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growing up is a hard thing to do

Oh, the intricacies of human emotions.

Have you ever found yourself in a moment where it's crystal clear to you, I mean CRYSTAL clear that the next decision you make will send your life on a course that you better be sure you want to go on...? I've had many of those. Some I am very aware of, but I'm feeling too good or too bad to pay attention to them. Others, well, I don't even realize (in my conscious mind that is) that I made my decision even before the situation presented itself.

I'm in a beautiful relationship, one filled with love, mutual respect, devotion, free flowing friendship and communication, support on all levels ... a beautiful relationship. And, like all others, my relationship has its "issues", though I'd like to call them areas of learning and growth. Growing up as an individual is a hard thing to do, growing up in a relationship is doubly hard (I think) but man, it is so sweet once you get there. You find places in you you never thought to visit, new levels of awareness you never thought possible and a new level of love for another human being (who isn't your child) that's awe inspiring, at least for me. I'm not in my forties yet... Loving must be so different (if you let it) when you get older--I think. Here's something else I am so much more aware of now: there is so much I don't know and may never comprehend. So I think, I presume, I learn and hope I understand, and I make assumptions with the hope that I am not making a terrible mistake or causing anyone harm... Where am I going with this?

I met a guy. Yes, I am still in a loving relationship with my wonderful man, but I met a guy. Sit back, hear this story:

My man and I set out to spend a lovely day in town (the small town in the woods we were vacationing in for thanksgiving) and it was incredible. We are not religious, but the town has this holiday tradition: they light this giant tree in the center of town for the holidays and have a whole to do around it. There's caroling, the town's mayor (a dog named Max) and his deputies come out, Santa's there with his helpers, there's an outdoor fair, a huge warming fire in the center of all this, and on this day, it snowed. It was beautiful. Really. We were inside a pub with a bunch of other folks who were simply lovely, sharing drinks and stories and laughing, and when the local band began playing, it was heavenly.

I am with a man who is not jealous, so I got to dance the night away with everyone. Women, standing in the corners, shy men who can't imagine letting loose, others out to just play and enjoy an evening out, and of course my man ... it was incredible. Then a wrestler walks in. How did I know he was a wrestler? He told us all.

He was handsome in the way every WWE wrestler is. Huge with a kind of chiseled face, and something mischievously boyish about him. That's to say ladies, that if you were foolish, you'd think you should take care of him.

He sat with us and my guy, being the sweet man that he is, offered him a drink and welcomed him so warmly (same as he did with everyone else) and even tried to hook him up with a beautiful lady we all knew was single and open to meeting someone. Yup, even my man fell for that boyish thing. I helped too. I was the one who found out she was single and introduced them to each other. I was clear with her before the night was over, though: if you just want fun, go with the wrestler; if you want nice, go with the other guy. You'd be pleased to know, she's a smart chick :)

As the night wore on, it very quickly became clear to me that my new wrestler friend wanted me. Here's the kicker, I wanted him too. Why? It felt great. Don't get it? Ok. Here's the thing about this one situation that stuck with me - you see trouble coming from a mile away, yet you stand there and wait for it. Why? Because it's familiar. Like I said, growing up is a hard thing to do. No, I didn't forget that I am NOT single. I liked the attention. I knew very well who I was going home with. I also knew very well who I was dancing with. It felt surreal--dangling in the middle of chaos and serenity. Oh, and just to be clear, serenity's got loads of chaos in it too. Ain't nothing boring about my current situation :) and I love him to bits.

So, I'm wrapped up in this guy's massive arms, we're dancing and he is not being shy about his intentions. I laugh and joke about him being trouble, and that if I was single ... but alas, I'm not, so don't get me in trouble. This, he interprets as "keep going."

Well, I was so engrossed in just having a good time, that I didn't stop to think "stop." Rather than take you through the whole rest of the night, I'll just say that a part of me knew I was playing with fire, the other part of me knew this man was playing with worse, so I mentioned to his buddy to keep him in check. An older couple that practically adopted me and my man that evening were aware of what was happening and they were amazing - the dad cut in on us dancing a couple times. I latched on to the mom when she got on the dance floor. A few other people joined us as well. It literally felt like the whole pub was in on keeping everything cool. But this situation was confusing for me: I was absolutely enjoying this guy's attention, yes, but I also wanted him to go away. I wanted to dance, have a great time and have us all return to our respective lives; I didn't want to create a situation my man would feel the need to step in on, and I couldn't think of how to quietly make this dude go away. I can't stand fights. I won't tell you the things I've done to prevent two men from fighting over me. I hate fights. I especially hate men fighting over nonsense (which in my humble opinion always seems to be the case.)

Thankfully, the night ends well IN the pub. I did tell my man what was going on at one point during the night because I felt I was being disrespectful by not, but I assured him I was safe and there was no need for any trouble. Even the wrestler's friend pulled me aside to assure me he was reigning his friend in. My guy was hurt. He felt disrespected by this wrestler dude who he was kind to, and although he says he didn't really feel hurt by me, I hurt him. I did. That whole experience almost caused a rift between us that night, but we got through it. We talked and examined a couple issues that were lurking under the surface in our relationship. This was painful and refreshing (per usual), but I'm still sitting in this muddy space where I'm not sure if my decision to play it cool with this wrestler was really just to prevent a fight.

Was I just having a grand ole time? Overindulging, maybe? Was it a combination of both or more. I generally am the same with men as I am with women, so I don't feel I was any different with him than I was with anyone else in that pub (save for my guy) but this situation WAS different. What would have happened if I had simply said "I'm flattered, but back off dude"? I believe he would have backed off. Maybe even quietly--I think?? Not sure, cause he didn't seem the type to quietly take "no" for answer. But then again, he might have. So, why didn't I just try. It's in my nature to just try so really, why didn't I just say "I'm flattered, but no dude...? I think it's because I wanted to take him home too.

Ah... Growing up is a hard thing to do.

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