What's your middle name? How do you play the game?

Cognitive dissonance.

"I understand, it's ok and I'll try" & "I'm really hurt, I don't believe you and I want to run like hell right now"

"Empathy and self awareness are a dangerous thing," my coworker said to me the other day.

It's 12:53 am and Stephen just left my house. He feels like we've gotten too much into a routine, he wants to slow things down. We hadn't seen each other in a week and a half. We hadn't really had any form of relationship talk in probably a month. I spent that week and a half realizing that I really liked him, that I liked impulsively going to roller discos, drunkenly making out against manhattan buildings at 2am, good morning and goodnight texts and falling asleep snuggled next to him, even though I normally can't stand continuing to snuggle after I've decided it's sleepytime. I realized that even though I had no idea what I wanted in terms of a future with him, right now, I wanted to date him. A lot.

But he doesn't know. I asked him what he wanted, and he said he doesn't know. He said he wants to make this work, and for him, that means slowing things down, the routine was freaking him out and making him want to run.

I just want to know where I stand. He doesn't know what he wants and I don't want to go through the "he loves me he loves me not" hell I went through before.

I told him I wasn't really good at anything other than routine, than full on relationships. He told me I didn't have to be good at it and asked if I would try, for him.

"I will try for you, I'm not sure I'm ok with it, but I'll try it. I can't promise I won't just shut you out, but I'll try".

The truth is I do understand, we all know I hate feeling stuck in a rut, in the routine, like I have to meet certain expectations. I'm really good at cutting and running. So while right now I do feel hurt, mistrustful that he's not just trying to fade away without actually breaking things off and terrified that we came to somewhat opposite conclusions after a week apart, I've also been in his shoes and if he really is trying to talk to me and find a way to stick with it instead of running away, I'll give him props for that because I know it isn't easy.

And now I don't know what I want, because I do really like him, but I don't know that I can do what he's asking of me. There's too much baggage, too many insecurities for me to hang out in the fuzzy spaces. I like sharp edges and clearly drawn lines.

I keep telling myself relationships are supposed to be easy. Maybe I'm doing it wrong.