This is a work in progress as the relationship develops…
Arms – Christina Perri
Where I hoped it was going:
Still falling for you – Ellie Goulding
It’s all your fault – Pink
Without a word – Birdy
This is a work in progress as the relationship develops…
Arms – Christina Perri
Where I hoped it was going:
Still falling for you – Ellie Goulding
It’s all your fault – Pink
Without a word – Birdy
How is it that someone can get under your skin… touch you deeply… make you incredibly happy… so you have plans and dreams for the future… you can see the possibilities… things you have been waiting for…
and things end suddenly, without explanation, leaving you broken… with endless questions… analysing everything to figure out what you missed… and they seem unaffected… you find out that they are moving on to the next person without a second thought.
Did they not feel what you felt? Did they not dream what you dreamt? Did they not feel joy when you laughed together? How can there be such a disconnect? How could what you shared have so little impact on them… mean so little… leave so little trace?
I don’t understand….
According to a Business Insider article, successful relationships hinge on just two traits – kindness and generosity (including generosity with your time and emotions).
While the divorce rate may be 1 in 3, according to the article only 3 in 10 relationships are happy and healthy. That is, even if they don’t get divorced, many couples are in unhealthy relationships.
In various studies, researchers discovered that couples could be divided into two groups – masters and disasters. The masters where in healthy relationships; the disasters were not. Interestingly, the researcher found that the couples displayed different physiological states when together in the research environment.
The disasters looked calm during the interviews, but their physiology, measured by the electrodes, told a different story. Their heart rates were quick, their sweat glands were active, and their blood flow was fast….The more physiologically active the couples were in the lab, the quicker their relationships deteriorated over time…The problem was that the disasters showed all the signs of arousal — of being in fight-or-flight mode — in their relationships…Even when they were talking about pleasant or mundane facets of their relationships, they were prepared to attack and be attacked. This sent their heart rates soaring and made them more aggressive toward each other.
The masters, by contrast, showed low physiological arousal. They felt calm and connected together, which translated into warm and affectionate behavior, even when they fought.
In another study, the researcher found that another critical trait of successful couples was how they responded to each other. The researcher explains that one will seek a connection from their partner in what he termed a ‘bid’. How the partner responded to that ‘bid’ – either by responding and connecting, or dismissing it and turning away – was essential for long-term health. He explains:
Say that the husband is a bird enthusiast and notices a goldfinch fly across the yard. He might say to his wife, “Look at that beautiful bird outside!” He’s not just commenting on the bird here: he’s requesting a response from his wife — a sign of interest or support — hoping they’ll connect, however momentarily, over the bird. The wife now has a choice. She can respond by either “turning toward” or “turning away” from her husband.
**I would emphasise that it goes both ways – the husband has to “turn towards” his wife in the same way when she makes a “bid”.
Basically, masters bring a healthy habit of mind to the relationship – they are looking for things to appreciate, rather than things to criticise. Treating your partner with contempt is a death sentence to the relationship.
On the other hand, kindness and generosity of spirit acts like glue.
The article goes on to elaborate how people can demonstrate kindness and generosity and the difference between masters and disasters. The article is quite long, but well worth the read if you are looking to deeper your connection with your partner. Changing your attitude can change everything.
So, I’ve realised I haven’t actually told you the story of M the narcissist, even though I’ve said I would. It was a long time ago, now, but he was one of the worst assholes EVER.
I got lonely and drunk one night recently and googled him. Why would I do that? It’s like the ONE rule you must NEVER break as a single person – NEVER EVER EVER EVER google an ex when you are drunk and lonely because without exception, they will be married with a child on the way.
Which sucks, especially since he was basically cheating on his girlfriend/future wife with me and lying about it.
So here’s the story of M. It’s long, so I hope you stick with me.
Of course I met him online. At first I wasn’t even going to accept his contact request because my gut told me M was a little full of himself and it wouldn’t work out well. He’s in a performance industry and I figured anyone in that sort of profession had to be at least a little egotistical.
I did accept his request, though, and we chatted and hit it off instantly – yeah, I know how that sounds, but it’s true. Having a connection when chatting online is really hard, and very rare, but we did. After a few conversations, we decided to meet for lunch. We had a lot in common, including an interest in politics (it was his major). The lunch went very well; he said it was a pleasure meeting me and would like to see me again.
I’d heard that before and was sceptical, so it was a pleasant surprise when we did, in fact, keep in touch.
He had recently invested in his own business and invited me over to his new premises one afternoon. He was doing a few renovations on it, so I helped him out with them and we talked non-stop, about everything – our past, travelling, sex, careers, tattoos, family, relationships, and politics. It was one of those absolutely perfect first dates that you didn’t want to end.
