It’s the dating dilemma almost everyone experiences at some point in their single life – trying to force yourself to feel something that you don’t. That’s the dilemma I faced years ago when I dated Englishman-turned-New Yorker Riley.
After meeting at a speed dating event, Riley and I got serious pretty quickly. Between introducing me to his parents and acknowledging two months together, Riley made it clear he was ready to settle down. Having just turned thirty, I felt like I owed it to myself and him to give our relationship a chance. Still, it became harder to ignore the fact that he loved me in a way I didn’t completely reciprocate. I now Open The Vault and take you back to the spring of 1994..
April 12, 2004
New York, NY
A major milestone in my relationship with Riley last night – we said the “L” word to each other. Of course, I already knew how Riley feels – he’s shown me through his words and actions again and again.
“You’re the only girl for me. I’ve never felt closer to anyone,” he said after the big declaration. “There are no obstacles we can’t overcome.”
Part of me DOES love him. I’ve imagined saying it to him many times. But how do I know if what I feel for Riley is enough to build a future on?
* * *
April 14, 2004
For the life of me, I can’t figure out why I can’t completely let go emotionally with Riley. Dad told me the other night that I need to isolate what my doubts are and to realize that nobody is going to have 100% of what I’m looking for in a partner. I guess if I had to boil down my reservations to one thing, it’s that I don’t feel head over heels in love.
Of course, this doesn’t bode well for our relationship. But something is keeping me from walking away. It scares me that we’re nearly halfway toward my self-imposed make-or-break deadline of six months. But I’m going to hang on hope the bond between us continues.
* * *
April 19, 2004
I had hoped that being apart from Riley for a few days [for a trip to Toronto for a friend’s wedding] would make me feel weak in the knees when we reunited. Though it was wonderful to be with him again, that didn’t happen. It didn’t help that the conversation was less than scintillating – and included Riley’s exposition on the history of farting in his family. He also felt the need to share an article about a woman whose boyfriend defecates in the shower, to illustrate that it’s not so bad if Riley is occasionally flatulent himself.
I should’ve walked away from Riley when my doubts persisted after the first month. He’s told me repeatedly that his feelings for me grow stronger the longer we’re together. What in the world will I say to him when our inevitable parting comes?
* * *
April 30, 2004
Riley and I celebrated our three-month ‘anniversary’ the other day. He surprised me with a couples massage at The Plaza Hotel’s swanky spa. Afterward, while we were taking a cab down to Chelsea for dinner, I thanked him again for the pampering surprise.
“Life is too short not to splurge,” he said. “But this wasn’t exactly cheap.”
I could’ve done without that. Anyway, we went to Gascogne, a fabulous French restaurant. I couldn’t help thinking during dinner how our first date – for which we also dined Francais – seemed like a long time ago and feeling wistful for the newness and excitement of that night.
* * *
The emotional imbalance between Riley and me would soon come to a head – though it would take me another two months to confront it once and for all.