Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Dating Anxiety

Why is it that the mere mention of wanting to date me exclusively is enough to send me into a swirling paroxysm of anxiety right now? Or does that have more to do with the people who have recently expressed their desire to do so?

A couple of weeks ago a really sweet, nice and completely incompatible man that I have worked with for several summers sent me an email pouring out his heart to me, and expressing his strong hope that we could take our friendship, which consisted mainly of friendly email banter at work and the occasional visit between offices, to the next level: dating. I freaked out and disappeared. I haven’t spoken to him since, or emailed him a response to that email, despite the fact that I promised him I would. It’s not that I dislike him, he really is very nice, just extremely not my type. A bit of a social misfit, and awkward around me at best I just couldn’t take him on right now.

I want someone that is at ease with me, and I with him and that would not describe our relationship in person. It’s easy to hide behind email and formulate the perfect witty responses and easy banter that we shared, along with a slightly twisted and sarcastic sense of humour. When we did share the occasional inter-office visit to chat and mutually roll our eyes at work conditions, it was fun but there existed an almost palpable awkwardness between us, and not in the fun way that denotes the beginnings of a new and promising relationship. Think junior high school dances of sweaty palms and dancing with two body lengths between each other.

As much as I tried to put him at ease, he just couldn’t completely relax around me. The simple act of patting me on the shoulder in reassurance was stilted and almost robotic when he attempted it. To make matters worse, he was wildly sensitive and irrationally angry at times about things that I would have just let roll off my back. I weathered the brunt of his hypersensitivity a couple of times through email at work and was less than impressed. This fact alone made me afraid of a closer relationship with him, even as friends. Where I am right now in life I do not want a man who is insecure and in constant need of reassurance and babysitting.

In simple terms, I do not want a “fixer-up” relationship, or one where I need to invest more emotionally than I would be getting out of it. I loved, supported, emotionally built-up and was basically the “strong one” for 6 years with Mr. Intellectual. He was demanding at times and very insecure. I was the one who always had to be the strong one, even when I felt like nothing was farther from the truth and it took it’s toll on me. I wasn’t allowed to show my vulnerabilities completely and to this day he still does not know how serious my depression, suicidal ideations and feelings of self-hate were. He couldn’t have handled it, and when I began to show him more of it, he withdrew from me to the point where I had to end the relationship. A relationship with Office Boy would have been even more disastrous since he appears almost perpetually insecure and needy, a fact I will attribute to his tender age of 21. His age was something else that made me uneasy when considering a relationship with him, even though I am only 24, he is not exactly a mature and self-confident 21.

The other man to press for a serious, monogamous relationship is The Fuck Buddy. TFB for a myriad of reasons became TFB because he was unsuitable as relationship material. He insists on calling himself my boyfriend, calling, emailing, saying “I love you” even though I never respond in kind and never will, and generally making himself a pain in the ass lately. He is far too old for this type of behaviour, and should know better - I’m not even close to being the first woman he’s involved himself with in this manner. That’s why he was an appealing choice for me to become TFB. It was supposed to be fun, undemanding and very casual. He has tried to re-negotiate the terms of the arrangement without consulting me in the very least and has displayed a level of selfish inconsideration that makes me very uneasy. He is quickly becoming a loose cannon that I’m at odds with how to appropriately deal with, having never been in this type of situation before.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005


I opened up my email this evening and I was greeted with the following line:

“As long as you stay away from the ex I'll be happy.”

Right now I’m slightly perturbed and annoyed. This was his opening line in response to an email I sent earlier today telling him what I had up for the day and that I might not be online later in the evening to chat like he had hoped.

Where does he get off telling me what I can and cannot do? We’re not even dating, and I still enjoy the ex’s company occasionally because of our shared friends and history, plus we just have a lot in common. Mr. Intellectual and I didn’t break up because there was no love left. I called it off because we weren’t on the same page anymore. I’m a big girl and don’t need someone to look after me, or “fix me”. Yes, it’s slightly messed up that MI and I still see each other, all things considered, and occasionally it causes me to be upset, but that’s my call. I know ‘The Fuck-Buddy’ doesn’t understand that though and thinks it’s a problem that needs to be resolved by me never speaking or seeing MI again.

This guy (TFB) and I have been sleeping with each other for the past few weeks. It was supposed to only be sex and a bit of fun. I have no interest whatsoever in seeing him in the real world. I do not want to be his girlfriend, go on any dates or have him come up to my University town for a visit. The sex is fantastic, but a relationship would be crap. He on the other hand has become emotionally attached and is subtly, yet forcefully trying to morph this into a real relationship. For me it was supposed to be a summer thing while I was working in my hometown, and I decided to see how it might work while I was back at school.

