Houston, We Have A Problem
Here’s a phrase I thought was simply the result of exasperated men with poor communication skills, but has slowly begun to ring true for me: women are complicated. Readers, I say this as a bisexual feminist who realizes that this statement is an oversimplification of half the planet’s population. However, perhaps clichés like “women are complicated” stray closer to the truth than we thought.
I say this because yesterday I ran into my ex-girlfriend. Well, no so much ran into as much as she-texted-me-and-then-visited-me-at-work-and-made-out-with-me-in-a-stairwell-and-wanted-to-hang-out-after. So let’s zoom past the making out in the stairwell to the part where she’s walking me to my car so we can meet up at her place. “[My roommate] is going to kill me,” she says. “Why?” I asked. Suddenly she looked guilty. “No reason…” I give her this look; “You didn’t make some kind of deal with [her roommate] to not let you see me, did you?” She turned away so she was staring at her feet, “Umm….”. I had hit the nail on the head. Lately I had been getting the feeling that my ex has been trying to avoid me, but just when I’d start to leave her alone she would text me or ask to hang out. So I left it alone for her to sort out with herself…until then.
I walked away from her and headed for my car. She called after me, telling me it was stupid and that it didn’t matter. “I’ll see you at your place!” I called back. I needed a second to think. What the fuck was she doing? Suddenly I was in the role of her evil ex, who lures her into hanging out and prevents her from getting over me. I didn’t want to be the evil ex, and I felt like it was so unfair. I had always told her to let me know if she wanted things to change—whether it be to platonic friendship, or no friendship or something more than friends-with-benefits, but she hadn’t said anything except, “I’m okay, this is fine.”
I’m so sick of having this same conversation, the one where she finally is too upset to hide it anymore and I sit there and tell her she doesn’t have to hide it from me, that she can talk to me if she wants to. And she always says, “I’ll try,” but we both know she doesn’t really mean it. She has too much pride to be honest about her feelings, and I have too much frustration to keep letting her toy with my head. It’s not fair that I do everything I can to let her know I support her and care for her, and it still doesn’t work. It’s not fair that three days after the fact is when she tells me something was bugging her, so I can feel guilty about not figuring it out sooner. It’s not fair I’m trying so hard to be honest with her, and she’s not doing anything different. And most of all, it’s not fair that everyone else gets to know how she feels about me, besides me. If she wants to stop hanging out, we should stop hanging out. If she wants to hate me she should hate me. I don’t want to be a part of her life if I’m not making her happy. So that’s what I told her.
Of ‘course she told me it was nothing, that she was fine and over me and everything was good. So I took her word for it, gave her the benefit of the doubt. Twenty or thirty minutes later though, I found out she deleted my phone number off her phone. And then later when we talked about it she told me: “It’s like you’re a drug.”
I don’t want to be a drug or even a cure to someone. I want to add happiness and healthiness to people’s lives, I want them to want me, not feel trapped or addicted to me. I looked at her, “This is why we can’t be together,” I told her. “We suck at communicating.” “It’s not like I was thinking we’d ever get back together,” she told me, defensive as per usual. I sighed, “I know, I just wanted to…nevermind.”
Despite all of these heavy conversations, we actually ended the night on a good note. Until I got this message this morning:
I feel like I just really need to be angry at you for a while, and I’ll quit being weird and get the fuck over everything. But it is so damn impossible to be angry at you. huff.
WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME?!?!?! At this point, I’m not touching this with a ten foot stick. I’m done trying to guess what she wants and needs, and am just sticking on the sidelines and waiting until she figures that stuff out for herself. I just want her to be happy, dammit. I don’t want to be the bad guy.
The worst part is that I sort of know where she’s coming from, because it’s how I feel every time I’m around Fred. I look at him and feel sad that he fucks other people and that he’s okay with that, but it’s different for me because I do the same thing. I’m done being hypocritical and pissed at him for living his life as he chooses, but it still hurts. And the thing is, as much as it hurts I can’t not have him in my life…the only thing worse than sharing him is losing him. So in a twisted way, I have an idea of how my ex-girlfriend feels.
The important distinction is, I’m talking about it.