The Kiss Off

It’s been more than four years that we’ve been playing this game. First we finally established a committed relationship that lasted for nearly two years. Eventually I broke up with him, thinking we weren’t moving any farther forward. There would be no next step—no marriage or kids definitely, but not even moving in together, though I spent four to five nights of the week there, and was spending most of our time together remodeling his house. I had met a lot of his friends, but he kept his flashy work life separate from me—to maintain his cool bachelor status. I never met his mom, who literally lived 10-15 minutes away, and once when she made a surprise visit to the house, I was asked to hide in the bedroom.

The year and half we weren’t together, we remained friends…sometimes with benefits. We still had this bond between us. We still enjoyed spending time together in small doses, and whenever I saw him unexpectedly, it made me light up.  When I was terribly sick, he was always there, never ashamed to take me out in public, even with my embarrassing (to me) ailment.

So fast-forward to almost a year after he started the talk about how he felt I had misconceptions about him and what he was all about in the relationship department, we tentatively decided to give it another try. Some things have been great and wonderful and had me thinking this reconciliation was totally worth it. He was more affectionate. When he was home from work and spending time with me, he truly wanted to be spending time with me, not his projects and gadgets.

Other things made me think he had gotten even worse in selfish independence. He’d go for two weeks or more without wanting to see me—and he called me high maintenance for wondering what the scoop was. Was it too much to think that a man I was exclusively dating would look forward to seeing me and put me as a priority?

Apparently, to him, it was too much.

The biggest disappointment, though, was this past week when I was at my sickest and loneliest, he didn’t call. He didn’t text. He had no idea I had to be taken to the ER for a second time. He didn’t know the medical treatment was kicking my ass. He didn’t know my doctor was removing me for my work duties for much longer than I anticipated because my treatment was going to require that much out of me.

It’s not as if I wanted to focus on all this. I knew how to be upbeat and talk about the other good things going on in my life. He always talked about his work too, the projects he was working on, his sick, elderly cat, whatever. It would have been nice to just hear whatever he had to say.

By Friday, I gave in.  “Are you living?”

Later that night, “How doin’?” he asks.

“Is that a rhetorical question, or do you really care to know the answer?”

Next day we text back and forth about how even old friends I haven’t talked to since before high school were reaching out to me…yet he hadn’t. He replied that he was busy with projects, works, etc. “I figured you were doing your own thing,” he said.

What? Doing my own thing like losing some of every meal, collapsing on the floor at least half a dozen times a day, having random moments of unconsciousness? Sure I’ve also tried to at least have a hand in the news publication that it still mine but I can’t officially be writing for and running right now. I’ve been catching up on Netflix and reading.

But yeah, I would welcome a phone call from the guy I was dating.Everybody is busy, not just him, yet they still carve out a minute of their time just to say I’m thinking of you.

So yesterday, after telling him, I finally get it—that he just doesn’t think enough to phone or text to see how I am (whether I am sick or not), I wrote an obvious kiss off. He tried to ignore it today, asking, “how are you feeling?”  I ignored him.

I am done. He can go try to find someone more perfect. He can find his dream girl, Spanish “chick.” I am done with his shit, and I getting off this bus for good this time.

I may not be a high priority to him, but I am one of the highest priorities to myself.

Next blog, remind me to share what happened with my police officer…now, that’s a funny story.

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When The Tables Are Turned

In a perfect twist to my soap opera saga with Mr. Etiquette, this morning, he just found out he’s been the “other man” to his Miss Wonderful over the last 15 months. She broke things off again with him this past Sunday–in truth, there wasn’t really anything to break off besides words. In the last two weeks, she’d seen him one day for three hours and canceled every other “date” that they’d planned after that. Still, Mr. E. was crushed. He, of course, came to me for comfort, advice, etc. I was blunt with him, basically encouraging not to shed too many tears over a woman who has continually kicked him in the teeth for over the year. He seemed like he was trying to listen, even showing signs that he wanted to move on, be happy and at peace again.

Until this morning, when he decided to give things another try with Miss Wonderful, hunt down her father since he’d deleted all her numbers from his phone the day before, and put the father in the middle. He asked if he could bring some things to her father, explaining to him who Mr. Etiquette was. Dad was very confused and broke the news that Miss Wonderful was getting married…¿Cómo say what?

