Friendship, Feelings and a Fool

I have started this blog post 3 other times, but I can’t seem to find a way to come from the right place. I have written angry, I have written frustrated and I have written hurt and none of them seem to include much objectivity. I have had about 2 weeks (longer if you count the last several months of insecurity, uncertainty and frustration) to replay events over and over and wonder if I was wrong or acting irrationally or just being plain stupid or selfish. I always find a way to make things my fault no matter who is actually at fault or if the fault is shared. I think that as a woman, I have become very good at that.

So here is the thing, I did something a couple weeks ago that I have been second guessing like crazy. In previous blog posts I have touched on the subject matter and my own difficulty dealing with it.  So, being frustrated, disappointed, a little angry, and a lot hurt, I pulled the plug on a friendship. I didn’t want to, but I felt that I needed some distance and perspective and dealt with it the only way I could.

The friend in question is the former object of my affection. I say former, but I am truly full of shit.  Those feelings I have for him never really went away and I was trying to convince myself that they had. Therein lies the problem. Feelings.  When I first became friends with “M”, I just thought he was awesome–he is an artist and he has his shit together (mostly) and we had some things in common and he was so easy to talk to. He is also smart and funny and has some amazing wisdom and perspective I don’t always see in people.  All of those very attractive qualities in one package are rare, but then you add the fact that he is good looking as hell and compassionate. I guess it was inevitable for me, but not so much for him. He does not see me the same way I see him.

When it became apparent that my feelings had evolved, he very firmly put me in the friend zone. He had absolutely no interest in any kind of relationship with me and after seeing his “type” that he gushes over, I can see why. I am nowhere near looking or acting like them. (it seems I am not nearly vapid, duck-lipped, pretty or thin enough). That is beside the point, but whatever.  He did tell me that he valued my friendship and our conversations and didn’t want this new development to change our friendship.  That is what he said.  I wasn’t sure how to act or what to think at that point. I wanted to be friends and hoped it could be more, but if friendship was all I got, then I would just live with that and appreciate his presence in my life.  While things weren’t supposed to change, they did.

I began to notice that he never texted me unless I texted him first. That went on for a couple of months. On very rare occasions, maybe 2 or 3, he texted me first and one of those was him lecturing me on my word selection in a response to one of his posts on facebook.  I am beginning to wonder if this is just a guy thing or what, because I have noticed a few men do this. Well, maybe more than just a few.  I think they view friendships and their place in them differently than those of us on the female side of things. If we value someone or consider them to be in our small circle of friends, there is generally a reciprocal, give and take type of situation that occurs. Sometimes I start the conversation, sometimes you start the conversation, sometimes we hang out and there is no need for conversation. But in this case, that is not the way it was.

I began to feel like I wasn’t such a welcome presence in his life, like maybe he was just placating me with words until he could move on to something or someone else, much more important than me. The conversations were great and I thoroughly enjoyed them, which really didn’t help the feelings issue, but when someone takes 3 or 4 days to bother themselves to read your message, chances are, you aren’t really high on their list or anywhere inside that small circle of friends they keep close. My insecurities got the best of me and I let them decide my value.

I attempted to include him in my life by inviting him and his son to meet me and my boys in Twin Falls for lunch and a visit to Shoshone Falls and he told me he would get back to me closer to the weekend. He completely blew me off and never bothered to let me know that he wasn’t coming. This is another thing I think guys view differently or maybe he was married so long that it didn’t occur to him that a simple text to let me know he couldn’t come would have sufficed. The second time that happened it was kind of a test, I guess.  I wanted to think I was important enough for him to take 30 seconds out of his day to text me and let me know that he was or wasn’t going to join our other friend and me for drinks and once again—not a word.

I tried to imagine what he would say, what advice he would give, to one of the anonymous  posters on a divorce support page we both follow, if they were in the same position I am.  With all of his insight and wisdom, he would probably tell me something I wouldn’t like. Something that I feared was true–that he really wasn’t interested in being in my life despite the words he said. Time to move on, he would say. Find someone who values you. I had invested so much of myself into my friendship with him and I didn’t really want to give that up.

