Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Out of sight, out of mind?

Ever been addicted to something bad for you?  I think most people can identify with this on some level.  Luckily for me, I've never been addicted to anything like cigarettes or drinking or drugs, or even gambling.  I just get addicted to people.  Turns out that can be just as bad for you as anything else.

When I crush, I crush hard.  I'm like a 14 year old girl that way.  It's just impressive to still have that kind of staying power at 33.  Sometimes I swear it feels like I'm back in high school, except it's possibly more embarrassing to get butterflies over a dumbass now than it was then.  :-D 

Often I think the entire concept of butterflies is a disservice to people like myself.  I mistake them for something that matters for more than an instant, and anyone who provides said butterflies becomes instantly imbued with more value than they may actually be worth.  Sometimes, a butterfly is just your stomach's way of telling you, "Hey, that person is pretty attractive, and my body likes them, but PROBABLY for all the wrong reasons."  In other words, sometimes YOUR BODY LIES TO YOU.

Lately I've realized that against my better judgment, I'm kind of a cliche at times.  You know that idea that women like men who treat them like crap and while they *claim* to want a nice guy, they're turned off by guys who are too nice?  Well, damn it all to hell, but it's kind of true.  I'm ashamed for myself for saying that out loud.  But if I can't be honest here, then where can I be? 

Now look, I'm not saying I want a guy who berates me or tears me down at all times, or who tells me no one is going to love me like he does.  But like it or not, there is some truth to this claim in my own life.  Case in point:  the guy I'm most into right now, all logic aside, is the one who:
a) Stopped dating me because I upset him by going on another date even though we'd had no conversation about exclusivity. 
b) Told me he needed space from me and proceeded to ignore me for 2 weeks.
c) Started dating me again for a week, only to kill that by cancelling plans with me at 7pm on a Saturday night for that very night, just to stay home.  For the record, I called it off that time around.
d) never wants to actually do anything aside from hang out at his place
e) most often contacts me with a super romantic line like "What are you wearing?"*

*By the way, the answer to that last one is generally "Clothes, dumbass." 

This guy did not wish me a happy birthday even though we spoke on my birthday.  He told me it's not his thing.  He told me that his ideal relationship is a roommate who will sleep with him.  DELIGHTFUL!  He told me that he doesn't want to have to compromise in any way in a relationship, and that he sees nothing wrong with doing things exactly as he does them now and expects that to be okay. 

So why the hell do I like this guy?  I know you're wondering because everytime I put it all down in written form, I wonder, too.  On paper, he's a disaster.  In real life, he's kind of a disaster, too, but it translates differently.  I think the bottom line is this:

He's what I can handle right now. 

Yup.  It's true.  In my heart of hearts, I am a long term relationship person.  I love loving someone and being part of a pair.  But I'm wary.  Very, vary wary.  I keep getting burned.  And the last one?  Serious burn.  It left me feeling weak and uncertain and lost.  I've had to work so hard to build myself back up after that relationship, and I'm afraid.  I'm afraid to lose the ground I've gained.  I'm afraid that my judgment is bad.  I don't trust myself, and I don't trust others.  I expect to be hurt.

I guess that's normal after a difficult breakup to some degree.  I know this is not an experience or feeling unique to me.  But in a way, it is unique to me, personally.  In the past, after getting burned, I jumped right back in the fire.  This time....there's caution there.  Hesitation.  Skepticism. 

So right now, wrong on paper boy is like a placeholder.  He's not permanent, and doesn't even pretend to be.  He's fleeting, he's unreliable, he's wrong.  But on the other hand he gives me those little glimpses into the things I do want, in the most noncommittal way possible.  Comfortable laughter with someone.  Simple affection without calculation.  Flirting.  I get just the tinest little taste of what I want, but without having to sign on to anything.  As much as I say his unreliability and his random appearances in my life frustrate me, I secretly kind of appreciate it.

