Friday, May 24, 2013

The Truth about Cohabitation

I alluded to sad times last year during this week and I guess I can't really back away from writing this post now.

You've all given me positive feedback about the Boyfriend + Cohabitation posts for the last 20 weeks (TWENTY?) and I'm here to tell the story about our relationship before he moved in with me. A story about when I moved in with him.

Dan and I met in the summer of 2010 through an intramural softball league and didn't exactly hit it off at first sight. He was the 3rd baseman and I was the first basewoman. Any of you who know a thing about intramural softball would know that the 3rd and 1st positions interact a lot. I say we didn't hit it off so well because he'd always short hop me (bruises!) or air mail me (white girl can't jump!) and I just thought he wasn't good at ball. There wasn't much there to kick off a conversation!

Our first memorable interaction was after our team had won first place and went out to celebrate afterward with beer and tots. He conveniently pulled up a chair next to me, cracked every joke he could to have me in stitches and even snuck his way into getting my phone number when I was sharing it with some of the ladies on my team.

From that day on, he and I hit it off easier than I'd ever gelled with a guy before. Conversation flowed seamlessly, we'd meet late for dinner and drinks and wind up closing down wherever we went, no matter how late their hours were. 10pm, 1am, on weeknights! We didn't want to leave one another's company until we were given the glare and the 'you don't have to go home, but you can't stay here' look from the bar/restaurant/pool hall's staff.

These late nights weren't exactly easy on me gramma likes her sleep and one day in early 2011 before an evening meet-up I stopped at Target on the way to dinner and bought a new outfit. The outfit wasn't for the date, it was for work the next morning. I was going to stay the night. I surprised myself with this bold move, mostly because I wasn't the girl that did that type of thing on the regular, but also because my intent wasn't a relationship with Dan.

So, Jessi - what exactly were you trying to accomplish by staying the night with a 'friend' with no intention to date him?

I still can't answer that question. There was something about Dan that brought me comfort, confidence, peace of mind and happiness. That one night staying over turned into two nights a week, turned into me bringing over clothes and buying an extra hair dryer. Then two nights a week turned into more - rearranging his closet to fit more of my things, going to ikea together to install a place where I could get ready in the mornings. Four nights a week then morphed into grocery shopping for the two of us, buying furniture together and making decisions about travel together - and yet I still wasn't his girlfriend. Oh, so that's where 'cohabitation' comes from!

It went so deep as to not having access to my full wardrobe for a year.

Spring of 2011 quickly turned into Summer of 2012, memories, dates, road trips together - and I still wasn't claiming him as my boyfriend. I still hadn't told my parents, friends, co-workers or loved ones that I was involved in a relationship, that I hadn't stepped foot into my own home for months or that I was even dating someone. Someone as special as my Daniel.

If I was Dan I would have quit me a long time before that. I was a jerk.

Late Spring of 2012 Dan's sister called him and excitedly announced that she was engaged! He was so happy for her and at the same time guilt hit me like a brick wall. Was I leading him on? Was he going to start thinking about marriage soon? Is he my forever or was he just the closest chair?

After a hard weekend conversation with my mom just a few days after she met Dan for the first time at my 24 1/2 birthday dinner, I decided that I had to end whatever it was that I was doing. During my conversation with my mom which she will still never forgive me for I didn't confess that I'd been living with him for a year. She sensed from meeting him that we were great friends but that if I wasn't going to date him then I needed to give him space and let him find 'the one'.

Monday May 21st after work I let myself into his home, rolled up my sleeves and removed every last piece of evidence that I'd ever lived there. Through waterfalls of tears I raced up and down the stairs with handfuls of clothing on hangers, duffel bags full of shoes, grocery bags that carried make-up and craft supplies, the kitchen appliances...everything that I'd brought into his home and that we'd made ours. I was in such a hurry because I didn't want his roommate to catch me and even worse for him to catch me.

I was on the road within an hour - my little car was bursting at the seams with bags and shoes, ugly cry/sweaty hair, heartbreak to the max.

I hadn't even given him a hint that I wouldn't be home that night.

At 6:45 I received a text message from him "What can I make us for dinner?" More tears.

I cried myself to sleep that night, I sobbed to my mom on the phone several times, I cried and cried to Dan when we met the next afternoon for lunch to talk through why I'd left. That I was really just scared, that I wasn't his one and he wasn't mine. Sitting there in the restaurant, there was no emotion on his face, no concern for my heartbreak, nothing but an acceptance that what we shared was over and that he wasn't going to spend another minute chasing after my affection. I thought this was where the secret story of our time together would end.

But it didn't.

For days and nights, sitting at my desk or over a simple conversation I'd break into tears over what I felt I'd lost. No, what I'd thrown away.

After suggesting dinners, drinks, lunch, walks in the park, everything to see him - I finally dragged him away from a workout and treated him to seeing The Avengers on a weeknight.

The drive to the theater was silent, during the movie I extended my fingers to hold his hand and instead he handed over the package of twizzlers we'd snuck into the theater. We didn't speak much, and I felt like my window of opportunity was shrinking.