Obviously Mr. Etiquette is crushed, but he can’t say he couldn’t see this coming. Several times, he mentioned the gut feeling that his Former Dream Girl was seeing someone else. We talked about this on Friday night when we went to see a band, and I observed, “It is interesting that she never wants to get together on Fridays and Saturdays, and she’s totally fine with you hanging out with me on Friday nights.” She had time for everyone else throughout the weekend, but Mr. Etiquette was only deemed worthy of a couple hours late Sunday afternoons.

When FDG wouldn’t show, she would get hostile and defensive if Mr. E showed disappointment. Several of us in the know have been telling him her “anxiety” wouldn’t suddenly change her personality from sweet to bitch the way that it had over the course of the year if she really, truly loved him and wanted to be with him. Even with her anxiety she could handle the responsibilities of her job, being the maid of honor in a wedding with all the duties that entails, doing things for her family, spending time with all of her friends, so why was it only with him that she “couldn’t deal”?

My question remains why would he keep going back to this woman when he claims all he wants is to be loved by someone willing and capable of being loved, someone who respects, admires, desires him, and wants to build a life with him? Before I knew about FDG, I was capable of becoming that girl, and he knew it. He risked all that just to make sure FDG wouldn’t return to the love he thought she once was for not even 6 months over a year ago (when she got back together with her ex-boyfriend/now fiancé).

He kept saying he didn’t want to lose me as a friend, because he guessed things wouldn’t work out with FDG, and look–he was right. He got extremely jealous as I moved forward in dating, urging me not to move too quickly. He was going to come for me if things didn’t work out with FDG. Yet why would I want him? I would always know I was second-best. I know I deserve more than that.

Even more now, after she told him on Sunday after her last no-show, “please move on, please find love and get married, don’t call, text, email, or try to visit me again, I don’t love you,” he still tried to give it another chance today. He is more desperate than i thought. He is the one who needs extensive counseling, maybe just as much if not more than FDG. She is just a mean-spirited, cowardly bitch.  Mr. Etiquette is off his rocker. I feel sorry for him, but I don’t want to, to quote good ol’ Dr. Phil, “be his soft place to fall,” if it only drags me down to hell on earth as well.

When Tears Aren’t Enough

I realize that Mr. Etiquette isn’t worth my tears. It is pitiful how sick and manipulative he could be without even realizing how bad he was, how similar his mental illness is to Sara, the girl who caused him grief and anguish over the last 13 months, but he is not even worth my pity.

He claims he never was dishonest. He was dishonest by initially saying things with S were in the past, over and done with. He lied by omission, failing to tell me he was still in love with her and was just waiting for her to come around to wanting to be in a relationship again. He made me think he asked me to the baseball game because he sincerely wanted me to be with him and his German friends. I found out yesterday, from our mutual German friend, that he had in fact only asked me after S bailed on him. Two days later, he asked her to a picnic that she later also bailed on. He only became truthful when his “heart was crushed” when she told him she was no longer in love with him and asked him to stop bothering her.

He says he never meant to cause me pain. His friends and I told him repeatedly when he either hurt me or angered me by things he repeatedly did over the last almost two weeks now. He hurt his friends. He ruined our trip to Cape Cod by making it all about him and his confusion and anguish. She called and instead of not picking up the phone, he talked to her for a half hour. Then he came up to us and told us about their conversation for nearly a half hour. Then he went and called another friend to talk about her for another half hour. By then, the three rest of us were ready to go home.

One of the last nights of the German friends’ stay he called S for a “minute to schedule a talk to clear the air once and for all,” and that turned into a half hour argument. We didn’t bother to wait more than the 25 minutes he left us hanging so went to dinner without him. He acted all hurt when he came out to meet us and wondered why I was “shutting him out.” Dude, fine, bail on me, but don’t consistently bail on your friends who’ve traveled over three thousand miles to be with you.

I can’t pity even how weak of a man he is. The only reason he had the strength to finally confront Sara was because he felt buoyed by the promise of unconditional love that I had offered him. How twisted is that? (Oh, far worse.) I feel sorry for his kids to whom he cries his heartbreak over the phone. At ages 9 and 10, he tells them far too much than they should ever need to know. They know this woman has consistently hurt him for a year and a half. When here last summer, they commented on how they never knew if Sara was actually going to show up for some event, did they, since she was constantly breaking dates even then. What example is Mr. Etiquette showing his children by running back to her the moment she says “okay, now that you’re moving on, I want you.”

