I have examined this from every possible angle and there is no other explanation. I am afraid to commit.
In all my relationships (and there have been plenty) one of two things happens. Either I love too much and that love is not reciprocated. Or I don’t love at all and break the heart of a nice man who has made the mistake of loving me too much. There is no in-between, no gray area. It is either or.
I don’t do this on purpose consciously. I think it’s a subconscious thing. When I meet a man who is unavailable to me in some way, he is more attractive to me. I tell myself I enjoy the challenge. I want to be the woman who finally tames the wild heart of the Big Bad Guy. Of course this never happens. This can’t ever happen. I set myself up for failure every time. These men who I can never change, who will never be the men I want them to be, who will never love me like I love them, these are the men I feel most comfortable in loving.
And love them I do. I pour every ounce of my being into loving these men and I hang on to them until it becomes impossible to hang on any longer. It’s pure insanity.
Then there are the other guys. There is nothing wrong with these guys. In fact, they are Really Great Guys. Intelligent, attractive, employed. Caring, honest and kind. Did I forget to mention the wonderful sex and that fabulous way they dote on me? And yes, these Really Great Guys love me. They want to marry me and raise a family with me. Oh, the horror of it all! This has happened to me more than you might expect, given that I have a terrible habit of pursuing the Big Bad Guys.
Sometimes you just can’t tell right away which category the guy is going to fall into. You need to play around a bit and find out. Sometimes you sense an element of danger and it turns out that you were wrong. Some guys give off the wrong signals. And sometimes I lie to myself and pretend I want the Really Great Guy. Regardless of how it happens, it does happen and I find myself dating the Really Great Guy.
The deal breaker is usually when my parents, siblings or friends meet the guy and begin exclaiming about what a nice man he is, followed by not so subtle hints that I’m not getting any younger and this one is a keeper. A keeper! I hear anything about keeping, marrying, forever and nice guy, I freak out. The guy doesn’t stand a chance. I dump him so fast he never knows what hit him.
I’m not proud of it, but that’s just the way it is, or should I say it’s just the way it has been in the past. Because now, after much reflection, I have come to realize that all of this can only add up to one thing – I have a commitment phobia.
This didn’t come to me all of a sudden today as I wrote this post. I’ve been considering this for a long time. Actually, I figured it all out almost three years ago.
At that time there was a man in my life who qualified as a kind of sort of Really Great Guy (depending on who you asked 😉 We were friends for many years. Occasionally, we were a bit more than friends, if you know what I mean. He wanted more than friendship all the time. I shot this man down so many times I lost count. I’m sure he remembers every time. He loved me. And I liked him a lot. I never had so much fun as the time I spent with him. I never laughed as much or as hard as I did in his company. There have been three truly great moments in my life that I will never forget and two of them were spent with him.
I didn’t treat this man very well, and still he stuck by me. On the rare occasion when I let my guard down and allowed him to join me behind my wall it was magical. Magic scared the hell out of me! I ran from magic as fast and as far as my feet would carry me.
After I did my soul searching and discovered I had a commitment problem that I wanted to fix, I decided I would tear my wall down for good and allow myself to feel the magic. I didn’t know where it would all lead but I was willing to put myself out there and take the chance. I was terrified to tell him. I was afraid after all those years he had finally given up on me and moved on.
It wasn’t unusual for months to pass without us having any contact with one another after I had hurt him. Eventually, we always came back together as friends and he always forgave me for whatever terrible thing I had done. Like that time I called him up and got him to take me to a dance and then didn’t speak to him the whole time we were there and left early with another guy. Yes, cruelty I know thy name.
Months passed as I tried to work up the courage to face him and tell him how I felt. Then I decided I would go see him on the upcoming weekend and lay it all on the line. I remember feeling relief just by having developed a plan and set my mind to it.
He called me before I had the opportunity to call him. He invited me to a small gathering as a send off to him. He was leaving on Sunday to move across the country with his brother.
My heart broke. I couldn’t tell him then. I knew that if I told him he probably wouldn’t go. He seemed to be looking for an excuse not to go anyway . . . and if ever anyone needed to get away and start fresh, he needed to go. It was a great opportunity for him and I couldn’t hold him back from it no matter how much I wanted to do it. I couldn’t ask him to miss out on something so big, on the chance that maybe something real could happen between us and I wouldn’t flake out.
The irony of it all!
So, I didn’t tell him how I felt. I didn’t tell him any of the things I had figured out about myself. I didn’t ask him to stay. I wanted to ask him to stay. I spent the entire weekend by his side, smiling and soothing his doubts. He had never been so far away from home before. He was afraid of what he didn’t know. I reassured him as much as I could. I also took the little bit of time we had left and apologized for everything I had done to wrong him.
And then I kissed him good-bye and he left.
That was four years ago. I heard from him a couple of times. He has a great new job. He has a girlfriend he seems to care about. He has an unfamiliar accent. By all appearances, he is happy and settled.
But I wonder about it sometimes . . .
Sometimes when we’re on the telephone I sense for one second that I could tell him and everything would be okay. But the feeling is fleeting. It never lasts long enough. Logic tells me it’s too late to tell him. The moment when our happiness together was a real possibility is lost.
Was the moment ever really there?
I like to think it was . . .
Drinking: Diet Pepsi
Listening To: That’s the Way, Led Zeppelin
Hair: Mousy Brown