In The Meantime

Loneliness is starting to creep in like an old familiar friend. I don’t particularly like hanging out with this old friend but I know that I have to sit with this boring killjoy in order to feel what I need to feel. When this jackass comes around it causes me to feel vulnerable to making bad decisions. I want to escape from what I’m feeling and numb the pain. Full disclosure—I caved a few weeks ago. I was out with a few friends and ran into the last “situationship”. I knew he was going to be there and I had anxiety about seeing him again since I ended things a couple of months ago.

I played out the encounter in my mind wondering if he would ignore me or whether it would just be an awkward conversation that left me feeling meaningless to him. I was beating myself up about how I let this man have any power over my emotions. My relentless mind vacillated between being the strong woman that made the right choice to kick another emotionally unavailable man to the curb and the weak softy that just wants him to care. I wasn’t feeling particularly good about myself that night and any rejection from him would have confirmed my low self-esteem. Of course, I walked into the place with all the self-confidence I could muster and immediately scanned the room for his presence. Within a few short moments, he came over and gave me a tight hug and a gentle kiss on the cheek. I felt my tense body soften. He told me I looked beautiful which helped my insecurities. We talked as if no time had passed catching up on what happened in our lives since the last time we spoke. It was sincere and nice and I was willing to leave it at that. The night went on and I danced and laughed with friends pretending not to be drawn to his gaze.

My girlfriends and I took a break out on the rooftop to get some air. A few minutes later this other smooth-talking dude came up to me telling me how sexy I am. I suppose I should be flattered at my age but this kind of guy just annoys me. Any guy that opens the conversation with, “damn you’re sexy AF” is only looking for one thing. I quickly expressed my lack of interest but he persisted and asked for my number. I laughed as he pulled out his phone and I said my number is 860-555-5555. His drunk ass said, “That’s a lot of 5’s” and then slowly got the not-so-subtle hint. As he walked away my ex-lover, who we’ll call…my weak spot came over and sat down next to me with a grin on his face shaking his head. I just rolled my eyes and said, “I can’t with you men.” He raised his hands and said, “I don’t disagree”.

We proceeded to talk for a while and then he started being flirty telling me how he is still very drawn to me. I threw out all my sass and told him he messed up a good thing. He said he recognizes he still has a lot of work to do on himself and really respected my decision to end things. He said that I absolutely deserve to find someone that can give me what I’m looking for in a relationship. I hid my disappointment that it couldn’t be with him. Unfortunately, I am still so attracted to him. There is just something about him that I can’t shake and I sense the feeling is mutual after our conversation. We said goodnight and I left with my friends. I was happy that we had such a deep and meaningful conversation but in the back of my mind, I knew the text from him was about to come.

Here’s the internal battle I face when I’m feeling lonely…a part of me wants to be with someone to feel desired but the other part of me (the smart one) knows that I need more than just sex. I want true intimacy. I want love and commitment but my body, my low-level desires, want to take that detour to his bed. Sure enough, he texts me. He knew all the right things to say to lure me in and I caved. I’m not proud of it but at the moment it felt absolutely amazing. It was passionate and tender followed by cuddling in bed and talking for hours. He asked me to stay over but I told him “no” as I always do. I left feeling recharged and I hate to admit this but he made me feel like I was cared for in some small way. I’m not an idiot and I know he just wanted sex but there is a connection there that even he doesn’t like to admit.

The next day I was flying high. He text me in the morning thanking me for coming over and listening to his healing journey. He told me he hopes to see me again and sent me blessings. Very sweet with kissy face emoji. He’s either a master manipulator or a wounded soul that values our connection. I hope for the latter but I also know that he’s not the man I’m looking for…he is simply an “in the meantime” kinda guy. 

I promised myself after my divorce that I would never be with another man that felt like a project that needed to be fixed. I learned that I can’t help heal someone without becoming collateral damage. Yes, we all have wounds that need to be healed (especially at my age) but I’ve done the work to recognize my past mistakes and because of that, I can love myself enough to hold space for those on their own journey but not let them into my heart fully. If I’m completely honest I do really like this guy and there are moments I hate myself for it. I don’t want to like him so much. I don’t want to wish he would call me again. The fact that I do think about him a lot shows me I still have work to do. There is a part of me that is still attracting and attracted to wounded souls. It’s a toxic trait that I have to face. Sometimes we can see the red flags but we are drawn to them like a moth to a flame. We know we’ll get burned but the attraction is unrelenting.

I’m proud of myself for putting up healthy boundaries and seeing things for what they really are—not fooling myself to think I can change them. He may be my weak spot but not enough to ever lower my standards and pursue him. I’m not gonna lie though, I don’t mind the occasional pursuit from him. I’ve finally freed myself from the Irish Catholic shame I’ve felt about my own sexual desire but I’m not going to confuse that with unrequited love. As long as we’re both completely honest about what we want and need from each other there is no harm in expressing our sexual desire. We are human after all and that sexual need is nothing to feel shame about. We just have to be careful not to get swept into the fairytale romantic comedy notions that we will fall in love and live happily ever after.

I’m doing a deep dive into why loneliness has knocked on my door again. I realized it was easier when I made my decision to close the door on all men and was celibate for three years. It was easier because I was putting up walls and shutting down all my feelings. I stuffed them into a dark closet and didn’t face the reality that you can’t hide them away forever. I held a belief that all men are shallow assholes that only want sex. It’s just not true. We all need and want connection. Some just hold it at arm’s length and sabotage relationships because we are holding on to fear. Fear of getting hurt by being vulnerable to another person that will hold up a mirror to all your insecurities.

 Loneliness is back to teach me…to show me that I have to feel lonely in order to move past it. I’m slowly embracing loneliness despite the fact that it’s hard to do most days. What we don’t face we can’t heal. Burring my head in the sand and having meaningless situationships is not sustainable either but these two men that recently came into my life are good, caring men that I had deep connections with. I’m grateful for them because it tells me I’m getting closer to what my heart desires. I can care for them deeply but recognize that they’re coming up short. I love and respect myself enough to know the difference but in the meantime… 😉

With Love,