Wednesday, February 4, 2015

“For what it’s worth, I think we could’ve been a cool couple.”

“For what it’s worth, I think we could’ve been a fucking cool couple.” 
I'm going to go tease my hair and
sing into a fan until I feel better.

And then we hung up.

But I know you want to hear more about The Talk, so let’s start there.

Last week, Ryan came over (finally) to discuss what had been going on with us. He had been pulling away, and I assumed – correctly – that the idea of a relationship for a man who says he’s never really had one was too scary/unappealing/boring/suffocating/fill in your own negative adjective.

We sat on my couch, the site of our first kiss, and we had a remarkably respectful and mature conversation. 

The exchange took an hour and looked something like this:

Him: I am fine with how things are.
Me: I know we are still getting to know each other, but I like the idea of being open to the possibility of things progressing.

Him: I know you’re looking for a relationship.
Me: I’m look for a relationship with the right person. I’m interested in the idea of one with you, not because you have a pulse, but because you’re you and I like what I know so far.

Him: I don’t think I’m going to get there. I don’t want to string you along and have it be two, three months down the road and nothing has progressed.
Me: Well if that is how you’re going to come at things, then that is exactly what will happen. I’m not in any rush for anything relationship-wise, but things cannot be stagnant either. I know you haven’t had much relationship experience. Other than being married, neither do I, oddly enough. So let me ask you: Have you been enjoying our time together, hanging out, talking, having sex, the whole thing?
Him: Yes, definitely. And when I go out, I’m not looking to meet anyone else.
Me: So, why not try doing things differently from how you’ve done them in the past? Why not trying on for size the possibility of seeing where things go with me? I have a life, so do you, and dating isn’t a threat to that. It could be fun!

Silence.
(Crap.)

After an hour of me making excellent points (if I do say so myself) and him essentially saying he doesn’t want a relationship, we agreed to take some time to think. Later, I texted him, thanking him for coming over and being honest. He responded that he would not play games with me, and I said that I knew he wouldn’t, and neither would I.

So, I asked myself: could I just leave things as they are? Like I said, I’m not in any rush to find me a baby daddy or anything. But, over the weekend, I thought about my other relationships.

I love people. When you are my family member, my friend, whoever, I want to just care about you. I don’t know how to express my affection for others under any sort of limitation, and that is exactly what I would be agreeing to with Ryan. I cannot do that.

Ryan and I didn’t communicate much over the weekend, and then on Sunday he suggested that we “touch base” on Monday. Dammit. That tiny unrealistic romantic in me, the part that is secretly sad when couples from The Bachelorette break up, was hoping that maybe by some miracle Ryan would come to his senses and realize how idiotic it is to walk away from a person you connect with on so many levels. But you wouldn’t make a romantic confession like that when you “touch base.”

So, on Monday, true to his word, we "touched base." We talked for four minutes while I cooked fajitas. I asked him if we had come to the same conclusion. He said yes, and reiterated that he didn’t want it to be two, three months down the road and I would feel like he wasted me time or led me on. (Interesting fixation he has on this specific time period.) I said I didn't know how to restrict the way I'm going to care about a person.

Then, I said this was disappointing, but I accepted it. “But, Ryan, for what it’s worth, I think we could’ve been a fucking cool couple.”

(Yes, I used to the F-word. Seemed to drive my point home.)

And then we said we would see each other around town. Bye.

I put my phone down on my kitchen counter and sighed.

I have known all along that this was a very likely possibility. He’s 44 and never had a relationship; by his own admission, he’s never had his heart broken. Clearly, this is a man who, for whatever reason, will not allow himself get emotionally intimate with a woman. For the past two weeks, I could see the writing on the wall, so this was hardly shocking.

But as I stirred my fajitas, I got that telltale lump in my throat. What the hell is this? A few tears slid down my cheeks.

What? I’m crying over a guy? Well. Isn't this interesting.

Of all the guys I have gone out with, through the various ups and downs and men disappearing, this was the first time I cried over a guy. Ryan was the first guy that I was actually floored at times by how much we had in common. Then I had wondered if he’d be too tame in the bedroom, and I was wrong – we were super compatible there too! I mean, this was finally a guy where I could really, truly see something happening.

Keeping it real with emotionally unavailable men in their 40s.
But nothing was going to happen.

Not because he didn’t like me – I could accept that better because I’m fully aware that I’m not for everyone and that’s OK.

Nothing was going to happen because he simply will not allow his heart to open that far.

How very sad.

