concession…out of desire or being wounded?

I’m going to start changing names to protect innocent people. For this story, I’m “seeing” James and am being e-mailed by Paul.

Brief background on Paul: We hooked up a few months ago, for a very short period of time. He’s still very hung up on an ex of over a year ago. His career goals are a little out of the realm of probable. I stopped seeing him because…well…he was a little clingy. Or maybe the word is controlling. I don’t know; a combination of the two, I suppose.

I get an e-mail from Paul the other night, asking how I’ve been. I give the short story: school, work, family, and politely ask how he’s been. His response entailed a request for a date when school is out. My first thought? Let’s see where James stands on “us.” ‘Nowhere’ is clearly the answer. The word “relationship” scares him. That’s fair; we haven’t really spoken to/been seeing each other very long. But in meeting him I realized I didn’t really want to be involved with Paul.

So if I agree to this date–am I doing it because I really want to? Or because I’m just a little bit hurt by James’s pseudo-denial? Am I subconsciously lowering my standards, or just my self-esteem? Is Paul a pick-me-up, because I know he’ll be enamored by me?

I suppose I’m going to have to give him an answer soon. There’s nothing “stopping” me from going, so I probably should just go. It’s a date, not a marriage proposal. I’m just not a huge fan of dating because it presents itself; I’m a fan of dating because I am actually interested in pursuing something. And I don’t think I am, with Paul. Of course, I am interested in such with James. Ah, well, I just keep telling myself there’ll be other Jameses.

That might be my answer right there. And anything less than the truth is lying.

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