Wait, does that sound feminist, or sexist? It’s not meant to. There’s a story behind the shirt. I re-entered the dating world after 27 years absence. I had high hopes. I was a good person, a valuable human being with wants and needs. I’d been married 20 years, considered myself a well grounded person, and I knew how long term relationships worked.
When I first met Carl I felt instant attraction. There was the physical part, but I was also attracted to his fun loving personality. I enjoyed being in his company and he seemed to enjoy going out with me. We dated regularly for three weeks, and then he literally retreated into some kind of emotional hermit cave. It wasn’t anything I could pin down, beside the sudden lack of phone calls, but it was an emotional connection that was suddenly pulled back. I felt it in my gut. I actually jokingly asked him about it and he said, “It’s not like we’re going steady or something.” What?
I was taken aback by what I thought of as a 50’s type statement. I wasn’t asking him to go steady, I wasn’t asking for a ring or even to know where he was every minute of the day. I was just wondering why he suddenly seemed so distant and. . . different. All he would say was that things were moving too fast.
Lack of caring is a good term that comes to mind when I think of Carl.
Sometimes I would stop at his work and bring him a little treat, maybe pick him up an ice cream cone or a candy bar. Just a little something to let him know I was thinking about him. I had an uneasy feeling he didn’t want me there at his workplace, even though I’d only stop for ten minutes. I got the idea he didn’t want anyone to know we were seeing each other. Being compliant with his unspoken wish, I would only go later in the evening when I knew there wasn’t much chance of running into his coworkers. If he invited me over to his house, it was later in the evening. He never took me out to dinner except for our first date, and then I paid for dinner because he bought lottery tickets.
I’m a fairly intelligent women. Why wasn’t I reading the writing painted in glaring red letters on the wall? I was letting myself get sucked into wanting someone in my life. Someone to make me laugh, make me feel good about myself. I was a good person, darn it! I deserved to have someone. However good or bad that person was, well, we all had shortcomings.
He would come to my house on his work break, eat the dinner I’d prepared, then doze in my chair. The last time this happened I asked him if he’d like to talk. He looked at me blankly and asked me what I wanted to talk about. I knew that was it. He was a social moron and up until that moment, I was his sidekick.
He never expressed much interest in my life. He did help me out with some things around the house a few times, but I more than gave back. One time I offered him some lumber I wasn’t using, and he must’ve known we weren’t going to be going out much longer, because he asked me to bring the lumber over to his house a full month earlier than planned.
I cringe now when I think how gullible and how very lonely I was, to allow anyone to treat me in such an uncaring manner. I let him take advantage of my innate goodness and kind heart.
After about two months, I wised up and talked to myself. I wondered why was I hanging around with a man who cared nothing about me except in the most superficial way. Why be with a man who made me feel bad about myself because he could give me no more than his superficial dating self. I decided enough was enough. I cut him out of my heart and my life. And yes, it was difficult but I deserved better. I was better than the 1/16th relationship he offered. That day I made the decision not to see or correspond with him any more and I stuck to my guns. He never said a word or asked why.
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