Mercy this and mercy that
Let justice prevail
But I just want my trophy back
It’s not for sale

I don’t believe in fate, karma, “meant to be,” or “everything happens for a reason.” I don’t all think negatively of people who do.  In fact, I envy them: I had to abandon this optimistic outlook when a dear friend of mine lost all three children in a drunk driving accident.

Even though the course of my own love life supports a bleak outlook, it’s very hard for me to operate in romantic relationships without acting as if I do believe in “meant to be.” It’s hard for anyone to be single and sincerely not believe that there is a lid for every pot.  If I truly believed that, it would make more sense to give up and maybe just pursue sex…but that just doesn’t work for me. I get attached easily (attached sex is harder to find, but so much better).  And I’d rather get attached easily and get hurt than I would become hard and lose myself. Even if I did want to harden up, I doubt I’d be able to do it.

It’s going to be hard to make peace with this in the absence of the belief that “if it was meant to be….” Instead, it’s just that we likely could have worked, and I blew it.

It seems that women around here accrue a list of desired traits in a partner as they date, and that list becomes a filter that is harder and harder for men to get past.  Without even meaning to, I’ve been quietly compiling a list of traits of “the one,” even though I don’t believe there is a “one” (or, if there is, it’s not necessarily for life, and mine is already over).  Mine isn’t like the stereotypical girl around here–not height, income, career trajectory, looks, or even necessarily personality traits.  Except for broad things like “good taste in music” and “not allergic to cats,” it’s more like a list of very specific quirks that would operate as “signs” that someone may be a good match in the long run. (I assign an almost magical importance to my gut feeling during a first kiss). It’s flexible enough that I could totally still fall for someone with none of them, because it’s not even conscious.  I tend to recognize something is on the list only when I see it in another person.

I’ve seen some of those things in M.  One of them actually freaked me out when it happened, because it was a source of not-totally-kidding fights with my ex…and it’s really the silliest thing, but I would have never expected to come across it, so it surprised me and made me feel more attached to him.

But then two things made me question the whole “I don’t believe in meant to be, but he sure does seem like a good fit if I’m wrong about it” thing today:

(1) I’m really not that good a singer technique-wise, so I would never expect effusive praise from a partner.  I also tend not to sing for guys I like (or, if I do, it’s only for ones that aren’t going to judge me because they’re not singers and/or have questionable taste in music). So it’s not that.  It’s not a need for praise. It’s really the lack of curiosity about my voice. That’s been one of the best ways for me to separate out the fuckboys from the ones who actually give a shit about getting to know me.  The latter don’t even ask to hear me sing.  The former is interested. Whether or not they say much really doesn’t matter….it’s more the interest or lack thereof in what I do.

I couldn’t remember if M had ever heard me sing (on a recording–I know I hadn’t done it in person, because I haven’t sung at all in months.  So, I asked, and he heard the one song on my soundcloud.  No comment on it (totally okay…I don’t even want to discuss it, honestly), but also I have more than one song, so…to not even be curious about, say, something I covered by another artist he liked?  Not at all a shortcoming on his part, but it is a *sign* to me.

[I also just remembered another thing on my “list,” and it’s that the guy would be understanding of my phobia.  I hate that I even have to tell anyone I date about it (because sometimes people want to go to the movies); I always feel embarrassed and exposed when I do.

My ex was enabling about it, and my last boyfriend was on the complete opposite end of the spectrum, which is a sign of either not understanding me or lack of empathy…and, in either case, it makes someone not a good match for me. I’m not looking for an enabler, but I do want someone who at least cognitively understands how frightening it is to have a panic attack.  I talked about it a while ago with M, and he gave an example of someone he knew who had a sensitivity to violence in movies due to real-life experiences, and the takeaway was “tough shit, she got over it, the world doesn’t revolve around you.”  There’s nothing wrong with that outlook (especially given the specifics of the example he gave) but, again, it scares me when someone I want to be close to isn’t sensitive to it…it makes me feel I’m more in “danger” with him somehow].

(2) I’ve landed in the friendzone, which is an inherently good thing, because if I like him enough to fall for him, I like him enough to be friends. I think he’s very special, obviously, so I’d like to have him in my life.  Also obviously, I’d rather be more than friends. However, wanting to be friends with a woman who you don’t want to fuck is so good (as opposed to the opposite–only wanting to be in touch with a woman because you want to fuck her).

Me, my daughter, M, and his pup met up today to get treats and play at the dog park.  I was really embarrassed by how bad I looked, but I didn’t know when we left that am that I’d have the chance to see him, so I didn’t fix my face or grab glasses. Afterwards, he and I were talking about how it went (very well! Boo was excellent with pup, pup was excellent with Boo, M was great with H, my ovaries exploded).  He asked if I’d be comfortable getting together again, and I thought he meant him hanging around my daughter.  I don’t think she needs to be saved from contact with men. It’s really what the grownups do that matter.  Making out in front of my daughter is a “nope.”  But anything friendly with a man is no different than a playdate or a girlfriend visiting.