But I was tired of investing so much into a situation that was so one-sided. I felt like I was investing and he was pulling away. Just to see if what I suspected was true, I decided to stop texting. Twenty-three days went by and he didn’t even notice I was gone. Not a word. I know he is a very busy person. He has a LOT on his plate, but, 23 days? I did finally text him when my boys and I were in Seattle. Then I texted him a couple weeks later to invite him to go out with my friend “A” and I. That was the test. I wanted to know I mattered and if he would make some effort to be there or at least let me know he wouldn’t be able to make it. I got my answer.

That was the moment I decided I couldn’t do it anymore. I care about him so much, but I needed to care about me more. So I unfriended him on Facebook and stopped texting him. Things were great until I caught feelings and it seems he just couldn’t deal with a person like me having feelings for him. I feel like such a fool for so much. Why don’t things get easier as you get older? The insecurities of a plain, nerdy 16-year-old girl should go away by the time you are in your forties, but there they are glaring at me and beating me into submission. Men are so good at making that happen. They don’t even have to try.

After I unfriended him, he posted something on facebook about it (there were 3 of us that week) and knowing how much I care about him, it didn’t occur to him that something he did might have actually pushed me to make that choice. He went on to say how something like that would have mattered a couple years ago and he might have asked “what did I do?”, but that question didn’t even come into play this time. Perhaps it should have. He then said I didn’t value HIS friendship and dismissed the situation with nothing more than “meh”. Our friendship, our conversations, my feelings all came down to one single dismissive “meh”. The comment stream that followed was so self righteous and hurtful. What the hell happened?

I don’t know if what he said is really how he feels or felt or if what I did actually hurt him. If I hurt him, I certainly didn’t mean to. The last thing I would ever want to do  is hurt someone, especially someone I care about so much. What started out as a really cool friendship devolved into I don’t even know what, all because I was foolish enough to catch feelings. Feelings ruin everything. I thought that unfriending him would be better for me, but it does not seem so. It was a struggle to have feelings and be friends (for both of us it seems), especially when you look at how it changed after my feelings became apparent. It’s not any better now. I feel like I lost one of my best friends and I am heartbroken. I miss him and our conversations so much.  I told him everything, things I don’t tell just anyone. He told me things that most men don’t tell just anyone as well. Just a fool for thinking that mattered I guess. A fool in so many ways.

Now I am feeling a bit lost. And broken. And so hurt. How did feelings become such a bad thing. Feelings for another human are supposed to be a good thing. They are for most people, just not me it seems. That lobotomy I joke about looks better every day.  Not feeling anything would definitely be better than feeling so much. Too bad it isn’t really an option.

The Cesspool of Romance, Part 2

The more I date, the worse it gets. Although since the break up I haven’t dated at all. I haven’t wanted to. I am wondering if it is all worth it. I have also been wondering 1.what it is that I am doing wrong or 2. what is wrong with me that I am attracting less than ideal mates or 3. if I am the problem. Am I so broken, damaged and fucked up that I am chasing them away. Is my need for honesty, transparency, loyalty, intelligence and stability expecting too much? At any rate, now is a time for introspection and focus on myself and my kids. The following match types are just some of the reasons I am where I am. Alone and content with that.

The Liar–One of my biggest pet peeves is lying, whether it is outright lies or lies of omission. I cannot not stand liars. The dating pool has opened up a whole new supply of them. They lie about everything, from whether or not they have a facebook page to being on psychiatric medicine to being married or involved. They are always trying to pull one over on you. Then, they are shocked when you call them on it, offended you have a problem with it and then they run. Or they get pissed. More often than not, they run. God forbid they engage in anything remotely resembling the truth.

The Narcissist–He likes to make you think it is all about you. For a while. Then his true self comes out. He likes to spend money on you and then throw it in your face just how generous he is. Especially after you’ve had any sort of disagreement. They have a fragile self-esteem that is damaged and/ or challenged at the slightest criticism. They don’t like not being the single most important person in your life. They need, so badly, to feel important. Any challenge to that and you. are. toast. They are really good at being bad and cruel and then turning it on you, making you feel like it is your fault. I mean, like really your fault. You find yourself apologizing and when you do, they dig even harder, inflicting as much pain and guilt as possible.

