Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Lowdown on the Letdowns

The painful truth: in the last couple months, I’ve been effectively “let down easy” a.k.a. DUMPED by two very eligible bachelors. And, the ironic thing about it is that both men started off pursuing me… hard! But when I let it be known that the feeling was mutual, they both backed off rather quickly.

Now, the articulated reason for their collective retreat had something to do with the fact that they are both on the path to achieving really big things professionally. And, each of them is dedicated to making that happen within a certain time frame… therefore, neither was willing to let something as silly and insignificant as love get in the way of their hopes and dreams. Neither saw that it was possible for them to balance both romance and entrepreneurship. And, Lord knows that the last thing I want to do is stand in the way of a man and his dreams. In fact, I had this fantasy that I’d be the background to their foreground, so to speak. I’d wake up next to my man, sit up in bed and watch him get dressed to go out into the cold cruel world and fend for our family. And when he sat down to put on his socks, I’d lean over and rub his shoulders, and give him an enthusiastic pep talk about why his family needed him to, yet again, brave the shark infested waters of the business world to make sure that our family not only survived, but thrived. No, for real. I had this all laid out in my head. For these two men, I’d be the best damn cheerleader I could be. But neither of them gave me a chance to be that for them. Instead, they chose to end things so that they could focus on bringing their dreams to fruition.

I can’t be mad at that. But I CAN be suspicious.

Suspicious of what, you might ask. Well, see, the stated reason for why they ended things with me had to do with sacrificing love for the greater good of their eventual professional success. And, if that’s true, then more power to them both. But, both of these men also had unresolved feelings about previous tumultuous relationships with unstable women. They both admitted to suffering from “trust issues” and they both were hesitant about getting into a romantic relationship – with anyone – in the first place.

Now, what’s really crazy about both of their circumstances is that in both cases, based on the information that has been given to me, I’ve basically concluded that the women they’re still somewhat pining for are both NUTS. You know, it amused me that these two men, who are so fundamentally different, were basically saying the exact same things about their previous relationships.

Okay, number one, they both had gotten out the relationships approximately 1 year before they became involved with me. Number two, in both cases the women did dumb shit and made incredibly retarded mistakes in the months leading up to their eventual breakups. Number three, both men are bitter about their breakups. Number four, I honestly believe that, in both cases, if their exes came back and wanted to start over, the men would jump at the chance. And, I believe that this last part really explains why these two men couldn’t settle down with ME. It was because in the back of their minds (consciously or subconsciously), they are still waiting for these women to come back to them!

Now, I just want it to be known that I think that’s crazy! The fact that these two men would still be caught up in the relationships that they had with two crazy chicks is just silly to me on one level, but on a deeper level, I get it. I had just had a conversation with a friend of mine about the difference between the way a man handles a breakup and the way that a woman handles a breakup. And, believe it or not, I believe that there are some key differences between the two approaches.

First of all, I believe that women are dynamic, ever-changing, unpredictable beings. So, there are not any clear-cut rules to their reactions. Men, on the other hand, respond to bad breakups in one of two ways:

1. They do whatever it takes to get right back into another long-term relationship with the first woman they come into contact with;

2. The decide that they won’t get into another relationship again unless it’s a last resort, and until they encounter that last minute situation, they will be the most skittish, most suspicious, most down-on-love, and most promiscuous person they can be.

The Dynamic Duo that recently decided they wanted nothing to do with me, ended up in the second category. They were both scared shitless at the thought of being ever trusting a woman again, failing to see that I was NOTHING like either of the women who had hurt them. And, everyone knows that a relationship cannot survive without trust. So, rather than let down their guard a trust again, they’d rather just throw all energy and effort into building their empires. Great. Go for it, boos.