How can I have a soft spot in my heart for the king of manipulation? By the end of the charade of dating, he was asking even if we’ve become just friends at said point, would I still help him out in the last 5 weeks of summer when his kids come from Germany to visit? Today, I found out from our now mutual German friend that he was also hoping we could remain friends because I had all the music contacts that he needed to find a band(!). Earlier when they were still here, she yelled at him to wake up to the fact that he was hurting me,  and he replied, “I can’t think about that now. Right now, I need her here to comfort me.” Yes, comfort him through his heartbreak. He also needed me in the house so he wouldn’t be alone after they left. And I guess all that sex in the final days was trying to fuck the frustration over Sara out of him? What did I get out of all this?

A man who couldn’t stop comparing me to the other woman, even favorably. The “only area that you don’t win is that she has significantly bigger breasts than you,” he said, not thinking how this might feel like a slap. “But in all other areas, you’re perfect for me. Emotionally, spiritually, sexually, we are just perfect for one another. That’s the only area where she wins.” I know–what a dick!

By the end, the boob size had become such a obsession that he was gently trying to persuade me to consider getting a boob job. My body was perfect! But he got a huge rise sexually having bountiful breasts to play with and be a visual focal point (lazy lack of creativity?). I’m not going to lie and say I’ve never considered what it would be like to have fuller breasts, but that was when I was younger and more insecure. Frankly, I finally became happy with them; they are the perfect shape and pertness in my eyes. Harlequin Hero said they were perfection, that I didn’t need to change anything about them (he still fondly dreams of them, it turns out). The V-Man certainly appreciated the way they looked too even in clothing since I’ve regained the hospital-stay weight loss.

But I played along just because Mr. Etiquette seemed to get such a kick out of the idea. It was almost fun to envision me finally with the “perfect body” until he picked his top breasts. “Don’t hate me, but they look just like Sara’s, though maybe a little smaller.” Where’s that gun?

So it really is pointless to waste perfectly good tears on this man. What’s the point of feeling pain over an illusion? Why be hurt over a total ass who still thinks he’s “such a nice guy with everything in the world to offer, why doesn’t [Sara, ex-wife, any female] want me?”

I feel like a boiling tea kettle. I got enough satisfaction completely telling him off, in my polite pseudo-Southerner way, last night via text tirade, which allowed me to fall asleep peacefully. But I woke up raring to go for another round. I feel like kicking a punching bag. Hating that I was stupid for those first three weeks. I’ve been around the block for too long to be so duped. How could I have finally truly let me guard down again…for the absolutely wrong guy? One of my friends suggested breaking old worthless plates on the floor atop newspaper. That sounded appealing, but I don’t think that would be enough. Maybe I should hit the batting cages tomorrow. I feel most like messing around with bright paint colors and just spreading my emotions in angry swaths across a canvas.

What constructive things do YOU do to release the pent-up negative emotions when they start bubbling up inside of you?

The Other Woman

In just one hour, Mr. Etiquette will be meeting with his ex-girlfriend to hopefully, finally, get closure on the ending of their relationship. After thirteen months of her stringing him along with empty promises that filled him with hope that one day she would re-kindle the magic they’d shared for six months, she finally told him last Wednesday that she was not in love with him. This, completely surprising to me, broke his heart. Realizing that the man I was starting to fall hard for was in fact also still in love with the memory of another woman has been breaking my heart too.

For three weeks, I thought Mr. Etiquette and I were happily dancing along in the wonderful promise of a new relationship. We got along so easily and effortlessly, emotionally, spiritually, and physically. He spoke of how I scared him because of how strong his feelings for me were becoming. More frequently, he spoke of a fantasy future for us, “If we continue along this path, and we get married then…” I found the words comforting and exciting, not stifling and scary.

Because of his painful divorce, he had mentioned an old promise he made to himself about dating eight women before he could be sure about finding the right partner for him. I was girl number four, so I was aware he might need to do a little more dating. I told him I could be patient if he pursued this sooner rather than later.

Then last Wednesday came along. I found out not only that he still has love for this woman, Sara, who was the first relationship after his divorce, but that he still was actively trying to date her and had in fact asked her to the Memorial Day picnic he was going to, the day after spending a full weekend with me. She bailed on him, like she has done regularly over the last 13 months.

