Hopeful 8 Hopeless 3
After seeing Amin unexpectedly on that Thursday, I was really starting to think. I had been thinking throughout this project and particularly about Amin because it was abundantly evident by that time that he liked me a lot, so I really felt the need to give him an answer as quickly as possible. If only I could make up my mind in a timely fashion as to whether or not I wanted to date him. My reflections increased after seeing him on October 18th because additional questions resulted from that meeting.
As I think back on them now, these reflections were so complex that I hardly remember all of the things I was thinking! I will endeavour to write here a sampling of what was running through my mind. I was thinking that I certainly liked Amin, but more importantly: did I like him that way? Other times, I felt the internal struggle about wanting to be single versus wanting to date; apparently that fight was still active. I had to make sure that I didn't start dating Amin just because I wanted to date. The phrase "I don't have a good reason not to date him" kept coming back, but I quickly answered that with, "But not having a good reason not to doesn't mean that you have a good reason to". It is so important to date a person for the right reasons, to have legitimate reasons for entering into a relationship with someone. Otherwise you are deceiving yourself and the other person and you are sure to end up in disappointment and heartbreak (as Frédérick had taught me well). I reminded myself that I was under no obligation to choose any of the guys I had corresponded with on Plenty of Fish. I am embarrassed to admit that I voiced some of these thoughts to Amin; his response was: "That is why I like you so much; you think about every single detail of making any type of relationship. You care about others' thoughts and feelings and everything and the consequences of each action!" That perhaps was the flattering way of putting it. The truth is, I am obsessed about not repeating past mistakes, which is one of the main reasons I was not only cautious, but becoming confused and somewhat stuck in the decision process. It was an intricate web in my head and I was in danger of becoming trapped in it.
I knew I had to, for my own mental health and also to not try Amin's patience indefinitely, make up my mind once and for all. Other than simple indecision, my greatest difficulty was in getting past my fears, which were speaking quite loudly. I knew that it was not reasonable for them to have such a big voice. Of course caution needed to be exercised, but I could not let my fears control my decisions. If you do that, you miss out on so many opportunities. If I really wanted to date, I had to loosen the grip of my fears and allow myself to choose a relationship, including all the potential risks, but also all the potential benefits that came with it. All that left was to determine how I truly felt about Amin.
It sounds like a simple question, but the answer was still elusive for me. I kept looking for the typical symptoms I get when I have a crush and they seemed to be absent. I didn't feel all fluttery inside and wasn't thinking incessantly about him. My tell-tale sign is always thinking a lot about the person, if not incessantly. I wasn't getting that. It also didn't feel that yearning to date him. I still felt good being single and didn't feel like my life was lacking something. Finally, though, something Amin said to me began to percolate. He said that I kept making exceptions for him. The more and more we talked, the clearer it was for him that I had given him special treatment. I began to realize that he was right. From the very first time I met him, I granted him more than the usual coffee date: we went to see the fireworks. I had let him hold my hand in the Gardens, which I had assured him and myself was a big exception. I had invited him to my birthday celebration. I had seen him three times within the space of a week: when we went for hot chocolate, then for my birthday and finally on the Thursday I was having a bad day. He was very conscious of the fact that I did not normally schedule more than two social activities in the same week to be able to maintain the balance between my health, my school work and my social time and that furthermore I did not ordinarily see the same person more than once in the same week. He marvelled at how I should bend my rules for him. It began to dawn on me too: I had changed the rules when it came to Amin. This really crystallized for me when I thought about how I had asked him to come and see me when I was having a bad day. I wasn't acting as I normally would. Even if my emotions did not allow themselves to surface entirely, my behaviour had clearly betrayed me.
There was only one conclusion to this: I liked him. I liked Amin. What had been obvious to a few people for a little while (like my mother, my sister and Stella) finally hit me. I could give up the fight; I had my answer. I liked Amin and I wanted to date him. He and I were well matched in so many ways; we had so many of the same feelings and opinions. Yet we also had enough to make us different, to permit us to have enriching exchanges. He was one of the nicest guys I had ever met: so caring, respectful, understanding and supportive. I was an idiot if I was going to let an opportunity like that slip through my fingers. Such opportunities don't arrive every day; in fact, they are very rare and precious. When you find a guy like that and you like him, you should certainly seize the chance to date. I could've told him right away, but I thought it would be best to wait until the next time I saw him in person; to me, these are just not things you say online. We had agreed to meet on the coming Friday, so everything was set.