Honestly, I feel like a fool making such public declarations of having found love and then retracting them like a middle-class housewife with buyer’s remorse.
Also, honestly, this is not a retraction of love. It is a retraction of presence and not of my own. Everything I said about this love is still true. I would have spent a lifetime enjoying the better and wrestling with the “for worse,” but he has chosen to leave.
For the third time in a row, my lover has gone numb and has ceased to feel anything about me, so I probably should be more accustomed to the dull ache of indifference. But I am not.
I am obliterated, and I am exhausted.
I used to think I had a problem with men loving me. I don’t.
I have a problem with men loving me continuously and at the same time as I am willing (and able) to love them.
The typical trajectory – lasting from a few dates to a year – includes this:
Man really enjoys my presence. We laugh a lot.
Man gets scared because the novelty wears off and/or he’s afraid of commitment.
Three to twelve months later (longer for a few), he realizes that the same thing happens in all relationships, but when it does he’s in a relationship with a far shittier person.
He comes back. I get text messages, emails, etc.
The further complication is this: Healing requires scarring, and scarring does not really invite wounds in the same place. Instead, I repeat the cycle with fresh wounds really close to existing scars which is, perhaps, why I always expect a different outcome.
I have grown tired of prodigal lovers.
My first internet date was with a pudgy, balding, ginger who I’ll call “Mr. Applebees” because despite the fact that he lives in a city with a great deal of good food, Applebees was his favorite restaurant.
He re-emerged with via email.
I responded by sending him a link to Sex and the Pity.
I was trying to tell him something.
Fuck You: Chapter 1 has periodically re-emerged even from his re-emergence which is an odd thing because our four “dates” consisted of this:
1) We talked and he asked to go out “sometime.” I informed him that “sometime” meant that night or in six weeks after I have back surgery and settle down on the narcotics. He came to a bar I liked and then insisted that we ditch it for a bar he liked.
2) A month after surgery, he came over to hang out with my invalid ass, and I made him watch Mystery Science Theater 3000 with me. He was not amused.
3) Whilst I was still recovering, we go out. We have some drinks and then climb to the top of an abandoned granary in Minneapolis with a group of his friends. I go home and read my back surgery manual. It says “avoid stairs.” I took extra narcotics that night.
4) A few years later, I was an idiot and flew to Arizona. We have drinks. He ignores me for the rest of my weekend. I went hiking and to a Bluegrass festival.
Fuck You: Chapter 2 has also texted. I responded with a link to this post. He misidentified himself as Fuck You: Chapter 3.
Fuck You: Chapter 3’s reinterest was as short-lived as his initial interest.
The alcoholic finalist for you’re pretty cool has unsuccessfully attempted a reappearance or two. Fortunately, he became far less attractive, when I realized how much he drank and how rarely he did not. Also, he said these words, “Hydration is a myth.” True story.
The other finalist – a resident of Nebraska – disappeared as quickly as he reappeared. In shame, I assume. I’ve learned that booty calls that cross state boundaries are ill-advised. Stupid, even.
Mr. elicitor of stabbery knows better than to try to really re-emerge, but he has since learned that sometimes love (much like war) is, well, boring, and that’s okay. Because I still think he’s a decent person, I’ll spare him the full Sex and the Pity treatment.
And others who have escaped previous comment on Sex and the Pity occasionally emerge .
The man who became exceptionally awkward when I commented on his use of the word “retarded” as a synonym for “stupid.”
And one who should have most certainly been included for leaving me for an “almost twenty-one year-old.” He finally came back saying all the things I told him upon the exit he neglected to inform me about. “I don’t know what I was thinking,” “She just wanted my money,” and my personal favorite, “You are the best woman I’ve ever been with, certainly the smartest.”
Yes, but not smart enough to avoid it in the first place…
This is all to say that attempts at mutual love have been a long and laborious journey – much like travel through Nebraska – it all pretty much looks the same, and that makes me sad.
Now, I am doing my best walk through the pain, to acknowledge it but not avoid it.
I am not allowing myself distraction with people who will make me feel wanted but whom I will ultimately hurt.
I talk big about being happy alone.
At this moment, I am not, and the ugly truth is that I have rarely been alone for any extended period of time because I break my contentment with a fresh start on the same old trajectory.
So I am working at being alone.
I suppose my current discipline is a step of faith that I can and will be content in my solitude, but for now it is merely discipline.
I am stepping gingerly through the minefield of my heart, reactivating the tripped mines.
It is a healing of sorts, I guess. A wholeness that only scars can bring.