As someone who has been with a lot of guys, I have faced a lot of ends. The average shelf life of a random fuck that doesn’t go anywhere is 2-3 times (the range is 1-4). Imagine my surprise after two months of dating and fucking regularly.
There is something uniquely painful about being dumped after two months (don’t know if that is the technical term for being disposed of by someone you weren’t dating exclusively). After 2-3 times it is just self-righteous ego bullshit. You wonder if the person is superior to you, what gave him the right to dispose of you, how he ended up on top. The strife is all about your relative positions. After two months, you wonder what you lack, how you have failed as a person, what could have been. Because, by that time, you have become a person and you have lost the opportunity to continue something that was developing. His dissatisfaction with you seems more palpable; he thinks you are worthless and has something to base it on. Mostly, what I think about is how it ended prematurely and I don’t think he gave me a fair chance. By the time you end a real relationship, you know there is nothing left. This seems more unsettled; he didn’t even grant me face-to-face time once issues started arising. You can sift through words in your head over and over and each time interpret them differently. In the end, time became a more credible culprit than either of us. The more it punctuated our interaction, the less I understood the basis for either of our claims–the less I knew whether things were salvageable. With matters like this, half of the viability derives from will. I suppose I was the only one who had the will to make it work, not that I didn’t have my reservations.
Then there is the strangeness relating to who dumped whom. He said things that upset me and I questioned whether we still had potential or whether we were hopelessly incompatible. Instead of having a conversation to assess the damage, he told me he could not take me seriously (for being upset about the hurtful things he had said to me, among other things). The indignation kicked in and I felt like he had done me a favor. I was in the “what gave him the right to dispose of me” phase. How did he end up on top? After all, I was the one expressing dissatisfaction with him and how he had treated me. Once that phased out, and three weeks had passed since the last time I saw him, a sense of resignation kicked in. Along with it came the realization that I do miss him, I thought it could have worked, and I was happier three weeks ago when we were still hanging out, even if I was upset with him. I know I’ll never see him again; he has given up on it.
I don’t think I could have done anything differently. At least I was mature enough to be honest and direct about how I felt: what I wanted from him and how he hurt me. I’m so sick of rejection. Grad school rejection. Job application rejection. Dating rejection. I’m sick of fucking marketing myself. I want to be sexless forever or have such fleeting, inconsequential experiences that when guys waive me off it isn’t for real. They are merely rejecting an image, not me. I want to go back to getting my ego stomped on. Because that ain’t real.
Now, for the e-mail/text message showdown you’ve all been waiting for…
I wish there were a more eloquent way to say this, but instead I’ll err on the side of extreme transparency: It is true that I am super fucking annoyed by the fact that it has been two months and we haven’t done anything together, nor have I met anyone you know. The former seems like it is bound to get worse as time marches on and both the former and latter make me wonder whether I’m wasting my time. But these issues seem to pale in comparison to those brought up in the conversation we had last weekend. Since then I’ve had serious doubts about whether we should continue seeing each other at all. I was happy with the sex until you complained about it. And now I’m not really happy with anything, sexual or otherwise.
Jake told me he would match my transparency with even more transparency, then he opened with a line I find infuriating: “At the risk of telling you that your concerns are ridiculous, I do think they are a bit overblown.” I hate disclaimers along the lines of “No offense, but…” Their purpose is to introduce something quarrelsome, while robbing you of you license to get irritated, as they were at least thoughtful/self-aware enough to warn you.