This is the first time I’ve tried on a fuck-buddy for size and it’s been a learning experience. I never thought I’d be the type, but a lot has changed about me in the past year since the big break up. He’d never have stood a chance if I weren’t still confused and hurt by aspects of Mr. Intellectual. TFB seems to have forgotten his place with that email though and I’m not impressed. He is quickly becoming more trouble than he’s worth to me.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Sweet Nothings

“You’re one of the few women I’ve met that actually looks better without her clothes on,” he whispered in my ear.

I laughed softly in the dark and shook my head at him. The trace of a smile played across my lips.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Going the Distance

Four of the six years of my relationship with Mr. Intellectual were long distance. After two years of dating we had graduated high school and were about to make the transition to University, it was an exciting and nerve wracking time. I had waited for so long to be able to move out of my parent’s house and get out on my own. I was ready for the freedom and responsibility and chose to attend a school an hour and half from my hometown. He was less than ready for the transition and for a host of reasons chose to stay at his parents place and attend the local University. He was more than ready for the educational benefits, and was probably better equipped for it than I was, but he was not emotionally ready to make the leap into adult hood that comes with moving out of your childhood home.

The last night we spent together was so beautiful, but so heartbreaking. I remember slow dancing with him in the dimly lit living room, listening to music, being held in his arms while he softly whispered in my ear how much he loved me and how much he was going to miss me. When he finally dropped me off at my door early in the morning I had a hard time letting him go. After one last kiss and promises to call him as soon as I had moved in the next day he was gone. I’m pretty sure there were tears in both our eyes. He adored me and I knew he was having a hard time with my leaving him. It wouldn’t be until later that I learned just how difficult it would be for him.

He wouldn’t admit it at first but a couple of years later I finally cajoled him into admitting he was angry at me for the first full year, and probably half of the second year, for leaving him. It broke my heart. He spent a lot of time punishing me for going away to school and I can count on one hand how many times he made the hour and half trip up to visit me: three. To this day it still bothers me that the man that professed to love me and would do anything for me could not drive less than 100 miles to visit me. He even had is own car.

Instead I hoped on a bus that first weekend at school and made the trip home in lieu of meeting new people and adjusting myself to living in residence. It was a trip I became all too familiar with over the next two years. I am extremely prone to motion sickness, but I still braved that four hour, rambling bus ride, through every little town and village from my new city back to his city. Almost every other weekend I would spend the money and time to get to his parents house because I was crazy for him. Needless to say I did not do so well that first year academically or emotionally. My average dropped 30% and only the fear of my mother’s wrath prevented me from dropping out or getting kicked out in April.

Around Thanksgiving of second year I stopped getting on that bus. It hurt too much, and he didn’t seem to care how much I put myself out for him. I finally got angry enough about his treatment of me to tell him I wasn’t coming home on the bus to his parent’s house anymore. If I came home at all it would be to my parents house. Around Christmas I also stopped begging him to visit me. I’m not sure if he even noticed because he certainly didn’t comment on it. I was so confused, hurt and feeling extremely abandoned by the man I loved.

In second year my emotional stress finally caught up with me and my depression became full-blown clinical depression- but I was in some serious denial. I remember calling him up in extremely desperate moments for help. I’d try anything and everything to get him to make the drive up to see me. He always found every excuse why he couldn’t. If I didn’t trust him so much I’d say now that he was cheating on me, but I know he wasn’t. I remember being suicidal and calling him. I could never come right out and tell him that I was ready to jump out a window or hang myself, but I needed him to come to me and just hold me and tell me everything would be better soon. After those unsuccessful calls I’d always end up in the fetal position on the floor of my room, crying my heart out because I just didn’t understand why I wasn’t worth going the distance for. To this day I still don’t understand why he wouldn’t visit me.

This is one of the reason’s why we broke up a year ago. As if that wasn't bad enough, last summer after he moved into my University town he joined a baseball league in his hometown. He’d drive home every Thursday night for baseball and then drive back up late Thursday night for work on Friday morning. I was flabbergasted. He’d drive an hour and half for baseball and beer with the boys every week that summer, but he couldn’t make it to visit me even after I had been diagnosed as clinically depressed and almost institutionalized? I still don’t understand it and question what about me wasn’t good enough.