So, I called Jen. With my mouth full of fajita and my tear ducts filled to the brim, I babbled for a few minutes, and like the good friend she is, she listened and assured me that I did nothing wrong, my time with Ryan was fun while it lasted, and it would be OK.

I wiped my tears away. Then I fired off a bunch of texts to tell the masses, and they all responded with the love and support I knew they would provide. 

So, I’m still feeling a little blue and I miss him already. But I’m OK because I’m proud that I stuck to my motto of keeping an open heart and an open mind while also keeping my eyes open. I saw the signs that he would probably pull away, and I didn’t pretend that they weren’t there. I didn’t downplay my readiness for a relationship just to appease him. I really enjoyed my time with Ryan, and when I’m ready to date again, the right person will be out there.

And in the meantime, I'll play some 1980s ballads and sing at the top of my lungs in my car. Total Eclipse of the Heart, anyone?

What was your last breakup like? How do you feel about the way you conducted yourself?

15 comments:

  1. My last break-up was so much like this! Only we were together for 6 months, he met my kids and I was 100% blindsided when he told me he was moving away...for no reason. Looking back, I should have seen the warning signs. All of his girlfriends had been long distance, at 32 he had never lived with anyone, or been engaged, no kids, moving ever 3-4 years. I commend you for seeing the signs and addressing them early on. Trust me, you saved yourself SO much heartache!

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  2. I married and had a kid with a woman who never showed me her true side. She divorced me without even discussing it. Then tried to keep me from seeing my son. You are so much better off finding out that he is not emotionally available now as opposed to later!
    But yes, go ahead and cry, because it sucks that it didn't work out :(

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  3. Tara Dunn McCollumFebruary 4, 2015 at 4:49 PM

    While I'm a bit jaded by men and the things they say before ending a relationship, I'm also, I think, inexperienced in the manner. But, I find it kind of nice how truthful he was with you and how he did what he could to make it as pain free as possible. I'm more so impressed with how you handled yourself and had come to the conclusion of who you are and how you love. I feel that if he had tried to set some limitations to your relationship in the hopes of trying to make it work, you would not have accepted it and you never should. Keep living and loving as you are and the right person, the right circumstance will come your way.

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  4. Natalie @ Our Parallel ConnectFebruary 4, 2015 at 5:42 PM

    I'm a little saddened by your story just because isn't it easier to relax, take things as they come and if they don't turn the way you are thinking, pull the pin. Maybe he had in his head all along that you were not the right one (not sure why but just a thought). Maybe he is scared of any form of commitment.

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  5. That is sad. But totally his loss hon. I feel bad for him - sounds like he may need some therapy to figure out why he's sabotaging himself. He'll be kicking himself over missed opportunities...

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  6. I'm sorry you had to go through that! Lessons learned all around, right?

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  7. Let's all run and hide from the emotionally unavailable. I was married to one of them already!! I'm doing much better now that I let a few tears slide.

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  8. Hi Tara -- Yes, I very much appreciate how honest we were with each other. It's the way stuff like this SHOULD be done. Thanks so much for your kind words!

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  9. I know, I wish he had been willing to just roll with things and see what happens, but apparently it wasn't in the cards for us. What can you do though?

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  10. I do wonder if he'll regret it, but maybe not, given how long he's been comfortably single. I try to keep telling myself it's his loss... though I am still rather bummed about it.

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  11. DISAPPOINTING!

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  12. Thanks Persephone. It is very important to me to act in a way so that I'm at peace with my own actions. (Though it's sometimes easier said than done!) I did my best to stick up for myself while trying to keep an open heart and mind.

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  13. Keep telling yourself. One door closes so another one can open.

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  14. Hi Kat. I just found your blog and I can relate on so many levels. Thanks for sharing your stories with us! I'm three years out of a 10 year relationship with an emotionally unavailable man. I'm doing the dating thing and I totally agree about how hard (and frustrating!) that awkward gap period is between newly dating and in a relationship.

    Reading this post, there was a red flag that I've only recently discovered myself -- the guy who loves meeting and doing things with your friends but doesn't introduce you to his. Something's not right when this is going on. I recently dated a guy for a few months who was like this and I even pointed it out to him a couple of months in and he apologized and said he didn't know why that was the case but he would fix it and include me in his life (he never did). It's just shady. Either he's hiding something or he's not into you enough for you to be a part of his life. I'll know better going forward...

    Live and learn! I'm sorry that this guy wasn't the right one, but better to know now than later. We both can attest to that. :)

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  15. I'm so glad you found my blog!
    I think you are very right about the friends thing. I mean, I get not introducing the person to your friends immediately -- but you should be hiding each other either. I'm definitely going to keep my eyes open about this going forward.

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