We met on an uncharacteristically warm day in early October for dinner at an Indian restaurant. He was quirky, witty, and cute…totally my type. We had a delightful, insightful conversation over Chicken Shawarma, rice, vegetables, and wine. I laughed, he laughed, we asked questions of each other, we listened to one another. He told me I was beautiful. He told me he wasn’t looking for perfection. I was relieved. He was saying all the right things. I got more comfortable as the night went on. We finished dinner. What to do now?
Since it was such a beautiful evening, he asked if I would like to take a walk by the lake. “Sure,” I said. It was a beautiful night, and I didn’t want it to end. We walked along the lakefront and shared more stories of our lives. He held my hand and gave me a sloppy, but sweet kiss on the lips.
He drove me home and before I got out of the car, he asked me “if this was good,” as he quickly pointed back and forth between him and me. I said “yes, absolutely.” He gave me a slightly less sloppy, but longer kiss, and I got out of his car and went into the house. It was 2am. That first date had lasted six hours.
“Take it slow. No five-hour dates. Less frequent and shorter dates will slow down the addictive love process and allow you to assess whether this is a good guy who is truly interested in being with you (Kirschner, 2009).”
I had hoped he would call. And he did. We began an intense relationship that never got completely sexual, although there was a lot of touching, hugging, and kissing. I wanted to move things slow with that. He told me he respected that, so I didn’t feel pressure. We had more great dates and a few wonderful conversations on the phone. I started to become emotionally vulnerable with him. I shared parts of “my story” with him that I only share with those closest to me. I told my friends that I had met a great guy. I even told my mom. I was so excited and happy. Was it finally my time?
Well…there were some “pink flags.”
As time went on, he stopped “initiating” contact with me. I would always be the one who would send a text first to see how he was doing. He was responsive at first, but soon he didn’t respond as much or as quickly, saying that he was really busy with work or with his kids. I didn’t want it to seem like I wasn’t being flexible, so I accepted it. Then there were just “texts.” Texting was the main way he communicated with me. We probably talked on the phone once a week. Although texting can be convenient and fun, it’s not the main way that I want to communicate with someone I’m dating. But again, I didn’t want it to seem like I was inflexible.
When the communication became inconsistent, he became more distant. That fed into all of my insecurities. He seemed to be “busy” all the time. He had kids and a demanding job, so I wanted to show him that I could hang in there with him. I wanted to show him that I was independent and that I wasn’t really needy. But at the same time, I didn’t want to let go. I didn’t want to be abandoned.
I eventually asked him one night if he wanted me to back off for awhile. It would hurt, but I would understand. His answer to that question was “no.”
After that, he never initiated another text and they were rarely returned. Finally, the calls, texts stopped. Smoke signals weren’t returned either.
I finally got the hint. But I was devastated. I had lost something that I felt had so much potential. And it only lasted two months.
And there in a nutshell is my shame. There is so much embarrassment that I have over the fact that I’m still grieving over this relationship that hardly began.
“If we can find someone who has earned the right to hear our story, we need to tell it. Shame loses power when it is spoken (Brown, 2010).
After a week of being ignored, needing closure I sent him a text that said, “hey, I guess you have changed your mind about me, I’m just needing closure, thanks.” I was shocked when I got a response. His response was “yes, but I would like to talk to you about it, but I can’t now, I’m ‘busy’ at work, I can call you this weekend.”
That was four months ago. That call never came.
So there were two issues here. First, the common heartbreak feelings of not being good enough, what could I have done differently, etc. And second, my abandonment issues were activated.
“When ‘the One’ turns out to be a jerk, when you are sitting there alone in your apartment feeling frustrated, rejected, or abandoned, your love sickness can set in. Why? Your brain is in a state of love-drug withdrawal (Kirschner, 2009).”
So my question to you is where do you think I made the mistakes here? Where was the lesson? Well, when I was freshly going through the heartbreak, through my tears, there was a resounding I LEARNED NOTHING FROM ALL OF THIS OTHER THAN THE FACT THAT MEN, LOVE AND DATING SUCKS! If this is what it’s all about, I want no part of romantic love! I was nothing but beautiful and loving to this man, I showed my true self to him and all he did was throw it away, and left me abandoned, and I don’t even know why!!
But now that I have calmed down (a little) and with the help of my Higher Power, my amazing therapist, the 12 steps, friends and recovery friends, lots of self development literature, and my mama, I am beginning to learn some of the lessons. These lessons I will share in part 2 on Monday. But in the meantime, feel free to weigh in on the ways that you think I can do things differently in the future. (But be gentle).
- Brown, B. (2010). The gifts of imperfection: Let go of who you think you’re supposed to be and embrace who you are. Center City, MN: Hazelden.
- Kirschner, D. (2009). Love in 90 days: the essential guide to finding your own true love. Center Street: NY.