The Column: Dating in the ER.

Hey, hot doctor.
Hey, hot doctor.

I was about two months into dating this guy I met through some friends, when he started acting distant toward me. He stopped answering my calls, it took him longer to respond to text messages, and instead of multiple dates a week, we barely saw each other.

I called him out on it, and he sent me a text message saying he was “Not in good health” and that he had to have surgery the next morning.

Being me, I freaked out wondering what was wrong — did his appendix rupture? Was there a previous health issue I didn’t know about?

I called him, and he answered the phone, whispering. He told me he didn’t want to discuss it while he was at work, because it was something “disgusting.”

I was confused, and quite pissed. It’s never a good idea to tell someone you’re having surgery and then not tell them why, or any details.

Later that night, he told me he was having some sort of surgery on his ass. His roommate was going to drive him to the hospital in the morning.

I was suddenly in this sort of gray area — I didn’t know how much attention he wanted from me during his recovery.

Everything he said about the surgery and recovery was that it was gross and he didn’t want me to be a part of it, so I really wasn’t, aside from just telling him I hoped he felt better soon.

About a week after surgery, he invited me over to his place to watch a movie. I accepted the invite, but our visit was distant. No real flirting, no cuddling, and only a few innocent kisses.

I noticed he had his hospital bracelet on his bathroom counter.

“Are you keeping this for your scrapbook?” I asked him.

“It’s just a reminder to me that I was in the hospital and I need to take it easy,” he said.

From what he told me, the surgery was very minor — no organs were involved. So, I was even more confused. Was there something more serious he wasn’t telling me?

He continued to be distant, and frankly, it was getting on my nerves. So, a few days later I told him I was confused and didn’t know what to do about his attitude toward me.

He called me and simply said, “You’re right. Now is not a good time for me to be seeing someone.”

We hung up, and that was it. Over.

I was upset for about 10 minutes when I realized something: I’m continually getting stuck in patterns that force me to throw pity parties for the men I’m dating.

I’m not a party planner, and I’m done pretending to be one. I wish he would’ve told me sooner that he wasn’t interested, because I could’ve saved myself a few months and some feelings.

I hope he has a blast, hanging out by himself, ignoring those who care, and mending his ass wounds.


  1. Justine

    You come off as a completely selfish cow. “I care so much about this guy, bla bla bla, but I refuse to acknowledge his embarrassment and just want him to snuggle me closer and tighter on the couch and I need more attention because that’s my priority and oh god he isn’t happy because he JUST HAD SURGERY so he tells me he doesn’t want to be in a relationship because I clearly need SO MUCH FROM HIM and then I rudely tell him off like a coward on my sad blog and embarrass him further!”

      1. Justine

        Your lack of self-reflection is actually kinda impressive considering most blogs tend to focus on that concept. No wonder this guy ended it…I would, too, if I were dating a person who thought it was appropriate to blast this guy’s private (very embarrassing) surgery on the internet.

      2. thebitterlemon

        You’re so smart, Justine. If you hate my blog so much, I’m not really sure why you’re reading it and wasting time commenting on it. Where’s your blog, Justine? I’d love to read it and troll on it so I can be just like you someday. Love you.

  2. Justine

    Well at least for this specific post I’m here primarily to laugh at it but this just begs the question: if you don’t like “trolling” so much (read: legitimate criticism and feedback on some pretty heinous, juvenile behavior that you elected to share,) and clearly get super defensive when “it” happens, why have a comment section at all? Are you one of those bloggers that only wants pats on the back for your insipid work? You haven’t addressed any actual criticism about your selfish, antagonistic behavior, let alone acknowledge that “hey, maybe it wasn’t so cool to put this dude on blast about something super private.”

    Also, LOL at “I’ve never wondered why I’m ‘still” single.'” Girl, that’s what this 90% of this blog is about.

    1. thebitterlemon

      Oh, okay, you’re here for laughter. That’s a relief! Comments are always welcome here; I very well could have marked you as spam, but here I am, publishing your kind words. I don’t think calling me a cow is legitimate criticism, so there’s that. And I also don’t think I’ve been defensive. So, I’ll keep the comments, and you are welcome to comment as you please. As for being selfish, this is my blog, so I can write about whatever I want, just as you’re allowed to say whatever you want. I think you should exercise your right to get a blog, so the world can read your intelligent words. In this instance, I don’t think I was being particularly selfish. However, I do think it’s important for anyone to recognize that there’s only so much they can do for another person. As a woman with an abusive past, it’s really important for me to put myself first, even if it means things don’t work out. I don’t consider this blog as putting someone “on blast.” Let’s be honest, not that many people read it, and I left out the person’s name and any details about his life to protect his privacy. This blog is not a place for me to whine about being single, it’s a place where I can share stories about dating — I don’t think you’ve read 90 percent of my blog to make sweeping judgments. Thank you for reading, and sharing your opinions. I hope you have a great day!

