Friday, May 21, 2010

In which the grad school sociopath leaves me twisting in the wind and I TAKE IT BECAUSE I WAS AN IDIOT

I left you with my having returned from Holland after two days, yes, two days, because I missed Rick so much. I had moved my furniture into storage and given up my bargain duplex in Austin which trust me was not easy to find. I was homeless, furnitureless, and not registered for the fall semester. But I was sure that Rick would welcome me with open arms and that Love Would Conquer All.

You'd think a grown woman of 27 would be smarter than that but you would be wrong. I had seen what I wanted to see.

He had already asked my friend Debbie out and did not want to see me.

That's not exactly it. He claimed he wanted "time to think" about our relationship.

I told him either break up with me or date me.

He said he didn't know and that he really needed the time.

I, like an idiot (are you seeing the theme here?), said OK, and let him torture me for an entire semester because he wanted to be Mr Nice Guy, as in he didn't want to be the one to break up.

I have never been that way. It is cruel to leave someone in a state of limbo. If you are not interested, break up. Have the courtesy to tell the person that you are not interested, that the relationship is not going anywhere, and have a nice life.

Don't say you "want to think about it." If that's really the case, you still don't have the right to ask someone to wait around while you stare at your bellybutton and try to figure out what's in your head and in your heart.

You break up. You think. If you decide later that you made a big mistake, the appropriate step is to crawl back on your hands and knees, say that you were an idiot and don't know how you could have made such a mistake and your life is nothing, NOTHING without that person, and beg the person to take you back. Maybe it will work, maybe it won't. You take your chances.

But back then, I was not the confident, sassy, whatever chick you see before you today. I didn't have the guts to tell him to go to hell, although I wish I could go back in time to my 27-year-old self and slap some sense into myself.

"He's not good enough for you!" I would hiss. "Listen to your gut about his character. He's a cheater! He thinks none of the rules apply to him. Do you really want to be with someone like this, even if his kisses make your head spin?"

Then I would say, after I had lost about 15 pounds overnight (best diet I have ever found, except I looked sick) and had written a series of very whiny, self-pitying columns for the B-school paper, "Snap out of it, girl! Have you no self respect?" I would have lost all patience with myself.

Instead, I moped and moaned and didn't eat, which was serious because nothing, but nothing puts me off my feed. Oddly enough, this thin whininess served only to make me more attractive to other men and I kept getting asked out. I swatted those guys away like flies: couldn't they see I was suffering? Plus, what if Rick heard I had been dating someone else? Then he wouldn't want me.

Yeah. I know. You want to go back in time and slap me, too.

Wait. It gets worse.

A big group of us went out dancing in the middle of the semester. I saw him in the parking lot. I clung to him and asked when he would know how he felt. "I'll be whoever you want me to be!" I told him. Dignity was my middle name.

This whole time, Debbie tried to talk to me. I wanted nothing to do with her. As the woman scorned so often do, I blamed the Other Woman instead of Rick, who rightly deserved any blame for choosing Debbie over me. I should have been mad at him, not her.

Finally, in January, at the beginning of the spring semester, I asked him for his decision. Oh, he still didn't know.

I snapped out of it. I had been (yes, you knew this was coming) an IDIOT. "Do not ever talk to me again," I told him. "Never. We are not friends."

He protested and I said talk to the hand. If he didn't have the guts to tell me it was over (as if I couldn't figure it out), then I would do the dirty work, but he wasn't going to get to pretend that we were all buddy buddy.

Debbie approached me again. I still didn't want to talk to her, but she insisted. She had things to tell me. I didn't want to hear her, but she sat me down and forced me to listen.

Rick had used the same lines on us. ("Your fragrance is intoxicating" or something stupid like that.) He had been courting her the same time he had been "dating" me. She had asked him about me and he had told her there was nothing between us. He had taken her on a two-week drive from Texas to San Francisco, then treated her very badly on the trip. I won't go into details but he was very mean.

It was liberating. True liberation, not, "I can ask men out so they can sleep with me with with impunity and without commitment" liberation. It was the liberation of realizing that he was a jerk and that he had treated us both badly and that we were better off without him.

He has faded away (yeah, I've googled him - you wouldn't?) and Debbie and I are friends again. Which is how it should be. Who needs a man like that in her life?

3 comments:

  1. My own Rick (we all have one) had one redeeming feature: he made a clean break. He did it in incredibly insensitive and cowardly fashion, but it was 100% clear that he didn't want to date me any more.

    It's amazing, and painful, to read how long the Ricks of the world have been operating, and to realize that they will continue to pull this kind of crap. Bah. I wish we were born with this kind of wisdom, but sadly, it seems like we have to earn it!

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  2. I love how your writing is engaging. ("Yeah. I know. You want to go back in time and slap me, too.") I feel like we are "girlfriends" just chatting! We would all love to go back in time at some point and slap ourselves silly over the ways we have acted!

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    1. Thank you, Janet. I'm so glad you're enjoying my blog!

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