Friday, August 14, 2009

Date Number Seven: The Ex-Boyfriend Non-Date

Long before I broke up with my ex-boyfriend, I tried to write a list of fifty things I knew about him but only came up with thirty, which should illustrate that I learned very little about him during the course of a year-long relationship. I must have been feeling as if something was missing between us, so I added a point for all of the things I liked about him and subtracted a point for all of the things I disliked, in order to gain some understanding. I noticed that the dislikes outweighed the likes but I thought that in time, we would grow together and that I liked him enough to overlook his flaws.

That list stayed in my journal, forgotten, until I pulled it out once more, to work through my feelings, after I broke things off with my ex. (Minus five points to him for being too cowardly to initiate the break-up himself). We had agreed to remain friends after the break up and he invited me over one Thursday night to watch Hell's Kitchen and eat Thai food, as a love of good food was one of the few things we did have in common. When I got there - we had not seen each other in weeks, mind you - my ex was overjoyed to see me. He was kind, attentive, and very touchy-feely in a way that made me really, really confused. He initiated a lot of hugging, kissing, and kept saying that he loved me and that he missed me, yet, we were still broken up. What was he thinking? Did he want to get back together or try to work things out? I could not help but become a little bit more than hopeful because, despite the fact that I had broken things off months ago, I still loved him.

We were being cute and cuddly when I noticed something on his neck, coming up out of the collar of his shirt. It was a big hickey. I asked him about it and he tried to play it off as if it was nothing but the jig was up. I couldn't blame him for moving on with his life, but I could certainly blame him for being a classless, tacky bastard who plays around with the heart of his ex-girlfriend while full-well knowing that he had been with another girl the previous night. Which is what he told me had happened. (Minus fifty points, you dumb-ass jerk!) Couldn't he have waited to ask me to hang out after the hickey disappeared?

I couldn't stay any longer. I grabbed my bag and wished him well but said it was probably best if we didn't try to be friends. He walked me to the bus stop and said he would wait with me, that he wanted to wait with me, even though I told him he could go. All I wanted to do was break down and bawl my eyes out but I couldn't become a wreck in front of him, so I tried to brave it out. He held me, kissed me, and wiped away the occasional tear on my chin as we stood under the bus stop awning. The bus came and I got on. He waved to me from outside the bus and blew me a kiss one more time and that was the last I saw of him.

For the next few days, I was a complete mess, confused, depressed, distracted at work, and crying my eyes out every moment that I was alone. What I couldn't figure out was - why? Why was I so upset and hurt when I knew in my heart of hearts that we were not right for each other?

The revelation came to me two weeks later, after many journal entries and a late night chat with a Facebook friend (not "Jim" the therapist, that would've been funny). During the course of that conversation, I said something that resonated within me. I was offering some pithy words of wisdom and said "when you love someone, you accept them for who they are, despite their flaws". (Plus a point to me for knowing the word pithy. I rock.)

I had accepted my ex's flaws but he could not, or would not, accept my flaws and this lack of acceptance is what eventually broke my heart. I was not upset about losing him. I was upset because I had lost something I believed in. I believe that someday someone will love me despite my flaws, that someone will love me because of my flaws. My ex had taken that hope, that belief, away from me, he made me feel like I was unworthy, unwanted - unloved. Oh, there's no denying that my ex still loved me, but not enough. Not enough.

When I listened to my own advice, I realized that those feelings of being lesser would well up inside me every time I saw my ex. I did not want to feel like less, I wanted to feel like more, so I cut off all avenues of communication. My ex called me again and I tried to impress upon him the fact that he had hurt me and that he was being selfish by trying to remain friends. I don't think he quite understood what I meant, but he may, in due time. He does understand that I don't want him to call anymore, that I won't answer his calls, e-mails, or texts.

Someday when I'm with the right person, I may feel magnanimous enough to try and be friends again. But then again, when that does happen I might be feeling so loved and fulfilled that the thought of my ex may not even cross my mind.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

30 Second Pause

I heard back from a guy who asked me out weeks ago at a karaoke bar. He sent me a message saying he had met someone else, which is why we couldn't go out on our first date.

Huh? What?

Dude, I am not crying in my cornflakes over a date that never happened. I appreciated the follow-up and he was a nice guy for giving me the 4-1-1 but this is New York. Sometimes people don't call back. Hike your pants up, and calm the hell down.

However, I couldn't get over the nagging feeling that perhaps he had seen my blog through a mutual friend. He mentioned the word "multi-tasking", ie. dating more than one person at a time, and suggested that I might not be too hurt about the non-date as I might be too busy. (I'm not hurt. Duh. We never went out, duh!) If he had seen my blog and decided not to go on a date for that reason alone, that's fine. No skin off my back.

I also got a text from the "Big Fat Liar", who asked what went wrong. I didn't have the heart to hurt his feelings and tell him that he was a weirdo, so I told him I wasn't looking for a relationship. He was nice and polite and that was the end of that.

After these past few weeks of dating, my biggest let-down was that I hadn't heard back from "Pete". We had two good dates, had texted a few times more, but couldn't meet up because of work or other commitments, and silence. No more phone calls, no more e-mails, no more texts. I couldn't call him, otherwise I'd risk looking like a chump, (I am adverse to anything that makes me look like a chump) and well, if he wasn't calling me back then perhaps he wasn't good enough to make the cut anyway. He certainly had enough time to give me another call.

It's back to square one all over again.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Date Number Six: Therapy, anyone?

I'm way behind on writing, mostly because I've been busy dating, living, working, but also because I've been going through various emotional states. I've been depressed, then happy, then depressed again on this ka-razy roller coaster ride that is called dating in the big apple.

