Last time I talked to you readers, I was going to brunch with Hangout Buddy and it was quite the eye-opener. I have come to the conclusion that when guys just fall of the face of the earth and ignore me it is not them leaving me. Rather, they are “shelving” me while in pursuit of greener pastures and (I guess to them) prettier women. You know what “shelving” is: being put on hold while they pursue other personal/sexual options to see if there really is better out there. Guys are usually different creatures with these other pursuits than they were with you, so hard to tell who is getting the true them: you or the other woman/people. Hangout Buddy is only one in a line of men who have “shelved” me, only to return without having changed, thinking things are the same and usually they are always broke.
We were supposed to go to the Mansion on O Street…first, he never looked at the text and when he finally clicked the link (once we were in the car), he says it is too expensive. From the man who has always said money is not a problem. So we go elsewhere (which was very yummy) and HB proceeds to tell me the story of his disappearance. He is dating three girls including a sugar baby living in Boston working a $10/hour job. She wants to move here to the DMV to live with him; the single mom who is screwing other men and lying about it and the British chick who wants platonic friendship only but also wants HB to pay all her expenses to England for a month long visit…oh, and he can come along too if he wants.
So while he is telling me he is averaging spending almost $4000/month in dating expenses on these women, I am broke and eating a bargain basement brunch. He suggests movies after we eat and if we hurry, we can catch the matinee. Once at the theater, the man hands me $5…FIVE DOLLARS for popcorn and soda; I ask him the last time he has been to the theater. Popcorn and soda costs as much as the movie ticket nowadays, so he hands me $12 and says to give him back any change. For real? At this point unsure if he is broke or trying to relegate me back to friend status and not to expect our time together going forward to be like the date night. Frankly I don’t care about friend status but don’t be cheap with me. To that end, he graciously allowed me to keep the quarter change from the concession stand.
It is times like these I liken the dating/relationship game (yes, it is game…it’s win or lose; either way you learn) to driving. Some folks (and this is not gender specific) come barreling down the road driving a big old bus (or maybe a MACK truck) and scoop you up underneath the wheels and you have no idea how you ended up in the State of A Relationship. You saw them coming and tried to step out of the way, but you weren’t quick enough. So there you are, bruised and bloody in a strange place with a stranger, looking for a way out of the State of A Relationship.
More than likely though, you were headed somewhere and someone offered you a ride. You were asked where you were going (note: you were quite specific with where you were headed) and the driver said they knew the way. So you sit back and let them drive….after all, they said they knew the way and did not need your directions. And you sit back, enjoy the scenery and make stops in Getting to Know Youville; The Township of Dating and spend time in the City of Sexual Pleasure. You talk about going to the State of Exclusivity…even though your driver skirts on giving a definite answer, they insinuate that it would be a nice place to go. And before you know it, you are in the State of A Relationship. Not quite where you thought you would end up and apparently, your driver did not think so either. And here is where you make the mistake: you announce you are in A Relationship (you can’t label things)….and the driver panics. They suggest you get out and wait for them while they park the car…and then they takeoff with nary a glance in the rearview mirror. And there you are, hanging out in A Relationship all by yourself, waiting for your driver to return.
The only thing is, once the driver returns, they fully expect you to still be in the State of A Relationship (with them!) and still standing on that corner. 9 times out of 10 you aren’t; you got tired of waiting, of seeing them drive other folks around and making stops in Exclusivity and in some cases, they even went as far as travelling to the country of Marriage and Commitment with these other passengers. And while they were busy doing that, you found your way out to the suburbs of Happily Single or maybe even found someone you could settle down with in A Relationship. Either way, you have moved on also. But the driver doesn’t know that because they think you still feel the same way. And you don’t. You honestly don’t. You no longer need their rides because you have gotten along fabulously without whatever it was they offered you. You no longer see them the same way because the hurt and pain they put you through changed you and helped you to grow. It strengthened your self everythings and no way are you going to put yourself through again what they put you through.
And that is where I am now: relocated, settled in my new location and fending off an influx of exes, prior arrangements and Hangout Buddy all thinking I am where they left me. Even Married Man joined in sending me a text and calling me a nickname I no longer recognize, let alone go by. People don’t understand why I don’t join them in the reminiscing of the good times and the answer is simple…for me, there are no longer any good times associated with them. The few good memories are tainted with the unfair and uncalled for treatment. They may have put me on a shelf, but I did not stay there. The men are puzzled when I speak my mind to them and it is not what they wanted or expected to hear. I no longer have to people please because when I did, they steamrolled me and hurt me anyway. I don’t have anything to lose anymore. I already lost it. Life went on without them (shocking, I know) and with each subsequent relationship, with each man after them who taught me lessons, with each “shelving”…I grew and I learned and I became better and stronger. They don’t see that though…they see me being a bitch, acting better than, holding a grudge, trying to make them jump through hoops or flat out crazy for real. And I’m not. They taught me to live without them and that is what I am doing.
Trust me, if you have ever been “shelved” (signs include being left without an explanation or goodbye OR having been a side piece. Side note: I swear I started out in two relationships being the only one only to end up the side piece), they will return to retrieve you. It could be 2 weeks or 20 years…it all depends on how long it takes them to convince themselves that they did absolutely nothing wrong. Another factor they are hoping will come into play is that maybe you totally forgot all about being left alone in A Relationship; rare occurrence to be sure, but if that has happened you have usually forgotten about them also. You know that saying floating all over Facebook about how people never forget how you made them feel? It’s true….and what these men who “shelved” me made me feel was that I had become a stranger. A smelly, homeless stranger not worthy of a smile or a nod of their head. Men who pursued me, who always made it about more than the sex, men I had been intimate with, shared parts and pieces of my life, mind and soul with (and they shared theirs with me) and men I shared laughs and good times with all treated me as If I never existed. And now that I treat them the same way, they have no idea and no understanding why I am the way I am now… the answer is simple. Once I shed the baggage they left me with and finished the painstaking task of clearing emotional wreckage and debris, I see I have everything to look forward to and have left nothing behind. They left me behind.
When I think about how I put up with the disrespect, the mistreatment, the flip flopping from the men of my past (regardless of which capacity they held) and how I hung on in desperation because I felt I needed what they offered….I cringe and get really angry at myself. When they feign ignorance at their behaviors, outright deny their actions and/or try to make me out to be the crazy, stupid one….I get downright pissed. But when they return expecting me to be the same person they left, I don’t get or feel anything because during our time together, I taught them and told them how to treat me; allowing their behavior toward me, begging them not to leave me, taking all responsibility for not being what they wanted/needed…I did that. Not them. Why should they think they need to change? And they don’t….they will be perfect for some other woman. Not me. Because I am no longer trying to fit in or be perfect or whatever it was I felt I needed to be.
This emotional relocation has me not only happy, but seeing ME for the first time. It has me loving me what I am and no longer hating what I am not. It has me wanting to choose a guy for the right reasons and no longer allowing him to choose me for the wrong ones. Whatever I do, I try to do it with respect and accommodation but usually for the other person….it never has been a two way street. Now, I am making me the priority and no longer interested in trying to open closed doors and getting pretty miffed when the past comes knocking on my doors. I think it’s part of the New Shoes movement and I am ready to walk forward, head held high and with a rapidly losing desire to look back.
Well, this post did not go the way I wanted it to….not sure what was supposed to be here but it appears an Open Letter to Exes and Past Lovers was in order. Now to get my day started: cleaning, laundry, revising my resume and clearing out the dvr is on the agenda. Check back soon for new posts, updates on the job front and NC. As always, thanks for stopping past and reading and as usual….enjoy your day!