why not me?

When we broke up, actually, when he broke up with me, I asked my last boyfriend to show me the respect of telling me when he started seeing someone new. Why? Because I am a masochist that enjoys pain and suffering. Maybe. Because I enjoy being the one left holding my heart in my hand? Probably. I hoped that when he figured out what he wanted, it would be me, and there wouldn’t be another girl. Yes. That one. I pick the last one Alex…
This man is great, not my type physically, but everything he is and stands for is appealing. Devoted Dad, responsible, great driver, employed adult, loves his mother, close to his siblings, funny, smart, sweet, handy, personable, clean and affectionate. Made me feel respected and attractive, despite being away for weeks at a time he gave me more attention than I had gotten in a decade. I didn’t see him much, and really, didn’t know him well, of the 4ish months we were “dating” he was away at work for 3 of them.
I wasn’t in a good place, he was my band-aid. I needed stitches. I had old infected wounds that I hadn’t dealt with from my decade long relationship. A relationship started with drama, strife, and intense desire. A relationship ended by estrangement and neglect, of each other and ourselves. I had been picking at my wounds, covering them with dates, exercise, food, work, any distraction. I tried to convince myself that they were healed, but I was lying. They were still bleeding.
Despite needing to address my issues I clung to my new relationship, I wasn’t getting my needs met, but that wasn’t a new feeling. I jumped into classic behaviour, over giving, putting myself last, making excuses for feeling neglected and trying to take care of him. I would be better than last time, I wouldn’t ruin this relationship too. I would try harder.
He didn’t feel a “spark”, there were a million things he liked about me, but… I was amazing, and I deserved better than he could give me, (yes I agree, cliche, and we both knew it). Out of a marriage around the same length as mine, we both had wounds that hadn’t healed. He said he didn’t know what he wanted. Okay. I can’t give you what you want, be what you want if you don’t know what that is. Completely disregarding the fact, I should be more concerned with me and what I wanted than him and what he wanted, but I would learn that later, after a half a dozen therapy sessions and a shelf of self help books.
In the months that followed our break up, we would still text, see each other here and there, he was injured and I went to visit him a few times while he was laid up. I was doing deep, and painful work to clean and stitch those old wounds, Trying to figure out what I wanted, who I was, where I had gone the last 10 years? What were my patterns, how could I change? I tried to convince myself we were friends. I really like him, we are friends, but not so secretly I was hopeful he would come back to me. Wake up one morning clear from the baggage of his last relationship and realize I am a rare find, and that life is better with me.
He text messaged me last week to hang out. He always responds to texts, but rarely lately had he initiated them. I was realizing that me waiting, pacing the hall outside his door wouldn’t make him want to let me in. I was contemplating dating, had written my profile and entertained the notion of rolling the dice to try to find someone else I liked. Had even lined up a couple coffee dates. He came over after a lack-luster date, but was it dull because I was looking forward to my time with him? I know I adore this man already, we always have lots to talk about, have a great time. Who knows. Maybe I sabotaged myself, like I said I was trying to keep my place in that book, hoping…
We sat for a couple hours, laid in my room and chatted, What had I been doing, how was he recovering, history, future, no subject matter is ever off limits and I value his take on things.
I tell him I was on a casual date, with his physiotherapist oddly enough, but I didn’t think I was what he was looking for, he tells me he is seeing someone too. My stomach does a quick flip into a knot, I feel myself start to turn green, like the Incredible Hulk, but more slowly. I am jealous. I make an effort to breathe. In and out, don’t cry… come on Holley, hold it together. You knew this, saw the playpen set up in his spare room last time you visited, was there when she sent him stuff in the hospital, you knew, tried not to notice, but you knew…
Breathe in and out, and I ask him to tell me about his new girlfriend. He corrects me that they are just seeing each other, but I don’t understand what the difference is. She has a 3 year old. Now I am extra jealous she has kid time and his time. Breathe in and out… I start to dissect why not me? Is it because I didn’t need him? Does he need to be needed? Was I too available, too accommodating? Probably. He says he seems to like her more as they spend time together, so he started to like me less as we saw each other? I was probably too intense, I am intense… put too much pressure on the relationship, I squeezed it out… Breathe in and out, he did not say he liked you less as time went on you crazy broad… breathe. Fuck. He obviously still likes you and enjoys your company as he is here right now. And you are the one who agreed to be friends, even if it was a thinly veiled attempt at getting a do-over. I know I wouldn’t be okay with just seeing someone, I don’t even know what that means. I have turned down relationships with amazing men because I was the girl able to remain friends, and be honest that we were not looking for the same thing. My friend K is a perfect example, we dated, we had an intimate friendship that went no further because he didn’t want to commit, and I didn’t want less than a commitment. I was explaining my heart wrenching eve to K and telling him my last boyfriend didn’t know what he wanted, but was seeing someone new. K looked at me, put his arm around my chair and smiled. He said, “No, he knows what he wants, has a preconceived idea about what he thinks he wants, it just isn’t you. Don’t take this wrong, he is an idiot, you are fantastic, and he likely doesn’t want to hurt you. But it may never be you.”
Maybe he doesn’t know what he wants, maybe he never will. Maybe it will be me. Maybe K is right,and it’s just not me, maybe, maybe maybe…
But in the meantime I’ll be okay, comforted by the hope, someday, for someone, it will be me.

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