Advice from unexpected quarters

28 February 2007

Well, I suppose the advice was from expected quarters, really…it was the advice itself that was unexpected. Comments from people at shul last Shabbat:

“So how was your weekend in wine country? Did you pick up any cute boys?”

“I know the wedding would have been last weekend. Did you do something fun?”
Yes, I went to wine country with a girlfriend. We had a great time.
“That’s wonderful! Next weekend, you should go to wine country with a boyfriend, though. Not a guy you want to marry — just a guy you want to spend a weekend with in wine country. Then you’ll be ready to face the world again.”

“What did you do last Sunday? I hope it involved a lot of alcohol.”

“Don’t date anyone seriously just yet. Go out and have a lot of fun with every guy who catches your eye.”

* * *

So basically, my whole shul wants me to get drunk and get busy. I can’t begin to tell you how amused I am. And hey, Purim is this weekend…”Be happy, it’s Adar,” indeed.

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Expectations

19 February 2007

I survived yesterday. Thank heavens. I even said a silent Shehechiyanu to myself Sunday evening, thanking G-d for giving me strength and sustaining me and enabling to reach the moment. I spent the weekend in wine country with my girlfriend R., and viewed it as a celebration of the fact that I was not about to make the biggest mistake of my life, that I was not about to embark upon a doomed journey.

R. is an exceptional listener. She let me talk things out, sort some things that somehow couldn’t be sorted in the quiet of my head. One of the things I found myself describing was my own expectations.

Looking back on my past relationships, I can see that I have, objectively speaking, been somewhat unlucky. I fully realize that the one constant in all of them was I, and I am not trying to evade all blame. But I have been in relationship after relationship with guys who didn’t really care about what I wanted. With my ex in particular, I actually spelled out for him exactly what I wanted and needed from him…and he was still unable to provide it. I’m not talking about five-carat diamonds or anything like that, just patience and understanding and gentleness.

And I realized that in some ways, I think that I deserve the best…but in a lot of other ways, it hasn’t occurred to me to expect anything more than the dregs I’ve been offered. Realistic expectations must fall somewhere between ideal fantasy and absolute neglect — but I don’t know what is realistic to expect from a guy in a relationship. I am often hesitant when it comes to retreating from the extremes to some middle ground…for years, I was afraid to express any measure of self-confidence because I didn’t want to cross the line into arrogance, so I settled instead for massive self-doubt. This feels like something similar; I’m afraid to expect more than the barest, crudest minimum because I don’t want to expect the moon. I’m not quite sure what to make of all this.

(Point of clarification: I have never, ever been abused, by anyone. That’s not what this is about. Just so you know.)


What a girl wants

13 February 2007

I don’t want him anymore. I don’t love him anymore. I don’t even want him to want me. (I’m not sure when precisely all that happened…it took more than one month, fewer than three months.) But I want him not to resent me — and how dare he resent me, after all? He still thinks it’s all my fault, that I changed, somehow, and thereby forced him to end it.

I want him not to be in love with someone else so soon. I want not to care about whether or not he’s in love. I want to be in love. I want to feel again, deeply, thoroughly. I want not to feel lonely, not to feel alone. I want to stop feeling overwhelmed. I want to stop feeling always on the verge of tears, always on the verge of a breakdown, always on the verge.

I want to remember that I don’t always feel on the verge…the times when I do are becoming fewer and farther between. Of course, those are the times when I’m compelled to write.

I want to get through this weekend, so I can stop counting down to the day when I’m not getting married. I want to celebrate this weekend, celebrate that I’m not marrying someone who’s clearly not the right person for me. I want to give thanks that it ended before the wedding instead of after, give thanks that I’ve been given a second chance to find the “real” love of my life. I want to see this as a turning point. I want to be turning toward something new, not turning away from something.


Last date

7 February 2007

Saturday night, I had what ended up being my last date with Math Boy, the guy I liked best of all the dates I’ve had since the break-up. Of course, I didn’t know it was going to be our last date. We went to a dueling piano bar, and the whole time he shied away from making any physical contact with me whatsoever. It was as if he’d suddenly become shomer negiah, and this is the guy who told me that his extent of keeping kosher was, “I don’t eat pork. Well…except for bacon.” So, probably not shomer negiah, then. We were alternately chatting and listening to the music. After a slight lull in conversation, apropos of nothing, he turned to me and said, “Y’know, I think we should just be friends.”

“Um. Okay…?”

“Well, I’m not really used to dating, and I don’t tend to go out that much, and I’m studying for an exam…”

“Okay. You know, we did already have the conversation about how neither of us is looking for anything serious right now.”

“Yeah…”

And that, dear readers, was the end of that.

At first I thought to myself, what did I do? Did I turn him off, or somehow become less attractive to him? And then I realized…I could just believe him. Take it at face value. He doesn’t want to date anyone, or maybe he doesn’t want to go out with anyone more than a couple of times. Or maybe he simply doesn’t want to go out with me, and this was his gentle way of saying that the chemistry we’d both felt on the first two dates had fizzled out. Heaven knows I’ve given the “not a good match” speech more times than I can count. And that’s the whole idea behind “NGNC.” When I label a guy NGNC, it’s not because he did anything wrong; it’s just that, for whatever reason, I don’t feel anything romantic toward him. And what happened with Math Boy is probably the very same thing. I’ve certainly experienced chemistry that fizzles out after a date or two.

So I realize, and — more importantly — I actually believe, that I didn’t do anything “wrong.” It’s not about me. I’m still a little disappointed, since I had fun spending time with him, and I liked having someone to go out with on Saturday nights. And now there’s no way I’ll have a date for Valentine’s Day, and I was hoping that 2007 would be the second year in my life (2000 being the first and only) that I would. But I don’t really feel rejected, which is a nice change for me. Yay for progress.