Alternate title: “Maybe it’s time to update this shit.”
It’s been four months since my last update. A lot has happened, but little has changed.
The Manling and I broke up and got back together three times. Each time, as soon as I would declare it to be over due to his absolute inability to find time for me, he would begin to pursue me with a boundless energy until he won me back. Then we’d go out three times and he’d proceed to ignore me again until I had enough and declared it to be over… then he would begin to pursue me with a boundless energy until he won me back… are you seeing the pattern here? We haven’t spoken a word to each other in two weeks. I lost every ounce of respect I ever had for the man the moment he started using his daughter as an excuse for not seeing me. I’m done. It’s over. Fuck him.
Sheldon has been back a few times. He has become my go-to friend with benefits. Every time he’s here, we talk about how we’d like to see more of each other and how much we enjoy each others company. He leaves here and texts me to say thank you for a fabulous evening and that he can’t wait to see me again. Then I hear nothing from him for weeks. I don’t think he’s messing with my head, though. I’m pretty sure he is simply THAT clueless.
There were some new players to the game:
Trucker was a really cool guy. We had everything in common. We had a fantastic weekend – 4 dates in 3 days – and he disappeared off the face of the earth, never to be heard from again.
And then, there was the Mormon – a single father, raising two daughters on his own, working his way through divorce number two. He seemed almost magical at first. We were so similar in our ethics and what he wanted from a relationship. We were nearly identical in our child rearing practices and our financial philosophies. He was tall and cute and sweet and funny and all he wanted to do was make me smile.
Then his crazy started showing. At first, his constant text messages and ten to twelve phone calls per day seemed almost cute – like he couldn’t get enough of me. After a week or so of being constantly barraged with “What are you doing?”, “What are you wearing?”, “What are you eating for dinner?”, “What are you doing now?”, I started getting annoyed. I started waiting a few minutes to reply to his texts, hoping perhaps he’d realize I had more to do with my day than be constantly in contact with him and maybe follow suit. Instead, he started sending more messages, “Are you mad at me?”, “What took you so long to respond?”, “Are you talking to someone else?”, “Why won’t you answer me?”
Soon after, he started calling me anytime there was more than a three minute pause between texts…. it didn’t matter if I was at home, at my mother’s, driving the car, working… he didn’t care. He was supposed to be my top priority at. all. times.
Being the introvert that I am, I revel in alone time. I love my long commute to and from work because it provides me with alone time where I can relax, unwind, talk to myself, sing along with the radio… whatever I want to do. But mostly, it gives me time to be alone with my thoughts… because that is how I best function. I need to retreat into myself and examine and analyze the activities in my life from all angles to make a rational, logical, informed decision. Without my downtime, my quiet time, my alone time, I feel like I’m suffocating… like I can’t breathe, like there’s a two ton brick on my chest and I’m slowly being crushed to death.
5:30AM – Alarm would go off, phone would ring. He would yammer on endlessly until it was time for my shower.
7:45AM – Climb into my car to start my commute, phone would ring. He’d yammer endlessly for my entire drive.
12:00PM – Grab my bag and head to lunch, phone would ring. He’d yammer endlessly for my lunch hour.
4:30PM – Pack up to start the trek home, phone would ring. He’d yammer endlessly until he fell asleep mid-sentence around 10:00PM.
On Saturdays and Sundays, he just wouldn’t get off the phone all. day. long. Ten hours, twelve hours, fourteen hours. I started putting him on speaker phone, setting it on the table, and going about my day, stopping occasionally to say, “Really? Wow. That’s awful.” in the general direction of the handset.
I believe this is why it took me so long to see the crazy – I was so busy trying to breathe, I couldn’t think about anything else.
The bulk of his endless yammering was just him bitching about his soon-to-be second ex-wife and what she did to him… how she lied and she cheated and she kicked him out and she filed a restraining order against him and he knew confidential details of clients at her work and could get her fired for sharing and when the court order was up, he was going to park outside her house and shine his high beams through her bedroom window all night every night and how he was refusing to sign the separation agreement because he wasn’t going to make it that easy on her.
The problem I had was not that he talked about these things, it was that ALL he talked about was these things. Over and over and over and over again, he would hash and rehash everything that happened. He’d get pissed, he’d get drunk, he’d masturbate. then he’d pass out and I could hang up the phone. Some nights, he’d get awake at 3AM and call me again… wake me up. Mind you, I’m an insomniac to begin with. I average 3-5 hours of sleep per night. Why on earth would you call and unnecessarily wake someone you know doesn’t get enough sleep as it is?
The answer is control. He wants to control the women in his life… who they talk to, where they go, what they do, what they wear, what they eat. Anyone who knows me, knows that shit doesn’t fly. It started getting to the point where I was so stressed out that I would cry every time the phone rang. I started ignoring his calls, ignoring his texts. One day, when I’d had enough and my kids were gone for the weekend and I reached a point where I either needed alone time or I was going to crack completely, I turned off my phone and spent 24 hours in blissful silence.
THAT was when I started to see it. THAT was when the crazy became evident. THAT was when I realized I needed to get away from this man as quickly as possible. It was also during this time that I started to realize he stalks and torments and intimidates his exes. I started to panic trying to figure out how to distance myself while avoiding being stalked and threatened.
My solution started very smooth. I explained to him my need to downtime, how I just NEEDED to unplug for a day to center myself and regain composure. I explained that he is an extrovert. He gathers his energy from other people… being with people and talking to people is how he recharges. I, on the other hand, am an introvert. Being with people and talking to people leaves me completely drained and I gather my energy and recharge by being alone for a while.
This seemed to placate him a bit and he stopped freaking out when I didn’t answer his calls each and every time.
My chosen method of ending what we had going on was to back away slowly. Then he started sending me videos he took of his estranged wife’s house. As soon as his restraining order was done, he started parking across the street from her house and recording everyone going into and coming out of the front door. He was sending them to me to see if I could pull out individual frames and blow them up enough to positively identify her visitors. That was the straw that broke the proverbial camels back. I freaked. I was terrified of what he might try to do if I attempted to leave the pseudo-relationship we had going on, but I had to get out. The smoothness ended completely.
It didn’t take long before he started asking me to level with him. And I did. I may not have been completely honest… I tried to shoulder the blame – that I wasn’t ready for this, that I couldn’t handle the drama in his life, that I was having issues with the fact that his divorce wasn’t final, that I needed space to think it over and decide what I wanted to do.
He got pissed, but aside from one solitary text message (that I promptly ignored), I haven’t heard anything from him in the weeks since.
As serial dating goes, it’s been a good run. These men provided a much needed distraction from the anguish and grief of losing the Beard at a time when I needed it most, but the bottom line is that’s all they were: a distraction.
When I lost the Beard, I was thrust into a realm of pain I’d never known and I hadn’t the slightest idea how to handle any of it. I probably should have gone to therapy. Instead, I immersed myself in a small sea of men… trying desperately to replace what he and I had together… trying to find the same spark, the same connection, the same feeling of acceptance and unconditional love he had provided. And all I found was a cold, bleak reality: he just might have been my once in a lifetime. It would be very apropos, you know, that I’ve spent my whole life searching for something wonderful and beautiful and amazing… and as soon as I find it, it’s torn from my hands and I’m left to spend the rest of my life chasing after it, trying to find just one more tiny taste of what I once held in my arms.