I told him I’d been in a serious relationship a few years ago which had ended because the guy had lied and cheated on me and told M how sick I was of meeting assholes online – I told him a story about chatting to a guy who ended up being married, even though he had “single” on his profile. M said he was deleting his profile because he wasn’t meeting anyone who was worth it. He was quick to add that I was different – I was smart and hot and fit. Of course I was flattered, but it takes more than that to quiet the cynic in me. I asked him (only half joking) if he was married or seeing anyone and he responded with an emphatic “No!”
He invited me back to his place for dinner, saying he’d cook for me. How could I pass it up? He re-heated pasta, which I thought was a cute interpretation of “cooking for me”.
While watching a movie, we started kissing and things heated up. I asked what he expected and he said “Nothing. Anything.” I told him I wasn’t going to sleep with him on the first date, and he accepted that. We still fooled around a little. It was hard not to give in (hey, I’m human), but instinct won out – that cynical whisper didn’t completely trust him yet. I’m sure a lot of you out there would know exactly what I’m talking about.
We settled down and focused back on the movie and he seemed withdrawn. He didn’t kiss me again, or touch me when he walked me to my car. I mentally rose an eyebrow. If he was going to sulk over not getting laid when that was never on the table, then I had been right not to sleep with him. We’d see what happened in the future…
About a week later, he hadn’t gotten in touch, so I called him. I said I’d had a great time, but understood he was busy (we’d talked about it – he had a performance competition coming up overseas). I asked him straight out if he wanted to see me again, or just leave it. He said he DEFINITELY wanted to see me again, but was under a lot of stress and pressure with the competition. I told him I understood, and I really did. I didn’t hear from him again, but just before he left for the comp, I messaged him and wished him luck.
Yes, there were red lights here, but at the time I also saw traits I find very attractive. The first date (except for the end) was like something out of a movie. You don’t get that kind of instant connection with just anyone and I didn’t want to listen to my instinct saying let it go. I didn’t know the depths of his assholery.
He messaged me when he got back to tell me how the meeting had gone (he’d won). I invited him to come around to my place sometime to celebrate.
He did. We talked for hours, about the competition (I asked him, teasingly, how many women he’d slept with at the meet. He said, “None”. I didn’t totally believe him), about our past relationships and about us. We knew there was chemistry. He said he liked me, he was interested in me, was attracted to me, but he just didn’t have time for a full relationship between jobs and comps. His actual words were, “The thought of adding a relationship to what I’ve already got going on gives me a nervous breakdown”. Again, I told him I understood and that I appreciated him being honest with me.
We made out, but it didn’t go any further (although it was hard – pun intended). You could almost literally see the sparks between us, but I knew it wasn’t right. He told me (while laying on top of me and looking into my eyes) that until he saw me again, all he would have was his hand for company (he shook it for emphasis).
When he had to leave we just stood in the middle of the room hugging for a while. He said he’d never met someone he could talk to so easily and he would definitely be calling me when he wanted some decent conversation and a friend. He was going to Mexico for another performance meet in two weeks and said he’d see me when he got back.
We became Facebook friends and continued chatting after he got home that night, but after that he didn’t talk much. I had a million doubts about him. I decided that I’d give him until he got back from Mexico and then tell him it wasn’t working. I wasn’t going to let the apparent chemistry distract me from the fact that I couldn’t envision things working out romantically, or ever introducing him to friends or family. We could still be friends, but our conversation would be about politics, not positions.
When I thought of him, the song “Beware of the Dog” came to mind.
A few days later, I saw a message posted on his FB wall “Hola! I can’t wait to meet you when you come over. You make G__ so happy. I am so happy for you two!” Being the nosey detective that I am, I researched his friends list and found this “G”. I thought I’d sit on the discovery for a bit to see if it was as suspicious as it sounded, and didn’t say anything to M.
The next time I logged on, the message was gone, and he’d blocked me from seeing his friends list. Yep. He was going to Mexico and he was making someone happy. Present tense.
The day before he left, I texted, “Good luck with your competition in Mexico”. He replied, “Thanks! It’s just a performance and a holiday.”
A few days later, I saw a few pics of him at a party with his arms around a fake bleach blonde with a fake tan. Her captions included “Mi amore!” (Spanish for ‘My love’ in a deep sense of the word) and “My Man! <3".
I was furious. That day I’d been listening to Carrie Underwood and came across her song “Before He Cheats” (it was around the time it was first released, as it happened. Perfect timing!) I posted the first stanza on my wall: “Right about now he’s probably slow dancing with a bleach-blonde tramp and she’s probably getting frisky”.