Just one mile before I was to his home and going to have what seemed to be my last face to face conversation with him, I calmly spoke.

"Dan, do you trust me?"  (silly question)

"Uhhh.... " (with that look he gives me)

"Well, I'm a little crazy, but what if we start. over?"

(blank stare).(frustration). "How?"

"Start over! You forget me, I forget you - we forget everything we've ever done together and we just start. over. Right now, see -" I pull out my phone. "This is you in my phone. I've never deleted a single text message from you. Do you trust me?"

"There's no way to start over, Jessi. There isn't."

"Dan! Watch me." Swipes finger across the screen, taps the red bar. "You and everything you've ever been is now deleted in my phone. Now you do it too!"

An uneasy Dan pulls out his phone and with less drama does the same, and away went all of the messages we'd ever shared.

I dropped him off to his home, looked him deep into his eyes and said, "you know where to find me".

And he found me.....

Happily and instantly, we started over.

heart JE


Ashley said...

This is that type of post where you can't stop reading. Even at work, when people are walking by, I didn't even make an ATTEMPT to hide my screen. "I'm busy I'm reading" I told them lol. This is that type of post where you realize that blogger you've been following is a real person. I ADORED this post. It made my heart break a little because I know that "can't stop crying and I don't know why I can't make it stop hurting" feeling. It's so true that you don't realize what you have until it's gone - so happy you both were able to have a second chance!!

Jessi said...

Oh no, so all your co-workers saw the ugly cry! :) ha-ha. Thank you Ashley, I'm lucky he was willing to start over - otherwise I'd still be in tears!

motormouthstudios said...

I found you through the Portland Bloggers feed on Facebook and I have a confession to make.... I LOVE your blog! I found myself reading through archives for hours last night (waaaaay past my bedtime) and then woke up and saw that you had posted this. I've been going through a lot of secret co-habitation myself and have been scared for quite some time. I relate to this post quite a bit and want to say thank you for being so open and honest with your relationship. It's scary to be a part of something that so easy, sometimes too easy...

Jessi said...

You're a sweetheart, thank you for reading and I'm sorry to have kept you up late!! :)

If I have anything to share, it's that you will find peace in allowing yourself to be happy, to be honest and to live the life YOU want to live, not the one others need from you or the one you yourself had envisioned. I'm rooting for you - can't wait to read more from you too!

Marisa @ Uproot from Oregon said...

Jessi, you are such a strong and beautiful person! I loved reading this post because it was real, it was you, and it speaks to everyone. Thanks for sharing your story and reminding all of us that we can get through hard times and come out amazingly happy on the other end : )

Jessi said...

Thank you, Marisa! I'm crazy about my guy and to keep that a secret from the world was the most foolish thing I've done in my adult life. I'm happier now to have friends, family and loved ones supporting our relationship and cheering us on.

Jenni said...

What a beautiful story. I really feel like these are the real love stories. There is heartbreak. There is struggle. There is effort put into love. At least, that is how it worked out in my case and I feel like my husband and I are stronger than ever for the effort we put into building our love story! Thank you for sharing!

Jessi said...

I feel like our relationship is so much stronger having gone through this - I know I said we'd 'start over' but obviously we remember the hurt both of us felt, and letting that heal together was the best thing we could have done. So happy to hear that hard times turned into strength for you as well!!

Bonnie said...

This was well written! And how nice to have this written down so when things get hard again, you can remember how awesome you are together. It's a lot of work, but so worth it. Before my hubs and I got married, he was really apprehensive. He'd seen adults he'd looked up to his whole life have marriages that fell apart after 20+ years. If they were so awesome and it happened to them, then no one was safe. And that's the catch: no is safe. It takes effort every day to make it good. We'll be married for 9 years this summer (holy cow!) and I love him so much more as time goes on. Good luck!

P.S. You have a great story-telling voice and I'm excited to read more!

Jessi said...

Thanks Bonnie! :) I've been hoping to write this for such a long time but it's taken the full year to confront my fears and be honest with a few people.

9 Years this summer, wow! Congrats dear! Thanks for stopping by :)

kristen said...

This was so well written and very brave of you to share with the world. Glad you guys are doing well now :)

May Summary | JUMPING JE said...

[…] it was so refreshing to finally speak about the Truth behind Cohabitation, and I really appreciated everyone’s warm, heartfelt and encouraging comments. I’m not […]

brooke lyn said...

why have you never given me all these deets! actually, i can see why you didn't, i forgive you ;) ps. enjoy meeting the family officially.

Jessi said...

Haha I have always felt guilty about it, especially with my closest friends. I'm sorry and THANK YOU for understanding. :):)

Hi, My Name is Jessi | JUMPING JE said...

[…] || The Truth about Cohabitation […]

One Year Anniversary | JUMPING JE said...

[…] you haven’t been around here for very long I recommend reading this post first – it gives you some context around our relationship before the […]