So, anyway, where does that leave me? Well, for starters, it leaves me ALONE. Which, for all intents and purposes, is not necessarily a bad thing. But it also leaves me confused. Who were these women who could do so much damage. And, also, I’m a firm believer that nothing that leads to the demise of a relationship is a “surprise”. What do I mean by that? Well, for instance, let’s say a couple breaks up because the woman discovers that her man is on the down-low. I personally do NOT believe that this should come as a shock to any woman. I don’t care how well the man covers things up, the woman would have seen as least a few signs along the way that would stir up her intuition, but because she didn’t WANT to see those signs, she’ll claim that his status was a TOTAL surprise. And, it won’t have been. After the relationship is over the person will say, “I remember when he did thus and such… and right then I should have known that something was up.” Yes, I am aware that hindsight is 20/20, but if we learn to let our intuition lead us, it can save us from a lot of potential heartache.

Now, I’m not saying that these two guys were completely innocent bystanders who just stood around and let their exes eff up their relationships. Oh no, they DEFINITELY played a part in the downward spiral of their relationships, but their exes certainly hammered some nails into the coffin as well. But when one of these guys tells me that he was totally surprised that his ex was so evil, vindictive and conniving… well, you can see why I was skeptical. I suggest that we go back over the relationship and look for signs that might have indicated that she was all those things and more BEFORE things really got bad. And, as we go back over the relationship, he points to lost of legitimate signs that the girl was a nutjob! So, I ask him why he stayed and he said that he just couldn’t think of a reason not to stay. Wow. It was that simple, huh?

I was thinking about this conversation while I was sitting under the hairdryer at the salon last week. I was flipping through a magazine that my stylist had handed me before I settled in under the intense heat shooting out of the hood of the dryer, and came across an article that purported to have the answers to why men find it difficult to move on from bad relationships. I rolled my eyes and chuckled to myself, preparing to read a bunch of dime store psychology that didn’t really answer any of the questions women have about men. But, in the article, a 23-year-old broke things down in a way I’d never considered. He basically said that men stick around because they’re afraid to give up on something that is broken. It goes back to their need to always “fix” what is broken. And if they walk away from a broken relationship, it’s almost like they’re admitting that they were unable to make the situation better.

Hot damn, a real answer! An answer that made sense! An answer from a… 23 year old?! But, who cares about age. This dude just made a really damn good point! So, what it comes down to is that men are stay-ers. If they care about someone (and it’s important to emphasize this aspect of things… if they don’t care about their partner, then none of this applies) it’s difficult for them leave a relationship, let it go, or really even accept the fact that it is over. That’s deep, but boy do I get it! These unresolved feelings also have something to do with the male ego. And we know that damn ego is a powerful influence. If it’s not feeling right, then everything else will go wrong.

I’m hoping that one day both these guys can get over the unresolved feelings they have about their past relationships. And, I’m hoping that they both realize that throwing themselves into their work is only a quick fix for the unresolved and unaddressed feelings that they still have about their exes.

I once heard a pretty interesting quote that said: “The only thing that keeps a good man away is a bad one.” Translation – lose the chicken dinner and get with a winner, if you know what I mean! I want to yell this to these two guys. They’re hung up over two nutjobs and have essentially sacrificed the potential happiness that they could’ve had with me for the guaranteed misery they’d already been subjected to by their exes. I mean, we already know it’s their loss (so don’t patronize me by telling me so!), but it doesn’t make it an easier pill for me to swallow. The shit sucks. It is what it is.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The End of a Beginning

I haven’t written in awhile because, frankly, I find it quite exhausting to write about my love life. Writing about love in the hypothetical sense is, naturally, much easier… and it’s pretty easy to write about topics that have nothing to do with love at all. But, like it or not, this blog has become a “relationship” blog. I mean, I want to write about my life, and the most dynamic and dramatic part of my life is not work, family, or hobbies, but rather my romantic exploits.