First Jake covered the activity issue and claimed, “It’s not as though I’m unwilling to do them.” He listed all the activities we almost did together (all of which he had cancelled), and counted our going to dinner once as an activity. Great, we had dinner once over the course of two months. Well, woop-dee-doo. I eat dinner every night. The fact that we ate dinner together once makes him a barrel of fun. Eating dinner together and talking is at least half a step up from having drinks and talking, which is at least a full step up from sitting around and talking. He concluded by saying, “Two months isn’t a lot of time, and we’ve had some scheduling conflicts.” No, two months is a lot of time considering that it isn’t as if he was doing anything else with his time. He had plans maybe once a week at most (that didn’t involve me); he was always free—to a bizarre degree. I don’t need somebody to play hard to get or to be popular in social climbing or networking way (that likely involves superficiality and spreading himself thin), but I would like someone who has something going on in his life—even a kickball league would suffice, and you know how I feel about sports.
I consulted a few friends about this matter and one, who is in a long-term relationship, made the most incisive comment: When people have been dating for a while, they stop going out; it could only get worse if it’s month two and you haven’t gone out yet. In Jake’s defense, I explained to my friend that Jake was really good at referencing things I had said or conversations we had had in a clever way, but it seemed as if eventually we might need to share joint experiences so the references went beyond things that had been said. My friend added that one thing he hated about hanging out with kids from college is that they only talked about the shit they had done and, “If we have nothing to do besides reference what we’ve done, why don’t we just die already.” Agreed. Whenever I talked about fun things, Jake dismissed them by saying, “Those are the kinds of people my friends would make fun of.” Commentary is great and all, but at some point you have to do something worthy of comment. I was afraid that if we did something together he would be a total killjoy and provide running commentary at the expense of enjoyment. Because he never gave me the chance to find out, I’ll never know. I expect someone to be a good sport, if nothing else. Not sure he was willing to lighten up and get out of his comfort zone of sarcasm, or if having someone to go home to is enough for me. People always say they are looking for a partner who “challenges” them; for him, I think this only included intellectual sparring.
As for meeting his friends, he assured me, “[Y]ou haven’t met them, but that has nothing to do with my avoiding such an encounter due to embarrassment. I have a hard enough time tracking down my friends as is.” Among the list of reasons meeting them would be a nearly impossible feat, he listed: “[T]hey aren’t interested in thing you are interested in and vice-versa. Hanging out with them would not only be difficult logistically, but also, would involve going to meat tastings and drinking beer while watching football.” Ha ha, no. Other people’s friends do things, non-descript things, like go out for drinks or eat dinner. He’s met my friends and I haven’t dragged him to rock concerts or pornj parties or psychology/sexual health lectures. Or any of the other things that my friends like, but that I understand the general population has no interest in, and that I’d never expect a boyfriend to do with me. There are activities I know my friends can’t even be persuaded to do—and I do these myself.
Jake said the same thing about the friends as he said about the activities, that the situation is “only bound to get better, since it can’t get worse.” Fair enough; I don’t want to feel like I am pulling teeth, though, and I’ve brought up both of these points multiple times. When I talked to him about the friend thing in a very confrontational manner, he even feigned surprise: “Do you want to meet my friends?” As if it would be an unusual expectation after two months. How could I evaluate whether I wanted to date him if he didn’t let me into his life? I guess the problem was that he didn’t have one. “Willing” or not to do activities, he was not the kind of person who was inclined to do them, or engage with people. 28, single, already reclusive and inactive. I remember on our third date he mentioned that he infrequently saw his friends because many of them were married or have girlfriends. He also said that his friends who were coupled were not allowed to so much as look at other women or have a penis without getting scolded. I never want to be in one of those kinds of couples. I don’t want to just fucking die once I start dating someone. Oof!
One thing I did appreciate about Jake is that anytime I had a concern (and I had a concern that I though needed addressing after the first time we had sex), he was very receptive to me. He told me to be upfront with him about why I was upset: “You keep talking cryptically about these “conversations” that I was apparently a part of, but I have no idea why they’ve upset you. I’m not quite sure how I complained about sex, but I’m generally satisfied with it. If I weren’t, I wouldn’t do it… If you’re concerned about something in this regard, you should definitely let me know, in no uncertain terms.”
G: I have written you a manual of complaints. it is a little mean. do you want me to send it?