Breaking up is a natural evolution when you try to figure out what you want in life. ~Usher

Most of my friends will assume it was The Italian’s workaholic nature that did us in, but it wasn’t. Not in the end.

A few weeks ago I went on my annual road trip to Vancouver Island to visit my best friend. She asked me why he didn’t come, and I replied that I hadn’t asked him, and that he wouldn’t have taken a week off of work anyway. She noted that I’ve never had a boyfriend accompany me on that trip before, and that when I finally do, she would declare him “the one”. We didn’t talk much about The Italian aside from that, but he was in the back of my mind the entire trip. His work hours had started getting carried away again, and he knew he wasn’t making me happy. He had stated as much a few weeks before I left, so it was no surprise that we had both started putting some distance between us. I was trying to figure out where my “line” would be… how much I could compromise our time together.

Hearts will never be practical until they are made unbreakable. ~ Author Unknown

Meanwhile, aside from the nightmares that accompanied my forgetting to take my anxiety medication for a few days, I was enjoying my trip thoroughly. For the first time, I took one of my dogs, Sadie. We went for long walks through the woods, and she swam in the river and in the ocean, while M took some incredible photos. I spent a lot of time reading books about child abuse, and about attachment and adoption. I played games. I prepared dinner for my best friend, her boyfriend, and his brother and sister in law. We sat around the table grilling chicken and peppers and having “lemon meringue” drinks, and after a few too many, we confessed what we liked and appreciated about each other. I went out and did some target practice with the boys while my best friend was at work one day during the week. There was so much fun to be had.

A couple of days before the end of my trip, I was sitting around an evening camp fire in the back yard with M and her boyfriend, laughing and talking. Andy had been texting me during my entire trip, asking what I was up to and making sure I was enjoying myself, and this night was no exception. I found myself wishing that he was there. I was thinking about how well he would fit in amongst my friends, how he’d love to sit around the camp fire, watch movies and shoot some clay pidgins with us. I realized that I could see him sitting around that dinner table, grilling up a storm and having drunken sentimental conversations with my friends…

…and then I realized that I couldn’t see The Italian in any of those scenarios. Not a single one. I can picture us married, living together, even having children, but outside those walls, I just didn’t see where he would fit into my life. The Italian isn’t the kind of guy to kick back around a camp fire with a beer, or go out wind surfing with the guys. He’s an amazing man, I just realized he wasn’t the right man.

Love begins with a smile, grows with a kiss, and ends with a teardrop. ~ Author Unknown

It made me sad to think that we weren’t meant to be together, but it had become very clear in my head. It was fact, there was no wishy-washy thought process… once I realized that I couldn’t picture him with me when I was doing the things I loved, I knew it was over. I broke up with him the morning I left the island to come home.

The Italian didn’t handle the break-up well. He was hurt, but I know that he knew it was coming. After a few days we touched base again and it was better that time. He doesn’t hate me, but he doesn’t want to remain friends. I can understand that, I never wanted to be friends with anyone who broke up with me before, either. My heart hurts when I think about how much we cared for each other. It’s proof that love really isn’t enough. You can adore someone like we did, but you can’t change them, you can’t mold them into who you want them to be, and at some point accepting that they would be happier without you is all that you can do.

Breaking up is a natural evolution when you try to figure out what you want in life. ~Usher

I am sad sometimes, I grieve for our friendship and for the sweet intimate moments we shared, but for the most part I don’t miss him. I guess that comes from not being able to see him very much anyway. I missed him so much in the weeks before we broke up, that I had forgotten what it was like to be with him. A blessing in disguise, I suppose.

I guess I’m just glad I got to be the girl who was worth that damn expensive coffee, for a while.

Our story has three parts: a beginning, a middle, and an end. And although this is the way all stories unfold, I still can’t believe that ours didn’t go on forever. ~Nicolas Sparks

Sometimes When I Look at Him… I’m Surprised at Who I See

I never expected for anything meaningful to develop between The Italian and me. He was supposed to be my temporary post-breakup distraction… a little healthy rebound. But, he’s become so much more than that, and after a few bumps and hurdles and some compromising, I think we’ve landed in a really good spot… a place where I’m truly happy in a relationship, for the first time in a long time.