Don’t get me wrong – writing about my love life was fun for awhile. I created “characters” who symbolized the guys that I’ve dated and I gave them aliases and then I thinly-veiled their identities and wrote about real-life experiences. And I did this all operating under the assumption that I was safe because I was blogging (semi) anonymously. And, for the most part, I was able to publish private thoughts and incidents and still emerge unscathed because the guys that I dated were either too stupid to read or too self-centered to take my little “blogging hobby” seriously. But, if they’d just read my blog, they would’ve learned a lot about what I was thinking and seeking and maybe it would’ve lead to much healthier dating experiences that actually resulted in legitimate relationships. But, again, that didn’t happen, so those guys didn’t know what I was thinking or seeking and, alas, we never ended up on the same page.

And, then, there was Him. So, “Him” actually refers to someone that I’ve introduced before. Back then, I called him the Older Man. He wasn’t really a dynamic character on the Brown Girl blog because I didn’t know enough about him to flesh out his personality. And I personally never thought he’d be interested enough in what I wrote to actually check out my blog.

A few weeks ago, I discovered that my assumption was wrong when he flat out told me, by email, that he reads my blog. And, yep, he said it just like that: “I read your blog.” That’s all the message said. He doesn’t mince words – there’s no time for that. Immediately after reading the message, I freaked. It had been awhile since I’d posted anything at all on the blog, so I couldn’t remember the last thing that I’d said about him. But, I didn’t freak completely out because I figured that I’d been vague enough about his identity, so (because I’m the only person in the world who knows how to read between the lines, duh!) he would never figure out the role he played.

I responded to his email, saying “Do you? I had no idea.”

He replied, “Yeah. I posted something a few weeks ago.”


Yes, that’s right. Not only did Homey READ the blog, he also commented. “Anonymous”ly, of course.

I chuckled, frowned, took a deep breath and grabbed my laptop. I logged into my Blogger account to pour through any and all comments posted by “Anonymous” to try to determine which comment was his. As I was doing this, I receive another message from Older Man saying, “I’m going to sleep, baby. ‘Older Guy’?!?”

Now, THAT… well… THAT stopped me in my tracks. So, he knew I was referring to him, huh? Wow. Okay… then, of course I had to go through all the posts that mentioned the Older Man to determine whether I’d said anything that would be potentially damaging. But as I did a quick rundown of the timing, I realized that he’d probably read everything I had to say to him before any romance began between us anyway.

So, yeah, that deserves a little update. The Older Man – and, if you’re reading this (and I know you are!), I’m sorry Older Man… but I just can’t think of anything else to call you right now! – turned out to be absolutely wonderful! The few weeks that we spent being enamored with each other included some of the best dating experiences I’ve had in my young life. (Which, now that I think about it, is pretty sad and serves as a testament to the fact that I need to step up my dating game. Not that time spent with the Older Man wasn’t wonderful… it was just very short-lived. But, I guess it’s true what they say – it’s more about quality than quantity.) He held my hand, opened doors, told me (quite regularly) that I was beautiful, paid for meals/drinks/cab rides/etc., respected my boundaries, and just generally treated me like a lady. Good times… *sigh*

Anyway, all that pursuing shit that I talked about? He introduced me to it, and then he showed me how it was supposed to be done. Boy have I been getting the short end of the stick with all these other losers I’ve been dating. But the Older Man really raised the bar. And for that I’ll be eternally grateful.

Unfortunately, though, things didn’t work out between us. I could go into detail, but I won’t because I respect his privacy. And just like he saw through my little alias for him, someone else familiar with our circumstances might as well. He doesn’t at all deserve for me to put him on blast, so out of respect for him, I’ll leave the details out. Let’s just say that he’s very generous, respectful, and protective. I felt safe and cared-for whenever we were together. He is ruled by rationality, and is extremely methodical and deliberate about every move he makes. While that could be nerve-racking to some people, I found it oddly comforting. He reminds me SO much of my father! And, you all know the kind of volatile relationship that I have with my father. But I understand my Daddy… and I know that at his core he’s a solid and noble person and that he’d lay down his life for me. I honestly think that had things developed further with me and the Older Man, I could expect the same type of care and concern from him. And that, to me, is the ultimate

At any rate, he could’ve been the Great Romance of my life. I honestly believe that things could’ve been that good. But as people say, when something seems too good to be true, it likely is. He wasn’t the problem… I mean, he was, but not really. Let’s just say that there are a lot of little things that contributed to the breakdown of this really fragile but beautiful thing that we’d worked to build. We were just laying the foundation for something greater when circumstances caused us to have to change course midstream. And it turns out that our change in course is leading us in different directions. We had to end when we were just beginning. It sucks, but… it’s the way it has to be for now. I understand that and I’m okay with it.

