Sunday, September 03, 2006


So as I was saying, I turned to insecure girly mush and truthfully – it felt HORRIBLE to be suspended in uncertainty and vulnerable like that. Really not fun at all.

But thinking back, I remember going through the same thing with my last boyfriend too, when things progressed from ‘yeah, I kinda like him but, you know, whatever’ to ‘if he doesn’t like me as much as I like him I’m going to be CRUSHED’. I slipped into that dreamy glow and began to really, REALLY like him. (Lots of CAPS in this post so you know my feelings are really INTENSE…)

The turning point with that guy was after we’d been seeing each other for a couple of months and I invited him to come to a family dinner. I really wanted my family to meet him, and him to meet them, but I worried he wouldn’t want to. I nervously extended the invitation – at short notice I might add – and he responded beautifully. He’d already made plans for that night but said that he’d love to meet my family and that he’d reschedule his other plans. Swoon. And at that point I relaxed totally, because it was clear that yes, he liked me too.

So here I was, out on a limb, waiting for something similar from Matt. Waiting for a sign that this was more than just a fling. That I’m special, that he doesn’t deliver purity tests to online maidens all over the city in order to hustle them into bed. That he actually likes me as a person and wants to get to know me. But it never came. I was always more interested in spending time with him than he was with me. And at what should have been the honeymoon phase of a relationship, I knew it was a BAD sign.

Sure, there were things going on for him that made it reasonably difficult for him to spend time with me – exams he needed to study hard for, then he worked every day back-to-back during his holidays to earn some much needed cash – but I knew that if he liked me enough, none of that would have mattered and he would have made some extra time for me. The bottom line, I realized - he’s just not that into me.

And what a bitter blow that was. I really didn’t expect it. I’d kind of mapped out this path of how things would go once I started the online dating thing, and in my mind it went like this:

Guy #1 – dud, try again.
Guy #2 – dud, try again.
Guy #3 – dud, try again.
Guy #4 – dud, try again.

Ad nauseum, until finally:
Guy #x – JACKPOT! Success, they lived happily ever after, The End…

It truly never crossed my mind that I would meet a man who triggered all the right buttons in me (chemistry, personality, etc) and that he wouldn’t like me as much as I liked him, and that I would have to go back to meeting dud guys again.

Naïve, sure. But a crushing disappointment nonetheless. Just the thought of meeting more mediocre guys drained every ounce of energy out of my body and made me feel very, very jaded. Blah.

At this stage, though, it’s all in my head. I’m 99.9% sure about what’s going on, but I’m not asking Matt if I’m right and he’s certainly not prompting any talks about feelings either.

The reasons I’m not asking:
1) I don’t want to be the girl who asks ‘where is this going?’, I just don’t.

2) I don’t want to hear the answer I think is coming because then I’d probably be obliged to stop sleeping with him out of self-respect and I don't want to do that either.

So we plod along like this for quite a while. Me reading layers upon layers of meaning into his every text message, instant message and every word that comes out of his mouth, agonizing over what he’s thinking. Him mostly keeping me at arm’s length with excuses of busyness.

Several times I decide enough! It’s over, that’s it. And I would delete his number from my phone and block him on IM and vow never to initiate contact again and cry some lonely tears. And then I’d either crumble in the light of day and put him back in my phone and unblock him on IM and talk to him again, or he’d contact me and I’d act normal, as though I hadn’t just broken up with him in my head.

And on it went until the weekend I decided that it was time to resolve things and duly noted it on my to-do list. Sunday morning and I’m online, checking email, browsing the net when the little box pops up in the corner and tells me Matt’s just signed in. My heart beats a little faster, the way it always does. He IMs me and we have a light conversation about our weekends.

He casually mentions that he’s been spending ridiculous amounts of money on petrol lately and that he’s decided to ‘stay housebound’ for a while. I read that as code for “I’m not planning on visiting you for a while”. And since I’ve only been to his place once, a student flat he shares with about 5 others, and I don’t really get the feeling that he likes having me there, I figure that me visiting him isn’t on the agenda either. So I say “sounds like we won’t be seeing each other any time soon”, to which he replies “well, we'll just take things as they come, yeah”. Translation: no, we won’t.

My heart sinks. This is my cue, time to start the conversation I don’t want to have. I struggle to find the words.

BB to Matt: I get that you've got a lot going on.
BB to Matt: But I guess at heart I'm a kinda high maintenance girl. Need a certain level of attention.
Matt to BB: I don't think that makes you high maintenance... I think that's normal

I try to figure out what to say next but I can’t get it out, even on IM. Minutes pass and then Matt changes the subject. Some lighthearted chitchat follows and we sign off.

I go away and over breakfast and housework I think about what I couldn’t say, and about what Matt also wasn’t saying. And I realize that it’s time something was said. So I text him:

I should move on & find
myself another fella,
right? I think you’re too
nice to come out & say it
yourself. But I’d rather
know than wait in vain.

I cringe as I hit the send button. Oops. Oh well, there goes nothing. And I wait for a reply. I don’t get one straight away. I wonder if he’s thinking about how to reply. Part of me hopes that he’s jumped in his car to drive over so we can talk things through. And I get the fright of my life when about half an hour later I hear a car pull up and a knock on the door – but no, it’s Mum come over to say hello.

She leaves after a few minutes and I head out to do the rest of my weekend errands. I figure I’ll get a response at some point. And it doesn’t really matter what it is. Even just sending it off I feel relieved.

And eventually, as I’m unpacking my groceries, the answer does come back:

I didn’t notice ur
message until now. I’m
sorry if u thought I was
ignoring it. Hey, u won’t
shun me if we keep it
platonic, will u?

I shed a little tear at the confirmation of what I knew all along, that he doesn’t like me enough to do any better than he did. I feel so alone.

Of course not, but u know
that’s not what I want so
I will need some time to
myself for a bit. Give me
a week or 3 and then
we’ll be sweet, k?
Thank u. I realised that
if we were going to get
serious I would have to
bring something to the
table so to speak. Can’t
do that as a student so
not fair on u

So there it was. I got things resolved, just as I'd intended. It just wasn't the resolution I'd ever wanted.


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