It took me a little while to patch myself up to even try to start dating.
One of the first people I dated when reentering that section of adulthood ended up being someone I knew from high school. Oy. (I’m going to completely bypass all the weirdness bundled up in that one statement right there and move on to the topic at hand.)
The ending of the situation happened like this:
Now…that’s kinda intense. But at the same time it is not an isolated incident.
I’m not sure what it is; whether the common denominator is me or “men.” Either answer is wrong and off base. I know I’m not alone is receiving messages like this because friends have asked me for advice on how to respond or cope. But I also know plenty of guys who would never speak to a person they are seeing this way.
I should not have to spell out why I requested to just be friends. No matter the history. No matter the investment given. When an answer is given and then further explanation acquired, it should be left alone.
But, there I was staring at the slurs across my phone’s screen analysing my actions to make sure I didn’t treat this person like shit.
“So what is it you didn’t like about me?”
It is a pretty innocuous question and completely loaded at the same time.
Depending on the person asking it could be completely genuine and a desire to learn and grow or it could be a manipulative ploy for sympathy and further involvement.
I’ve dealt with both.
And I knew as soon as I read it which one it was. I took my time to reply because my immediate reaction was to bitch him out and give every single specific reason why the question was completely shitty.
I’m glad I have good friends. (Christy, I’m looking at you Lady.)
The best answer I can give to that question?
I neither liked nor disliked the guy.
I came across him through a dating app. They are pixelated versions of humanity and I can’t honestly tell anything until I meet someone in person. I know within a fraction of a second of meeting a guy if I am truly physically attracted to them. It’s just a thing and no matter what state of sobriety or drunkenness I may find myself, that initial reaction doesn’t change.
There wasn’t a spark for me.
We met for drinks and realised we went to high school together. He recognised me before I him and even then it took me a bit to piece it all together. We had pleasant enough conversation for us to make plans to go to the March For Science is following day. However; during the conversation when we landed on the topic of high school he consistently described me as being “pretentious.” ::Sigh:: I get where that evaluation is coming from yet being reminded multiple times in one evening how I was shunned for years for being who I am wasn’t comfortable. At the time I waved it off.
There was a level of initial physical presence that, wile it was not shunned it was not invited either. I let it be and let it play out. There was a kiss as I was getting into my car, which again was not requested nor was it completely shunned.
For me, it was proof that my initial reaction was spot on.
We went to the march the next day. It was as successful as could be expected in the state and city it happened. While listening the the speeches given he ran across some friends and introduced me, one of which I did find immediately physically attracted to which confirmed to me that my body wasn’t just denying everything out of spite. I didn’t say or do anything. It was just a personal observation of myself and I let it go. We went to lunch at a sushi place and he recommended we see a particular movie he had been wanting to see. I love going to the movies and I didn’t mind continuing to hang out so we went back to his place until the it was time for the movie.
Yes, sex happened.
And that’s pretty much all it was for me: a physical release because I hadn’t had anything in months.
His vocabulary immediately changed afterward to containing possessive-like pet names.
I shrugged it off and didn’t comment on them either way. I continued to call him his name only. Before we ever left his place he was wanting more which I turned down. We went to the theatre and he brought up how he would rather go back to his place for more sex. I was more blunt about that answer being no.
Then he asked me to pay for the movie tickets.
I stumbled over myself and couldn’t find the right way to say no. I didn’t think it was my responsibility to pay for the tickets to the movie he wanted to see. I could just as easily go home and keep working on projects and commissions for the next twelve hours and be just as entertained while making money. Luckily, the theatre was almost full and we would have had to sit in the horrific first row to which I told him “I’m not paying to have a shitty viewing experience. I’d rather not see it right now and I need to get back to work so I can’t really wait for a later showing.”
I know this disappointed him yet he still asked if I wanted to come hang out at his place for a little while longer with the complete and utter subtext of more sex oozing through how he spoke. I said no, again, and explained I had already been out longer that day than I originally allotted and I really did need to get back to working on a commission. No lies, no exaggeration, just the truth at an inconvenient moment for him.
He drove me back home and that was the last time I saw him in person.
What about all of that made you uncomfortable?
What sent up red flags for you?
What would your answer have been when given the question:
“So what is it you didn’t like about me?”
I didn’t like or dislike.
I wasn’t completely comfortable or uncomfortable.
It just existed in apathy.
Then there was a photo on Facebook. A dear friend, someone closer to me than a sister, saw it and reached out. She expressed to me that she was excited to see we knew each other again and confessed she still had a bit of a crush on him from high school and college.
My soul dropped out of my body.
I already had enough reason to not really try… but this? This meant a resounding NEVER when it came to me trying to see him again.
The way she felt/feels about him is what anyone deserves their partner to feel for them. Not “should I try?” Not apathy. I’ve been there - that giddy, have butterflies in your belly, all grins, and happiness - kind of feeling should be there when thinking about someone you want to honestly date and/or be serious with. I didn’t have that.
And I knew he would never see her the same way. Which in turn was heartbreaking for me. I want her to have the world and more. I want her to be resoundingly happy with the right person who adores and cherishes her the way she has with others in the past. He was obviously missing something very important about me and about someone I care about deeply.
There would never be anything else physically. There wouldn’t be dating or anything of the sort. Nothing on the “down-low” or out in the open.
That’s not something I want to be around or cause heartache over.
There is only one answer to the situation: tell him that we can just be friends.
And I did.
But it wasn’t good enough….
There were two attempts to ‘hang out’ as friends. The first one was received late because a best friend called and asked to swing by before meeting with a client who lives near me. While visiting she asked if I would go with her to a school baseball game in my town to help her locate her dad and not be alone. I said sure and helped.
When I saw the message I read the subtext of wanting sex and I didn’t acknowledge it. I explained I had been kidnapped and we rescheduled.
I ended up getting sick because my body is the mysterious fickle beast that it is. I was moving slow all day, not really able to get out of bed and wasn’t getting nearly enough work done. I told him and he laughed it off.
Weeks go by and I received a text “You should come over tonight.”
We all understand what that means.
I explained I was already busy in a city 30 minutes away….
Then the question: “So what is it you didn’t like about me?”
All of this is a parable in a way.
A story to give real world examples of many complex topics:
the past’s influence on now
standing up for oneself
letting oneself down
owning up to actions
listening to your gut
I am completely unapologetic for how I handled everything in this situation.
I do regret one thing: that I didn’t remember who he was sooner and forgot one of my closest friend’s crush on him… I would have never crossed that line if I had.