The L Deal

I met L in very early spring of last year. I was browsing the personals, primarily for amusement. He had an ad posted for someone to keep him from being bored at work. It was the first time I had ever answered, yet his post seemed fairly non-threatening. We began to exchange clever, witty emails back and forth the entire day. By that evening, he sent me a picture. I was unprepared to have him be cute! The next day the emails continued, except he chose to up the ante by inviting me to have a drink. I readily accepted. I hadn’t been this excited to meet someone in quite awhile.

We met at a local restaurant. I thought he was quietly attractive and maybe just a tad bit socially awkward. He later professed that he thought I was “beautiful”. We had great conversation that was incredibly flirty. At the end of the date, he walked me to my car. Once there, he put his fingers on his lips to silence me, then proceeded to tell me that this was the best first date he’d ever been on.He kissed me on the cheek;  I left, smiling and incredibly interested.

The next date was fantastic as well. A lame movie, great conversation and a goodnight kiss at the end of it. By the third date, he told me that he didn’t intend to see anyone else. And I…still healing, still somewhat hurting from my last relationship, felt over the moon. I immediately canceled my online dating subscription and canceled future dates that I had planned.

The first two months were incredible. They were fun and romantic and flirty and sexual. There were things that surfaced that, frankly, concerned me. Still, everyone has flaws, right? An issue with an ex-lover that he was still hanging out with, some obvious differences in values, some intimacy issue. Overall, everything was very good. Then we hit the third month. Suddenly, the romantic and sweet man that I had believed myself to be dating seemed to be changing. Often withdrawn and non-communicative, then suddenly argumentative and aggressive, I never knew which man I would be spending the evening with. Would it be the man who brought me tulips on our fourth date and cooked me spaghetti? The man who put his arm across me protectively when he had to hit is brakes in the car? The man who touched me so tenderly and held me all night long afterwards? Or would it be the man who seemed to get angry over the smallest things, refused to communicate without anger and seemed to be able to shut me out so easily? Would it be the man who could come off as elitist about the strangest things and talked down to me like I was a child? I began to feel like I was dating Jekyl and Hyde, never knowing who would show up. I felt like I was walking on clouds the first two months, because I was convinced that he was “the one”. The final month, I felt like I was walking on eggshells because I never knew what I would say or do that would bring out the withdrawn, surly, uncommunicative man that I was seeing emerge more and more.

I started to dread our last few dates. So I did what I felt I had to do: I ended the relationship. He asked if we could still be friends and I expressed doubts, but said that I would see. We ended things on a Friday, then decided to go out as “friends” the following Wednesday. It went so well that he left my house Thursday morning. Clearly, the relationship wasn’t done.

Since then, we’ve been through several stages of friends, lovers and a combination of the two. It ended in tears and fury a couple of times. A period of three weeks went by when I vowed that I was done with him forever. Then he messaged me, I messaged him…suddenly things were on again.

However, L had decided that his true path for this stage in his life was to be single (although, of course, single certainly didn’t mean celibate!). So he let me know, whenever we started to get too “intimate”, that he was not available for a committed relationship. It’s just not what he wanted. I grew more confused as time went on. I knew that I had fallen in love with him, yet also knew that we really weren’t suited. Yet the thought of giving up the relationship was too much. So I tried to fit my needs around his needs. I tried to be open. Several times when he thought I was being too clingy, he would say that perhaps we shoudn’t see each other anymore, because he didn’t think I could handle it. Well…I’ll show him, I would think. Of course I can handle it. You don’t want to be committed to me? Fine…I’m not looking to get married. You want to see other women? No problem. I can handle lack of monogamy as long as you show me you care about me.

Of course, he would ignore texts and emails from me if he was either seeking out other women or with other women. He would make small comments here and there that cut through me like a knife, that were almost nonchalantly cruel. I sometimes almost felt like he was trying to send me a subtle message that I wasn’t important to him at all. Just as my hurt grew and I would begin to be ready to completely walk away, he would do an about face. Suddenly he would be insightful and romantic and caring. He would spend the night and hold me until morning. The emotional reinforcement would be just enough to make me determined to make it work. Somehow.

Then, suddenly and without warning, he decides he doesn’t want to be intimate anymore. No explanation other than “it’s just what I need right now.” That lasts for a few weeks. He finally tells me that he had been seeing someone who demanded that he be sexually monogamous, so he didn’t feel it was “fair” to me or to her for him to be sleeping with both of us. In my love blindness, I even manage to tell myself that he is trying to be considerate to me, never considering that he threw me over for some random chick he was dating and didn’t even necessarily plan to stay with.

Somehow we get past it. I go to his annual Christmas party and meet his friends; he is tender and protective of me and I spend the night. Intimacy is re-established. Christmas comes and we have a wonderful night together. He buys me an incredibly thoughtful and touching gift and spends the night again. Then the cycle starts over. I text him for a movie, he’s busy. I ask if he wants to go out later in the week and I get no response. I ask him later if he was on a date. I’m told he is pleading the fifth. So I simply say that even if he is on a date, it would be nice if he would respond briefly so that I don’t feel he is completely ignoring me. His reply: Perhaps the date didn’t end until morning. At this point I quietly make the decision to myself that I am done sleeping with him. I will no longer be physically or emotionally compromised. Still, he had been my friend and my lover for nine months. I’m still naively thinking we can salvage some friendship out of this.

