Why does that never get easier to hear?
Anxiety is calm. Let me understand this – she is not spinning out of control. I’m not going to break down – this sucks, but I’m okay.
“Are you attracted to me?” I ask tentatively.
“Of course, it’s nothing like that. I think you’re cute. You’re fun to hang out with. You’re smart – not shallow. It’s just not what I want and I don’t know why.”
The journalist in me is not letting him off so easy – I want more than that.
“Is this because I wouldn’t sleep with you?”
“I don’t think so,” he answers honestly. “I mean, you can never be sure, but I don’t think that would have made a difference.”
“That has really bothered me. I’m worried about not finding someone who’s going to accept that about me.”
“Well, yes, it will make things difficult, for sure. But just to assure you a friend of mine waited until her wedding day, so it is possible. You’ll find someone, don’t worry.”
I feel a lump in the back of my throat. Why do I feel so worthless?
“It will be difficult, yes,” he continues. “Hey, you chose this. Congratulations, but it’s not the time we live in.”
“It’s not that,” I choke out through tears.
“What do you mean? It’s not a religious thing?”
“No,” I’m trying not to ball, so I whisper: “I’m just scared. I’m just really scared.”
“Because it’ll hurt more.”
“Yes, that’s true, sometimes that happens.”
“Especially if you really like that person.”
“Well, just sleep with people you don’t like from now on…just for practice.”
He says it as a joke – it’s not very funny, but I start laughing anyway, which ends up making this bizarre noise through my tears.
It’s not quite the understanding I’d have hoped from a romantic interest, but it was compassionate. We agree to take some time and meet for drinks in a couple weeks.
A part of me feels like I lost…once again. But Anxiety knows better. I feel good about myself. I trusted myself. And he was nice to me – he didn’t tear me apart. He was just kind. And I’m grateful.