Lockdown has been bloody fantastic for a number of reasons. A break from the real world. A break from work and the realisation that I spend too much time thinking about it. More time to get done the never ending list of jobs that have accumulated over the 13 years of owning my house. No reason to go out, no reason to be disappointed on a first date. I deleted the final dating app because I’m happy with where I am right now, and with what I have going with the right guy at the wrong time.
That would be too simple wouldn’t it? Have a lovely 6/8 weeks off and rediscover myself. Use the time to learn Swedish, do a masters degree and paint expressive post modern art, not forgetting mastering a sour dough starter and my own perfect banana bread recipe. Instead I’ve used the time to mentally torture myself, make all the same mistakes I usually do and dedicate time and energy to someone that still rejects me.
He’s had a couple of blogs about him before, even though the idea of this blog was to tell my hundreds of old dating stories that I’ve had up my sleeve during the 1700 years I’ve been single. Then life happened, as it does, I started writing about current day, it became like therapy, a way of getting my feelings out on the page and straight in my head. I thought that would definitely pause during lockdown, because us ladies know that men are physical creatures. How could anyone still possibly be interested after 6 weeks of only phone and text contact!? How could somebody that had rejected me 3 times already be given an opportunity to reject me again? Oh. I allowed it to happen. Apparently 3 rejections aren’t enough for me. Let’s pile on a few more.
Background, he stood me up; twice. I forgave him; twice. Then we were just friends. Really just friends. Honestly, I know you don’t believe me, but just friends. We haven’t seen each other in the flesh since January. We speak, frequently. Daily. Sometimes for hours at a time. We argue, we debate, we tell each other things that we probably wouldn’t if we were in the early dating stages when you’re trying to impress one another. It’s also darker than that. It’s all encompassing, it’s things we rarely, if ever tell other people. He maintained from the second standing up that he wasn’t ready to date, that he was in the midst of the worst time of his life. I believed him, I wrote a blog about it, I thought I had it all under control. I still believe him.
Then he disappeared. Poof. Gone. In the middle of a conversation. He didn’t block. He didn’t delete, that’s not his style. He just stopped replying. Stopped calling. For 10 days. During a lockdown. Last week in my blog, I called him a bad friend, because he was. I’m not sure about anyone else, but I’m a fucking emotional wreck during this, one day I’m high as a kite, the next I’m a blubbering mess. So when someone you have daily conversations with just ups and fucks off that’s not fabulous for the old self esteem. But above everything, I’m a stubborn prick. I’m not one of those people that will send message after message without reply. I’ll check they’re ok. I’ll see if they’ve been online and haven’t got a bad case of the COVID and disappeared for legitimate reasons; and then I’ll crack on with my life. One message without reply is enough for me to move on. Ordinarily.
Surprisingly (unsurprisingly for you no doubt reader, I’m the only idiot around here), he reappears some 10 days later. Some half arsed apology and an excuse of a virus on his phone (the irony of the use of a virus excuse in these times is not lost on me reader. If it wasn’t such a blatant lie it would be hilarious). We slowly start speaking again. Nothing compared to before, I’m pretty sure he can sense that I’m less than pleased with the silence and the poor friendship. He has had a rough 3 years, and I’m a soft touch. I will create excuses in my head as to why he’s treated me the way he has so far, all the legitimate reasons in the world, none of the obvious ones. None that equate to ‘He’s just not that into you.’ Because I’m a moron.
So where has he been, I hear you ask? The man that isn’t ready to date, that took one date with me to realise he wasn’t ready, was back on a dating app. In a spectacularly fortuitous turn of events a friend of mine had spied him on there and let me know. I asked him. He admitted, that’s the thing with him, he will always admit. He’s matched, got chatting and exchanged numbers with a woman. Fairly obviously they can’t meet at the moment for obvious reasons, which is pretty lucky for him, because from personal experience I can say that he never will meet her. There will be excuses, there will be reasons, there will be crying, she will be let down. She will probably have a touch more self respect for herself than I did, and tell him to fuck off when he lets her down. Not me, not this self nominated fixer.
We have had some pretty intense chats from that point, understandably I want some answers. I already know everything horrific there is to know about this guy. A drug addiction, money troubles, spiralling debt, he’s probably a month away from a criminal record if he continues down this path. What. A. Catch. Oh, and he’s madly in love with a married woman and has been for 8 years. That’s just come to an end. Let’s throw that in the mix. He sends me the poems he writes about her, the letters he wants to send her, the screenshots of their conversations. I advise him. I critique the words, I try and explain why she did what she did. Each time he speaks about it feels like a dagger, another reminder of who I am to him, crucially who I’m not to him.
