I left Indiana a few days later around 6 am. It was Eric’s birthday, and I’d left him a note on his nightstand wishing him a great day. I missed him already. I tried to text him between flights, but he wasn’t too talkative.
I looked up flight prices so I could get back to Indiana and see him soon; but my mention of that didn’t warrant a great response from him. I got home to my apartment, and was glad to see my kitty, but felt lonelier than ever.
The truth is, I’d played this game before. It was not the first time I’d gone to Indiana to see a boy, and it definitely wasn’t the first time I was getting the cold shoulder after having sex with a guy. It was actually becoming more common than not.
After a few days of it just being awkward with Eric, I made attempts to clear the air. I asked him if he felt different with our friendship.
“Of course I feel different,” he said. “But I’m trying to find a way to show you I’m interested without it being anything serious.”
I told him that we should just agree that it won’t be anything serious. We lived far apart, and he was getting over a divorce and I had just moved to a new city. But I did want to keep that door open, so maybe something could happen between us in the future.
Things between us seemed back to normal for a few days, but eventually they fell back into, what I call the “Ice Age”, where a guy is just icing me out. We went about a week without talking, and we hadn’t talked on the phone since before I made the trip.
I was upset, and having trouble thinking about anything else, so I finally texted him on a Friday night. He was in Chicago, so I felt like an idiot for bothering him, and vowed to just let him have his weekend with his friends.
But the next day, he texted me asking if we were going to start talking again or what was going on?
I tried to explain my side in the nicest way possible, and tell him that I felt like ever since I’d gotten back, he’d gone cold, and I didn’t know why or how that happened. Was I bad in bed? Did I say something offensive?
He explained that no, I was not bad in bed or offensive, it was just him, and he genuinely apologized. “I’ve never really been single and I’m just really bad at this,” he said. “I want to get back to normal.”
“Normal” to me meant we were back to texting each other often, but my text that night went with no reply. I was up until around 3, and still never heard from him. Even when I awoke the next morning around 9, still nothing. It wasn’t like him, and I started to panic.
“Eric, is everything okay?” I texted him.
He replied an hour or so later.
“Yeah, just trying to leave the city,” he said. “Was out until 7 am.”
And my gears were grinding. Out until 7 am, but he couldn’t text me? Okay. Takes two to tango here. I told him he was shady, but whatever, do what you please.
“hahahaha” he replied.
I didn’t understand what the fuck was so funny.
“So I don’t have to answer to you but I’m shady?” he said.
You got it, mother fucker. I didn’t know what his problem was. Was he trying to prove to me that yes, he was single, and he could do whatever he wanted? I didn’t appreciate him acting that way toward me. Was he trying to make me jealous of him? Of girls he was with?
I stopped replying to his texts and got on with my day. I wasn’t going to bother with that train I couldn’t control.
Later that night, he called me.
“Are you mad at me?” he asked.
“Nope,” I said. I was determined to stop caring. Easy breezy cool girl, right here.
“Okay, well you didn’t reply my text,” he said.
“Well, you never reply to mine,” I said. “I was busy.”
Oh, how the tables have turned. Pulling out the same lines he used on me. Our chat was over quickly.
You make me feel like I did you wrong.
What I now refer to as the “Chicago Conversation”, bothered me more than I can properly explain. The truth was, I really didn’t care if he was out with other girls, or hooked up. But I did care that he was trying to flaunt it in my face. He was trying to make me feel bad about myself, and that is a feeling I’ve felt from men for my entire life.
For the next week, I cried myself to sleep multiple times. I needed some resolve. I already know I’m bad about seeing the red flags and running from them; but I thought I picked a good guy this time. But that is what I thought every time. And every time, it ended like a Taylor Swift song.
I got to thinking about control and how it affects our dating lives. There were things we all tried to control in relationships – who has the power; who cares less or more – we were trying to control the uncontrollable.
As simple as this idea sounds, I finally got it: dating was out of my control. It didn’t matter how nice I was, how thin I was, how pretty I looked, how much beer I could guzzle, or how funny I was, a guy was going to either like me and treat me right, or he wasn’t.
This idea, alone, made me feel so much better. It took the pressure off. Okay, so it didn’t workout with Eric, handsome Eric who I thought had potential for something serious, but it was no big deal. He wasn’t the one for me. If he texted me, great, if not, great. Chalk it up to a fun weekend, and just be done with it.
But my new outlook didn’t bode well with Eric. I had finally stopped chasing him, and he noticed. About a week later, I heard a statistic on the radio that said the #1 reason men will dump a woman is because they don’t listen.
This shocked me, so I texted Eric, and asked him if it was true. He said it was.
“We’re selfish, so all we want is a girl who’s going to listen to everything we say and act like it’s the coolest thing ever,” he said.
While I agreed with him on the selfish front, I’d just assumed men were not concerned with whether a women listened or not.
But, what a man wants was no longer a concern of mine. I was without a care, I’d gotten a new haircut to reflect my carefree ways, and I was feeling good. I’d spent years listening to and being interested in every detail of men’s lives, and it had resulted in too many notches on the bedpost and a bitter attitude. Fuck it.
From that point forward, my interactions with Eric were so negative. It was just constant saltiness; like we were gearing up for our next go ‘round in the ring. It made me sad. I knew, and I know, that neither of us wanted to be the people we were being.
I was heading to Baton Rouge a week later, and Eric sent me a sharp text message about me being MIA. I was already kind of over the bickering.
“Are you mad at me?” I asked him.
He said no, but if that was true, what was with the attitude? I decided to just call him and hash this out. Let’s be adults. He ignored my call, and texted me that he was “at a bar. Can’t talk. What’s up?”
I wasn’t going to resolve this over text. I also wasn’t going to deal with these games. Fucking step outside the bar and answer the phone, asshole. But, I didn’t reply. I left my phone in my car, and was on with my weekend.
As the weekend came to a close, he was quick to tell me he was going back to Chicago. Riddle me this: why bring up something that is obviously a sensitive subject? We were back to ground zero, with him trying to prove to me he could do whatever he wanted, and he was going to, and then he would toss the used condom in my face.
And with that, I had to hang my white flag. I was not going to participate in negative energy any longer.
With that, I deleted him from all of my social media channels. And yes, I know this appears like a lame move on my part (he asked me if I was 12 years old, for doing this). But, it was creeping me out that we weren’t talking, yet he was watching my SnapChat feed. I was grasping at straws to try and gain some sense of control in a situation that had gone so wrong.
We went about three weeks without talking, when I reached out to him, and told him I’d been meaning to talk to him, but I just didn’t know what to say.
“I have no explanation for why things fell off,” he said. “They just did. It’s probably because I don’t know how to be single, and who knows if I’m ready for anything. All terrible reasons and I’m sorry if they affected you.”
While I did appreciate him trying to explain his side, and it was nice to know I didn’t do anything wrong, I didn’t like his backhanded apology.
Of course I was affected. I was heartbroken. I understood that he didn’t mean to hurt me on purpose, but that’s what happened and I felt like I deserved a real apology. When I told him this, the world pretty much blew up.
“I wish instead of sending me these messages and jumping to conclusions, you would call me and see what I’ve been going through lately. I had no intention of being this way to you and yes we did get close. I have pretty much cut off everyone, unfortunately, not just you.”
Please return tomorrow for the final installment of this five-part series, complete with red flag alerts and Drake lyrics.