It’s my fault for being happy for 30 seconds

When you’ve been a victim of abuse, you build a pretty strong wall to protect yourself.  You learn quickly that expressing emotion can get you punished, so you hold it in.  If you’re lucky enough to get out of the abusive situation, that wall stays there.

When you meet new people, the wall strengthens.  Or at least it does for me.  I could meet the nicest person in the world and it will go one of two ways:

Scenario 1: There is no way this person can be this nice.  It must be an act.  They’re going to charm me and disarm me.  I better run before I see their true colours.

Scenario 2: There is no way I deserve someone this nice.  I’m not worth it.  It’s only a matter of time before they realize that I’m not good enough for them and they leave.  I better run before they see my true colours.

 

Unfortunately, I succumbed to a new scenario.  One that I didn’t know existed, and instead of ending with me running it ended with some serious heartache.

Yep: I’m talking about you, Coffee.

The self-proclaimed “nice guy with asshole tendencies.”  I tried to keep my wall up and I did a good job at first.  You didn’t pry, which was so wonderful.  I felt safe with you, and special.  You kissed my forehead and you tucked my hair behind my ears.  You told me that you hoped that eventually I would let my guard down with you.

The first time I relaxed a little around you, you said how nice it was.  You would text me all day, telling me that you really liked me and if we hadn’t seen each other in awhile you would say you missed me.  I actually felt this going somewhere.  I’m an idiot, I guess.

Last weekend you invited me to stay with you.  This was a huge deal for me.  Since leaving my husband, I’ve been with people but I’ve rarely slept with them.  There are very few people with whom I have actually spent a night.  Of course my first reaction was to run.  Alert, alert, too nice.  Scenario 1.  Get the fuck out.

But you know what? I really fucking liked you.  With an exclamation point.  And I thought you liked me too.  So I agreed.  You sounded excited to have me stay over.  You bought mugs, and a kettle, and coffee.  You made me breakfast.  I was with you…maybe 20 hours? 22? I had such an amazing time with you.  I loved the way you made me feel.  I fucking opened up to you.

I guess that was my mistake.  I talked about my ex.  I talked about my dad.  I’m not going to lie: I verbal diarrhea-ed all over you.  It’s a lot to take and I get that.  My life is not perfect or wonderful; it’s been shattered and poorly glued back together.  But it’s my life and it’s part of me and I thought that you liked me.

When I left your house, I was happy.  I was fucking happy.  This should have set off warning bells, but it didn’t.  I went home and I talked to my friends about you and I smiled like an idiot and gushed like a teenager.

It wasn’t until the next evening that it came crashing down.  An innocent text to you asking if I would get to see you this week.  An innocent enough non-committal answer from you.  A jokey response from me, poorly disguising my disappointment.  A sinking feeling that the end had come.

It’s been a few days.  Communication has slowed right down to nothing.  I wish you would at least tell me that you don’t want to see me anymore.  I know it’s hard to hurt someone but saying nothing hurts a lot more.  It would take you twenty seconds to pick up your phone and say something like, “I’m sorry but I don’t see this going anywhere.”  Or, “I had fun but I think we should stop seeing other.”  Anything, really.  Just something to provide some sort of closure and to make yourself a little less of an asshole.

I was talking to my friend about ghosting yesterday.  When someone ghosts us we should know that they are the ones with the problem.  They are the ones who are too cowardly to send a simple text.  It really takes no time out of their day to be a decent human being.  But instead we blame ourselves.  We wonder what we did wrong.  We wonder if we aren’t pretty enough, or funny enough, or smart enough.  We wonder what part of us isn’t enough for them.

I hate this feeling.  I hate sitting on my couch crying.  I hate feeling bruised and broken and alone.  I hate that you made me feel like you were worth it.  I feel like I was a game to you.  I was closed off and it was a challenge.  You got in and therefore you won.  Game over.  I’m left in pieces behind you but you won.  Congratulations, I guess.  I’m not sure how many times I can glue myself back together, but I’ll try.

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Ghosting: The Story of The Nice Guy

This one’s on me.

I am absolutely the villain in this story.  The character you want to root for is The Nice Guy.

I went on three dates with The Nice Guy.  On the first date, we met for coffee.  We had easy conversation, he laughed at my jokes, and seemed genuinely interested in what I had to say.  When it was getting close to when I had to leave, he asked me when I was free again and if I’d like to go out again.  He walked me to my car and he didn’t kiss me.

For our second date we hung out and watched movies.  I went to his apartment.  When I got there, he came outside to meet me at my car.  We passed a few other residents and he was just so friendly to all of them.  In the elevator he struck up a conversation with an older woman.  Their rapport was so effortless I assumed they knew each other.  As the woman exited the elevator, she told The Nice Guy that it was nice to meet him.  Again before I left he asked to see me again.

On our third date we met at his apartment and he took me out to eat.  He wouldn’t let me pay for the food.  Again I was struck by how nice he was to everyone.  I guess basic human decency shouldn’t really shock me at the level that it does sometimes.  Clearly nice is not a quality to which I am accustomed.

The thing about The Nice Guy is that on paper he was amazing.  He’s attractive, he’s kind, he has a sense of humour.  He knew that I had two young children and it didn’t bother him at all.  He obviously liked me and he liked spending time with me.  And so of course, I felt absolutely nothing.

After three dates I still felt nothing.  We made out a few times and I really tried to like him.  He seemed like everything I wanted in a guy.  But you can’t force chemistry, I suppose.  And this is fine.  It’s okay to not be attracted to someone.  Just because your parts can fit together doesn’t mean that they should.  This is life.

The problem is how I dealt with the fact that I felt nothing.  I ghosted The Nice Guy.  One day I just stopped texting back.  I gave him no warning, no explanation, nothing.  I just ceased contact. He texted me every few days for the next couple of weeks, and I ignored them all.  At some point I did have some humanity and felt badly about it, but I figured that it was too late to do anything about it and so I just kept ignoring him.

The thing about ghosting is that it is so easy.  It’s hard to have a break up conversation with someone, even if you aren’t really dating.  It’s hard to tell someone that you don’t want to see them anymore.  It’s hard to hurt someone.  But it’s fucking necessary.

I learned this a few months later when I myself was ghosted.  It sucked.  It was someone that I really liked and they just stopped texting me.  It would have been so much easier to get over them if they had just sent me a simple text saying that they weren’t feeling it.  It sucked and it hurt but I totally got the irony.  I absolutely deserved being ghosted after what I did to The Nice Guy.

To The Nice Guy…I’m sorry, man.  I was a complete asshole.  I hate what I did.  I know it was only three dates but everyone deserves a conversation.  It would have taken thirty seconds out of my day to send you a text saying that I didn’t want to see you anymore.  It would have hurt you, yes, which is something that I did not want to do.  But it would have hurt a hell of a lot less than what I did.  So…I’m sorry.

 

 

Regret Scoring: 10/10

To all of you reading, don’t be twats.  If you’re not feeling it, you’re not feeling it.  That’s okay! Don’t try to force something that isn’t there.  But grow up and be an adult about it, please.  Hurting someone is hard but it’s life.  People get hurt.  But people move on, too.  And they move on a lot faster if you’re not such an asshole about it.  I 100% regret what I did to The Nice Guy.  If I could take it back, I would in a heartbeat.  But as with all experiences in life, there is a lesson to be learned and I have learned it.  No matter how much I hate hurting someone, it is so much better to rip off the band-aid than to keep salting the wound.  Treat others how you would want to be treated.  Put yourself in their shoes.  Whatever overplayed cliché you want to use.  Just don’t be a fucking idiot.