The Only Way Out Is Through

My latest interest is (or at least he was an interest, and in a big way) one of the most confusing men I’ve ever been involved with. I’ve been seeing him for about 6 months… And by ‘seeing’, I mean meeting him (let’s call him “J“) for coffee once a month or so, but messaging with varying frequency (ranging from every day to nothing for weeks at a time).

When I first met him, I was instantly interested and attracted. After a few weeks of messages, though, he hadn’t asked me out again, so I sent him a message saying, “It was nice to meet you, but I’m getting the feeling you aren’t interested. Good luck with everything.” He came back with, “No, I am interested. Let’s have coffee.”

So we did. And it was good. (He kissed me goodbye).

After a few more weeks of messaging (and also being ignored) I was again about to give up on him, but he came back and we met for coffee again. It was honestly one of the best dates I’ve had, and in a movie it would have been THE launch pad for something incredible.

But my life is not a movie, and this time there was more ignoring between the messages, and a longer time before we saw each other again.

A really BIG (as in, MASSIVELY HUMUNGOUS) issue was that he managed to bring up his ex EVERY SINGLE TIME we’d caught up. It may have only been one or two sentences in hours of talking, but it had the effect of be putting a couple of bricks back in place in the walls I have up to stop me falling for someone. Even though he’d assured me it was over, I couldn’t shake the doubts.

Across the coffees and texts, it’s been a roller-coaster of hot and cold; flirting, kissing, cuddling, laughter, jokes, light-hearted and serious talking, revealing little pieces of ourselves. And messages being ignored, misunderstandings, and (on my part) hurt and tears. I would come to the conclusion that he wasn’t interested, I’d make moves to leave and he wouldn’t take the out; he made efforts to keep me. I would feel that rare connection of pure chemistry, fantasise and dream, and have hope for us. I’d remember that he continued to make no moves to actually date me (even after one of those ‘near-perfect’ dates that are the springboard for something incredible), and I’d want to give up. We’d flirt and meet up again and I’d see so much potential for us. He’d ignore me and I’d realise it wasn’t working.

A roller-coaster.

During the up times, when I’d open up,  I would start tearing down my walls.  During the down times, I became wary of being hurt and built the walls back up.  It was emotionally exhausting.

The last time he ignored me basically destroyed all the good. I spent two weeks crying on friends’ shoulders, two weeks imagining his face on the focus pads in my boxing class, and three weeks trying to cultivate ambivalence. I didn’t think he was an actual asshole, but there were obviously some serious barriers to us getting together. And believe me, I’d wanted to get together since I first met him. But since he’d blown hot and cold, I was always second-guessing how to relate to him; it didn’t exactly inspire me to try to seduce him.  I wasn’t certain if he was interested, or even attracted, but he kept coming back, so he had to be interested (right?).

We met for coffee again on the weekend about a month ago. It was one of the most difficult conversations I’ve ever had. To his credit, I believe he was as open and honest as he could be. Most guys wouldn’t even have wanted to show up to “TALK” with a girl he knows he’s hurt; they’d just put it in the “too hard” basket, write her off, and move on.

So, where to from here? Honestly, I don’t know. All I know is I’m in a shitty place I don’t want to be. I’ve got to get out of this horrible feeling that all the hope I’ve held on to over the last few months has been for naught. It feels horrible to know you’ve wasted months on someone who doesn’t care and doesn’t deserve the hope.

I’ve been on an Alanis Morissette kick lately, and just before I met J for the “talk”, came across her song Out is Through from the album So-Called Chaos. How I missed this song before I don’t know, but as sometimes happens, things only speak to you when you need them.

The chorus says

The only way out is through
The faster we’re in the better
The only way out is through, ultimately.

Basically, it’s about how when a relationship gets hard, something easier looks more attractive. However, you need to work through hurt to get out of it. A bit like going through a tunnel to emerge into the sunshine on the other side.

The line “My tendency to want to do away feels natural” is me to a T. After more than a decade of hurts, I have a finely tuned instinct to run before the hurt I see on the horizon gets me. In this case, since J didn’t let me go when I tried to run (twice), the hurt got me. Curiously, after I am hurt, I don’t run. For better or worse, I tend to want to confront it and pick it apart.

Then there’s the line “We could just call it quits, only to start all over again with someone else.” Uh huh. Tell me you don’t know what it feels like to have history repeat itself. How many times have you felt that life is taking more than one situation to teach you a certain lesson?

The last verse says

Every time I dream of ‘quick fix’ I’m assuaged.
Now I know it’s hard when it’s through
And I’m damned if I don’t know ‘quick fix’ way
But formerly mistreat me silence now outdated.

My tendency to want to run feels unnatural now.

There is no ‘quick fix’ to my situation. Is J’s “mistreat me silence” now outdated? I have no answer to that. Even if we were to give it a second shot, I’d be on my guard. Which will kill anything, anyway… It’s a vicious circle that only trust can cure.

I don’t know how quickly I will get through this, because it hurts to know that someone didn’t feel for you what you thought they did. It hurts when someone doesn’t seem to want what you have to offer. It hurts when the timing just seems all wrong, and you can torture yourself with the “what ifs”. Ultimately, that’s not worth it, or even helpful.

While in the song it seems that two people are working through their difficulties together, that does not appear to be what fate has in store for J and I. Our conversation might have started the journey through the tunnel to the other side, but we will probably be emerging alone.

I’m cynical…
But hopeful…
But my hope in this situation is as fragile as a snowflake on the tip of your tongue. Going… Going….

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2 thoughts on “The Only Way Out Is Through

  1. Pingback: The Soundtrack of J | Assholes and Other Men

  2. Pingback: Sometimes Deletion Is Required | Assholes and Other Men

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