For years I have used the idea that it is a bad idea to date within the workplace as an explanation for why I am not involved with anyone. I am sure that sounds like a leap in logic to many, but the fact is, I don’t meet many new people other than at work. If I expected to develop relationships of any kind, be they friendships, professional networking, or romantic, where else am I going to find these people besides at work? Not dating within the workplace is a viable explanation, indeed many will say it’s a good idea… I think I will count myself among those people. Many people also see not dating within the work place as an excuse for why I don’t have many relationships.
I broke the rule.
I didn’t even think twice about it. He caught my eye on the first day. More importantly, I caught his eye on the first day. He’s sexy! He’s funny! He’s very outgoing and personable! He was very affectionate, at first at least. We talked almost every day. Over the first few weeks we had many, many conversations in which as he continued to reveal things about himself, I continued to check things off my imaginary list of preferred attributes, things I would like to find in a potential mate. We don’t work together, just in close proximity to each other. I’m in Facilities and as such, technically, he is my client, but so is every other living, breathing soul in the building. He hardly ever asks for anything from Facilities and when he does, our relationship holds no baring in the service I provide. He was reticent, he said, because of the risk of dating in the work place. I assured him that we were both mature adults and had the capacity to behave maturely and civilly, that there was no law that said that things had to end badly… if they ended at all.
He continued to hesitate and eventually, I found out the real reason why. His reasons, I’m afraid, are not something I can share here. But in all that time, all the things he told me about himself, things he was insecure about, things he thought were negative attributes, things he was sure I would not like about him, in all that time, he told me exactly one thing that I could not live with. But I was hooked and I was convinced that the one thing I could not live with, would change. No that I could fix him, or that I could make him change this one thing, but that the one thing would change, organically, because it would be worthwhile to him… because I would be worthwhile to him.
He said he couldn’t do it; a relationship was not in the cards. He acted like a relationship was all he wanted. And being a sucker, I paid attention to his actions and not his words…
Actually, I paid attention to the actions I liked and explained away the ones I didn’t. “He’s struggling with the idea.” “It’s just his background.” “He’ll work it out. I did!” “I just have to be patient.” In many ways, we have very similar backgrounds and I really do understand a lot of what he is going through. And then there’s the ways in which our backgrounds are completely different and I have no way of understanding what he’s going through, and the more I look at it the more I realize, he is not trying to get through anything, he is just coasting along on auto pilot.
But I didn’t want to see those things. I didn’t want to admit that I was the one with the problem. I convinced myself that I was not allowing the mitigating factors to impact my behavior… And I’m still pretty sure of that. But I have to consider the possibility.
You see, I have always known that I was going to be alone. For the rest of my life, I will be alone. I don’t like it, but I’ve come to terms with it. I’m not the dating kind. And I’m not someone with whom people make the first move. I never have been. And honestly? I don’t even want to be. Dating is awful. It sucks and it’s a huge hassle, and it’s full of pitfalls and heart ache and I don’t want to have anything to do with it. I do want to be in love and I do want to get married (now that it’s finally legal), but I don’t want to go through all the bull shit it takes to get there. Can’t have one with out the other. I know that.
No, I’ve always known I would be alone and yet, when this guy came along (it only took 38 years for pity’s sake!), I disregarded that knowledge and dove in head first. I knew it was a fluke. I even knew it was very unlikely to be forever, but I allowed myself to believe that it would last for a while; that we’d have some fun together; that I’d have my share of experiences with another person that I can’t have on my own… And then eventually he would leave me, because, really! Knowing all that, I went for it anyway.
I am an idiot.
Things were fine for a while, except I’m certain I was in a different place than he was. I believed he would come around. I even convinced myself that he was making strides in the “right direction”. And then I pushed a little too hard and it all came crashing down.
I should never have allowed this to happen. I should never have allowed myself to take the chance, especially knowing it couldn’t end well. for once in my life I set my historical wisdom aside and allowed myself to hope for something better than I had a prayer of getting; better than I deserved. And I got burned.