Our Story: How Dating Changed Our Relationship

Last week, we collectively rejoiced as our hero, Will, finally got a clue.  After realizing that Sam, not Emma, was the woman of his dreams, he rushed to Sam’s side, swept her into a firm embrace, and delivered a kiss so masculine yet so tender that it left her breathless (ok, so that’s bit of an exaggeration, but it sounded good, right?).

Having shared that earth-shattering kiss, Will and Sam officially updated their status to “in a relationship.”  Now, as they transition from just friends to boyfriend/girlfriend, we sit on the edge of our collective seat with anxious anticipation wondering how this development will affect their seemingly flawless friendship.  Will perfection remain, or will unspoken expectations coupled with a romantically clueless boyfriend wreak havoc on this budding romance?  Find out in this week’s episode of “Our Story.”

My Sullied Dating History

Before Sam, hanging onto girlfriends wasn’t exactly my forte.  My first girlfriend dumped me after four days.  My second (and last before Sam) waited a whole two weeks.

And while I’m certainly ready to admit I’m not “boyfriend of the year” material, I like to think that these ill-fated relationships weren’t entirely my fault.

A big part of the problem (as I see it) was that both these girls had a very well-defined sense of how I, as their boyfriend, should act.  They had everything mapped out from the way I should smell to the clothes I should wear to the places I should take them on dates.

But, of course, they chose not to tell me about these expectations.  Where would be the fun in that?  After all, watching me guess at acceptable boyfriend behavior, and usually fail, was apparently way more entertaining.

Not that I’m bitter or anything.

Nothing’s going to Change, Right?

When Sam I started dating, I was scared to death that my dating history would repeat itself.  Not only did I want to avoid an abrupt ending, but I wanted to make sure things between us didn’t change now that we were boyfriend/girlfriend. (Well, other than the kissing stuff.  That was a change I was definitely ok with).

So, to make sure Sam was on board with the direction we were heading, I pulled her aside the day after we started dating and asked, “Nothing’s going to change between us now that we’re dating, right?  I mean, sure we hug and kiss and hold hands now, but nothing else is going to change . . . right?”

She reassured me, “Don’t worry, nothing’s going to change.  I like us the way we are.”   

To put her response in context, you have to understand that Sam is a sane, logical person.  She assumed I knew that once you start dating someone, you should make an increased effort to be especially kind, gentle, and thoughtful towards that person.

So she interpreted my question as, “Now that we’re dating, you’re not planning on dragging me around shopping malls or forcing me to watch chick flicks, are you?”  That’s why she assured me that nothing was going to change.

The problem was, I interpreted her response as, “Literally change nothing about the way you treat me.”

The Corpse Hand

For the first couple of days, my “change nothing” approach was going swimmingly well.  I was happier than I’d ever been because I had an awesome girlfriend.

Then one day, I went to hold Sam’s hand and discovered it was cold and slightly clammy.  In an effort to be clever, I said (don’t judge me), “Wow, your hand feels like a corpse hand.”

Sure that she must have misheard me, Sam responded, “Excuse me?”

Blissfully unaware of my stupidity, I said again, “A corpse hand.  Your hand feels like a corpse hand.” (I am currently hanging my head in embarrassment as I write this.)

Sam asked, “Just curious, but what in the world made you think that it was a good idea to say that?”

Not quite getting the tone of her question, I replied, “Well, your hand is cold and .  .  .”

She cut me off, “So because my hand was cold, your first thought was, ‘Let’s tell Sam she has corpse hands’?”

I was starting to catch her drift now, so I said, “But I was joking.  I thought it was funny.  I thought I could say something like that because you said that nothing was going to change between us.”

Ok, Maybe Some Things Might Need to Change

At that moment, Sam caught a glimpse of what she’d signed up for.  She thought, “Wow . . . he really is dense.  I mean, I knew he wasn’t the most romantically aware guy in the world after all that Emma stuff . . . but wow . . . just . . . wow.”

She took a depth breath (one of those, “Ok, here goes nothing” breaths), put her laptop to the side, looked me directly in the eye, kindly smiled and said, “I lied.  Things are going to change.  First off, don’t make comparisons between me and a corpse again. Second . . .”

She continued on, laying the ground rules for our relationship.  She spelled things out like, “I expect you to take me on dates” and “Don’t joke about asking me to marry you.  If you joke about it, I will say no.”

While I’m sure she felt silly pointing out painfully obvious facts about how a dating relationship works, I appreciated her guidance.  Because for the first time in my life, I finally knew exactly what my girlfriend wanted.

Next Week . . .

Now that Will knows what Sam expects, does he rise to the occasion or fall flat on his face (the answer might surprise you)?  If he does meet expectations, how long will it take for Sam to decide that Will really is “the one?”  Find out next week on “Our Story.”

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