  3. Justine

    Welp, if you knew the origin of “cow” in British slang, it refers to a supremely unpleasant woman. So, actually, I think it is an extremely legitimate criticism based on this rude and cowardly way to address a breakup. Putting yourself first doesn’t mean revealing embarrassing anecdotes or details out of spite which is exactly what that last sentence of this entry reeks of. As for being defensive, you can claim your veiled pleasantries and smiley faces weren’t that, but we all know the truth. C’mon, girl.

    As for not naming him, welp:

    Anyway, carry on and have a GREAT day. 🙂

  4. SusieQ

    Dearest Lemon-
    I interpreted your post much different the then the friendly Justine. I didn’t view it as blasting someone for whatever reason but discussing the impact of someones actions on another person. Normally when dating someone they let you in on their life, and I would find it a little weird that he didn’t share the specifics either. Considering my personal past I would wonder if he had some strange fetish that got him in the hospital. I also think you have the right to be a little unpleasant (even though I only saw your normal sunshine demeanor and witty sarcasm) considering that you are working like 500 jobs, dealing with the emotions of your past job experience plus all the other bs that life will send our way. I would also wonder what change, why did he go from being all hanging out and chatting to giving the cold shoulder? As a girl that behavior sometimes fuels the emotional fire and causes us to wonder what is wrong with us- which is not right. I’ve also learned in life that SOME men have little regard for anyone else feelings. While you sit and wonder what you did wrong he’s not thinking – hmm that may be hurtful to her, hes only thinking of himself. Which I get, he had surgery and he’s embarrassed about it. But part of being with someone is accepting the embarrassing things, so what made him think you wouldn’t be accepting? I saw self-reflection in the post- but also there are somethings that aren’t worth beating yourself up over.

    I think that sometimes people (especially some women) need to spend a little less time beating up others and a little more time saying – what could I say to this person that could be helpful to them? You’ve gone through some hurtful situations this past years, I’m sure you need no help beating yourself up from outside sources. You are a beautiful person inside and out and you and your time deserve to be valued and treated with respect. He just wasn’t the right guy for you, says nothing bad about either of you. It just didn’t work out.

    Always remember – Hurting people hurt people.


  5. thebitterlemon

    Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts, Suz! As I’ve always promised to be honest, I’m just going to go ahead and say a few things. 1. Justine is Justin. He’s made that pretty obvious by posting links to other blogs/columns, and that was a pretty big mistake on his part because I do not believe my readers would have bothered to make the connection otherwise.

    2. Was mentioning his ass surgery the nicest thing I could have done? No, it wasn’t. However, it’s something that I went through and it affected my dating world, so I felt it deserved some words. If people are wondering, no, the surgery had nothing to do with sex. It was actually something that can happen to anyone, and when he told me what happened, I assured him over and over that it was nothing to be embarrassed about. I was worried about him and I knew he was down about it, and I wanted to do anything I could for him during his recovery. And yes, I’ve never had surgery, so I have no idea what he was going through, but I thought we were close, and I just wanted to be there for him.

    What hurts me the most is that someone I cared about felt it necessary to make up a fake email address, pose as a woman, and write comments on my blog that were insulting to me. It’s absolutely FINE if he’s upset and he was welcome to call or email me and say, “Hey, I don’t appreciate that” and we could have been adults about it.

    But instead, a 35 year old father posted on my blog, called me a cow and said I was tasteless, arrogant, needy, and sad. I don’t understand why he’s still even looking at this blog, or caring about my life. We haven’t spoken in a month, and if I was so terrible to him, then he shouldn’t read my blog, and he shouldn’t have led me on for two months.

    My stomach was in knots over his comments, so I reached out and sent him an email, asking if we could resolve this like adults. He never responded.

    I wrote many, many kind words about Justin that were published on this blog and in the pages of the local magazine I write for, and I heard nothing about those things.

    Yes, Suz, it just didn’t work out. I’m learning more and more who I am and the type of person I hope to share my life with. I just want someone to let me in their life. If that makes me a needy cow, then I guess so.

    Thank you for commenting, Suz! I appreciate your loyal readership and you taking the time to write. -H

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