It’s no secret that when we dated a few years ago, I considered him to be the typical “suave Italian douchebag”, but the truth is that we never really got to know each other… and of course, we’ve both done a lot of growing up these past few years. I find that the more I’ve gotten to know him over the past five months, the more surprised I am at how much I really like him, and the more I can see a future with him. For example, tonight we had to drop his car off with the mechanic so they can look at it tomorrow morning. We did the typical thing, drove separately to the shop, left his car, and drove home together… and on the way home, as he’s driving my Jeep and I’ve got my hand on his thigh and we’re just catching up with each other, it felt so… domestic, and natural… and there was a point when he said something funny and I looked at him and had this moment where I could see us in that exact same way thirty years from now.

It surprises me that I’m thinking this way about him, but I am, and it feels different than other relationships I’ve had. It wasn’t love at first text like with Andy, or the intensely overwhelming love that I had for Y. Instead, it’s been this slow and steady build, and I’ll be the first to admit that I was skeptical in the beginning- thinking there was only one layer to him and if I didn’t know he was “the one” right away then he couldn’t be but, now that I’m seeing who he really is, how he treats me, how much he cares about me, how he thinks… I feel differently. I see so much more in him than I used to. I don’t even mind his crazy work schedule most of the time anymore, because we’ve come to a level of understanding about it.

I’m really, genuinely, happy with him.

A few random facts about The Italian:

1) While he was born in Italy, he is not actually Italian by blood. His parents are Hungarian and Romanian and he went to school in all three countries. Therefore, he speaks four languages: Italian, Hungarian, Romanian, and English.

2) This also explains why he is not as dark or as hairy as most people from southern Italy.

3) For several weeks I meant to ask him what his eldest brother’s name is. I figured this is something I should know since they are so close and he speaks of him all the time. I was prepared to make notes in my phone so I could remember the pronunciation and spelling. As it turns out, his brother’s name is… George.

4) His sister-in-law’s name is Flower. BAHAHAHA. (He looked at me quizzically when I said “really? Is it really? Like F.L.O.W.E.R? Like a rose kind of flower?”).

5) He says his niece is ugly like one of those kids in the horror movies. After lecturing him on how cruel it was to think that way, I became worried for our potential future spawn.

6) Years ago, I used to hate the way The Italian snuggled. He always wanted to be so close he would literally snuggle me right off the side of the bed. He’s since backed-off a bit and is officially the best snuggler ever.

7) He happens to be the one who shared in my most embarrassing moment- when I broke my bed. When we dated the first time, I had this cheap Ikea bed… you know, the one with the slats instead of a box spring? Well the slats on one side weren’t measured properly. They were slightly short and would slip off of the frame of the bed. When this would happen, I would have to carefully roll out of bed, lift the mattress, and slide them back on. Well, one night The Italian was snuggling me waaayyy over to the edge of the bed- as he liked to do- and the slats fell off. I didn’t want to wake him so I half-slept uncomfortably the rest of the night. In the morning, he rolled out the other side of the bed and I tried to roll out my side, but we’d been pretty much sleeping on the pressboard frame all night, and it snapped under my weight. I nearly died of embarrassment. I do not ever intend to remind him of this story.

8) He still wears those designer tighty-whitey’s. I used to think he was the only man of my generation to wear briefs. As it turns out, they’re making a comeback. Who knew?

9) He’s funny, and not just in a sarcastic way! He actually has a really great sense of humour that I don’t recall witnessing before. Every time he really makes me laugh, I feel such gratitude for it.

Damn Expensive Coffee

I’m in the best mood today! I had an aha! moment this morning… it was about understanding how the opposite sex show that they care. You know, you read it in all of the magazines: When a woman wants to show she cares, she tells him so. When a man wants to show he cares, he does something practical for her.

When The Italian and I were still in our fooling around stage, he was so frugal that I really thought that was going to be a deal breaker when we started dating. He made this comment about how he didn’t mind paying for dates but he didn’t want it to be expected (a fair stance for men, but he was pretty head-strong about it). He told me a story about a blind date who picked Starbucks as their meeting place, and he wanted her to pay for her own “damn expensive coffee” before he got there, so he waited for her to text and say “you’re late so I ordered” before he went in. The first time we had dinner together, he insisted that I pay. He did it jokingly and I knew it was a test, so I teased him for it, but I paid and I told him I was happy to do it.

Now when we go for dinner, he insists on paying. When he goes grocery shopping, he asks if I need anything. When a Chinook rolls through and the snow melts, he trades me car’s so that he can clean mine for me. I’ve never asked him to do any of those things.

And this morning… he surprised me with Starbucks.

P.S. I realize I haven’t been blogging about The Italian much… but sometimes it’s nice to just live it. If you want the day to day updates, you should really be following @IntrigueMe on Twitter.

P.P.S. Check out my recent interview on myTreat!