Then he has a significant personal event in his life. I send him texts and call him, to offer support. He mentions that he would like to get a drink later in the week. I tell him my week is full, but that I would like that. When I have an evening unexpectedly free, I text him to see if he is busy. “I could maybe do dinner.” I respond to let him know if he is too busy that it can wait. Zero response…

I realize that something has to change. I have allowed myself to become the toy on the shelf, that L takes down at his whim. I am the supportive and caring lover who is there inbetween the dating and the fuck buddies. Despite his assertions of caring for me (as well as the actions that sometimes lead me to believe he does), he has stopped consistently treating me with courtesy and respect. I feel sick to my stomach with not knowing what to do. I can’t possibly continue, yet I don’t want to burn the bridge. I keep waiting for him to give me a sign that he is not someone that I need to remove from my life in order to be healthy.

Today, after some words exchanged after days of not hearing from him, he lets me know that he is seeing someone. She is “jealous” of me and doesn’t believe that we could truly just be going out as friends. I ask if they are exclusive (a status he claims to be avoiding) and he says he doesn’t really know. On top of all the angst that has filled me about L for months now, several things occur to me very vividly. 1.) The woman he is seeing absolutely has every reason to be jealous, because L and I are not, nor have ever been, simply friends. He is more than likely saying what needs to be said in order to appease her, even if it is not quite the truth. In fact, it sounds vaguely familiar; I recall having similiar fears about an ex-lover that he was “just friends” with early on. 2.) There is no possible way that L can be completely honest with me or any of the other women he’s involved with. He doesn’t have a clue what the hell he wants or is doing in life. Life is one big frat party, with plenty of beer and plenty of women who will say “yes”. Why worry about consequences to people emotionally? Afterall…he isn’t promising forever! Of course, I feel 100% certain he isn’t disclosing that on the first date. 3.) This latest disclosure left me with zero trust in him. It had been building for months, but this was the final straw. I felt lied to about what he wanted and what he was willing to give. I had no illusions that this woman would be “the one” for him and he would stay with her. I simply knew that he was willing to tell me he needed “space”, so that he could continue to see/sleep with her for as long as he desired. I also knew that once it ended with her, he’d be more than happy to hang out with/sleep with me again…until the next woman came along.

I realized that I was done. Done being the person who did most of the communicating and the person making most of the effort. I was done being treated like a valued friend and lover one night, then an inconvenient toy that he ignored so that it didn’t threaten his “game” the next. I was done with the knot in my stomach from never knowing what he wanted me to be from one moment to another, the constant back and forth, wishy-washy games. So I ended things and told him not to email me. This time, there will be no going back.

Once, it became somewhat of a joke between us about a male friend of mine, who upon my describing the situation that I had with L, let me know that he would be open to the same deal. I said, “Yeah, he let me know that he wanted the deal that you have”. He replied with a laugh, “Did you tell him it’s called The “L” Deal for a reason?”

Of course, I realized that it truly was the “L” Deal for a reason. I was allowing my wants and needs to be compromised and mainly unmet, to hold onto a man that I had fallen in love with. I offered myself heart, mind and body and was met with someone who could barely be bothered to treat me with consistent courtesy and caring. I allowed a man who is stumbling along blindly through life, trampling on other people’s feelings, to trample all over mine just so I wouldn’t have to say goodbye. There won’t be any more “L’ Deals. I deserve better and I will wait for better.

I say “I allowed” because I hold myself accountable. I’m angry with him and I’m so deeply hurt, but I am a grown woman and I stayed, when I should have bowed out long ago. He’s not a bad man, simply thoughtless and selfish right now. Maybe one day he’ll grow out of it and maybe he won’t. It’s not my problem anymore. In a few days…weeks…months, this knot in my stomach and pain in my heart will fade completely. Perhaps then it will simply be bittersweet and I can remember the good times, of which there were many.

I despise burning bridges…but I don’t know any other way; I need to heal. I will miss my lover. I will miss my friend. Yet I’ve learned in all of this that I have to love myself at least as much as I love other people. I can never allow myself to settle for the “L” Deal again. Thus, a 10 month, fiery and tempestuous relationship comes to a close.

I think I’ll close with some song lyrics that I found today, by a pop artist that I am fairly unfamiliar with. Still, something clicked inside me today when I heard the song.

“Hot and Cold” ~ Katy Perry

You change your mind/like a girl changes clothes

Yeah, you PMS/Like a bitch, I would know

And you overthink/Always speak, cryptically

I should know/that you’re no good for me

Cause you’re hot then you’re cold

 You’re yes then you’re no

You’re in and you’re out

You’re up and you’re down

You’re wrong when it’s right

 It’s black and it’s white

 We fight, we break up

 We kiss, we make up

 You! You don’t really want to stay, no

You! But you don’t really want to go-oh

You’re hot then you’re cold

You’re yes then you’re no

You’re in and you’re out

 You’re up and you’re down

 We used to be/ Just like twins, So in sync

 The same energy/ Now’s a dead battery

 Used to laugh/ Bout nothing

 Now your plain /Boring

 I should know/you’re not gonna change 

 Cause you’re hot then you’re cold

 You’re yes then you’re no

 You’re in and you’re out

You’re up and you’re down

You’re wrong when it’s right

 It’s black and it’s white

We fight, we break up

We kiss, we make up

You! You don’t really want to stay, no

You! But you don’t really want to go

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2 Responses to “The L Deal”

  1. I swear, we tend to have very similar situations! It took me YEARS to get over someone. He and I are now just friends, and in a really good place.

    I am so glad you have seen the light and ended it. You are worthy of respect, love, commitment, and an honorable man. Don’t settle for anything less Soccer Mom!

  2. Thank you! It’s better to have the grief now, with a possibility of healing, rather than an open door and a constant knot of hurt, anger and anxiety always in my stomach.

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