I own my good behavior. It’s easy to write about the shit I do that I’m proud off. There’s lots of it, usually. Harder is admitting when I do shit that I know it counterproductive or just dumb.
I’ve done some dumb shit, and I own it too.
I know I’ve learned more from my mistakes than my accomplishments. This is true in work as well as my personal life. When I think back to the guys who really fucked me up over the last few years, those are the lessons that helped me get better at dating and survive what can feel like a constant onslaught of rejection and bullshit.
I meant what I said recently about rejection. I don’t end up thinking that I’m not good enough somehow. But it doesn’t mean it flows like water off a ducks back. I take this shit personally.
Everyone says “it’s not personal, Ann”. But fuck that – it’s the definition of personal! My ex husband used to tell me “every choice to do something is a choice to not do something else”. While there are exceptions to this rule, it definitely applies to dating. If I stop texting you it’s because I’m choosing to spend my time on other things. That’s a personal assessment of who you are and how I feel about our compatibility. It doesn’t mean I think you’re a bad person necessarily, but I have made a judgment about whether I want to spend my time on YOU.
It’s easier to let go of someone’s rejection of me when I’ve got a pipeline of guys. When one person stops texting but others are, I move on faster. But my approach to dating for over a year has meant I’m engaging with very few men at a time. Being picky is great in some ways. I don’t spend as much time on dating sites. It doesn’t take up a lot of my time. Not being proactive pays off in that those who reach out do so because they are interested and usually the timing is right. The men I’ve actually ended up going on dates with have been decent matches. The chemistry was off with a few, but intellectually and emotionally things were good.
In other words, I haven’t wasted a lot of time.
And then Kyle came along.
I know I’ve been quiet since he bailed. I’ve honestly felt the same way I did way back when the Cook rejected me… After he made me dinner and I fucked him and he full on ghosted me, and I sent a torrent of angry and bitter text messages into the ether of his phone.
I’ve been thinking a lot about why these guys bring this out in me. I know I’m not a crazy drama queen. When I think about what bothers me so much, it’s not that I don’t understand things happen, we find other people, we get busy, etc. I know that chemistry is just one of those things and just like job hunting, if I’m not “fuck yes” for someone there is no point trying to convince them otherwise.
But I have a very strong sense of justice and fair play. Being disrespected drives me bananas. Bad communicators and liars make me apoplectic. I’m diplomatic to a fault. I believe people I don’t know deserve my respect and I make a concerted effort always to treat people right. It’s just how I roll.
So as much as I know I can’t hold everyone to my standards, I simply HATE to be on the receiving end. I find myself wanting someone to just admit they are fucking with me, or don’t give a shit. It’s as if somehow, someone admitting they were a jerk makes it better for me. It’s not so much about changing the outcome, but just trying to get people to be self-aware.
I don’t know why this matters to me so much, but it does.
I also try to see the best in people. I love to understand what makes people tick (including me) so I’m the first to justify behavior when I understand the motivation. Tony lies because he doesn’t want to hurt me? Oh, okay then! It’s been a challenge over the last few years for me to focus on the behavior and how it makes me feel. I forgive easily. I believe people can change.
I’m not sure this is a bad thing, but it definitely means I get myself into situations where other people would simply say “fuck you” and walk away.
With Kyle, I did respond to his text. I had talked to my Mom about it – she coached me to not go on the attack, and I understand why. I chose to take the high ground. I told him I was sorry he got delayed and I would have appreciated a heads up. I also said perhaps we could find another time.
I know many of you will cringe at the latter. I know the strong woman response is silence, or a good “fuck you”. Part of me feels weak because I didn’t do it. But part of me feels good that I didn’t put more vitriol into the world. Part of me feels sometimes maybe there’s more to things. Obviously. It gets me in trouble, and sometimes it brings me great joy.
And the regression I referred to earlier? I’m the one acting like a zombie now. I reached out to a few men from my past. Nobody significant… A couple who had kept in touch for a while and I was the one that dropped it. Nothing dramatic, and for no reason other than someone else took precedence.
I was loathe to get back onto online dating again… I just want some men to hang out with this summer and going back to those I know felt much easier than putting myself back out there with unknown entities. But this weekend I decided to open my OK Cupid profile again. It’s been okay so far, I’m not doing anything proactive and it’s quiet as usual.
I have filled each night next week. After several weeks of lots of nights alone I want some socialization. I could potentially fuck four different men next week. I know it may ultimately feel empty and could be unsatisfying. I’ve been down this road before, I know where it’s going. But I will always keep my eye out for those detours, those little roads I haven’t been down before that perhaps will be the most fulfilling yet.
Be prepared for some eye rolling and yelling at your screen as I fill you in with who I’m seeing next week. But please know, I’m not doing it blind. This isn’t my first rodeo.
[Image from the movie “I Walk Alone”]