I mentioned on this blog that the IB was in town several weeks ago, and I also mentioned that he was in a relationship-wanting phase of our friendship. He has been this phase with increasing frequency and intensity for a few years, the main obstacles being (in rough order of increasing severity) the thousand-mile distance between our homes, my periodic unavailability, his inconsistency, and my general lack of interest. Over the weeks since his visit, he has been more consistent than usual - more consistent than ever, I think, except when we first met and might have actually been having a normal relationship - about staying in touch. I've been replying to his emails and texts in large part because I don't find correspondence burdensome; I don't mind being in regular contact with him, but I don't particularly crave it.
He is coming back to the area for ten days over the holidays, because his parents live here; it would be reasonable for him to make a day- or weekend trip to New York. He has done this before, and we discussed him doing it again. But it seems a little more serious, perhaps because it would be over New Year's, perhaps because it would be the second visit in as many months, perhaps because he has become unrelentingly clear about his intentions.
The IB is a good guy, really a catch. He's intelligent and successful. He reads for pleasure and enjoys traveling. He's a good talker and a good listener. He doesn't have many hangups, and he's adventurous enough to be good company in most situations. However, I can't seem to get on board. I'm not opposed, exactly. I understand, intellectually, that his thinking makes a lot of sense. We have always enjoyed each other's company, there have been intermittent periods of non-platonicness that have seemed to have potential, and now that he has decided finding a partner is the big item on his agenda, I'm a promising - perhaps the most promising and/or only - candidate. It is a perfectly reasonable way to go about choosing something that will be important in your life, such as your car or your home or, I suppose, your spouse.
I'm not rejecting the idea because of anything superficially unappealing about him. The problem isn't the amount of money he makes or his looks or his confidence level (none of which I would classify as unappealing anyway). The problem isn't even that he lives somewhere I don't want to live, or that I cannot seem to get interested in sleeping with him. Maybe the problem is just that I've known him for so long that I don't find such a dramatic shift in intentions plausible, especially unaccompanied by any substantial shift in the tone of our interactions.
The good thing is, well, how would I like to feel when I am with someone who is going to be my partner? Happy and confident and safe. I feel all of those things when I'm with the IB. But also, I would like to feel stimulated, like I am growing, like I have to grow a little bit to keep up with him. I don't feel that way with him. I feel relaxed, which is also good, but a little bit too relaxed. Like I can go ahead and be my worst self and it's okay. I don't want to always have permission to be my worst self.
Also, I am not in love with him, but I suppose that's immaterial.
Finally, there is an obstacle that should not matter but, a little bit, does, which is guitar boy. Things have intensified, not necessarily to a point at which I would call him my boyfriend (although that is a little bit because of how ridiculous it would be) but probably to a point at which it would not be cool to spend a weekend with an old flame in an attempt to rekindle the relationship. It is obviously ludicrous to compare these two men, and it would be insane to forgo the a rewarding long-term relationship for an exciting but short-lived fling. Except that the fling is making me happy, and I am not convinced that the rewarding long-term relationship would.