On the first date with an ex, he told me he was confused about monogamy. His stance was very wishy washy. One moment he thought it wasn’t natural or possible. The next moment, he said he felt he needed to work through that confusion in therapy in order to have a meaningful relationship. He said that as he got older, he noticed his views shifting towards a monogamous POV. In any case, this wishy washiness was not for me, and after a month of dating casually, I asked him straight up what his stance was. Like a disappointed child, he mumbled that he didn’t want to be monogamous. With that, I said we should stop dating altogether.
In the days that followed, he would send silly, flirtatious text messages about how his pillow was losing my scent, or how he was watching a movie I recommended and wished I was there. He made dramatic yet playful comments about wishing we’d never met. He said he feels he runs away from love. Looking back, the woman I am now would have blocked his number, but then, I was flattered and validated.
He kept sending me texts, liking my posts on Facebook, which I didn’t really respond to. I knew he wanted attention. I posted a picture of Will & Jada as a #yearoflove post. He commented, subtly referring to their reputation of having an open marriage, like that was supposed to sway my views a bit. It was a bit childish. I sent him a long message expressing what my views were and that I wasn’t wavering.
After a few days, he said he thought about what I had written, and after considering carefully, he felt we were on the same page. We talked and he seemed sincere. He said he knew what I wanted and was confident he could give it to me. He was very seductive and knew just what to say and when to cry and feign vulnerability. He said things like, “You scare me. I’m afraid I’ll lose control. I’m afraid to look into your eyes.” I was very flattered. I was “love starved” because I hadn’t yet understood that love was always within me and all around me. I hadn’t learned to love myself or see my worth.
One day we were talking about a panel he was going to be on, discussing relationships. He was nervous and scared. “What if they bring up monogamy? I don’t want to embarrass you by letting everyone know I don’t believe in it.” *screech* Wait, what?! I thought we were on the same page. He said, “Well, I’m working through that. I’m going to tell them that I met you and you inspired me to explore something different. But I’m afraid they’ll say I’m full of shit and only saying that so I can be with you.” <—— Y’all, I had missed my stops numerous times to get off this fucking roller coaster ride, but if that wasn’t my cue to run away as though the building was burning down, I don’t know what was.
Now, I’m smart, and I knew he was projecting HIS truth and HIS reality on what others might think. He was telling on himself, and I KNEW IT. I addressed it. I said, “You’re afraid because that actually IS what you’re doing, isn’t it?” Of course he denied it and put on the sad voice. I didn’t buy it, but, I was already worn down. We had already gone back and forth and I didn’t want to be alone again. So with my heart in the pit of my stomach, knowing he was full of shit, I accepted this nonsense.
Throughout the relationship, I was mostly sad. I didn’t feel safe. I often shut down. We had good and even great and magical moments, and that’s why I held on. But my inner spirit, my feminine goddess was like, “Bitch, it’s only a matter of time…” I had visions of him cheating on me eventually, or us breaking up. I was never satisfied because this haphazard BS wasn’t what I wanted in a man.
Overall, we had a good thing, but that monogamy topic always reared its head. The conversation would always start with him saying he’s confused, and it would always end with him in tears and saying just the right thing to get me to stay.
By the end I was so drained and empty. He was going through personal tribulations and my needs weren’t being met. I didn’t ask for much, just some reassurance. You know what reassurance he gave? “I can’t be the man you deserve.” He backed out. He got what he needed and then he was out. And that was that. All that time, energy, and love I poured into what he promised we were building together, was lost.
I acknowledge my role and how my lack of self-worth at the time convinced me he was as good as it was gonna get. And you know what? He believed he was as good as I was gonna get too. He had no hesitation giving me a quick “shout” (his words) on Thanksgiving to say he wanted us to be friends. I spent those months before that in therapy, crying and working through my demons and healing my childhood wounds. To hear from him, sounding so casual and cool, there was no doubt in my mind he was nuts. I asked him to delete my number, because I have friends, real friends. Not people who use me and discard me and then decide to come back when they feel ready to engage with me again. You got all you could get out of me, you’re not getting a single millisecond of my goodness. Not a smile, a hello, or even a shrug.
All in all, my advice is to listen to your inner voice. The day before it ended, I remember standing outside in the middle of the night, looking up at the sky with tears in my eyes, asking the question, “Why am I here?” You know in your heart when you’re not where you belong.