Not So Young Adult

Adult relationships are hard, ya’ll.

While I never envisioned being married, I also had no idea what it would be like to date in my 30’s.

I’ve said it before, but having a “boyfriend” when you’re thirty-five just sounds stupid. I’m becoming your free spirited aunt who can’t settle down and does things like move to San Francisco on a whim.

Now be a thirty-something woman dating a thirty-something man and you both have super unconventional jobs, which leads to unpredictable schedules, throw in the fact that you both have roommates, live across town from one another and are both without cars.

Not. Easy.

We are like teenagers living in our parents’ house, holed up in a bedroom. We are romantically cooking dinner while another person sits 10 feet away eating cereal and watching t.v. We are subject to another person’s schedule at all times. We are together three-four days a week and a lot of the time that doesn’t feel like enough. Sometimes to compensate for not seeing the other person’s face, we Skype.

And how about when you’re just in a bad mood or not totally into being super affectionate RIGHT NOW, but it’s been three days since you’ve seen one another and you’re trying to make the most of this time and it’s not that you’re not happy to be together, but right at this moment you’re feeling a bit off?

I know it’s not supposed to look like anything specific, but really, what is this supposed to look like?

What comes after casual but before cohabitation?

The fact that we’re both pretty broke changes things, perhaps a lot. But I think in good ways sometimes. Don’t get me wrong. I like fancy dinners out, going to movies and shows, traveling, etc., but those are activities you do with another person as a sort of distraction. It’s something to do instead of having to just be. Not that I want to sit across from someone at an empty table in an empty room, but some of my favorite moments are just talking with my boyfriend about whatever. It also means that when we are able to splurge on a pricey brunch or treat ourselves to whatever our heart desires for dinner, we appreciate it more. It happens enough that I don’t feel like I’m missing out.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I wasn’t looking for someone to do things with. I have friends for that. On top of this, the things I got used to doing by myself are now enhanced because another person is there. Sometimes I’m in shows and don’t always know if friends are coming to see it. Now more often than not, I have someone to go with me, sit with me, reassure me when I’m nervous, encourage and support. I have someone to watch Bob’s Burgers with on my laptop in bed. I have someone to meal plan with.

Maybe the best part of having this unconventional relationship is that because our schedules can be open during the week, I have someone to go to Hot Doug’s with on a Tuesday. Or a matinee on Friday. Or we can stay up late watching random PBS documentaries on Sunday because I don’t have to be at work until 11 on Monday.

These are the things I have to remind myself of. That despite some of the difficulties in navigating all of this, there are unique opportunities for us to continue to get to know one another. While that puts some pressure on the time we have together, it’s letting us progress in ways other couples who have it “together” more may not be able to.

And yeah, there are times when I think “what is this leading to” only to remember relationships aren’t things you can map out. Sure, you can want things and the other person can want things and you can work towards them. But in the end everything is unpredictable. Relationships on a day to day level are really “do I want to see this person again?”

If the answer is yes, you’re on the right track.

-Carly

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