These last several months have been really busy for my girlfriend and me; crashing down to the end of another school year. I haven’t posted on anything in awhile but have a little time and thought I would post on a few relationship issues for us. When I started this I hadn’t intended it to become an epic, but I started and stopped to do other things, so it sort of grew. Plus you get my analysis on college basketball.
I am big college sports fan especially baseball and basketball. There isn’t much that is bigger than the NCAA Basketball championship also called “March Madness”. Even if your school isn’t in the playoffs they are very popular on most college campuses. This year pretty early in the season I picked UConn to be in the finals, the Huskies have a great team and were ineligible for playoffs last year. By the time of the Elite Eight I predicted UConn would take the whole thing. It got down to the final four; Connecticut, Florida, Wisconsin, and Kentucky. The Final Four games were on the last weekend of our spring break so it seemed convenient to me. I asked my girlfriend if she had anything special planned that she wanted to do and she said no. So I figured good, I told her I was going to watch the games that afternoon.
My Dorm has a large recreation room in the lower commons area; they had a couple of big screens set up and a bunch of people from our dorm and adjoining dorms came over, mostly guys not many girls. Everybody brought beer and the RA’s used some of the dorm budget for pizza. The first game started at about 3pm our time so pregame stuff people got there around 1:30 or 2pm. I met my girlfriend for lunch and dropped off my laundry to her. She seemed happy and I said I would see her after the game. The Huskies beat the Gators, I saw that pretty much a no brainer. Yes I did say the number 7 ranked team beating the number 1 team as a no brainer. Florida is a great team, but UConn is simply better and their style of play just killed Florida. Then starting around 6pm Kentucky played Wisconsin and as I predicted the Wildcats seeded number 8 won and I won $40 from a couple stupid Badger fans who reminded me, as they each peeled out a twenty, that Wisconsin was rated number 2. That brought my winnings for the day to $60 and a tremendous amount of satisfaction. I promise that is it for the basketball commentary.
Sometime after 9pm I went over to my girlfriend’s dorm room. She opened the door and was not happy, actually she was pissed. Another one of the RA’s was talking to her and made a fast dash out the door—that wasn’t a good sign. At first my girlfriend was silent which really worried me, then I was barraged with a series of questions; where was I, don’t I ever answer my phone, who was I with, and I thought you were watching some stupid basketball game. Now Marnia will understand this because Gary is a big college basketball fan, but I had to explain how a 40 minute game took until after 9pm. Actually there were two games, pregame stuff, post game stuff, commercials, time outs, half time stuff, and finally stuff for stuff’s sake.
She just generally busted my balls about stuff for awhile. I was pretty happy, full of beer, pizza and $60 richer, so I figured I would let her vent. She was finally quiet so I went over to hug her, she pushed me away and said I smelled like pizza and beer, and she didn’t want road rash because I hadn’t shaved. She said she was going to bed ALONE to read that she was tired and to pickup my laundry on the way out—ouch! I almost felt a little guilty at that point; there was my laundry all nicely folded on the end of her bed, jeans on the bottom, tee shirts next, then boxers, finally my socks on top. As I left I told her thanks and said “See you had something to do.” Actually I am surprised she didn’t throw something at me.
When I got back to my dorm room I finally looked at my phone, several texts from her and even a couple of calls. It was pretty noisy in the rec room and I was paying attention to the game and drinking. There were even a couple texts from my cousin telling me what a lousy boyfriend I am. Now I knew what else she kept herself occupied with, bitching to her friends about me. I started to send my cousin a text to mind her own f-ing business for once but thought better of it and deleted it. By this time I was mad so I said screw it and got on the computer to see what they said about the game and stuff and then went to bed.
I woke up fairly early the next morning and saw my laundry on my chair. I felt bad so I texted her to ask her to go to brunch in a little while. I got a text right back—“Isn’t there a game you need to watch.” I texted her back, this time no answer; I knew where this was going and I didn’t want it go that way. She usually is pretty cool so this must have really hit a nerve. I called her; she answered “Yes” and then silence. I told her I was sorry and wanted to go to brunch at this Mexican restaurant she liked. The ice was thawing a little and she said okay, but I could tell she was still pissed.
