Dater X: Love On Borrowed Time

In between his overnight shifts this weekend, my boyfriend (that’s the first time I’m calling him that, and it’s weird considering he might soon be my ex-boyfriend) called me to check in and see how I was doing. Around Wednesday, I found myself in a bit of an emotional funk, feeling unsettled in pretty much every aspect of my life: my friendships, my relationship and my living situation, to name a few. There’s been a certain lack of stability with each one recently—most notably, the possibility of Officer Handsoming being transferred nearly two hours away for work, which he first warned me about last week.

After I quickly recapped my Friday night and told Officer Handsoming that I was still feeling like there were a bunch of balls up in the air, I took his silence as a sign that he was about to add to the anxiety.

“They’re shipping you upstate, aren’t they?” I guessed.

“Yeah. They told me today, so I’m going to have to start looking for apartments immediately,” he told me, gently.

“And when would this transfer be happening exactly?”

“In a month,” he said, followed by a deep sigh. “It totally sucks, but please try not to worry about it for now.”

“Okay. I guess we’ll cross that bridge when we get there,” I said, a phrase I’ve used twice now when discussing the subject.

But the bridge is here, and despite my hesitation, it’s time to cross it.

I got off the phone and melted into the couch for another 15 minutes, teary-eyed and defeated, until I decided that I need to be proactive and figure out what it is that I want to happen between us. The sand in the hourglass is forcing me to absorb and accept the possibility that Officer Handsoming may not be the one—he may just be the one right now. Even if we come to the conclusion that our relationship should effectively end when he leaves, there’s no saying that things can’t pick back up if he moves back after his 8-month stint in another city.

My gut is telling me that this relationship is worth giving long-distance a shot, even if it means testing the waters for the first month he’s gone and seeing if it’s something we’re both willing to do. At that point, even if it fails, I’d at least feel better knowing I gave things the old college try. And his move isn’t even happening for another few weeks, so that’s more time we can spend together, progressing and moving forward in our relationship. Maybe by then, Officer Handsoming and I will both be eager to make things work, even living an hour-and-a-half away from each other. Or maybe not.

What I do know is that I deeply care for him, and that I want to make sure these next three weeks, which very well may be our last three weeks together (geographically and/or romantically), are spent wisely. I want to have fun, enjoy our time together and do things that make us both smile. I don’t want to question everything and worry about what’s going to happen when he leaves.

But there’s this big part of me feels the need to prove to him that I’m worth fighting for. I’ve done this whole overcompensating routine in past relationships when I’ve worried things might take a turn for the worst—I baked cookies, bought presents “just because” and surprised guys in super sexy lingerie as a last ditch effort to control the outcome. But this is not behavior I want to keep repeating. I don’t want to try too hard to hustle for love, and I certainly don’t want the controlling version of me to create pressure and expectations for Officer Handsoming. If he wants to be with me, I want him to come to that conclusion on his own.

Our Unknown Future is my own, personal 10th circle of hell. The idea that he may slowly begin to pull away, preparing to severe ties, already has me reaching for my Xanax. But I know that deep down I need this. I need to sit back and let things happen naturally, without calling the shots from my director’s chair. And once I learn to do that, and feel secure in the fact that things will work out how they’re supposed to, perhaps the rest of the pieces of my life will fall into place, too.

[Photo from Shutterstock]