The first guy from this post found me on Facebook recently – this is the guy I had the hots for at sixteen but he was dating my friend – and messaged me all gung ho to catch up and telling me he’d “love to see me.”
Honestly? I find his enthusiasm a bit weird. I knew him twenty-five years ago. I thought I loved him at the time, but at this point I don’t even remember why. It might be an interesting novelty to see how he’s aged since back in the day, but that’s about it. I have no sentimental attachment to this guy.
He mentioned that he’s divorced. Could it be that he’s on the rebound and wants to see me because he’s hoping whatever chemistry we had then would hold? Thinking that if I loved him then, I might love him again now, and he could really use the ego boost? I mean dude doesn’t even live in my city and we haven’t spoken a single word to each other since high school, and his first message to me is that he’d love to see me.
There was, of course, an elephant in the room: in high school he would initiate physical closeness with me when his girlfriend (one of my best friends) wasn’t around. Never anything that could definitely without-a-doubt be called cheating; he never kissed me, for instance. And I would never have initiated any of our contact myself; it would have felt like I was betraying my friend. But I did have feelings for him, so when he would do shit like hold my hand (“friends can hold hands!” he’d insist, when I objected on moral grounds) I generally kind of…let him. Until the day his girlfriend – my friend – told me that he’d told her I’d been hitting on him, and that it was making him really uncomfortable, so could I please stop. I felt so betrayed – absolutely crushed – it was just about the meanest thing anyone had ever done to me. I stopped hanging out with him, and my friendship with her became weird and distant. I can’t remember whether I told her that he’d been the one initiating contact. Either I didn’t tell her because I assumed she wouldn’t believe me, or I did tell her and she didn’t believe me. I can’t recall.
But now here was this same dude contacting me all cheerful like nothing had ever happened and I had to know: did he remember betraying me but was hoping to gloss over it, or…?
When I asked him about it, he said he honestly couldn’t remember the incident at all. Then said that maybe my friend/his girlfriend had actually made the whole thing up and he hadn’t talked shit about me at all. He went on to say that he knew her better than anyone back then because they were dating and he could vouch for the fact that she was really fucked up and jealous. And he pointed out that all that shit happened twenty-five years ago and I might as well confront him about calling someone a pooey-head in kindergarten (because quasi-cheating on your high school girlfriend and then spreading a malicious lie about the one you cheated with is totes on the same level as calling someone a silly name when you’re an infant…) – it was all just too long ago to remember. And he expressed how sorry he was that I was so “haunted by my past” (he knows what that’s like, he said, but admittedly not that far back because he’s lived “a very full life”) and said he wished he could give me closure but failing that he would like to help me deal with my feelings if he could, or to set that all aside, start fresh, and be friends again. He reiterated that he would love to get to know me again.
And perhaps he really doesn’t remember what happened. Perhaps he actually didn’t betray me, and that was all my friend’s eeeebil machinations. But holy shit his whole reply was so douchetastic OMG. Belittling my feelings; gaslighting me by acting like I’m pathetic and damaged for even remembering that incident; deflecting blame onto someone else, and speaking sagely about all her mental problems and making himself out to be the voice of reason – I could just about fill out a Smug Douche Bingo Card, if they make those.
And let’s all take a moment to gape in awe at the fact that he made a big speech to me about how the past is the past and who cares about shit that happened 25 years ago…but then turned around and told me how he really really reeeeeeally wants to get to know me again and be my friend and help me through my obvious mental issues and blah blah blah. Why? Why the fuck is he so keen on getting to know me again? By his very own logic, there’s no real connection between us because we knew each other 25 years ago and who can even remember back that far?
When I think about it, this douchey manipulation seems like a pretty logical extension of his “We’re not reeeeally doing anything wrong! Friends can hold hands!” bullshit from back then.
Confronting this sort of person on his bullshit only gets you more bullshit, so I opted to just keep making polite but minimal small-talk responses until the conversation had nowhere else to go and just died.
Jesus, though. What an asshat.