I always think of the third and fourth dates as the “decision point” in a new relationship. Either you’re ready to move forward and get to know the person some more, or your ready to drop it and pursue other people.
It can be a difficult time, because you don’t know each other that well or where each of you stands in the other person’s thoughts …
So Harry and I cleared the third date hurdle. I went to his house and we cooked dinner together. You really learn a lot about a person by seeing where and how they live. His place screamed his personality … little home-improvement projects left undone, books and movies everywhere, nice cast-off artworks and furniture from his family (his parents regularly purchase antiques and artwork and then give the “old stuff” to him). His small kitchen contained cooking implements, but he wasn’t sure where they were stored. The refrigerator contained condiments and mini ice cubes (for the Sapphire martinis – on the rocks, extra dry, with olives).
Like many single, urban, professional men, he doesn’t cook for himself. To them, leftovers is a “dirty word.” Turns out he’s a great cook though. He marinated great steak tips and cooked them on the grill with veggies. It took us an hour and a half to prepare and then we enjoyed a leisurely meal.
Now, here’s the thing about cooking with someone. It’s an analogy for a relationship – can you develop a rhythm for the preparation, how do you resolve differences of opinion in how you like something prepared, red wine or white. We were able to navigate in his little kitchen – helping each other with little things.
As I mentioned in the previous blog, I feel very comfortable with him. I can be myself, honest and speak up. So after dinner when we were relaxing on the couch discussing the merits of VH1’s “Pop-up Video” and the relevance of video plots on “MTV Soul” our hand-holding eventually turned into a make-out session.
We both admitted it seemed a bit “high schoolish” to be making out on the couch with MTV on in the background, especially at 35 and 40. But isn’t that part of the fun of a new relationship? You don’t find couples married for 25 years making out on the couch. It’s part of the exploration process of a new relationship. Do you like what you feel above the clothes? Is the person a good kisser?
I could have jumped right into bed with him. I’ve done that before on the third date, but it doesn’t usually end well. So when he started moving a bit too far for me, instead of just pushing his hand away and playing coy, I spoke up and said, “It’s too easy to hit the home-run. I like you and I don’t want to move fast because it can ruin things.” He agreed and slowed down.
The evening ended well and we’re seeing each other again this weekend.
Here’s the thing though… is this the tipping point? How does one decide to bring up the “future of the relationship” thing? Does it just evolve into exclusive dating? It’s been so long since I’ve found myself at this point in a relationship I don’t know what to do. I think that I’ll just ride it out, enjoy myself and see what happens.
I’m trying not to prognosticate the future of this relationship or project us in a life together. Although he did share some stories about his family that concerned me. His mother is Iraqi and, as Harry puts it, a “cultural Muslim.” When Harry’s sister was dating a Christian man, all of the siblings hid the relationship from the parents for two years because they knew the mother would have a problem with it. The sister ended up marring an Iraqi-American man, much to the delight of the family.
Harry’s younger brother married a Christian woman and the mother doesn’t have a great relationship with the wife. It’s all very foreign to me (pardon the pun) because I’ve never had to deal with different cultural extremes in my life. As set in their ways as my parents are, they would always be outwardly accepting of anyone I brought into the family – at least I hope they would.
I hate to say that I have to issue him an ultimatum (i.e. “fish or cut bait”) but if he’s not going to take the incentive to move this relationship forward, it’s probably time to ask him about his intentions.