Cynicism and A Wounded Man

So, my last two-month long mini “relationship” has come to an end. This one started with very high hopes and a lot of excitement. It’s ended with me feeling tired, a bit cynical and sad. Not heartbroken by any means, but battle-weary when it comes to dating. This is the closest I’ve felt to something that might turn into a real relationship in quite awhile, so I had hopes that I was off the market.

It was not to be.

It started so fantastically: Smart, sensitive, perceptive, funny guy I had a lot in common with. Our first date went from dinner, to movie, to drinks. Seven hours and it didn’t feel like enough at the end of the evening. We had similar life views. We liked the same movies and books. He said things that awed me with their perception and honesty. Within two and a half weeks we saw each other seven times, which is unprecedented for me. He asked me to be exclusive before three weeks was up and I felt nervous. Despite really, really liking him, I’ve learned to be cautious. He seemed ready to throw caution to the wind and jump headlong into a relationship. I wasn’t at the same place. There was something that kept tickling the back of my mind, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on.

As things progressed, he continued to push for more of a relationship. It felt good having someone to talk to at the end of the day, hold hands with as we walked, cuddle with at the end of the date. I let myself dream, but I didn’t completely let down my guard. He sent me a message saying “What do I do if I’m falling for you?” My reply? “Keep being who you are and be patient with me.” We’d discussed that I’d been hurt before and that I just needed things to unfold slowly so I could start to relax into the relationship.

Then comes the night where I was finally able to identify what had been triggering my warning systems. While trying, unsuccessfully, to be intimate, he breaks down on me. As I wipe away his tears and listen to him talk about not having felt as though he deserved love for years, I realized what the problem was. Despite being a smart, charming, successful guy who I had chosen to be with over all others, that’s not who he saw when he looked in the mirror. He’d developed a significant weight problem he was still battling. He’d been a geek growing up and the specter of that geeky kid that was bullied and mocked still haunted him. He had very little relationship experience and had only chosen to date within the last few months. Inside this perceptive, awesome man there lived a fat, geeky boy who hadn’t quite grown up and realized his potential. I felt heartbroken for him as I tried to comfort him, but also disturbed at the level of emotion over the situation. I also realized this wasn’t a single occurrence of performance issues; this was a deep issue that he needed to work through.

As I’m lying there, naked, all thoughts of sex completely squelched, he tells me he might need to make a career change that would relocate him out of state.

What. The. Fuck.

This is the man who has pursued me, hard, for two months. Who has talked about the strong possibility he sees of a future between us and how lucky he feels to have me in his life. Within a span of 30 minutes, the walls I’d started to let down slowly were rebuilt higher than before. I told him that if he planned to relocate, that changed things for me significantly and I would need to think things over. Leaving his house I felt exhausted emotionally.

I didn’t hear from him for four days. We’d planned to spend a day and night together over the holidays, watching movies, drinking wine, making love and just being together. I now felt sick at that prospect, because I knew that for me, it was over. I didn’t want to break up with him right before Christmas, but nor could I spend 24 hours with him while these things rolled around in my head.  I contacted him the day before we were supposed to get together to talk and let him  know I thought we should postpone. When I questioned why he hadn’t gotten in touch, he said he didn’t know what to say. Another strike: Disappearing acts leave me cold. We agreed to get together when the holidays were over and talk and exchange our Christmas gifts. He apologizes for not communicating and promises he won’t do it again.

We exchange a few texts over the next few days. Then…silence. At this point, I’m just tired of being in limbo. I want someone who knows who they are and what they want out of life and that clearly isn’t him. I want someone who doesn’t run from bumps in a relationship and who can talk about the hard stuff. While I think he has potential with this, he’s got a lot of work to do, as evidenced by his silence. It stretches out for a week and I let it.

Then comes the email. It was pretty formulaic: I might move, I’ve got work I need to do on myself, you’re a great woman, I’d like to be friends, we probably shouldn’t date anymore…yada, yada, yada. I felt relief, sadness and annoyance. Relief that I didn’t have to say it, sadness at the potential lost and knowing I’d have to get back in the dating pool and annoyance that he couldn’t even step up enough to tell me face-to-face. I didn’t answer the email, but I did sit down and immediately write him a letter.I mailed it yesterday, along with his already wrapped Christmas gift and the books he’d loaned me.

Since then he’s “liked” my posts on Facebook, then defriended me. I reactivated my dating profile and apparently he did as well, because he viewed my profile.So much for him waiting to do some more psychological healing before dating. So much for being friends.

It never fails to amaze me how quickly things can change, how erratically people can behave when it comes to dating and how much people can mislead themselves and others in their pursuit of love.

So, another one bites the dust and I’m back to dating. In fact, I have a date for tonight, less than 24 hours after I’m officially single. Hope springs eternal, right? Trying to not get jaded and cynical to the point where I can’t allow myself to be vulnerable with someone, but experiences like this make it challenging.

To the wounded men of the world: May you heal, may you find peace and may you stay far, far away from me.

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