I didn't compromise, and I'm so glad for that.
Shane*, the gentleman of whom I spoke in my last entry, came forward with his intentions. I certainly appreciate his honesty, and I'm proud of myself for sticking to my principles. (*Names changed.)
On AOL Instant Messaging, after some banter and light chit-chat, I'd told Shane that he "was growing on me." His response: "Well, we should probably talk about that." We both agreed that in-person would be best. I couldn't tell what his tone was. Would this tete-a-tete be really good? Or very bad?
Our mutual friend Janice* had just dropped Shane and I off at a restaurant, and she'd gone to park the car, giving the two of us a few minutes to talk. "So? What's up?" I asked.
"I mean, I don't know," he said. "I guess I just have some concerns about our religious differences, and our sexual ideology is pretty different too. I can't make an emotional investment. I like you. I really like you."
After the initial stun I managed a disheartened "Yeah, I like you too..."
I examined his words. Religious differences. Yeah, that would be a problem down the road. Tolerance of each other's most basic values is not a good foundation for two people seeking commitment. Sexual ideology? I understood completely, though I'd never heard those terms paired together. I know that he has slept with more than one girl. And he knows that I am a virgin. Fine. Alright. So it's me with the 'hangups', in other words...
Janice approached the table and took a seat, oblivious to the ongoing drama. For the next half-hour I tried to verbally engage but mostly kept to myself, rolling over my thoughts. The three of us ordered, chatted, joked, ate and paid the bill, then Janice got up to retrieve the car. Shane and I had to then quickly sweep up whatever mess of a conversation we'd left at, before our chariot would pull up at the door.
"So what does this mean? Is it that you want something casual?" I asked seriously.
"Yeah, I mean, I can do that. I just want to let you know that there's a 95% chance my feelings about this won't change. We could try something, if you're alright with the 'no commitment' thing. But I just can't commit. At the end of the summer, that's pretty much it."
And I really, really, really did think before answering. I considered to myself, Am I capable of a 'casual' dating relationship? What does that mean, anyway? 'Casual dating'? If I grow attached to this guy - which I probably will, because I'm a loyal and romantic person - will it kill me when he leaves me in the dust? And know all the while that he "95%" probably will walk away? Can my heart handle that?
Concluding my inner monologue, I gave him my decision. "Then I think it's gonna have to be... a no. I know myself and that I'm not 'capable' of a detached physical relationship. It's a shame, because I think you're a wonderful person. But I can't compromise. I deserve more than that. I deserve the whole package, not just a piece of it."
He accepted my response with dignity, and we agreed we'd of course remain friends. And that was that. No big deal to him. Not a significant loss, I gather, because there are other young ladies in Austin who may very well take him up on a no-strings-attached agreement.
On one hand, I felt embarrassed and ashamed. He'd rejected me. Not the physical me. Not the intellectual me. He'd rejected the chance to know my heart. But on the other hand, it was liberating to resist temptation, to respond appropriately, to listen to my conscience, and to ignore a green light leading to inevitably temporary satisfaction.
I look forward to the day and hour when I meet the love of my life, the man who will want ALL of me: body, mind and (especially) soul.