The last time I was single, I had a surprising number of times when a date went well and the guy clearly liked me – enthusiastic kisses at the end of the night, exhortations (from him) of “Let’s do this again! Really really soon!” etc. – and then I never heard from him again. It sucked because, reasonably enough I think, I was looking forward to more fun dates and had no reason not to think they’d happen.
If these guys had messaged me to say “Sorry, changed my mind,” I’d’ve been sad for an afternoon or so and then gotten over it, but because there was never any closure, I’d spend a couple of days excitedly anticipating more dates, and then a few more days in a flurry of doubt wondering why the guy hadn’t contacted me/making excuses for his silence/writing him a deliberately nonchalant message to try to prompt him into saying something without making myself look needy, and then it would dawn on me that he’d flounced and I’d feel stupid for pouring so much emotional energy down a black hole.
So this time around, I’d decided to treat every outing with someone like it was my last: no matter how much fun I had and regardless of whether we agreed to do it again, I’d go home and immerse myself in my art and my friends and my life so hard that if the guy vanished I’d barely even notice. I resolved to do this even if I’d had several dates and really thought the guy was going to become a stable fixture in my life. But it’s difficult. Old habits die hard.
The Doll has always replied to my messages quite promptly. Last night, probably shortly after he wrote to me on Fetlife (“My friends have invited us over for a game night, p.s. I’m going to bring a big empty bag to my parents’ place this weekend and fill it with books and DVDs you might like”, etc.) he texted me asking if I’d like to get together this weekend (so much for him following my lead). The timing makes me wonder whether he might be turning a bit needy and high maintenance, like my lack of reply to his written message* was driving him crazy so he tried to contact me more directly.
At any rate, I’d left my phone in my purse in the front hallway and I totally didn’t notice he’d texted me until the middle of the night. That would be shortly after I’d written this post realizing that a) I still have a lot of work to do to get my head together post-Minx and b) it would probably behoove me to be more open with The Doll about who I really am instead of trying to look shinyhappyperfect all the time.
So at around 4am I responded to the content of his Fetlife message and appended:
Sorry I missed your text earlier. I’m going to be busy this weekend making an enormous stockpile of [art merchandise] to sell; I also seem to be experiencing a time-release blob of breakup mourning that requires some processing. I’ll be ready to charm and entertain again in a couple of days, I’m sure. If you’re free Monday night, maybe we can do [board game cafe] again?
This postscript was intended to a) keep my weekend to myself, because I need the alonetime; b) to reassure him that the rejection is nothing personal and I’d still like to see him again soon; and c) to remind him that I’ve recently broken up with someone, but demonstrate that I’m capable of handling my emotions in a sensible and rational manner. Basically I want to indicate that I’m going through some shit but if he can be a bit patient with me I’ll get it dealt with without leaning inappropriately on him for support.
Anyway, I was expecting a reply this morning because when I write to him after his bedtime he always seems to respond first thing in the morning. When I woke up, though, there was nothing in my inbox. The Doll had been logged in, and even looking at my FetLife activity (an hour previously, he’d “loved” a photo I’d “loved” last night), but he hadn’t written to me. Which of course is making me a tiny bit insane.
Is “loving” the pic I’d “loved” (but not continuing our correspondence) some kind of subliminal message to me, and if so, what the hell is he trying to say? Did my last missive to him offend in some way? Did he decide to back off a bit for reasons that have nothing to do with me? Maybe he only had a minute or two to check in and he doesn’t want to write me back until he has the time to do it properly? AAARGH SO MANY QUESTIONS.
So yeah…clearly I’ve already strayed from my “pretend every date is the last” rule. I let myself get suckered in by his apparent interest, stability, and reliability, and I started picturing a future. BAD BAD BAD. Somebody spank me.
Believe it or not, I’m not actually in that bad a mental state. Mostly I wanted to document my obsessive thought processes here so I can hopefully reread this someday and go “wow, I can’t believe I used to get like that. I’m glad I’ve come so far.” After maybe ten minutes of obsessing, I reminded myself that I don’t own The Doll and he’s entitled to putter around on FetLife without making my messages his first priority; that he’s made it very clear that he digs me so he probably will write back soonish; and that even if he doesn’t, my budding romance with him was making me feel all conflicted so it would actually let me off the hook. And anyway, I am feeling sad and post-breakuppy, so if that freaks him out he really shouldn’t associate with me. I don’t need a paramour who can’t deal with my emotions and life situation and he probably doesn’t need one who’ll bail from time to time to have a solo pity party over her ex. So there you go.
Whatever happens, I’ll be okay.
*I was deliberately waiting to reply to his message in order to keep him at a slight distance. I like him and am enjoying getting to know him, but I’m not ready for anything too heavy yet…and if we’re writing flurries of messages back and forth every night it might push our intimacy level too far, too fast. So I saw that he’d written to me but decided I wouldn’t reply until the next morning – enough time to meter things out a bit but hopefully not enough time to make him paranoid that I’ve stopped liking him.