I can hear you shouting at the page. I’m shouting at the page. Yet I have to know. I have to know what it was about me, what it is about me that isn’t good enough for him. Why me? The woman who is counselling him through the dark times, offering support, willing to forgive anything and everything? Maybe I want the answers for my own self esteem. Perhaps I’m just a glutton for punishment. Really I’m just an idiot, I know what the answer will be. I know what he will say, yet I have to ask anyway.
So I ask. And I’m rejected. Again. I don’t ask for us to be together. I’m not completely stupid, plus I’m genuinely happy dating the kindest, funniest, smartest, got his shit together man, and I can’t wait to see what the end of lockdown will bring for us. Genuinely. He’s amazing, and I need my head testing for even asking the other guy what his feelings are for me. Yet I do. I’m sure you can all guess the answer. I’m too good for him. He feels inferior to me. He doesn’t like that I out earn him. He doesn’t like that I have my shit together and he doesn’t. He loves me, he’s just not in love with me. He can’t see this going anywhere. He would rather have me in his life as a friend than not at all. I mean, now I know him, neither can I. He would frustrate the living hell out of me, we would row every single day. I’d end up never speaking to him again. So why can’t I stop speaking to him now?
One night this week we are on the phone as usual and I send him something we are talking about on WhatsApp. He can’t look at it. Can’t go on WhatsApp right now. The woman he’s speaking to thinks he’s gone to bed and is sleeping, when in reality, he’s on the phone speaking to me for the second time that day. I feel like I’m having an affair, the strangest affair of all time, but an affair nonetheless. I’m now not only the second woman in his life after his one true love that he never stops talking about, but the third. Then, he says he can check it but he needs to put his phone on airplane mode to do it. Something in me clicks, this is truly devious and devastating. This guy is clearly a master manipulator, a scheming arsehole. The penny drops. The day he stood me up he said he had smashed his phone. I wrote a whole blog about how what any of us would do in his situation. I believed him, without question. Now I don’t, now I ask directly, did you smash your phone? Now, in a corner, he has no option but to tell me the truth, whatever the reason is, he feels he owes me, he feels weak at that moment, or he’s just got no place to go. I’ve asked him 6/7 times before whether it was true, he’s always stuck to the same story. ‘No, I didn’t smash my phone. I’m sorry.’ He never smashed his phone, he just didn’t want to come and see me. For our first date. Our FIRST DATE. Then when I did finally lose my shit with him on when he stood me up the following weekend, guess who the crazy one was…..?
In my group of friends I’m the go to person for advice. Not just dating advice for single friends, all sorts of advice. Work advice, legal advice, money advice. I’m the level headed one. I’m the one who will research things, spend time getting it right rather than give poor advice. I’ve even done it with him, the other night when he finally admitted he was an addict, I spent hours researching what to do, what to say, how to be. It’s something I’ve always loved to do, and something that I think I’m good at. So why, oh why am I so shit at following my advice? If I was reading this, as you are, I’d tell me to walk away. Stop wasting my time, stop investing my energy. Stop flogging a dead horse. Stop trying to fix him.
The answer? I don’t like to lose. I don’t like to fail. It’s my stubbornness coming out in the worst possible way, to sabotage me. To damage me. To upset me. I feel as if I have to make this man realise that he will never meet anyone who is even close to what I am. I don’t feel like that with every man I date, of course I don’t, perhaps it’s just the ones that reject me that I want to feel that way? Deep down, I know that I’m helping him, he tells me I am and I feel that’s true. What I am doing is fixing him for himself, but in reality that’s just fixing him for someone else. He will be ready to date, he will be ready to fall in love with someone. That someone won’t be me, he made that decision the day he stood me up, he just hasn’t been able to tell me, doesn’t want to upset me, doesn’t want to be the bad guy. Doesn’t want to just say the words I know that he wants to, ‘I’m just not that into you.’
So, it’s time to give myself some advice. Be happy WT. Stop taking the lesser walked path to get there. Stop pushing away the person that actually might like you just to protect yourself. Let down some of the barriers (never all!). Stop torturing yourself with this guy that is using you, keeping you near enough to him to help him, but not near enough to help you. Stop. Let him walk away into the sunset with some poor unsuspecting woman, he will fuck it up. Most importantly, let yourself show the guy that does like you that you like him too, instead of tip toeing around in case you get hurt. Hurt is important, hurt teaches you lessons. Hurt is all you’ve had so far, so what’s a little more?
Hold your head up fucking high whilst you do though. You’re the heroine of this tale. You’re the one that had the strength to realise, eventually, what was needed. So you know what,