With him, I can do whatever I want with my friends and still be accountable only to myself.  I don't have to worry about hurting someone's feelings if I'd rather go out with a girlfriend.  No one is counting on me to take care of them when they're sick or put my plans aside to go to their work party.  I don't have to carry around all the responsibilities, physical and emotional, of being someone's girlfriend. 

He's like a tenuous connection to intimacy, in the most superficial form.  We do not have a deep and unyielding bond.  We're two people who occasionally circle back around each other, and I think he likes it that way, too.  He's not good at relationships.  He's not flexible enough to be in one, at least not with 99.9% of the population.  He's socially awkward at times and too much of a homebody.  Somehow we offer little windows of balance to one another.  I think he likes knowing that there is someone in the world who likes to spend time with him, but who doesn't demand too much of it.  I don't solicit I love yous he can't offer, I don't require commitments he can't agree to.  We get together once every week or two, then we leave and live our separate lives.

So that's how I explain myself.  But the fact is that lately I've been feeling a little more tied up in him than I want to be, and it's started to bother me.  I'm beginning to wonder if the novelty of being so scarcely connected is wearing off.  It's starting to annoy me a little when I don't hear from him as much one day.  It's starting to bother me that he doesn't really bring much to the table in terms of initiative.  Today, I've found that I'm feeling the most distant I've felt from him since we broke up the first time around. 

I'm kind of tired of the idea of him.  I'm now growing weary of not mattering as more than just an intermittent friend.  I'm feeling like maybe his allure is wearing off....and I'm wondering what that means. 

I'm talking to a few different guys aside from wrong on paper boy, aka Artboy, for the record.  I've been out three times with one of them, GymTeacher.  We have a flirty banter going back and forth, there's an attraction, he's likeable.  But I'm paranoid about him.  As much as I love the sarcastic flirting, right now, I suddenly kind of wish I could JUST ONCE deal with someone who was a little bit more sincere on occasion.  I'm not saying he's not capable of sincerity, and he's said some genuinely nice things to me, but I guess I'm thrown off by the sarcasm all the rest of the time. 

I want to like a nice guy.  A nice guy with a sense of humor and capacity for sarcasm, of course, but a legit nice guy.  However, I'll admit that too nice is a turnoff.  To me, too nice means trying too hard.  Giving too much of yourself too early to someone who isn't giving you signs that they're for sure interested.  It's such a fine line.

Two of the other guys I'm talking to are a bit more serious seeming than GymTeacher, but still seem good spirited and fun.  I'm hoping to meet them both individually soon because I feel like I need to try something different.  I'm craving that sincerity.  Someone who is genuinely nice.  Someone who doesn't get off on the game playing so much. 

I'm in such a weird place.  I'm hopeful that perhaps I'm transitioning out of the ArtBoy phase.  I don't fault myself for any of it, or really regret any of it.  I just feel like I'm ready for more.  GymTeacher is a step above ArtBoy because he at least wants to see me and spend time with me, and calls to see how my day was, and is complimentary to me and has an adult life with an adult job and doesn't seem like such a grown up kid to me, like ArtBoy does.  And believe me, I'm still going to see GymTeacher through because it's too early to know enough about him, and I like him a fair amount. 

I've been feeling so introspective lately.  I think I'm in a really interesting transitional period.  I'm also realizing that even though I'm over the ex in the sense of being in love with him, I'm still dealing with some of the aftermath of that relationship.  It's a little something new to add to the baggage in my relationship closet, and I need to acknowledge that it's there and it's okay.  These things happen.  Relationships start and end, and if you gave any part of yourself to it, you'll come out the other end a little bit changed.

Yesterday was five months since I moved out of the ex's apartment.  Five months is actually a pretty significant amount of time.  Maybe after working through this labyrinth for the last several months, I'm finally starting to be interested in finding my way out.  I think I've been willfully lost for awhile now, and only very, very recently has the fog cleared a little, and I feel a little spark of willpower to start anew.

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