It’s become clear Bruce isn’t ready for the practical realities of dating. He thought he was. He’d taken almost two years before he took the online dating plunge: he said he wasn’t ready before that. I believe him. At his core, I think he’s a good man.
He wasn’t “breadcrumbing” me by calling me every day I was away. Breadcrumbing implies a deliberate attempt to keep someone on the hook by reducing contact but popping up every once in a while. He likes me. He wanted to talk to me. There was no gradual fade away, no change in how he behaved or the things he said. He’s remarkably straightforward and open.
But having to face the lack of boundaries between him and his ex, and the impact it has on his ability to date, was the first thing that got in the way. The second being the financial challenges he’s facing and his need to focus on “getting his shit sorted”. Combined, dating – and dating me – is not on his top priority list.
When asked what he wants from me – space, silence, and the like – he said he still wants to talk to me and see me. He just can’t commit to how much, or when.
And that’s not particularly cool with me.
I’m not angry about it, I don’t feel rejected (intellectually I know it’s not about me). But if I’m going to put any emotional or practical energy into developing a relationship with someone, I want to get something in return. Phone calls and texts aren’t enough. Intention is one thing, but it needs to be supported with action.
I know if I continue to try as hard as I have been, and he continues in his current way, I will get more and more frustrated and dejected. It will come through in my interactions with him. Ultimately, it will have the opposite effect of encouraging him to see more of me. The last thing he needs is more pressure, or expectations, or criticisms.
But I don’t want to just say goodbye either. At least, I am not ready to today. If in a couple of weeks I haven’t found the right balance between our mutual efforts, my opinion could change. I’m sometimes I glutton for punishment, but even I have my limits.
He’s still in touch daily. He hasn’t been calling as much, but that’s also because I’ve been with Liam and traveling for work. I’ve been working on not being as frequently proactive on text since I’m trying to create a little bit of space and distance. Not to pull away as a game to get him to come back, but just so that he fills a bit less of my days. It’s important for my emotional well-being.
Last week, we made plans for him to join me at a sporting event this Sunday. He said he would be able to drop his children off early to come into the city. If he cancels, then that’s it for plans in the near term.
If I see him, it will no doubt be nice, and I will just have to take it a day at a time from there.
I’ve decided I’m not going back online dating at this point. I am going to try to use the time I may otherwise spend engaging with men online at the gym, or writing, or doing lots of other things with which I can fill my time.
And there are always Jake, Todd, Tony, Lewis, and Clark, to provide affection and a false sense of intimacy. I’m not lacking for a stress-release fuck when I want it. But we all know I want far more than that.