There's a whole barrelful of monkeys that I could say about "Jim" the therapist, but in the interest of keeping things short I'll say that he was a jerk and a half at the end, and I'm oh so glad our short spate of dating ended without too many hard feelings on either side. Still, I've been known to hold a grudge.

I met "Jim" online, again via Craigslist (damn, don't I ever learn?!?), after he responded to my original ad looking for some lovin', ie. a date. "Jim" and I talked, e-mailed, chatted, and became Facebook friends before we even met for the first time. He was nice, funny, and reliable (plus a point for calling when you say you're going to call). He was cute enough I suppose, though we had only seen photos of each other. We finally had a chance to meet one night and "Jim" wanted to grab some food so we met for dinner at Coppola's, an Italian restaurant in the Gramercy Park/Kips Bay area. We hit it off over dinner and afterward we crossed the street and went to Rodeo Bar for drinks. There was some band from Texas playing hoe-down music and I wanted to shake my thang, southern-style. "Jim" said he was a horrible dancer but a little coaxing finally got him off his rump and boogie-ing with me until I was laughing hysterically, because he was right. He was a horrible dancer. I am ethnic, after all, so I was forced to deduct two points for his godawful white-boy rhythm (but add three points for him being cool about it).

Suffice it to say that Jim and I seemed to like each other enough, and during the week he texted me more than I was used to and kept in contact often. It got a bit annoying when he would, say, text at midnight on a work day, but I appreciated his efforts at keeping in touch. (Minus half a point for giving off the creepy stalker vibe.) Still, he didn't seem like a psycho-killer or like a foot-licker (ewww... foot fetishes are gross) so when he invited me over to his place to watch Family Guy and order take-out, I happily agreed.

I got there and pawed through his pad, through his stuff looking for signs of an ex-girlfriend, or serial killer-rapist objects like ropes or knives, and told him I was doing so, which he laughed at. When I figured out that "Jim" was just a normal dude, I settled down some and so, we watched TV, flirted, ate take-out, and just chilled. Things got a bit hot and heavy there for a bit, it was all good in the hood as we kept it PG-13, and when I walked to the train, I thought things over. "Jim" was nice but I wasn't quite convinced that he was for me. He had a Masters degree, but he could be a bit spacey. He was a former drug user (shudder) but didn't do any drugs now. He was once married and was now divorced. He was a Christian but not a zealot. I felt that while he wasn't perfect, there were some good vibes going on, and it seemed like neither of us was ready to jump into a relationship. All in all, things were looking up.

Then the miscommunication happened that ruined everything, but saved me from dating a guy who would have been all wrong for me in the long run.

"Jim" and I were supposed to meet on Saturday to hang out but I was busy at home, cleaning, doing errands, and trying to get my life back together, since it felt like I was coming apart at the seams. When we spoke earlier in the day, I left things tenuous, meaning I would call him if I was free that night and we would chill. I thought I had conveyed that to "Jim" but he seemed to think that we had concrete plans, which we didn't. We hadn't set up a time, place, or activity, so I thought that it was understood that if we both felt like going out, that we would do so. That is to say, going out that night was not a "given". I decided not to go out with him that night and when he didn't call me back to follow-up, I figured he didn't want to meet up after all.

In my Saturday night loneliness and boredom, I posted another anonymous ad on Craigslist, thinking that I hadn't really met the kind of guy I was looking for the first time around. I was filtering through my replies, when lo and behold, there was an e-mail from "Jim". He had replied to my second ad, not knowing that I had posted again or that the ad could have possibly been written by the same person! WTF??? Seriously, dude, I have to minus like ten points for that kind of tomfoolery.

I was shocked and surprised that he was still trolling around on Craigslist looking for chicks. Um... granted that's exactly what I was doing (minus the chick part), but geez-louise, come on now. I am conducting an imperfect experiment in dating and love, which may or may not require a vigorous search for a date on Craigslist. He...well, he was just being a player. This was a really odd coincidence. How could he have responded to another ad of mine? I couldn't shut off the thoughts that started running through my head. Maybe he dated a lot of girls at once. Maybe he was always looking for girls on Craigslist and responded to all of the ads. Maybe he was looking for another girl because I wouldn't give him some nookie. Maybe I wasn't the kind of girl he was looking for either.

I felt like I couldn't be a hypocrite and judge him for continuing to "check out the market" but then he became a little psycho-scary and the whole thing exploded right there and then. When "Jim" texted me and asked me what happened to our date, I texted him back saying that I didn't think we had concrete plans. I had tried to contact him via Facebook to let him know I didn't want to go out. I did tell him that I was sorry (I'm not a jerk, after all) and that it was due to a lack of communication on my part, but he wouldn't let it go. He kept harping on it and harping on it, and making me feel like an ass. Granted, I deserved some flack, but not a boatload of it. When "Jim" started being really abusive, that's when I stopped answering his texts. No reply. Delete.

The next day we talked for a bit and tried to go over what happened. Neither of us wanted to be cruel (we had swapped spit after all), so I apologized profusely for being a flake and he apologized profusely for being mean. He did admit that he had been drinking a lot, by himself that night, which is why he was such a jerk. (Minus a point.) Nobody likes a mean drunk. We talked about possibly getting together again in a non-committal way, but really both of us were just looking for an out. He mentioned his religion and how he really wanted to focus on that and didn't want to get involved with anyone. I told him I had a vile, incurable disease that made it difficult for me to have a relationship with anyone ever. We both agreed to let things go and we're still Facebook friends but we don't talk anymore. Scratch that - I'm defriending him. No reply. Delete.

I think I've learned my lesson. Next time, I'll call a person to let him or her know I won't show up, even if it's a tenuous meet-up. Oh, and I'm also going to stop trolling for dates on Craigslist.