First, I was hurt. Then, I was angry. He’d been lying to me for three weeks! He had actually used the words, “there’s no one else I want to be dating right now,” to my face, while in his heart he was just waiting for the next time Sara would call. He defended himself by saying, “I told you I would be dating other people.” I yelled back, “Dating some unknown strangers in the future is completely different than still trying to woo this woman you are still in love with.” He refused to accept accountability for that deceit or for the hurt it caused me.

For six months, things were pretty darn great with Mr. Etiquette and Sara, until her lifelong anxiety began to get the better of her. Meeting Mr. Etiquette’s children scared her. Talking about the future scared her. His neediness scared her. Hearing about his ex-wife all the time felt like a burden (hey, Sara and I have more in common than not, don’t we?) All this on top of increased responsibilities at work caused her to pull back and tell him she needed distance. Yet she kept saying, “I can’t have you now, but later…”

I told Mr. Etiquette, if I had known all this, I would never have gotten so involved with him. I would not have closed off my other options when I did. His selfish response was that he was glad he didn’t tell me because we wouldn’t have gotten as close as we have. He told me his burgeoning feelings for me is what gives him strength to finally accept things are over with Sara. He sees that someone can give him the love he so desperately seeks and deserves, someone can love him unconditionally too. He said, in the last month, we’ve done more meaningful and special things together than he did with her for those six months. I said, so what’s the big problem then?

Denial. He never could accept that she stopped wanting him. I can’t help feeling extremely uneasy that one, he thinks mental illness is the only reason why Sara isn’t with him anymore. Two, the thirteen months of her kicking him in the head was still met with unwarranted, unconditional love from him. And three, he lied to me, by omission and by doing what he claims Sara did to him, give empty promises.

So when he talks about the future with me now or reaches out to hold me, I put my hand up to stop him. Not now. You have got to straighten this stuff out with Sara. He kept hemming and hawing, saying he’d do it when he was strong enough. I asked, when was that? Another thirteen months from now?

His beloved friend from Germany who’d been visiting the last two and half weeks and with whom I’d spent a lot of time bonding said, “I love him, but you need to protect yourself here. This isn’t the [Mr. Etiquette] I know.” This was a weak and desperate man who didn’t know how to let go of something unhealthy and move forward with something that would only bring happiness and peace.

So at least, he resigned himself to the fact that if he didn’t want to lose me, the thought of which, he said, scared him tremendously, he was going to have to figure out some way to find closure with Sara. He began writing his thoughts down and scheduled a time. She canceled the first time, yesterday, and she’s already angrily threatened to bail on today, but I hope she allows him this opportunity for closure.

Honestly, I don’t even know if this man is who I want in my life anymore. He is not who I thought he was. His own friends are afraid of the changes they see in him. I was looking to get out of drama not drown in the biggest drama of all. And yet, I find myself empathetic and at least wanting to be a friend to him. Is that part of my own sickness, or is there something more really here?

And then I can’t help but wonder, as the V-Man calls for yet another day together, if I need my own moments of closure with an ex as well. I need us to discuss if we are in fact completely over and why before I can fully and completely move forward myself. I hate all these flaws of being human, but so it is. Why does everything gotta be so complicated?

When Temptation Knocks, Do You Answer?

Today I went over to J's house to listen to his latest set of music, grab some fried chicken and coleslaw at Popeye's, and watch The Tudors (which I highly recommend–it has romance, sex, violence, historical intrigue, and lots of sexy men). J is a singer/songwriter, like me, which is one of the common interests that brought us together. When we first met, he played to an invisible audience in his bedroom. I encouraged him to play at his first open mic, which led to a couple more. Then, I casually talked to one of my friends who is a drummer in three or four different bands, what would be the best way for a musician to start off getting gigs at a bar. He said, "Talk to someone like me. We just had a cancellation for our opening gig. Is he interested?" The rest, as they say, is history.

Since then, I have been J's "musical muse," as he often says, but mostly I have been his sound (wo)man. I listen to his music during the practices, tell him what sounds good, whether he should move up or down a capo, alert him when he's off key or playing a funky chord, etc. He feels I'm the only one he can trust with his sound. It's a fair-sized responsibility that I've enjoyed even after we broke up.

