I opened my email Tuesday morning and saw a very familiar name. Someone I'd deleted a while ago, but still, very familiar.
The message was simple. "Hi, just checking in. How are you, beautiful?"
I wrote back to say great to hear from you, and actually, I'm engaged. I got a very nice, congratulatory response back. With the admission that he is more than a little jealous.
I haven't yet replied.
What do say to him, really? That back then I really liked him, but lately I've thanked god 87 times over that he didn't actually want to be in a relationship with me?
I met him late in 2006. This guy was one of very few that I have liked so much, so fast. He got me intensely, he sparkled me, and soon after we started dating, I was well on my way to being completely crazy about him.
I would've been all the way crazy about him, but for one conversation. The one in which I wanted to know if he was dating other people. The very same one in which he said, in fact, he was, and actually, that's just how it is, until he is absolutely, completely sure.
In other words, I like you, but not enough not to leave open the option to fuck whoever I want.
To which I said, in a nutshell, "I really, really like you, and this makes me so sad. I don't regret getting to know you for a moment. And I wish you well in the world."
I'd like to say that was the end of that.
Physically, it was. But emotionally? Not so much.
He texted a month or so later to say he missed me terribly. I ignored it. He called. I ignored it. He called again.
I thought that maybe he'd had an epiphany. He liked me! He wanted to be with just me! Not so much. We went out, and he was coy, and I offered nothing.
I knew him, through his lens anyway. The women who told him he was inferior were the ones he worked so hard for. His ex-wife? Told him she was settling for him. And he married her anyway.
I get why he did this this. I mean, I get it now. Hindsight is so fucking fantastic.
You're raised in an abusive enough household, you don't think so much of yourself. No matter how attractive or smart you are, no matter how much you've accomplished. And so the people who make you feel worthless, they're the ones you have to prove yourself to. The ones who think you're great? Are clearly losers. Because otherwise they wouldn't like you so much.
I can't work like that. I realized that the harder I was for him, the more elusive, the more intrigued he was. But if I think you're amazing, and gorgeous, and smart and funny, I'm going to tell you so. I'm not going to make you work so you think I'm worthwhile. I'm just not.
We spent the next four months in an odd little dance, of me offering nothing, not to get him to like me, but rather because I just didn't want to put anything in, and him offering just enough to keep me interested.
The problem was, I'd really have a good time when we went out. We'd laugh and talk about anything and everything, and our chemistry was so fun. Except for the fact that I really had to work not to let things get physical again. Because I was not going to be back where I was when it ended.
And shockingly, even though my assumption was he just wanted to sleep with me, and I kept not sleeping with him, he kept asking me out. I liked him, and I liked how he made me feel in the moment. It was all the other moments when I had no idea if I'd hear from him again that didn't feel so great.
The last time I saw him he took me to a baseball game. And then I stopped hearing from him entirely. I have occasionally wondered if my lack of baseball understanding was the reason, but if someone's going to love you, they'll love you no matter what.
And he? Is not the Dementor. Or the across the street ex-boyfriend. See how much romantic ass much of last year sucked?
You know, I read his first little "check in and keep options open" email - because let's be honest, that's what it was, and I felt this amazing sense of oh thank goodness. What if he'd been willing to commit back then? Would I still be involved with someone who thought less of me for thinking he was great? Would I have missed the chance to have rainbows and puppy breath and unicorns and Stargazer lilies and chocolate cupcakes and pixie dust all rolled into one amazing guy?
It's scary to think about.
Thank goodness, thank the universe, for closing that door in time to open the best one ever.
I'm just going to "best wishes" you every day, if that's okay by you. :o)ReplyDelete
And. If I didn't know that we didn't have romantic overlap, I'd swear we did. Now, if only I could handle these things as well as you... :o)
Great post. It is amazing how the universe works. I think you get what you always wanted when you're finally ready for it. When I met J on a surf trip to Costa Rica, I was actually dating someone else. Or more accurately, re-dating someone I had dated about a year before. I went back to him because I was bored and was willing to date him even though he didn't really wow me as much as I would have liked. And then I met J, who was nothing like the type of guy I thought I'd end up marrying, and that was that.ReplyDelete
Anyway, I'm so happy for you that you're happy and with someone worthy.
What is this, "A-hole Ex Come Out Of The Woodwork" month?! I can't believe we both just had contact from these oh-so-perfect timing men.ReplyDelete
I'm so glad that the right door was opened for you. :)
It's funny how at least one of these always seems to pop up right after you've committed to the right one. I had a guy that I was over the moon for show up right after I got engaged. He had just broken up with his girlfriend and I could see his face fall when i told him that I was engaged. He was sweet and wished me well. But, oh, what a way to pull at the heart.ReplyDelete
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You have just, without intent to do so, given me yet another reason to live. Much love to you, Cupcake. Boy, did I need that one today.ReplyDelete
Dag - I love you, I really do! As for handling them well, not so much. I spent an inordinate amount of time crying last year.ReplyDelete
Wendy - "I think you get what you always wanted when you're finally ready for it." - That's a perfect way to put it! And look how happy you guys are!
Almost - Yah! He wasn't as significant as yours, and he didn't chew up my heart and floss it out in little tiny pieces in the way your a-hole ex did, but it is crazy timing!
Amisare - Yes, what a way to pull at the heart. It is a weird thing, and not that uncommon. Is it a sixth sense?
Kerrie - Big hug to you, sweetie. Much love to you, too.
I think I remember when you wrote about this guy ages ago. Mr. Keep His Options Open.ReplyDelete
It's like getting a good look into my own situation.
I'm so glad you've found your Mr. Someone Special.
Yay universe! Except it was you who closed that door. Go you!ReplyDelete
It sounds like you've sorted things out just right. That makes me happy.
I'm a typical man, I suppose, in the sense that I don't like to talk too much about how I feel about stuff. So, this really isn't my terrain.
What caught my eye, however, was the baseball game. As a professional sports bettor who has wagered many many units of currency on major league baseball, I am about to give you a few back-of-the-envelope heuristic devices that will make you, ipso facto and QED, smarter about pro baseball than any man you'll ever meet.
1) When evaluating hitters, you're looking for two things first: the ability to get on base and the ability to hit home runs. More specifically, and this depends on the position of course, you'd like a hitter to average about 25+ home runs per 600 plate appearances and 80+ walks per 600 plate appearances. These two statistics reveal far more about ability than anything else. If the guy averages 80+ walks per 600 plate appearances and fewer than 80 strikeouts, and is young, you've got a superstar in the making.
2) When evaluating pitchers, look for the ratio of strikouts to walks. 2-to-1 is acceptable. 3-to-1 is really good. 4-to-1 is outstanding. 5-to-1 is Hall Of Fame caliber. You're also looking for starting pitchers who give up fewer than 22 home runs per 600 batters faced. And a pitcher who induces a lot of groundballs and has those attributes is a big star, QED.
3) The secret ingredient to great fielding is speed and quickness. Errors are irrelevant. They are just "plays not made." Fielding in the outfield is MUCH MORE IMPORTANT than fielding in the infield because infield "plays not made" whether errors of just balls missed cost a little less than one base on average, whereas "plays not made" in the outfield cost a little more than two bases on average.
Every man you know will disagree vehemently, but it makes intuitive sense when you think about it because outfielders have so much more ground to cover.
4) A fan cannot tell who's a good fielder and who's bad fielder from watching games because the most important step a fielder makes is the first one and that's the one all fans miss because they're watching the pitcher and the hitter.
There. You know more about pro baseball than 99.99% of American men.