Oh, and, after Easter Sunday, I didn’t talk to Charlie again. I guess he finally gave up, which is fine with me. I was pretty much done with him anyway.

Anyway, I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and everything happens in due time. For some reason, this just isn’t my time… but, I’m remaining hopeful!

And, I know I started this post talking about how difficult it is to blog about my personal relationships, but no… my blog didn’t directly contribute to the demise of my relationship with the Older Man. But… he did admonish me for constricting him to such a one-dimensional character… the Older Man. He thought that was so boring. And, he warned me to be more sensitive, saying that I should recognize that some of the people I’m writing about DO read my blog. He has a point. I’ve gotten some negative feedback about my blog from two men I care very much about. But it’s so hard to write posts and then have to edit them to make sure that they’re sensitive yet honest. Sensitivity vs. Honesty. That is a VERY delicate balance. If I’m sensitive to the people of whom I speak, do I end up writing a less honest blog post? Sure. And if I’m too honest about my thoughts and feelings is there a chance that I might end up being insensitive to someone I care deeply for? Of course.

Sooo… what to do, what to do?

With no real solution, let's get back to the real topic.

Yeah… so… things are finished for me and the Older Man. I miss him, though, y’all. He was good to me and he taught me to want more for myself. (Another Lesson in Love. Yay!). I think there’ll be another man in my future that’ll take things even a step further. I look forward to that. But, for now, I’m in mourning for what could’ve been with the Older Man.

And, yes, even though shit gets touchy when you post stuff on your blog for (potentially) the whole world to see, I'm still writing about it all on the internet. (for now)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Conversations and Revelations

I need my behind kicked. It's almost been a month since my last post, and a lot has happened. I'll give you the gist, but I'm gonna do it in two parts because I have a bunch of shit going on and don't have time to hammer out an extra-long post to fill you in. Plus, I'm sure you wouldn't want to read some monster essay on my life for the last three weeks. So, here's the beginning:

Whaddya know, peeps? I actually had that conversation with my Mystery Man a few weeks ago. We spent the day together and it was absolutely fabulous. And, as usual, I was afraid to rock the boat, so I didn’t want to bring up any volatile subjects that might ruin the good time we were having. But, as I stated before, this is the reason why nothing ever gets accomplished – because I’m too afraid to rock the boat.

In the evening, we were sitting outside on a bench looking at the goings on around us, and I just asked… “So where is this going?”

It was almost like he was prepared for the question, but I didn’t get the answer I’d wanted to hear. I recovered quickly because it was like I already knew what his response would be. After all, as I’ve said before, if I have to ask the question, I already know the answer.

But, I wasn’t mad. I just figured that our timing was off and I held in my tears until I was in my car headed home. Only then did the tears begin to flow, but I didn’t even cry for long. Mostly I cried because I was embarrassed for putting myself out there and then getting rejected. But then I stopped crying when I realized how good it felt to have taken matters into my own hands and gotten the answers I needed and deserved. It became apparent to me that if I’d never asked the question, we probably would’ve continued down the path we were headed, which wasn’t necessarily bad, but it wasn’t good either.

There’s not a lot to tell after that. I mean, I knew we’d still keep in touch after that because we’d been friends for a long time prior to our recent romantic escapades… and I knew that I wasn’t comfortable with just letting all that history fall to the wayside. So, we’ve talked… and we’ve even seen each other since then. But, I’m trying to keep my wits about me. I have to recognize that just because he’s still nice to me and just because we are in contact pretty regularly doesn’t mean that his feelings about us being together have changed. It’s hard to keep that in perspective, but… you know. Handling this situation with the appropriate level of care and conscientiousness is an uphill battle and all, but so far it seems to be one that I am winning.

