to do and mostly that I need some down time after all this.

I am once again at a loss for how to tell him that I need him to go home because I need to be alone for a while. So instead I tell him I’m going to do laundry. I get out my quarters and grab my clothes. When I return from the laundry room, I find him with his shoes off lying on the couch. I tell him I need to go to the grocery store before I meet my friends for dinner. He says he knows I need to go, but it still takes a little while longer before he leaves.

He wants to see me again as soon as possible. It looks like we’re not on the same page. I will have some explaining to do, but I’m too tired and out of time for it today. I send him on his way and the rest will soon be history.

No comments:

Post a Comment