Apparently I’m not keenly self-aware. I went out with Tiger, then I didn’t, then I did again, then I didn’t, then I did AGAIN and all along I was confused about whether I liked him or not. No, that’s not true – I definitely liked him. My confusion came from not knowing if I’d recognize if I was becoming attached or not, which I did not want. After being with the same man for fifteen years, you might be able to understand my inability to know how I was feeling about this first dating experience.
The short-lived affair with Tiger was, from the beginning, obviously not going to progress far. We’re very different, want completely opposite things out of relationships, have a decent-sized age gap, etc. I wrote about worrying I was getting attached to him and about also thinking I was merely attached to his attention.
If you can’t tell, I am prone to massive amounts of over-analyzing. It’s a sickness, really.
The last time I saw him, we had great conversation, talking for three hours. Whenever I doubted whether I should keep seeing him or not, I reminded myself that above all else, he was fun to be with and a good, interesting, smart conversationalist. I truly liked spending time with him (I should hope so, considering how much time I DID spend with him). It was the in-between times that I thought to myself, “Ah, this isn’t working for me, I should stop seeing him.” Then the next time we were together I recalled why I kept choosing to see him. Rinse, repeat.
Throughout our talk the last time, he was throwing out random things like, “I really admire you,” and “I like how you are – you are so different from other women I’ve dated,” and even, “If we break up, will you still talk to me? Because I really like you.” I reminded him we couldn’t technically break up if we weren’t technically a couple. But it was a sweet sentiment. Then he added, “I guess it depends on how bad it is when it ends,” and we laughed. Little did we know the end was coming in about an hour.
As the date wound down, he said something completely unexpected and, frankly, disrespectful. I don’t feel like hashing out the details, but it hurt me more than I knew he could hurt me, and I didn’t even attempt to pretend otherwise. I made sure he knew he’d upset me and that I was stinging from his words. He apologized profusely, saying he hadn’t intended to say it or to cut me, but the damage was done. “You’re the last person I ever wanted to hurt,” he said. “You’ve been so good to me.” He offered to let me punch him. He wanted to know what he could do to make me feel better. He told me the reason he didn’t want a relationship with me was because he thought I was too good for him. I knew he was genuinely sorry, but I also recognized that we weren’t and never would be a couple – was there any point in trying to repair this slash if it was likely going to end in a few weeks or months, anyway?
A while ago we’d been talking about the point of dating – it’s to weed out the people you’re incompatible with or who make you feel bad. When you reach that point, you end things – unless there’s a deep connection or a commitment or true potential and you’ve been together a while, having things sour within the first few months of knowing each other should be a clear sign the relationship shouldn’t move forward.
His off-the-cuff (and, to be honest, possibly alcohol-inspired, since he’d overindulged that evening) remark that left me reeling may not have been said to purposely harm me, but it did, and it couldn’t be unsaid. Why spend time with someone who, ultimately, made me anxious (because I never knew if the last time I saw him would be THE last time), was always late (didn’t respect my time), and then had the capacity to say something that would shock me in such an unpleasant way?
“Kira,” he said, “I didn’t want things to end this way.” He said he thought we’d have more time together. “At least through the holidays.” I just gave him a weak grin. “I didn’t expect it to be like this, either,” I replied.
The next day I woke up calmer, even possibly fearing I’d overrreacted. I will miss spending time with him, this is true. But it’s time to move on, to be more open to the possibility of meeting someone who can offer me what I want, which would be a committed relationship (eventually – I’m in no rush, people). As DivorcedKat said in her comment to me, “Don’t waste your time on someone who will never give you want you want.” I didn’t feel like I was wasting my time with him at all, it was overall a great experience, but now that he’s hurt my feelings, I don’t know that it’s worth it to forgive and forget for what would have been, at best, probably just a long winter fling.
He sent me a few Snapchats yesterday. I sent him a few back. He wished me a happy Thanksgiving. I imagine the communication between us will fade out soon.
I must have been too guarded yet from my divorce to get attached, or else I’m in denial about how I feel. It seems too easy to have been okay with the prospect of not seeing him again less than 24 hours later. I do wish him luck with his future, he’s not a bad person, he just needs some time to grow up and figure out what he wants to do with his life. Maturity comes later to some people, I suppose. By the time I was his age I already had three children and had been in a nine year relationship.
Farewell, Tiger. Thanks for my first true post-divorce dating experience. Maybe I’ll see you out sometime. We can smile and wave and think, “Hey, I remember when we used to have fun together. That was nice.”
Image by Hitchster used under creative commons license.