Monday, May 7, 2007

A Terrible Dilemma

It is going on 7:30am. I and Rosa are walking through downtown heading back to my house after eating breakfast. It was a long weekend and we didn't get to see much of each other and I relish this time with her. It is a cool and blustery morning bespeaking of winter's past. A backdoor cold front blew through yesterday upon the heels of thunderstorms. We needed the rain badly.

"How was your meeting with your daughter?" I ask as we walk past the convenience store.

Rosa, her daughter, and granddaughter spent time together this weekend.

"Oh, I was a nervous wreck," Rosa replies. "But I didn't make a fool of myself. My granddaughter is precious. I cooked all weekend and we drove up to Atlanta and ate at The Varsity."

"I am so glad things went well," I say sincerely.

"I just wish you could have been there," she replies.

I pull out my pack of cigarillos handing Rosa one. I light up and then hand Rosa my small box of wooden matches. She struggles to light hers in the blustery wind.

"I thought we were finished with winter," she says of the weather as she pulls on her cigar after finally lighting it.

"I know," I reply. "It feels like fall, not early May."

We walk quietly for a few hundred yards. I can tell Rosa is in deep thought. I finally break the silence by speaking up.

"A penny for your thoughts?" I ask.

"I am just thinking about you and this chick you are enamored with," Rosa says. "George keeps carrying on about it. Says you call her the Celtic beauty. That is a pretty affectionate term."

"We are not dating," I reply, defensively.

"Yet?" Rosa asks. "Would you date her?"

I don't lie, but answer in a roundabout fashion.

"They say you can't date in A.A. during your first year of sobriety," I reply. "I am supposed to stay single for a long time and so is she."

"That didn't keep you from dating Carolyn," Rosa says, rightly.

"I know," I reply. "I am only human."

"And that is what I like about you," Rosa says. "You don't bullshit and I get a feeling you are bullshitting me about this woman."

I grow quiet as we walk just a few minutes from my house. Rosa was right. I usually pride myself on my honesty with my friends and I was being deceptive.

"You know I love you, don't you?" Rosa finally says as we walk through my neighborhood. "Just don't play games with my heart."

I grab her hand and keep walking. I am faced with a terrible dilemma – an overly feminine young woman with whom I am attracted to physically and an overly homely looking much older woman with who I am enamored with her personality. I am worried I will lose Rosa's friendship if I start dating the Celtic beauty and I don't want that to happen. I don't envy myself of the choice. I realize I love both women deeply. A conundrum indeed!


amelia said...

You cannot love someone you don't know.

You might lust after her and be smitten with her but love takes time.

Take your time for your sake!

Jenn said...

Rosa's intensity is scary. I know she cares for you, but if she loves you she wouldn't begrudge you happiness. You better nip this in the bud and explain to her it will never be romantic love between you and her. Otherwise she will torment you every time you want to date some one. And you have every right to date if you want to.

justLacey said...

Unfortunately Jenn is right. Rosa loves you in the way you love the Celtic beauty. Think of it that way. The love you have for Rosa may be more than you ever get from a romantic love, still you are entitled to feel that way about someone. Just be honest with her and let her know how oyu feel. You can't expect her to stand around and watch someone she is in love with fall in love with someone else over and over. It isn't fair to her. She may decide later that she is over it, but for now it is what it is.

Karin's Korner said...

I also agree with the girls above. You have to explain to Rosa that although you love her, you love her like a friend. I also agree that you cannot be "in love" with the celtic beauty, I think that is infatuation and maybe if you do get to know her and go out a few times you will find that you really don't want a relationship with her, right now it is more about what she looks like. Please be honest with Rosa, she deserves that and if she does not want to be "just friends" with you it is better to find that out now, it will only hurt her more the longer she thinks that there could be a possible relationship, that is more then friendship with you.

kathleen said...

I think that a more romantic and involved relationship with either Rosa or the redhead would be a dangerous thing for all of you. All of you are on the edge of slipping out of control on any given day of the week. Please do as AA recommends. Wait. And be up front with Rosa. To do otherwise would hurt her more than knowing the truth now.

PipeTobacco said...


Perhaps a male perspective would also be helpful:

Rosa is a good woman. She cares for you, you care for her. You have told her that you are not willing to have a sexual relationship with her at this point. Remind her of this and tell her that you are not planning on any sexual behavior in the foreseeable future.

Celtic woman may or may not be a good person for you... you know very scant information about her personality... her likes, her dislikes... whether she is down-to-earth... or if she is a prima-donna. You do not know if she is a woman of substance and values... or a woman who is only surface oriented.

Because you know so little about her, I would suggest the following:

1. Because you are being a part of the AA group, you should attempt to adopt their guidelines.... no dating for at least a year.

2. In the remaining (what, about 11 months?)you may wish to simply observe this woman at meetings and work at gleaning from her actions and words what you can about her compatibility with you. Talk with her at breaks if you feel so inclined. But, try to not flirt with her... get to know who she is during this time of refraining from dating.

