He asked me to go out for a drink. His newest client owned a tavern. “I want to check it out,” he told me. “Will you come with me?” Spending time alone with him sounded intriguing. So I joined him.
We shared an appetizer and I got a glass of wine. He drank a beer as he watched the football game on the TV over the bar. We didn’t say much; it was enough to be together. “That was fun,” he said when we left. I told him I’d like to do it again.
That’s how my husband and I began dating each other again. There was an alluring spontaneity in slipping away on a Friday or Saturday evening for a drink. Soon after our visit to the tavern, we decided to go someplace new. I wasn’t impressed by the stale air or the bar stools pocked with cigarette burns. But when a band started playing on the small stage next to the bar, I was in rock heaven.
After that I looked forward to our next night out. We went to another place we’d never been to. There was no live music. Just TVs, lots of them, all tuned to various sporting events. My husband was engrossed with the screens. My eyes roamed around the room, looking for something I was not getting from the TV. By the time we left I was sulking.
The same thing happened the next time we went out. He watched TV. I watched everyone else and brooded. We didn’t talk much. I dwelt on it the next day and panic set in. Maybe we’d drifted apart like all those couples I’d read about in magazines. Was our marriage floundering because we couldn’t have a conversation that didn’t revolve around the kids or his business?
The next time we went to dinner first. We talked and laughed, then I told him I was worried about us. He wasn’t worried; he even laughed a little, well acquainted with my tendency to overreact. After dinner we moved to the bar for a drink. We continued talking and people-watching as we waited for some vacant seats. I had just breathed a sigh of relief at the ease of our conversation, when we found two seats right in front of the TV. The evening could have ended in disaster, but after some intense competition from the TV screen, we decided to walk down the street to the blues bar and watch the band. (The drummer, who looked like Santa with a Hawaiian shirt, was phenomenal!)
After a few date-night ups and downs, I learned that we had different expectations. He just wanted to unwind and be with me. Silence was ok because he spent all day talking to clients. I, on the other hand, wanted some excitement and connection with him, and that involved conversation. Once we got in the groove of going out again (it took lots of hits and misses) we really enjoyed it.We still have an occasional flop of a date, but it has more to do with the state of our lives at that particular moment, than with the state of our relationship.
A few weeks ago we went to Baileys to have dinner and relax with a drink while watching the Detroit Tigers play in the AL championship. It had been a few months since our last date and we were looking forward to it. To my surprise, my husband asked for the check before I’d finished eating. And he had his coat on before I finished my glass of wine. I was seething. This was not the relaxing night I’d envisioned. But I didn’t say anything, thinking that he just wanted to go someplace else for a drink.
We ran a few errands and he asked me if I wanted to walk around the mall. In my head: Huh? No. I do not want to walk around the mall. I want to have a drink and watch the Tigers play. To him: “Sure let’s go to the mall.” The ease with which I can slip back into my nineteen-year-old self is astonishing. As we walked around the mall, he tried to make conversation and I, walking slightly ahead, ignored him. Finally he said, “Do you want to do something else?”
My sarcastic response dripped out of my mouth before I could stop it. “No. I wanted to stay at Baileys and watch the game. That is what I wanted to do.”
I could see his surprise. “Why didn’t you tell me? I asked you what you wanted to do.”
“You couldn’t wait to get out of there. I didn’t want to stay if you didn’t. I didn’t know we’d end up at the mall.”
He stormed out of the mall and I followed sheepishly. I’m never proud of acting like an adolescent. If we’d just started dating, that would have been the end. But here’s where the twenty-six years of marriage comes in handy, because once we reached the car, we apologized.
“I’m sorry I rushed you. I’ve been rushing all week from one place to another and I didn’t even realized I was doing it,” he said.
“I’m sorry too. I should have told you I wanted to stay.”
“Let’s go back.”
“Let’s start fresh and go someplace else.”
He took my hand and drove to Chammps so we could finish watching the game. I’d say in spite of the ups and downs, dating my married man has been very successful.
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