He said he wasn’t asking that, he meant me.  I said “Oh. Yes,” and I told him what I had told a friend earlier in the day–that unrequited love for a guy friend feels more true to me than anything I’ve done romantically in years. I think I said “I’m not a siren–I’m an Eponine,” which is an excruciatingly awkward thing to say, but it’s true.  It sucks, and it’s not at in any way “hot” to hear, but it’s true.

I could *feel* him rolling his eyes at me, but he was nice about it. He said he didn’t want to make me uncomfortable or take advantage. He also said I can talk to him about it, which is so sweet, because I’m sure that would be awkward/uncomfortable for him.

And then, of course, I teared up, because he really is over me.  I should be happy that I can’t hurt him anymore, and I am glad of that, but (1) I know that I wouldn’t have hurt him again anyway, (2) it hit me hard that he got over me so quickly and thoroughly.

I know it can happen.  My brother, in his first marriage, tried everything to keep it together.  Once she told him she cheated, he said it was like someone had flipped a switch, and he wanted nothing to do with her anymore.  So, if that can happen in a marriage, obviously it can happen just like that when we’ve only been seeing each other in real life for a couple months.

(Not that I don’t “deserve” it.  I haven’t forgotten that, not for a minute.  I’m just avoiding going on about it on here).

And then I started thinking about how the future looks being friends with him.  I know he’s talking to other girls–he’s told me as much.  He doesn’t move fast or ask out right away, but it’s only a matter of time.

Even right now…he talks to me like I’m his bro.  He’s not saying anything purposely hurtful, but that’s a reminder that he doesn’t feel anything (the opposite of love is not hate, but indifference) beyond his default setting of kindness and regard for other humans.

I’d rather be in contact with him and see him than I would not, and I’m happy spending time with him. But, as long as I have feelings for him, he’s going to hurt me without doing anything “wrong” or even meaning to hurt me.

I need to get over him.  I had this brief moment of considering just going back on OkC now that I know it wouldn’t have any effect on him if I saw someone else.  Really, though, i don’t have any desire. I was just scrambling for an idea of how to distract myself and make sure I’m not actively punishing myself through isolation.  A couple months ago, what I would have done would be just find another guy to see.  I didn’t view it as using others to work out my own stuff, because I didn’t think there was much chance that anyone I dated would care enough about me to be hurt by anything I do.  But, I hurt M, so I know there’s a possibility that someone else could attach to me.  I’m not emotionally available now, and I want to do the right thing, so I’ll find other, healthy ways to cope.

Also, I don’t want to date. I don’t have to date just because the guy I like is dating anymore than I have to date a second guy when there’s one I really like. Have to get rid of these stupid rules that don’t actually manage my anxiety.

Last time I disabled, my break was 3 months, but I was just taking a break from letting more men into my orbit…I was still dating somewhat. I can go back and start dating at any time without hurting his feelings, so I’ll do it as soon as I feel ready and open to meeting someone else.  A week from now, months from now, whenever….I have “permission” to do that.

I haven’t lost sight of the fact that I caused all of this, 100%.  Not for a second.  But I’m not hurting him anymore, so I can think beyond that without forgetting it; I’m starting to feel that him getting over me so quickly is a sign he would have gotten sick of me even if I hadn’t ruined everything.  Losing him was punishment enough–continuing to punish myself is unhealthy and pointless.  I know that I’m a good person and that I would never knowingly hurt someone I care about.  I’m also very selfish and self-centered, and that’s something I’m going to work on in therapy.

That’s going to take a long time. I’m self-centered because of anxiety, not because I don’t care or think I’m worth putting myself before others. So, I’m going to have to address the anxiety, and anxiety is very difficult to treat.

I’m going to stop sharing my feelings with him.  I’ve said my piece, and I don’t regret it at all, because it’s absolutely true.  But it’s going to make things awkward and uncomfortable for him, and, at this point, it’s becoming self-punishment by humiliation.  So I’ll just shut up (on here, too, maybe, because it’s good practice to not indulge myself…I can whine to my TBA therapist and the couple of friends to whom I’m confessed everything) and quietly get over him over time–without punishing myself, but also without using other people.I have to internalize reality without the stupid false hopes that make my life difficult. I’m not giving up on him too easily–he’s been 100% clear.  He’d probably be happier if I got over him, because he doesn’t want it to be awkward, doesn’t want to hurt me.  That’s clearly why I’ve started going back and revising history to plant signs that he wasn’t right for me–I have to find something to latch onto in order to get over him. I hope it works. I guess.

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