I posted it, then thought better of it and changed the settings so that only one friend could see it.
The next time I logged on M had fully blocked me. I had a feeling it was because of my post, but A) I didn’t really care if he’d seen it, and B) I wasn’t sure how he could have seen it, since it was blocked to all but one person. Still, I knew it was childish, and took the post down, albeit too late, I suppose.
Although M had blocked me, I could still see HER wall (no privacy settings) and what I saw gutted me. The black and white ‘professional’ photos of them half naked on a bed, and the selfie of them spooning on what was obviously her bed with the caption “my one and only” especially hurt.
Now, I don’t just blame him for my hurt: All up, we knew each other for just over 2 months. I knew I’d let the “connection” and sexual attraction carry me away and though I was cautious and untrusting, I’d opened part of my heart to him. The fact my instincts were right and I didn’t listen almost hurt more than his betrayal. (This is what it is like to be both a romantic hopeful and a jaded cynic. The hopeful side is desperately trying not to let you give in the to cynical side, even though the cynic is right most of the time).
The situation was confusing. I know the adage “if he’s not calling, he’s just not into you”, but I made up excuses for him. And besides, all that adage does is give men an excuse to be inconsiderate assholes.
However, no matter what I did “wrong”, nothing gave him the right to play me, to lie to me, to jerk me around. He (deliberately?) fucked with my feelings.
He KNEW how much I liked him. He KNEW how much I hated lying assholes. I TOLD him how much I appreciated his honesty. I asked him straight out (a few times, in different ways) if he was involved with anyone else and he said NO every time.
He had plenty of opportunities to tell me the truth. He didn’t have to come around to my place. He didn’t have to tell me how much he liked me. He could have just messaged, “I’m sorry, I’m seeing someone else.” Or he could have told me on our first date. (Things with him and G had OBVIOUSLY been going on for some time).
Better yet, he could have had it on his online dating profile in the first place (more than a few guys write profiles with “I’m attached but looking for something on the side”. At least with these guys you know where you stand).
This “G” wasn’t just a random someone he was sleeping with on holiday – that wouldn’t have bothered me so much; after all, M and I were never officially “Together”. What bothered and hurt so much was the fact that they were obviously in a fairly intense relationship, that they were when he and I were talking, and that he lied to me about his situation. I was communicating with him under false impressions, and he knew it.
I knew when he was getting back from Mexico. I was a bit of a mess. I was dreaming about using my skills from combat classes to beat him up (in one especially satisfying scenario, I threw him through the plate-glass window at his job). I dreamt about putting up signs with his face on it, Samantha Jones-style.
I finally decided to confront him. I didn’t sleep the night before, so it was probably not the best thing to do. But anyway… This is how it went down:
After a few deep breaths I walked into his work, saw him at his desk and greeted him with an enthusiastic “Asshole!!” and a big smile.
His expression changed immediately, and I wish I had a picture of it! I sat down opposite him. He said, tersely, “What?” Well, he obviously knew what, because he continued, “Not here. At my frikin work!?!? It’s not appropriate.”
No, it probably wasn’t, but I’d already considered this and retorted, “No, what YOU did was not appropriate!,” stabbing the table with my finger for emphasis. My heart was pounding. The sight of him infuriated me.
“I have a thousand things to do since I got back. You are on my list,” he said.
Yeah, right. He wasn’t calling me before he went to Mexico, but he wanted me to believe that he was going to call me after he blocked me on FB? I called, “Bullshit!”
He said “Let’s go outside”. At this point I had the feeling I’d gotten into something I wish I hadn’t, but it was too late and I was determined to see it through.
Once outside I turned and faced him, “Why did you lie?”
“I didn’t. I told you I didn’t know what was going on and couldn’t commit to a relationship.”
“No, you said ‘the thought of adding a relationship to what I’ve got going on gives me a nervous breakdown’. You said you weren’t seeing anyone. How did you think I felt seeing that picture of you with your arms around some chick with her caption ‘Mi amore’.”
“That’s just a Mexican thing: ‘mi amore’ means ‘my friend’. She means nothing.”
OMG, I thought, dumbfounded. I was literally speechless. Did he think I didn’t know basic Spanish? And did she know she meant nothing?
“And you block me on FB?”
“You put up a post about me dancing with a slut? I was furious. You insult my friend – it’s not cool,” He said. Yeah, I knew it was a bit childish. I still couldn’t work out how he’d seen it, but he obviously accepted it was about him, even though I’d only posted song lyrics and did not specifically mention anyone.