I showed up at her door a couple hours later washed, shaved, in a collared shirt and Dockers—for me this is dressed up. Even though she says I look hot with the 2 days growth of beard look, she likes it when I get cleaned up for her. My girlfriend was surprised and not dressed well. She told me she wasn’t finished dressing—I knew she was but wanted to change—and for me to go down to the commons lounge of her dorm. I asked her why; I have seen her naked like a million times what’s the point. She just pointed to the door and I took the hint, she was still not exactly joyful. A half hour later she came down in a nice, sexy skirt and top. At that point I wasn’t sure if it was for my benefit or to torture me. She let slip later that she had to shave her legs, guess she figured when I didn’t show up early enough Saturday no point in shaving them.
We had a nice brunch, we like Mexican food and we like the restaurant. They serve Sangria at Sunday brunch so my girlfriend had a couple. I thought that was a good sign, she seemed happy and maybe even a little more so from the Sangria. That was right up to when we got back to her dorm room. I kissed the side of her neck from the back as we stepped into the room. She turned around and said, “So now you figure you get some?” Well the thought had crossed my mind, but she was not smiling. “Do you remember anything I told you I wanted to do during spring break?” This is where I found out there was something she wanted to do that afternoon.
I stood there in front of her—“aha, not exactly.” She gave a disappointed look. She carefully listed off a dozen or so things she had told me over the last couple of months that she wanted to do—“sometime”. Frankly telling a guy over an extended period of time stuff you want to do at some future point I don’t think works. Most guys need concrete orders, like “do this at 3pm tomorrow”. She continued to scold me like she was my mother. The next half hour was her telling me why she was upset with me again. I will admit some of it was valid, maybe the majority of it. As much as I love her I don’t always follow through on things like I should. It was probably all pretty normal relationship stuff; she felt a bit taken for granted, I sometimes would “forget” things I didn’t want to do. We live in separate dorms and she is an RA, alone time is at a premium.
I asked her where this left us and our relationship; I had the feeling she was looking for an out on moving in with me after graduation. Senior year has not been easy for me; engineering majors have their asses worked off the last year and my internship that turned into a job took time. My girlfriend was busy with class, applying for grad school, and the RA stuff. We tried to do more things together, but we are both pretty busy with work and school so it is hard when we are both doing so much stuff.
She told me that she still loved me and wanted to stay together. She still wanted to move in together, that I came with fringe benefits that other roommates wouldn’t, which made me happy to hear. Part of what bothers her is that some things are so good and other stuff isn’t everything she wants out of a relationship. I tried to remind her that we have a long life ahead of us to do the other stuff she wants. We both agreed that this has been a pretty stressful time for us and we just have to work through it together. We spent rest of the afternoon together talking about what we could do differently; this time I made a list. Then we were lying on her bed and started kissing; you can probably figure the rest of the evening out.
That was about 6 weeks ago. We have done ok since Spring Break. We did a couple of things during that time that I think helped. We actually scheduled time to be together, putting it on our calendars and not doing other things instead—my friends will survive me not playing basketball with them. People in our generation don’t really “date” like our parents did, but I think that is what we are doing. Some of the scheduled times during the week are just for us to be alone, just to talk. No TV or movie, and no phones, which the phone one about kills my girlfriend. I make her actually turn off her phone; I thought she was going to cry the first time. Our purposeful discussions without any distractions accomplish more than just casually talking about our relationship. We discussed that considering our age we actually have a really solid relationship—this is stuff that as a psychology major she likes to discuss. At some of our scheduled times we try bonding behaviors which sometimes end in sex.
We watched UConn beat Kentucky a couple nights after the argument, our first date together; just the two of us. One of our going out dates we went to a local sports bar and watched one of the first hockey playoff games. It went pretty well, there were some other girls from school there and none of them understood hockey at all. My girlfriend may not have learned much about hockey but she learned she likes Cosmos. We both had fun at something that only a few weeks before we would have gone off and done separate things.
The point of this I think is that relationships take work; they continue to take work and you hit bumps along the way. Why was she more bugged this year than last year when I disappeared to watch the NCAA playoffs? Because she expected more from me and maybe I should have done more with her that weekend. I loved her question, “What’s this March Madness, its April!” In her mind it was taking too much of “our” time. I agree, we all need more “our” time in a relationship. I see people who post here with what seem like really huge problems with partners; mental issues, abusive relationships, whatever. But I think actually most couples just have stupid shit like this in their lives that interferes with their relationships. We are barraged with work, school, friends, sports, television, texts, internet—another of my personal time consumers. At some point all of this just becomes noise to a relationship. You need quiet and you need to be together with your partner. That is why we scheduled time without some of the distractions to be alone with each other. So that is our pledge for the next phase of our relationship, more time to bond more.