Saturday, 01 October 2011
There's a quote I think about sometimes, particularly when I'm despairing. It's from the movie The Wedding Date: "Every woman has the exact love life she wants." While I don't necessarily agree, I do think that sometimes you get into an unpleasantly familiar situation, and even though you thought you learned your lesson the first time, you can make the same mistake again.
I recently went on three dates with a guy who ended up acting pretty much exactly like a guy I met two summers ago on my first trip abroad. One who, even though I only knew him for a little over a week, caused a big change in me, along with a lot of heartache. Because he incessantly sang “Linger” and “Zombie,” I’ll call him Cranberries. When Cranberries first started pursuing me – which was about, oh, two hours into the trip – he acted super sweet and like all he wanted was a nice girl to date. I could tell that Cranberries had some sort of interest in me, and at 19, that made him irresistible to me.
Cranberries was almost six years older than me, and much different than the guys I’d met at school. However, in the way that mattered, he was exactly the same – he didn’t want to be my boyfriend. But he did claim to like me. Cranberries was actually the first guy to outright admit to feelings for me. Maybe he just wasn’t ready to be anyone’s boyfriend, or it could have been the fact that once we got back to America, we lived over an hour apart. Nonetheless, we sort of dated throughout the trip, and left each other uncertainly. I sobbed in my hotel bed the night before we flew home, and again walking through security at the airport. We kept in touch for a few months afterwards, and made plans to meet up twice, both of which he broke.
I can’t say for sure how I felt about him on the trip. I know that I liked him immensely and was drawn to him in a way I’d never been to anyone before. But two years is a long time. And my memories of Cranberries are now clouded over by disappointments and months of him continuing to hurt me. But if there’s anything I remember clearly, it’s how much he confused me. He would tell me that I was the most attractive girl on the trip, then talk about how pretty some of the other girls were. We’d walk hand in hand and joke around in an intimate way, then suddenly he’d turn cold and distant. He said he couldn’t do a long distance relationship, but then promise to keep in touch and see each other again.
I knew Cranberries was a manipulative manwhore all along, but I didn’t realize how harmful he was to me until Christmas that year. So I cut him out. I never wanted to feel that way again. I had a good junior year of college, with no romantic entanglements. When I started making an effort again during senior year, I approached it in a completely different, and better, way. So the pain that situation caused me actually did some good, right? So it seemed.
Two weeks ago, I went on a first date with a guy I’ll call Moses, after his dog. At first, Moses was so sweet and seemed to be interested in starting a relationship. He texted me and called me all the time, told me how wonderful I was, and asked me out to dinner. Over Thai food and Yellow Tail red wine, he was the same way. And he kissed me, the best kiss I’d had in a long time.
The next night Moses picked me up in his convertible (Right?! I was a little excited by it, but at the same time, part of me thought, “Really though?”) and we went to see his roommate’s band play. While it wasn’t a bar like I had expected, but rather someone’s super hipster apartment, I still had a good time and was glad to be there with a cute guy with whom something seemed to be starting. He put his arm around me while we stood there listening and drinking our beers. I met some of Moses’ friends. He mentioned future plans involving us as a group.
I had drank a decent amount, so the details get a little hazy here, but at some point Moses and I ended up in a room of the apartment alone, and started making out. Out of nowhere, he stopped kissing me and said, “I don’t want anything serious.” I was dumbfounded. We had been talking nonstop, had an excellent first date the night before, and were acting couple-y all night. Plus, like Cranberries, Moses was significantly older than me. Why would the beginning phase of getting serious scare him off?
We kissed a little more, but my excitement about Moses had faded. The things he was doing – like flirting with the bouncer girl – started to annoy me, and I must have shown it, because Moses asked a few times if I was mad at him. He also mentioned being friends with benefits. Drunk me knew I should be pissed or sad or both, but I pushed it out of my mind. Something for sober me to deal with.
The next day I was hungover and upset. I had been disappointed about guys plenty of times before, and I realized that I didn’t like Moses as much as I originally thought anyway. But it kept bugging me, and finally it hit me why. History had repeated itself. I’d let two different guys fool me in the exact same way.
I’ll admit that I still hadn’t re-learned my lesson. I ran it over in my head, making excuses for Moses, trying to come up with reasons for his sudden change of heart. I saw Moses once more, but I wasn’t as attracted to him anymore, and I realized how much I didn’t want to have to wonder about someone’s feelings and intentions again. That isn’t the love life I want, so I refuse to have it be that way. We're not doomed to repeat our pasts, and maybe sometimes a similar situation arises to remind us of what we really want and deserve.