In typical S fashion, I have been thinking a lot about MM over the past 24 hours. Our very premature discussion about "where this is going" gave me quite a bit of food for thought. First, it made me think about what *I* am looking for, and second, it made me think about whether what he says he wants is in line with that.
I will start off by saying that I do think it's better for me to know what's in his head, but in many ways, I wish we'd not had this talk yet. In a way, although he believe he was honest with me, I feel that asking him to elucidate his thoughts/feelings on the matter at this stage is just premature. How can he know what he wants with me when he doesn't even totally know me yet?
Though if we would have had it eventually, I guess sooner is better than later. I certainly need to know if we don't really want the same thing.
As I see it currently--and I have gone back and forth on this--I think I will want more than he does out of the situation. Casual dating is fine as far as it goes, and most relationships start out that way; the only real difference from one to the next seems to be the time you spend in that phase.
My main concern: what happens if/when I fall for him and want to be more involved? If I should continue to date him, given what I know now, I feel, to some degree, that I am giving tacit approval to the terms he wants: no commitment or exclusivity, no expectations. And while I think that this level of involvement is certainly appropriate for us today, having been out on three dates. . . . I also think there is a distinct possibility that I won't feel this way in a few weeks or months, should we keep seeing each other.
Right or wrong, I tend to feel things deeply or not at all. If I like you, I really, really like you; if I don't like you, I just want you gone. I think that, whatever I intellectually believe might be a good set-up for me here, there is the distinct possibility that my emotions are going to override my logic at some point.
Don't get me wrong: I'm not saying that I've reached a point where I want a deeper relationship with MM, and I'm not saying I know that I will reach that point. For all I know, I could decide to never go on a fifth date with him (date #4 is pretty much guaranteed, unless he changes his mind in the next 36 hours). I am still getting to know him, still learning what he is about, and vice versa. But if I follow my usual pattern--and I have no reason to think that I won't--and we keep seeing each other, I suspect there will come a point where casual is not enough for me.
I guess I've realized that, regardless of what I'm looking for, I recognize that there is a high likelihood that I am going to get quite emotionally involved here. Doing so with MM, knowing that, in his own words, he "doesn't want a girlfriend," seems to me a risky proposition.
I reject the proposition suggested by some of my friends (& my mother) that he doesn't really want what he says he wants. While I will admit that some of his behavior has been quite inconsistent with someone who only wants to keep things casual, I believe that I have to take him at his word and take those words at face value. There is no reason for me to read things into what he says. The best policy is to assume he is being honest and open, until/unless I have reason to believe otherwise. Particularly when he is telling me something that he may know is not what I want to hear. (Though, who knows? Given his assumptions about my expectations, post break-up with SL, this may have been what he thought I wanted to hear.)
I suppose the question then becomes "what do I do about this?" Aside from my thought that doing so gives tacit approval to what he says he wants, I see no harm in continuing the relationship as it is for now. I like him and enjoy hanging out with him. Frankly, I just am not willing to stop seeing him yet, just because of one conversation that didn't go the way I'd hoped. The problem is that, when I reach the point where I'm beginning to have deeper feelings for him and wanting to be more involved, it's probably going to be a lot harder to step back.
I am considering talking to him about this, but I have a feeling that we've already talked too much about it for where we're at. So I'm leaning toward just maintaining the status quo until/unless I reach the point where I'm no longer satisfied with the way things are. I don't think there is any reason that I couldn't bring this up in a few weeks or months when/if my feelings change. There is a risk there, but it can only be completely removed by no longer dating him. . . . which I'm not prepared to do at this point.
I had forgotten what an emotional roller coaster dating can be. It's fun, to be sure, and exciting. . . . but I can get hurt, too. In my giddiness, I'd kind of lost sight of that until now.