A few months ago I sat down and wrote out what I thought was a very thorough –but concise- single spaced, 7 page description of the “relationship” I had with Mr X. I did this in an attempt to overcome the pain and the hurt and the disappointment. I just wanted to be real with myself. I wanted to see the “relationship” through the eyes of those around me. That is, as a series of events that, when strung together, did not paint a pretty picture, much less a “happy ever after”.
What I wrote shocked me. I had berated myself for allowing this man to waltz in and out whenever he pleased, to break my heart a number of times, seemingly without consequence. I had belittled myself and allowed my very matter-of-fact, logical brain to issue its stream of “I told you so”’s for months and months. When I was finished writing my dossier on the Mr X Situation, and read back over it and what I discovered was on average, that man shattered my heart and my confidence about once a month, in a very clear and repetitive cycle.
It all started with an “I love you”, which I blurted out, quite unintentionally, and inappropriately and horrifyingly, sober one cool April evening in 2008 after emerging from my bed after a far-too-late-in-the-evening phonecall to rescue him from a long, drunken walk home, whilst still in my pj’s. After that, the cycle was set in motion and it went something like this:
Something would happen, i.e. he would have a bad day, get some bad news, or we would be out having a drink with friends together, or he’d find himself at a loose end. He’d call or we’d share a cab home together and we’d end up er…together…then he would ignore/avoid me for a couple of weeks, I would then hound him to find out what was wrong, he would pretend he was busy, or if it was later in the relationship, he would become exasperated and just say straight out “look, I don’t love you”, I would (obviously) get upset and then proceed to give him the “space” he so bluntly requested, and then at about week 4 I would get a phonecall from him, “just to say hi” or to see how I was because he “hadn’t heard from me in a while”, I would shove all of the obvious snide retorts to the back of my throat, swallow them, and we would continue a discussion as friends, as though nothing had happened. Then after a week or two the above cycle would start all over again.
It was about a 6 week rotation, give or take.
I had forgotten I had written out this saga out up until a couple of weeks ago. What (or more accurately who) reminded me was The Crush… and my friend N and her very current and similar experience with her version of Mr X.
Let me begin by saying, The Crush, is…well, he’s a complex man, with complex issues but an impressively positive attitude to just about everything.
And it’s contagious.
If I had to sum him up for you in one sentence I would say he is the highs of Mr X and M all rolled into one without the lows, without the disappointment, the fear of commitment and the ultimatums. He lets me be me and he expects the same in return, but generally he appears to be respectful of my feelings and he is, attentive. Ok, not quite one sentence but close enough.
He sounds like the ideal man, right? Well…I am enough of a realist now to know that there is no such thing. I live in the REAL world now, remember? Yes, there are some big issues to be addressed but after this past weekend, I fear that the issues may be more mine than his…
So, during a conversation with N recently, I had cause to recall a particular incident with Mr X. I’m not sure when it happened now (all of these events seem to merge into one), but I got a call from him one Saturday afternoon, and we decided he should come around as I was not doing anything and neither was he. We would spend the afternoon together, lovely!
He walks in the door, I get him a glass of water, and he grabs my hand and leads me to the bedroom. He starts to try and undress me and I stop him. Apart from the fact that its rude to rush me into the bedroom when we havent seen each other for a few weeks, I informed him it was “that time of the month” (which it was) and I wasnt up for a romp under the bedcovers.
He (and I promise I am not exaggerating…) sighs, retracts his arms from around me, gets up and walks out of the room. He then says he is going to get something to eat. At this point, desperate not to have him walk out the door so soon, especially not to have him walk out annoyed with me (how dare I say “no”!) I – [cringe]- invite myself along.
Being the gentleman that he was ‘not’, he neither agreed nor disagreed, and so we head down the street for sushi.
We buy sushi, and drive another 200m to the beach to eat.
Then he drops me home.
You guessed it, in silence.
I later get a txt saying sorry he was not talkative- he was hungover.
So….he felt too poorly to speak, but sex would have been A-OK!
Now that I have admitted my humiliating scenario to you all, I now come to the point of telling you why I am suddenly feeling the need to regurgitate Mr X scenarios.
The reason is, last Friday.
The Crush and I had plans to see each other this weekend, we were both admittedly missing each other a lot after not having seen each other for 2 weeks. Only on Friday, I woke up to a familiar bloated, heavy, crampy feeling. Which was ok, but a little earlier than expected and would also mean I would be unavailable for any more “intimate” intentions this weekend. He arrived an hour late to take me to brunch, and then a couple of hours later inevitably, I had to turn his hand(s) away. But he didn’t get shirty and walk out of the room, we just stayed there, and he wrapped his arms around me and we snoozed and chatted for half an hour before I had to get up to go to an appointment.
He told me he would be back in a few hours.
A few hours passed, and a couple more and I found myself, in between chores, checking my phone more often than I would like to admit. Finally, at 6:47pm I caved, and sent him a message enquiring what time would be seeing him that evening and whether I should book a table for the restaurant we had planned attending.
The delayed response did not bode well, but sure enough, 20 minutes later I received a message that his friend had invited him to go crabbing at 5:30am in the morning and it probably wasn’t such a good idea that he come visit me. He’d call me in the morning.
I was left feeling disappointed, angry and wondering if this was really an innocent last minute engagement, or if it was more to do with the fact that he knew if he came around, we wouldn’t be playing around.
And then, rather than being angry with him, I got angry with myself, up until now, this man has done nothing to suggest that he would be that callous. In fact whenever he has done anything that even remotely resembled a Mr X moment, he has always surprised me in the best way possible, and reminds me, that he does not fit into the Mr X mould.
So, do I have something to worry about? Or is this just me projecting my fears and insecurities from past disasters, onto the present circumstances?
I don’t want to be the crazy baggage lady. But I don’t want to be Shattered Serene for another 3 years, either. When I met The Crush, I was finally starting to feel happy. I was still dealing with the emotional remants from my interactions with Mr X and M, but I was getting through it and I was getting my confidence back. I wasn’t looking for a relationship, I was taking time out to enjoy my freedom.
What has scared me is that on Friday my confidence was swept away so quickly, as though it was never there in the first place. That indeed, is a frightening prospect given it had taken me many, many months to build.
I’m not asking for a proposal, but what I do need is a commitment to prove to me that I am, at the very least, a priority, and I’m not sure I’ve seen that yet.
After talking about my issues from Friday with The Crush last night, he was surprised by the fact that I considered him to be quite so shallow. He was feeling concerned that we shouldn’t let our friendships fall by the wayside, and whilst I agree with him, I dont think that is justification for shoving me aside when his friends suggest a fun outing. He seemed to understand and was apologetic, and I felt guilty for having assumed the worst of him.
This man is amazing, wonderful. But I fear that R may be right, and he may indeed also be dangerous.
And so it is, that I proceed with a positive attitude, coupled with a healthy dose of caution.