Steve Harvey was right… you gotta ask those ever important questions EARLY to make sure that you’re not wasting your time with the wrong person. I don’t think that I wasted my time with Mystery Man. He's an excellent person and I'm especially fond of him for sure. I'm not giving up hope on him yet... (this may sound pathetic, but it's true!). Not that my Mystery Man is Mr. Wrong, but I do know that he’s not Mr. Right... for now at least. There are so many things that I adore about this man and my feelings haven’t changed just because he’s not ready to take things to the next level. But, the bottomline is that my experience with Mystery Man allowed me to recognize that I want to date and eventually be in a relationship… particularly in a relationship with HIM, but if that doesn’t work out (and it seems that it won’t), then with another worthy candidate. I’ve been single for over two years! That’s too long for a girl like me to be living the single life. I’d like to at least be dating someone seriously and I know that in order for that to happen, I’ve got to make myself available and receptive to meeting new people and allowing them into my life. Believe it or not, that’s really hard for me. I don’t readily allow people – men in particular – to win my trust. So, I figured that it’d be best for me to PRAY about being receptive and willing to put myself out there to meet new people.

Now, I pray often, but I’ve been backsliding on the church thing. However, as I'm sure you know, this past Sunday was Easter and every Christian worth his/her salt makes a trip to church on Easter. It’s the one time out of the year that Christians feel so guilty about all their hedonistic activities that not only will they attend church service, but they’ll show up on time (or early!) and in new clothes to boot! So, anyway, I performed my familial dduties and drove my grandmother to church on Sunday morning. I dropped her off at the handicap entrance, parked the car around the corner, and headed inside.

When I got to the vestibule of the sanctuary, who do I run into but Charlie! I have to admit that he looked quite dapper in his pinstriped suit and he had a fresh shape-up… Lord knows that I have a weakness for that! He immediately walks up to me and asks why I haven’t returned his calls. I don’t even remember the last time he called me, so I realize that I must’ve left him hanging for quite some time. I play it off the best I can (obviously I can’t lie given the fact that I’m standing in the church house!) and he brushes it off and tells me he forgives me, but doesn’t want it to happen again. He smiles and I suddenly have the thought that I don’t remember him being this handsome before.

“Where are you sitting?” he asks, as we wait in the vestibule for the ushers to let us into the sanctuary.

“I’m not sure yet,” I say.

“Well, I’m sitting wherever you’re sitting,” he says.

We go inside the sanctuary and there are hardly any seats because every Christian and his/her mother is present on this day of worship! Finally, we find a seat in the second row, which makes me very uncomfortable. I prefer to sit in the back of the sanctuary… and I certainly would’ve preferred it with Charlie at my side. People in the church talk and I don’t need anyone asking any embarrassing questions after the service is over. We sit down and I can feel the eyes of the older ladies who are friends with my mother and grandmother boring into the back of my head. I ignore them and actually really enjoy service. For one, Charlie smells really nice. Then, I notice that he’s singing along with all the hymns… and he knows all the words without looking at the hymnal! And, he and I share a Bible during the scripture and he lets his finger run along the page to help me keep up with the minister who’s doing the reading. These are not big things, but they are impressive to me for some reason. I started to view Charlie in a different light. He’s not so bad after all.

He’s been pretty consistent about the fact that he likes me and I have to respect that. After all these years, I am still fascinated when someone tells me that they like me in a romantic sense. Not that I don’t believe that I’m worthy of being liked… it’s just really a good feeling to know that all the things about you have come together nicely and caused another person to be attracted to you… for whatever reason. It’s a phenomenal feeling to be liked.

Now, this doesn’t mean that I’m in love with Charlie… or even that I like him enough to date him (!), but after church he hugs me and, as we part company, asks me to call him later… and I know that I will.