I am getting tired of thinking about my relationship with BP.  I prefer to experience my relationship with him, but our schedules and lives do not permit that right now.

It’s been about a month since we first kissed.  We’ve not spent a ton of time together since then nor have we spent more than two hours together in town (just a late lunch last week).  We have seen each other on two trips so far, but it just does not seem like enough time.  I had gotten spoiled over the last few months of seeing him a few times a week for hours at a stretch.

We are still trying to find the right relationship balance.  Because we’re such close friends, the romantic side takes a back seat to the friendship.  The friendship is more important than anything else, even than business.  (Heck, our original business venture died years ago, yet we are still partners.)  We have not been able to sort out how to move comfortably among the three realms we inhabit together — the friendship, the business relationship, and the romance.  I think we’re finally getting closer though.  It seems as though we can shift into relationship mode at the end of the day, while remaining business appropriate the rest of the time.  You’d think that would be easy, but we have somewhat creative jobs that occur at all hours.

I just spent about 90 minutes talking to him on the phone.  After we dispensed with the business fairly quickly, we moved onto talking about politics, the economy, and I mentioned the fact we never took our long Summer vacation to Europe (a comment that made him immediately launch into a discussion of how horrible the economy is and is not improving — it’s always so irritating to hear rich people speak about how hard to economy is affecting them.)   We then moved on to speaking a bit about us.

The shift was so seamless that I think we may have finally found the right balance.  Everything feels really solid.  I told him he is ailing because he’s going through me withdrawal.  I told him he had two choices: (1) see me or (2) go cold turkey and beat it once and for all.

I’ve been testing out nicknames for him for weeks, long before we started dating.   Unbeknownst to me, he’s been pondering names for me.  I asked him what he calls me because I couldn’t really recall.  He refers to me by formal name, as does almost everyone in the world.  He doesn’t really call me anything or at least hasn’t lately.  I asked him about that today and he said that’s actually true because he hasn’t decided what to call me.  Giving me a new name is something important to him.  It’s a step for him.  He told me the name he is contemplating — it’s cute, if a little obviously affectionate.  I asked him why that, thinking he would refuse to answer.  Instead, he told me and I kind of get a kick out of the name and the fact that he wants to have something special to call me.

He told me the nickname “is something the inner circle will know” because they will hear it.  I thought to myself, what inner circle?  Our inner circle at this point would be . . . um . . . some of my friends, some of his friends, some of our clients, some of our associates, some of our families?  Then I thought, really?  You want people to know we’re involved?  Isn’t that exactly what we do not want?   Especially not now.  We’re just dating.  He’s not my boyfriend.

Perhaps I am missing something in the calculation?  Perhaps when you decide to become romantically involved with someone you’re this close to, you skip steps?

It’s funny . . . we’ve actually never discussed keeping the relationship quiet.  I just assumed that since we’re business partners that discretion would be a wonderful idea.  It would make it a bit easier when we inevitably stop seeing each other romantically.

The whole thing is fascinating to contemplate.  For months, we have spent so much time as a single entity, with other people joining us for hours or days and then leaving, while we chugged along in our own little world.  Still, we were not a romantic entity.  We were always inclusive.  Okay, mostly inclusive.  We have been able to play at being at odds in order to gain negotiating advantage.  I think that might fly out the window if people know that we are a couple.

Then again, many of the people in our lives (except my idiot friends with their remarkable powers of deduction) believe we are dating.  We had told each other and others that we were dating long before we acknowledged a blossoming romance.  Some of our business associates assume we are together.  Everyone who sees us together knows that we have an obvious affection for each other.  For months, I was able to stand on principle and express great umbrage when anyone would imply that there was anything romantic between us.  (Obviously, that’s all over, which is sad because I am really good at expressing great umbrage.)

I am still extremely conflicted about it all.  I love him as my close friend and partner.  I feel passion for him and I miss him when he’s not here.  I have not decided what to do with it all.

For now, I am dating him.  I am enjoying him.  I am trying to be simultaneously open-minded about the potential, while protecting myself.  That’s actually the most difficult thing to balance.