Boundary #1: Trust
My serial dating friend recently called me to admit to another sex and the suburbs worthy story. She just started dating this great architect, a "local" she calls him, since he lives in her town. He's a little younger than her, but that's no crime. He's smart, good looking; a total gentlemen. She met some of his friends, he was proud to introduce her. One night while clicking chopsticks at a sushi bar, the bar's owner, a friend of the local architect, asked if my friend was his girlfriend. Instead of correcting him (it was too early in the dating game and hadn't been established yet) he simply put his arm around her and said; this is Nicole. Oh, the Sushi Chef exclaimed, that's Nicole!
So, one night after one of their wonderful dates, a sleepy Nicole ends up falling asleep on the local's couch. No harm done, he lets her drift off and she sleepily dislodges her earrings from her lobes and places them on the side table. Both late for work the next morning, they exchange a quick kiss and hurry off to their respective jobs.
Later that day, Nicole rubs her ears, remembering she had left her earrings on his side table. She called him that night and asked if the next morning she could pick them up on her way to work (he lived about ten minutes from the hospital where she worked). He said sure.
The next morning, Nicole knocked on an open door. The local was in the shower. Now THIS is where I thought the story was going. "I never saw him, you know," she said.
My reply: "Yeah, and??"
Her: "And well, I went to pick up my earrings when I noticed a letter in a box on the table."
Realizing this wasn't going to be an R-rated story, I let my heart slow down a few beats and told her to go on.
"It was from a girl named Jaime. It was one of those it's over anyway and I have to get it all out kind of letters. Like, 'how could you do this to me?'"
"Yeah, and don't use my Bath and Body Works stuff with like three exclamation points after! Could you believe that? I mean, what a jerk!"
"Really. What else did it say?"
"That's the thing," she said, half sounding as if she was disappointing me. "I was nervous about it, it didn't feel right. I mean, he was in the shower and I could have read it but how would I feel if he read one of my personal letters? What if I did and he caught me? Most of all, I don't want to know about his past. I don't know the context of that letter, all I know is that some girl was hurt. I don't want to start thinking about it, wondering what he did and then if he'll do it to me. It gets crazy."
Instead of being disappointed, I was actually really impressed, very proud of my friend for resisting the temptation to shamelessly dig for information that did not belong to her. Of course, I'd wonder why is this guy hanging on to this letter? I asked her what she thought.
"I don't know because it was dated from a few years ago. I just don't think guys remember about this stuff. They leave papers out, forget."
I wonder if he really forgot it was there or if he was very aware it. I wonder if he was holding on to those bitter letters for some reason: because he loved this angry girl once, because he felt guilt for why she was so angry, because a hate letter could be ample proof that someone really loved him, which can be an ego booster. Or maybe a lot of guys are just like a lot of girls: sentimental.
Whatever the reason, we may never know. Maybe months from now, Nicole will call me up and say remember that letter I was talking about, well tonight he talked about his past relationships. Or maybe they'll never talk about the past and gallop onto the future and the letter will end up in the trash someday.
The outcome isn't as important as the action. An action that says I'm willing to trust you and trust life and let it all happen as it should without pushing or pulling or prodding. You can't make something bloom before its season. So I say cross the line at respecting one another's privacy and give trust a chance. Even if the trust is broken later on, you're still giving yourself room to grow into a less-than-jaded person. And that says a lot for some who've been knocked around one too many times. It's always easier to give up than to put up a fight. Sometimes it's the prizefighter, once wounded but pride still intact, who walks away with the best relationship of all.
Stay tuned for next time: When Meet The Parents turns into From Hell