3. If Rosa keeps pressuring you about romance, be gentle, kind, but firm in stating that you are committed to staying out of romance for a year.

4. During this "breather" time, begin to list and think about what it is you really would like in a life partner. List all the qualities that you want, and then rank them in order of importance. Do the same with the things in a life partner that you would not be able to handle long-term. Again rank order them in importance. Both lists should be fairly exhaustive. Then, make a date with yourself, once a month during the next 11, to sit down and rank Rosa and Celtic girl on those good and bad qualities... thinking about it as a way to allow you to LEARN about each of them in a different way than your direct interactions. You can assign a number system to your lists and to the behaviors of both women so you could create a number score each month for each woman and see how over the next 11 months the number for each woman shifts. By the end of that time, you will know both women a lot better, AND you will know your own feelings about each woman a lot better.

5. Smoke your pipe more... it imparts more wisdom than little cigars do. (grin)

6. Most of all, enjoy both of their company.

7. If you want to work your feelings through in a different manner as well... consider either a) writing a new novel with a fellow in just your predicament... make yourself out to be who you want to be, and have two woman characters representing Rosa and Celtic, or b) (a more doubtful choice) you could add a "racy" plot twist to your current novel and have two women begin to interact with the male protagonist of your Depression-era novel.


Will said...


I would have to agree with everyone who thinks you should take your time. Rosa is, of course, a very good friend of yours, but it is palpable even through your blog entries that she is a river of pain which you now are only standing beside - if you jump in, who knows where it may carry you?

Something I notice about everyone in your life is that they do seem to siphon, however benevolently, off of your relative stability and good fortune. Having been homeless , addicted to alcohol and being mentally ill yourself, I'm sure you don't see all of this as people 'using' you the way that some others might, but I think it is for the best that you keep nearly everyone in your life (outside of your family) at arms-length.

Even Celtic Beauty, wonderful as she is, is an addict - those things happen for reasons. Nobody should be condemened to a life of solitude, and certainly not someone as well-intentioned and intelligent as yourself, but given all that you go through? Step lightly.

Glenda J said...

Ditto pipesmoker!!! Do not lose you honesty, that is a very precious comodity and once tarnished, hard to recover.

Eric Valentine said...

Andrew, there is a lot of wisdom in all that has been said by all above.

However; dealing with an 11 month period is quite a daunting task for anybody. I hope you are experienced at walking on eggs? I do sincerely, wish you all the luck in the world with this problem.


Blue Gardenia said...

You are right, the above comments are well-meaning but wrong from your wolrdview. As a Schizophrenic I can attest that you can love more than one person. We do not think or feel lineraly. Our hearts are as loose as our minds. You can love both and you can love the wind in the trees, the moon and the stars and the air at night. Your boundries and your horizons have no limits. Be yourself and love and prepare to feel both good and bad about it. Feel free to love as much as you like and allow the"normals" to have their pinched and narrow views(and delusions) of love, life and affection.

DLL said...

A suggestion? as I've been in the same situation a few times. I ask the person with the romantic feelings, the person I'm trying to stay friends with, if they are considering that we might become "more". If they answer in the affirmative, I tell them I wouldn't mess with our friendship by becoming "more" as in intimate. That I'm not prepared to sacrifice the friendship and risk losing them completely.

You and Rosa salvaged a friendship once already from a misguided dalliance with intimate. Does she really want to risk what you have now for what happened then?

It's honest, and I know how important that, and openness, is to you.


Blue Gardenia said...

You can also love the sound of a locomotive whistle moaning through the night, all sadness, and the lonliness of clickety-clack. And don't you believe that the sun and the moon and the stars love us too?

justLacey said...

blue gardenia may be right about being able to love as a schizophrenic. i assume though that rosa and cb are not and therefore might love in the more traditional manner. you can love as many as you want in you heart. just be kind to their hearts in return and it can never hurt to wait and observe and see who people really are. one more consideration with cb at a later date would be children. i assume she is young enough to have or maybe want some and you have said this is not an option for you. just one more thing to mull over and keep in mind in a more traditional minded non schizophrenic way. i love all the comments on here and points of view.

Moonlink said...

Rosa probably has not experienced a relationship with a male that has not involve intimacy for sometime. As a result, her relationship with you has become very special to her, and it has deepened into love. She makes this clear to you when she queries "You know I love you, don't you ? Just don't play games with my heart". She's being honest with you about her feelings.

If she is expecting more than friendship from you, and you are only seeking friendship, your relationship could be very hurtful to Rosa. As uncomfortable as the truth may be from time to time, it is usually far kinder to be open about your feelings. Your honesty will give Rosa an opportunity to make some decisions about what is best for her.


Have you thought of asking Rosa hypothetically what would happen if you did eventually persue a relationship with Celtic? How Rosa would feel? What would that do to your friendship....