Distance and Dialogue

Since I’ve been seeing L, he has been waiting to receive a job offer from a company in Ohio. He works there for a week or two, then returns to Florida for a week or two, then repeat. The company has been dragging its feet for whatever reason, including having to open the job to internal candidates. I don’t really understand it. To be honest, it is quite suspicious, even though I am aware that bureaucratic bullshit has its own timeline. I work at a university, after all.

I am trying really hard to not come across as needy or pestering. I don’t want to cross the line into thinking this is something it isn’t. That is why I had such trouble when I got the “flattered” text. To me, “flattered” is like signing “Your Pal” on a Christmas Card to your boyfriend or girlfriend. While I may have overreacted a bit – given that he later asked what language he could use to accept the compliment – I don’t feel that great about the situation as a whole right now.

Polly gets it:

If you were happy floating along with this, if you didn’t mind NOT having an intense intellectual connection, if you were cool with seeing him twice a week, if you didn’t get a strange feeling when you read the words “Your Pal” on that flinchy piece of shit Christmas card, that would be one thing. But you don’t like the way things are going right now. You don’t like it one bit.

And this is not about demanding a lifelong commitment immediately. This is about you. You know what you want. You don’t necessarily want someone who texts you fifteen times a day. But you DO want to be in love. You want to be loved by someone who wants to talk a lot, who wants to share himself completely, who WANTS to fall in love and thinks you’re extra super special and more than a fucking pal.

So be honest about your true desires here. The single best thing you can do, as a single person and as someone who’s just started to date someone new, is be very, very clear about what you want, and what you don’t want.

When you don’t communicate what you want, because doing so somehow makes you THAT GIRL — unattractive because she has the audacity to ask for exactly what she wants from men (which isn’t actually unattractive, ahem) — guess what happens? You are treated as a pal and you are expected to go with the flow. When you sell a guy a fictional story about how cool and easy-going you are, how well you can hang, how low-maintenance you are about everything, all you’re doing is torturing yourself and delaying the inevitable moment when he realizes that you can’t deliver the low-key gal you promised from the start. Why play along with “Your Pal” and “dude” and “Hey, let’s hang out occasionally and ignore each other the rest of the time” when that’s not the life you want?

After having my texts unanswered on Friday evening, I decided to back off. No communication until I broke the silence on Monday afternoon (we did not talk all weekend). I found out he would be gone another week.

I asked him, “Do you think you might be able to talk to me more this week?”
He replied, “I’m focusing on things I need to do here.”

I have not responded (yet). I asked a reasonable question and I received a response basically telling me, no, I cannot be expected to do that bare minimum. I guess I should be grateful for the honesty.

In my Inquisitive post, I mentioned that L and I discussed his poor text messaging skills. I neglected to mention this part about why he doesn’t reply quickly or often — He said it is sort of like an out of sight, out of mind thing with him and that if something isn’t in front of him, he doesn’t think about it… He also said he feels bad about it for what it’s worth.

Perhaps I misunderstood, but that isn’t exactly the best sign, right? In fact, it is a pretty damn shitty sign.

I think Polly would urge me to call it like it is. She writes (my bold added):

But look, if what you REALLY WANT is a strong, healthy, resilient relationship, you don’t get it by playing it cool forever. In fact, when you wait too long to say exactly what you want, it comes out all resentful and needy and weak. I’m not saying you have to lay out a plan for your upcoming wedding. I’m just saying you have to make it clear that you’d like to see him regularly, that you want to be honest and open with him about your feelings and have him do the same, and that you don’t see the two of you as “pals” and can’t really proceed in a relationship that masquerades as a friendship with benefits. Without these things, you don’t feel that you’ll get to know him any better, and therefore you’ll be frustrated AND you’ll be wasting your time, time that could be spent getting to know some OTHER GUY who’s looking for the same kind of honest, intellectually stimulating, emotionally rich relationship that you are. YOU ARE NOT THE KIND OF WOMAN WHO WANTS TO WASTE HER TIME BULLSHITTING AROUND WITH SOMEONE WHO DOESN’T GIVE A FUCK. If that makes you “That Girl,” so be it.

And beware waiting too long. Because if you put off this conversation until you’ve already bit your tongue and been disappointed a bunch of times, until you’re already a little angry about how things have gone, what fucking good is that? You’ll end up sounding like someone who’s been faking it for too long, who’s a little passive aggressive and nuts, who can’t be trusted to tell the truth about anything, or who’s TOO INSECURE to tell the truth about anything. You assume that leveling with him now will seem needy and insecure, but in fact it’ll make you look like a woman who knows what she wants and is confident enough to ask for it. You’ll look like a woman who doesn’t mind losing a dude who’s not all that into her.

To put it another way, Maya Angelou wrote, “Never make someone a priority when all you are to them is an option.”

I don’t like being optional. I don’t like being relegated to the sideline.

So, I am looking at my choices right now:

Choice 1: Say something like “I don’t think we’re on the same page in terms of what we’re looking for here. I need someone who will make more of an effort than you’re willing or able to give at this time.” Hell, I could probably just say in response that he has a lot of things to focus on there (Florida), “That’s not going to work for me” or “That’s unfortunate.”

Result A: Him say, “Ok, sorry things couldn’t work out.”

Result B: Him say, “I’m sorry, give me a chance.”

Odds of result with this choice: High chance of A.

Choice 2: Say nothing. Wait for him to make any move whatsoever. After all, there’s no need to rush things. Things can progress at their own pace. We’ve just been talking for a little over two months. I know that job stuff and moving (assuming that is happening) is very stressful. Hell, there might be other things going on that I don’t know about because he doesn’t tell me.

Result A: Him say or do nothing until he is back in Ohio sometime next week. I will likely be at “don’t give a fuck” levels of consideration.

Result B: Him actually say something well before he returns to Ohio. I will likely be pleasantly surprised.

Odds of result with this choice: High chance of A.

Polly even reads my mind when I am considering these options (my bold added again):

You probably aren’t that anxious to sit down and make demands of this guy. But I want you to see this as your big moment of truth. You aren’t making demands of anyone. You are simply stating what is real and true for you. He can understand and appreciate it, or he can resist it and move on. Either way, you give him your blessing and your love and there are no hard feelings. You simply know what you want.

What gives me pause is the acknowledgement of the constraints he is under… though they have been going on for a single-eyebrow-raising amount of time. Do I care if I come across like the bitch who can’t handle that? Do I seem like a chump for hanging in there? I am not going to throw a fit, though if I was a different person, it could definitely go down that way. I just need to consider my choices.