Friend or Lover: How Do You Figure Out if It's One or the Other?


I'm going to pick right up where I left off on Friday, when I was telling you about my illicit affair with Arlo. (Well, illicit only in the sense that I was scared to mention it HERE, out of fear blogging about it might interrupt the natural flow of things, the way it seemed to with Sir Hugo.)

As you might recall, I was saying that, for whatever reason, I felt romantically attracted to Arlo--I wanted to tell him about my day and hear about his; I was delighted by his affection; it was nice to hold hands, etc. And yet, I just kept hesitating when it came to the sexual stuff. Which started to, understandably, seem a bit weird to him, understandably. On the fourth night that I left his apartment without staying over, he said, "Someday, you're going we're actually going to have to have a slumber party, you know."

* * *

Last Thursday was to be our fifth hang-out session. I was looking forward to it ... but also feeling a bit anxious, thinking Arlo would be (perhaps justifiably) completely fed up with me if we didn't spend the night together. I was thinking that maybe he could sleep over without us actually having sex. I was thinking maybe I should stop being so uptight about the whole thing and just BONE the dude. Because frankly, at this point in my life, I do feel like it's a bit strange NOT to have sex by the third date if you're feeling into someone--unless there are some kind of extenuating circumstances. (What do you guys think?)

Anyway, Arlo and I got on the horn Thursday afternoon ... We shot the breeze for a few minutes, and then the conversation turned to the fact that he was thinking of moving out to L.A. for the winter. (He's a freelancer, so he can work anywhere.) "Being here in New York when it's cold always depresses me," he said.

Hmm: Was he trying to tell me something? Maybe. So, I said, "You mentioned that you were thinking of doing that when I first met you." I was reminding myself of that fact, by pronouncing it, as much as I was doing anything else.

"Yeah, true. Although if there were anything to keep me here, I might stay."


"And," he continued, "I suppose leaving for six months isn't such a good thing for my personal life."

"Right. In fact, maybe it means we shouldn't hang out tonight?"

One thing led to another, and I found myself asking him what he thought the problem was, between us.

"I don't know," he answered. "It doesn't make any sense. You're definitely the coolest person I've ever dated."

And I will say--for the record, for what it's worth, because I'm an insecure ninny--that he'd reported to me a week or two before that a friend of his had pronounced me the hottest chick Arlo had ever dated.

Arlo continued: "I guess it's a lack of chemistry--but I don't even know if that's right. Because I feel like we have that, too. I guess it's just ... I kept waiting for something to click into place, and it never did. And since I'm subletting, I've got to decide in a couple weeks if I'm going to move to L.A. or not ... so ... ."

So ... that was that. I started to cry, and he asked me to tell him what I was feeling, and I said, "I don't know. It's just so WEIRD."

"It's depressing," he agreed.

And the thing that was so depressing--just to be specific--is THE ENORMOUS DISTANCE BETWEEN SOMEONE WHO IS ALMOST-RIGHT (like Arlo) AND SOMEONE WHO IS JUST RIGHT. Some days, it seems like an insurmountable difference.

What's so depressing is the feeling of connecting so much with a person (like Arlo) ... and yet not connecting all the way.

What's so depressing is that he'd said at one point he wanted to know everything about me, and there's something really sad about the fact that that doesn't really seem to be true any more, certainly not in the same way. (Not like I'm so mysterious or anything, but you know.)

What's so depressing is that every time something doesn't work out, it often seems like a step farther away from finding someone, instead of a step closer.

Anyway, sorry to be gloomy. I'll perk up.

And regardless of what had passed between us, Arlo said he'd like to hang out over the weekend. I had other stuff going on, so I declined, but I think we'll hang out again soon. Because, really, there's no good reason not to spend time with him. And maybe what we were really meant to be, anyway, is friends.

What do you guys think?



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