“How about talking to me before blocking me?”
“I was mad.”
I scoffed and said again, “How do you think I felt seeing those pictures of you?”
“I didn’t do anything wrong.” [Ha! Yeah, right, I thought]. “I didn’t sleep with you. I didn’t want to lead you on or do the wrong thing. You are an amazing girl. But I didn’t know what was going on up here and in here,” he tapped his head and heart.
I saw he couldn’t think of anyone but himself. I also realised he didn’t know I’d seen more than just the pictures of the party. I had a split second to make the decision whether or not to reveal I knew more than he thought. I decided to let it go – he would never get it. Even now he was still trying to lie and manipulate – giving me lines – You are amazing – I didn’t want to lead you on – I tried to do the right thing – I was going to call…. I. I. I. Bull. Bull. Bull.
I decided to let it go. “I thought we had something. I’m hurt and angry.”
“I’ll call you,” he said.
“No, don’t.” I turned and walked away. I had to, before he saw my tears.
A block later, still crying, I came across two girls outside a coffee shop, a cigarette packet on the table. I’d given up, but desperate times call for desperate measures.
I begged, “Could I please bum a smoke?”
I saw that their first instinct was to say no, but they looked up, saw my face, and handed me the packet, saying, “It’s a guy, isn’t it?”
In the world of sisterhood, the effect of an encounter with an Asshole is well-understood.
I couldn’t believe he tried to tell me there was “nothing” with G, but remembered he didn’t know everything I knew. Good thing I could go back and re-look at those pics to confirm that I was actually right, or I may have started wondering if I should have accepted his last offer to call me. (I had to block her, too. It was too tempting to stickybeak, and I was only hurting myself by seeing what they were up to). I’m pretty sure she wouldn’t agree that it was “nothing” and now that they are apparently married and expecting, I guess she never knew about me (and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one over the years).
So there you go. The story of M the Narcissist.
This article [The Real Reasons We Push People Away] is quite interesting.
It can be very frustrating to be interested in someone who has no follow-through, whether that is from a “he’s just not into you” standpoint, or whether from being scared to start something. It’s frustrating because you can’t tell which is which.
I felt this way with J. I saw and felt SO MUCH potential with him, but he played hot and cold and I couldn’t figure out if he just wasn’t interested or what. If he just wasn’t interested, I gave him plenty of opportunities to say so and leave, but every time he assured me he was. And then nothing.
I don’t think I’ve ever pushed someone away because I was scared. Well, no, I sort of did with T (not sure if I’ve talked about him). Basically, I was scared of getting in too deep with him, because I was in love and I wasn’t sure if he was and I needed to protect myself. As I referred to in this post, I wasn’t sure I could trust T with my heart, so I did push away a little to see if he would pull me back.
I’m looking for someone with follow-through and throw-down.
Where is he?
I may have jumped the gun and been a little too optimistic in a previous post. When I wrote about The Soundtrack of J, I said I was free of the tunnel of crap, but the reality of not being free of it all was made abundantly clear tonight.
I was, until a few minutes ago, still friends with him on Facebook, and we’ve exchanged a couple of messages since our last awkward conversation. The hopeful romantic in me just couldn’t let me burn the bridge by cutting him out of my life. So what I get for that is a little jolt of electricity going from my heart to my gut when I see that his ex has tagged a picture of herself and J dressed up to go to a party (as you may know, when someone tags you in a picture, the picture appears on your wall, which then shows up in your friends’ news feeds).
You may recall that in my Rollercoaster with J, his ex was a bit of an issue for me, even though from everything he said there was no chance that the reasons they broke up would change. But it seemed like they still saw each other at least semi regularly, and she ‘liked’ and commented on his Facebook frequently. Yes, they may be that rare breed of ex that can maintain a platonic friendship after breaking up, but the cynic in me, the doubts, will not be appeased.
And when I saw the picture of them, I realised that while I may have moved on, and I long ago stopped believing there would ever be anything between us, there is something in me that still reacts to him.
So I decided to go the self-preservation route, feeding the jaded cynic rather than the hopeful romantic. It took a deep breath, but I have deleted him from my Facebook so that I will never again be casually scrolling through my Facebook homepage and be confronted by the image of someone I had strong (and complicated) feelings for looking so happy with his ex on his arm.
The day after writing the above, and after a month of not hearing from him, J sent me a message today asking me how I am and what I’m doing. I replied, but of course nothing has come of it. A very weird coincidence of timing, and a reminder that I’m looking for someone with follow-up and throw-down.
Not sure how true all this is, but anyway…