The first line I wrote for this post was “I’m much better than I used to be at not wasting my time with men.”
I stared at it. Erased it twice.
As much as its true that I don’t waste my time with bullshit online anymore – if I know a man doesn’t want what I want, I don’t bother – I could argue I wasted a lot of time with Tony.
At some point, I knew he wasn’t going to be able to move things forward, but for a whole host of reasons, I stayed in contact with him. It took several weeks of no-contact, and a real emotional break, before I was able to see him without going down a rabbit hole of hurt.
My unwillingness to cut Bruce off now that I know he’s not ready to actively date, tells me I still have a way to go.
So yes, I don’t waste my time online if a man I’m engaging with doesn’t meet my dating rules. And yes, I can break up with a man once I realize he’s not right for me.
This is still progress: huge progress frankly. I never used to break up with anyone. I stayed with one of my high school boyfriends for a year longer than I should have. I ended up in a marriage knowing he wasn’t right for me. I was so focused on whether the man liked me, so needy of the attention, I didn’t think about whether he was right for me.
I’m proudly past that now.
But if I like a man, and see potential, it’s very difficult for me to cut the ties if the timing is wrong. I have a hard time when intellectually, physically, and emotionally the chemistry is there. I have to get pretty damn hurt before I can let them go.
I’m going to try very hard to not do this with Bruce. I’ve pulled away a little, mostly adjusting to his reduced communications. Not talking to him as much, not texting as much, and not trying to ask when he will see me, creates some space in each day. It allows me to emotionally create some distance.
The key is to not ask for much, because each ask allows for what I call a “micro rejection”. Too tired to call, busy with packing kid’s school lunches, not big deals in the grand scheme but each time it happens it hurts ever so slightly. And I don’t want to hurt.
He says we are still on for our Sunday date. I’m testing over the next few days how I manage with other distractions and reducing my expectations. Not just other men, although I’d be lying if I said that the attention from past and current lovers doesn’t help. But allowing for that space, working on reducing my expectations, and being busy with other things.
I’m not sure if he will make any tangible progress in the next few weeks, but if I can manage to not hurt, I’m willing to give him a (brief) chance.
Give me strength.