I remained confused about Ian’s general ambivalence. He’d sent me a Happy Mother’s Day text but then not much else. The Tuesday morning afterwards I texted “Good morning – you’ve been rather quiet.”
Later that night, laying on the floor all angry and hurt about Tony, I enjoyed a (brief) moment of levity when not 5 minutes before he showed up, Ian called. I didn’t answer the phone.
Later that night I saw he’d texted “hi” at 10:30 then later, “you have time to chat?”. The next morning when I woke up I texted that I would call him later that day. No “oh sorry I missed you”. Wasn’t feeling it, so didn’t say it.
I called him a few minutes before I had to go to a meeting. He launched into a story about helping a buddy put in some flooring. Yes, really. So at some point when he seemed to not be moving off that topic, I said “hey sorry to interrupt, but I have to run to a meeting. Are we still ok for Friday?”
“Yeah, of course”.
He said he was surprised I had said he’d been rather quiet. “But it was only a day”, he said. Which was wrong, but there wasn’t much point in arguing.
The next day I sent an evening text referencing a fun suggestion my colleagues had for our date. No response. Thursday he sent me a text about being stuck in traffic. Yes, people, this is scintillating romantic stuff. I responded to him and asked if he wanted to chat about our date the next night. No response.
Friday morning at 9am I texted “Hey Ian – let me know what you’re thinking about tonight when you get a chance? I will be downtown for work but will likely head home afterwards.”
Until 3pm, when he called me. Again he launched into a story about something, until I said “so are you still at home?”. He replied “yes, and I’m not coming into the city. I’m not feeling well, and I don’t think we should date anymore.”
He kept going:
“I don’t think it’s going to work with you being in the city and me here. I have been thinking a lot about what I want lately. I need someone accessible, and dating you is going to mean lots of driving. Next weekend I’m away, and then the week after that I’m just in the city one night. It would be two weeks before I can see you again, and that’s not much at all. I’ve been doing soul searching even before I met you.”
“Well Ian, to be honest in your profile you said you worked in the city, or else I would not have reached out to you.”
“Yes Ann, that’s true, but it’s seasonal. While I’m there all summer, what will happen when September comes? It will be a long distance relationship.”
“Sure, I understand that Ian, but I guess we approach these things differently. For me, I think about finding someone with whom I want to have a next date. Frankly if we got to September then I’d deal with it then.”
He said “look Ann, we have a great time together. I need to figure out what will make me happy at the end of the day. A year ago, I wanted to put the family dynamic back together. It’s all slipped away. I dated someone for a year but then changed my mind; it just didn’t feel right. I know I’m missing an opportunity right now with you.”
I said “you’re right Ian, you are. But it’s okay, I understand. I’m not going to push someone to date me, that’s for sure. And honestly I picked up on a lot of ambivalence from you the last time we were together, and you aren’t exactly that communicative. But I’d decided to just see how things played out leading up to today. And here you are, bailing on a date two hours before we were supposed to meet.”
He said “I’m so sorry about that. After dinner, as we were in the car going home, I got a text from my ex girlfriend. It sent me into a tailspin. It was harsh, I shouldn’t have read it. She was angry.”
“What did it say, Ian?”
“We had decided to be civil after our breakup, but she had redeveloped feelings for me, but the way things ended things weren’t good. She was torn between having feelings for me and knowing the end goal of the family and white picket fence wasn’t there. I care about her, I didn’t want to take the next steps in our relationship and move forward. I got cold feet and jumped overboard. I need to have a family. I don’t want to be single my whole life. I’m so sorry Ann, I think I was having a panic attack. I wanted to talk to you about it but wasn’t sure I should.”
I reassured him I could understand why a third date may not have been a good time to open up that way, but told him his behavior was confusing and caused me to doubt his interest. He was very apologetic. “Ann, I’m not a great communicator. I wanted to share that night but just needed to take it in and figure out what it all meant. Sorry for having you go through this.”
We talked for a long time about dating and life. I felt like a therapist or dating coach. He said he needed to dig into what would make him happy, and the more he talked about all the things he didn’t know and hadn’t sorted out, I realized it might not work between us anyway.
He told me it wasn’t that he didn’t want to see me, but he didn’t know how it was going to work. He thought the distance and our differences in lifestyles was too much. He said he was ashamed at how much he collapsed and stressed out.
Then he said “can we stay in touch?”
Laughing, I said “why?” and then realized he was serious. Jesus. What’s with these men who want me in their life like this?
He said he didn’t want to write me out of his life, since we had a connection and he really enjoyed talking to me. I was non-committal.
I was pleased to find out why he had been acting so strange, and to know it wasn’t about me. And while the distance would have been a pain in the ass, I was still slightly disappointed we didn’t get a chance to date a bit more.
But mostly, I was peeved I now didn’t have plans for Friday night.