“Good morning Racquel, I had to do a bit of thinking last night and decided that I’m not far enough past my last relationship to enter into a new one. I like you though and hope we can stay in touch? Xx” Shaun texted me at 7:55 am.
I deleted the text without replying. I ignored the sadistic voice in my head that likes to torture me who said, “Raquel, you are being rude if you don’t at least reply” and decided instead to listen to Raquel’s Backbone, which screamed, “Abort! Abort! Red flags everywhere! Do not proceed. Do not offer an emotional reaction. Leave immediately!”
I’ve received this text message before and here’s what I think of it: it was completely unnecessary. If you wanted to see me again, you could ask me out again. If you didn’t want to see me again, or take things slower, or hang out without getting serious, the ball was in your court. I don’t see the need to offer lame excuses.
I’m concerned that what he is really doing is attempting to redefine the terms of our relationship to excuse himself from certain ‘boyfriend’ behaviour such as texting me every day, paying for dinners, or otherwise exerting any energy. It’s a way of regaining control of the relationship; making sure it plays out on his terms. I have plenty of pseudo-boyfriends and I don’t like the idea of having to provide someone else with emotional support while he struggles to get over his less hot, less cool girlfriend. I would really like to have someone in my life who can support me – my dreams, my goals and my fears.
I wouldn’t have sent him that text if our roles had been reversed. But suppose for one minute I was callous enough to send a similar message to someone who spent time with me and allowed themselves to be emotionally vulnerable to me – suppose for an instant I rationalized in my head that it was appropriate to insinuate that they just don’t match up to the relationship I walked out on – and that it was also appropriate to dump this information on them as early in the morning as possible in order to get it off my chest without any concern for how that message might interrupt their morning. Had I been in his shoes I would have at least made damn sure to spell their name correctly!”
I couldn’t think of a mature reply that would say ‘I received your message’ without it also saying, ‘and I’m okay with how you treated me. I’m okay with you putting your feelings above mine,” so for 12 and a half hours I left it.
And that’s okay. It’s okay to be angry; it’s okay to be rude sometimes. I’m not some crazy, bitchy female for being pissed about being disappointed by someone who wasn’t able to fill the position of being the love of my life. And I’m not angry at him. We can stay in touch. We can be friends. I’m okay with that. But I’m still not going to acknowledge that text as if it respected my feelings.
“Just take the high road,” the divorcé offered when I told him about it that evening over drinks. “Tell him you’re sorry to hear that because you enjoyed hanging out with him and you wish him the best.”
A light bulb went off. Right, that does sound like the mature way to handle this situation. “Give that to me again. I’m going to use that verbatim.”
“You have a tendency of attracting a lot of unnecessary drama to your life.” I frowned at him. Thanks for that, Babe. Super helpful.
“I haven’t seen you in a month and you’re telling me all the same stories. You need to learn to let things go.”
I frowned again.
“Have you reported the assault yet?”
“No,” I shook my head.
“I’m going to. I just haven’t gotten around to it. I think, if I’m honest, that is the root of my anxiety.”
“I don’t doubt it is. But are you going to feel better if you report it?”
“I think so. I don’t know…”
“Then why haven’t you?”
I didn’t like him challenging me, but I needed it.
I walked out to my car after the divorcé left, sat in the drivers side, and cried for no particular reason. I wasn’t letting things go and that was a symptom of my anxiety disorder that had spun out of control. I felt like I was looking at the world from upside down. Maybe Shaun was just trying to be nice. Maybe he’s actually a dick. Either way, it didn’t really matter, but I was acting as if he’d personally attacked me. And the person who actually attacked me had been pushed as far as I could get him from my mind. I needed to address this. I needed to get better.
To be continued…