Sucker Punch

“I have no intention of ever getting into a relationship with a man.”

Those were the first words out of his mouth, the first thing he said to me in ten days.  Longer really, but I’m not counting the ten days he was on a different continent.

“I still think you’re really hot.  And I still have really strong feelings for you.  But I have the option to go the other way; why would I voluntarily put myself into a second marginalized social group?”

Apparently, “for love” is not an answer that would occur to him.  And so, that’s it.  Things with The Guy really are over, and I’m left completely alone to deal with the aftermath, the heart ache and anguish that comes from falling hopelessly in love (even though I knew better) with someone who doesn’t love himself enough to let anyone else love him.  Someone who I still have to see every.  Single.  Day.

I have been such a fool.

But he has been, and continues to be, a cruel idiot.

As a person who has lived an entirely too long already life, devoid of love, it is inconceivable to me how anyone could sit face to face with someone who wants them, admit to having feelings for that person, and then shove them away, determined never to consider giving that connection a chance.  I was dumbfounded and didn’t quite know what to say.

Hours later, I was finally leaving work, well after everyone else had gone home.  If the parking lot was any indication, I was the only person in the building, something which I’m determined not to repeat, work load be damned.  (If you don’t provide me the right resources to complete the work you give me, in eight hours or less, it’s not my fault it didn’t get done.  It’s yours!)  I finally had a little clarity and I pulled out my phone to send him a text message I knew would be ignored for hours, if not forever:

“I want you to know that I really do respect your right to decide what you want, even if I don’t like what you decided…

But, telling me that you think I’m really hot AND that you have feelings for me, but that your making a choice not to be with me because of what other people will think…  You’re telling me that other people’s opinion of you is more important to you than I am…  I’m hard pressed to see that as anything other than rejection and hurtful…”

I entered into this, certain that I knew what I was getting myself into.  I knew the chances of success were minuscule at best, and I believed I was prepared for the inevitable end.  I knew that when that end came about, we would be mature and handle it like civilized adults, which we have, but which he somehow interpreted as “We’ll stay friends.”  That would’ve been nice, but I never imagined his reasons would be so hurtful and demeaning.  Being friends might be an option down the road, but right now, I don’t know how to do that, and I can’t just decide not to be hurt by his reasoning, despite his assertions that I should be doing just that.

Over the last three weeks of radio silence, I’ve had a lot of time to reflect on his behavior, which I probably shouldn’t do a lot of.  When a person of already questionable and precarious emotion health begins to psychoanalyze the behavior of an addict, that very quickly leads to an ugly little thing called Co-Dependance.  But while I was, I realized that there’s been a long history (or at least as long as a history between two people who’ve only known each other for three months can be) of The Guy utterly and completely avoiding emotions.  I’ve known that for quite a while, but I thought it was just my emotions, and I convinced myself that those avoidance behaviors would end, as soon as he stopped hiding from what he was feeling.  I realize now, that he avoids all emotions, especially his own (other than lust and desire, apparently) and refuses to face those feelings and what they mean for him.

I drove home with the top down, assertively pressing the “next” button on the steering wheel, unable to listen to the sappy, I’m-so-excited-to-be-in-love songs that seem to permeate my iTunes (go figure – is that all anybody sings about?), in search of some “angry and hurt” music to soothe me.

(Sidebar:  Apple needs to add a “mood” function to iTunes, kind of like the Genius feature that creates a list of 25 songs that have some, often indiscernible thing in common.  The Mood playlist, would pick 25 (or all) of the songs in your devices library that fit the mood you’re in; sappy, madly in love, depressed, hurt, angry, heartbroken, murderous rage while stuck in traffic…  On second thought, that one might not be such a wise addition.)

As I drove, and jabbed, I thought about the days ahead, in which I get to sit at my desk at work – a position that is already fraught with stressful emotions, without adding this complication – and watch and listen as The Guy puts on his usual jovial, everybody-loves-me, all’s-right-with-the-world, show as if nothing was bothering him, and nothing in the world could touch him – and think about how hurt and disappointed I am that things turned out this way; how unfair it is.  I thought about how he gets to see me everyday, and experience the attraction and affection that he claims to feel for me, before the shame and self-judgement takes over and reminds him just how horrible his life would be if people thought of him as black and gay, and the inner-conflict kicks in (because apparently closeted bisexual is not a problem).  And then I thought, “How can we possibly be friends?!”  If we’re both walking around the office everyday seeing each other, and seeing each other is hard on each of us for different reasons, how can we be friends?

Less than an hour after I sent my text to him, he responded, much to my shock, saying “I hear you completely.”  I replied, posing my “How can we be friends?” question.

“Well, I think you can see a person, like a person, and not be with that person.  And yet still have positive feelings for that person.”

Right.  What was I thinking, asking the person who chooses to ignore his feelings a question like that.

The Guy made the first move… Several first moves, in fact…  Several very aggressive first moves even.  I’m not blaming him there, I have free will and I played my part cheerfully, but I would never have initiated things.

He went on to say, “I mean, I don’t expect us to be best buds, but I don’t want negative energy with you.”

So in other words, not only am I not worth the investment of attempting a relationship  with, but I’m not really even worth valuing true friendship with.  From the moment he saw me for the first time, I’ve been nothing more than a play thing.

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