J and I dated for a little more than four months, and we broke up shortly after Valentine's Day when he began to passively withdraw, and I finally decided to end both of our misery. My illness made things difficult in terms of togetherness. I didn't get to see two of his big gigs. He never saw me without my family home. It broke his heart to be unable to just "fix" things, and I could feel it becoming a burden to have to come by every weekend. However, what really broke us up was admitting once again for the last time that we were just not right for each other, which we had been fighting since the very beginning.
J was still heartbreakingly in love with his ex when we began dating, which of course I didn't know until maybe a month or more until things. Yet it wasn't as painful as it might have been since I was still in love with the V-Man, who I had been seriously dating for two years up until November of the previous year. Over the year since, we still spent a considerable amount of time together and talked often.
J actually met V-Man early on, not knowing that he was an ex. The energy between us was something J instantly noticed and envied. Chemistry was never a problem for me and the V-Man. Throughout my relationship with J, he told me I never seemed excited around him. I didn't seem thrilled to share my world with him like I did with V-Man or any of the other friends and family he'd met. It was a fair observation. As sexy as he was, as much as we had in common superficially (writing, teaching, and music), we still lacked that magnetic pull. I found myself preferring to spend time with others more than him. So many times when we'd do something special, I'd be enthused and think I was showing, but he'd say I didn't really seem enthused. In the bedroom, I'd be aroused and ready to play, but he'd say I didn't seem into it enough. In short, I just wasn't into him enough. And you know what? With all his doubts, his back and forth between being present and being distant, he was right–I wasn't feeling it like I should.
J has a track record for either rushing in, way in too soon, which is what he did with me as soon as he finally accepted things with his ex were finally undeniably over, or distancing himself and creating a cocoon of J keeping him and his passions and toys inside and the rest of the world out. He recognizes this, and he calls himself broken and un-datable, excusing himself from ever having to try harder or compromise or admit he can have at least parts of it all.
Somehow, we've managed to stay friends post-breakup, but even a "platonic" friendship with him is confusing. The first time we really spent time together after the official break up, he came to the house, picked me up and we went to a nearby park to do a little hiking. We were walking along, talking peacefully, when suddenly he reaches out for my hand, like it's the most natural thing in the world. As we crossed the bridge, he stopped me, gave me the biggest hug, saying, "You really are a beautiful woman." I didn't know how to react, so I just kind of went with the flow and let the moment pass.
Last weekend, he asked if I wanted to go see a movie with him. Eager to get out of house lockdown, I agreed. We went out for sushi for dinner, on him. Yes, he's making money right now, and I'm not, but he shouldn't be assuming to pay for my meal like that when it's not a date. So we walk around the outdoor mall for a while. I have a couple episodes, he holds me close, protectively, jokes about whether he'll have to carry me back to the car. We head to the theater. I pay for the movie to be more fair. When we sit back and the movie begins, J's hand immediately crawls over to my leg and gives it a lingering squeeze before it just rests there, claiming it. It feels nice there, so I hug his arm with my hand briefly. After the car ride home, he kisses me.
Tonight, after music, food, and shows, J casually offers, "You can spend the night if you want." I remember the last time I came to listen to his music, when he couldn't keep his eyes and hands off me. But he stopped himself from getting too out of line. "No, I can't." On the car ride home, I asked him what he meant by that. He said he was worried about what I'd think. I said what that I'd be upset that this was purely a physical thing, it didn't mean anything more than that. He nodded. I said if we were to have sex, it would be no strings attached. I think I meant it, and I wasn't even so sure I did want it.
But tonight, I admit I was tempted. Our coats were on to go, though, but I allowed myself to feel the way his hands caressed my sides. I allowed my hands to slip under his shirt around his waist. He truly does have the most beautiful male body I've had the pleasure of intimately knowing. He greatly admires mine as well, but his body is truly a rarity in its perfect combination of height, leanness and muscular strength. Finally he pulled away. He knew I had already made my decision. I didn't want this. Even if he doesn't know what he wants, or he's just confused because he enjoys a female's company every now and again and it just happens to be me every time, he would still pull away immediately afterward. And even though I don't want the relationship back, I wouldn't want that emptiness. We had something meaningful between us at some point. I've done the friends with benefits thing, and it last left me with a shattered, splintered heart. I don't want my friendship with J to leave me with a bitter tongue and even icier heart. 

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