The Player–This one is really good at making you feel like you are the world to him. He showers you with attention, affection and gifts. The only problem is, he is doing the exact same thing with other women. As much time, energy and money as he spends on you, it is almost unfathomable that there could be other women. But there are. And he has a long history with a lot of them. I went out with a guy that liked to brag that he was really well endowed and that a LOT of women really liked that. So many, in fact, that he lost count somewhere around 110 of them. Good thing it stayed platonic. He was carrying unwelcome passengers as a consolation prize for his efforts. No thanks.

Mr. Friends with Benefits–When I was on Plenty of Fish, I stated in my profile that I was in no way interested in a friends with benefits situation or a casual sex relationship. That did not stop the requests, flirtations and constant attempts to talk me into it. I am not sure why they were even interested since I never backed down from my stance. In my eyes, friends with benefits is simply benefits with a little friendly conversation tacked on. That would make me little more than a sperm receptacle and reduce me from an intelligent, flesh and blood woman with plethora of gifts, skills and opinions/ideas to a mere body part put on this planet for the pleasure of a man I don’t really know or care about. And one who certainly didn’t care for me. I will take being single over being someone’s ejaculate catcher any day.

Captain Clingy–This one can be frightening. And suffocating. I am pretty independent. I like my “me” time and being alone a fair amount of time. I enjoy being on my own and creating things, going to the movies and whatever else tickles my fancy. I don’t have to be in the presence of someone else to be happy or enjoy myself. Captain Clingy, on the other hand, needs to either be with you or know where you are. All the time. You must answer your phone when he calls or text him back within a certain amount of time.  No reason for not doing so is permitted because he goes apeshit and gets nasty with you, assuming that because you didn’t answer his text within the allotted time frame, you must be ignoring him and that can’t be tolerated. Any attempt at being in a relationship with this person is sure to end badly and he won’t be able to let go when you finally decide you have had enough.

Oh so lonely–A huge red flag and One of the quickest ways to make me run, is when a guy tells me he’s so lonely, tired of being lonely or tired of being alone. I think we all get there sometimes, but oh my lord, you  don’t have to tell everyone, especially the women you want to meet or date. If you can’t be happy on your own, and in your singlehood, I won’t make you happy. No one will. You have to be able to find a place where you are happy and comfortable in your singleness. Being in your lonely place is like having a spot light shining on your pile of insecurities. If you aren’t okay on your own,  you will be throwing red flags up everywhere, in everything you say and everything you do. Unless a woman is equally dysfunctional, you will lose her. And if she is equally dysfunctional, it will be a train wreck waiting to happen.

The Cynic–This is one I personally can’t date, not that this is the case for everyone. For some people, this works. Personally, I don’t do angry or cynical. I am a pretty happy-go-lucky, Pollyanna-type  most of the time. I easily bore or tire from too much politics which usually fuels the cynic. While I am on one side of the aisle and disagree, sometimes vehemently, with those on the other side, I would much rather be happy and love my friends than fight with them. Or fight with strangers for that matter. The cynic doesn’t care. In fact, they seem to revel in hurting and/or offending those on the other side. I can be friends, but dating is off the table.

The Bore–Boring kills me. I am always up for adventure. I love to laugh. I am a chatterbox. I randomly sing and dance, sometimes in a public setting. I can be completely unrestrained and silly. Sedate is fine with some women, but I want to be with a man that wakes me up, not puts me to sleep.

The Fool–No offense to the intellectually challenged or intellectually average, but I need an intelligent partner. I am a pretty intelligent girl myself and I love super smart men. If a man can’t form a coherent sentence or engage in intelligent conversation, I find myself looking for excuses to end the date.  A man may be super nice, generous, kind and a million other positive things, but when I think of spending my time with someone I can’t relate to, I just can’t even. And if he is smart, but uses shit language (text-ese, bad grammar, can’t spell, uses non-word word replacements, etc), again, no. I cringe at the sight of such things. I am certain this makes me a horrible person, but I can’t help it. I value words. I value their meaning, their structure, their sound. Words are important.

I have noticed that some men embody only one of these types, but with some, you hit the jackpot. They embody several. Good luck negotiating that territory. If my dating (mis)adventure is any sort of  map to negotiating the world of relationship potentiality, There is an awful lot of crap to wade through when it comes to finding a partner.  Hip waders are highly recommended, as well as a shovel and air freshener.