Some Real Personal Shit… or, A Player’s Gonna Play

Where do I even begin.

A lot has happened since my date with Mark. We had a second date. Dude is HOT. The chemistry is intense. Not what I expected this soon into online dating.

But something just didn’t add up, in my mind. Details of what he’d said to me all pointed to him being a player in my book. It seemed to me that he was handing me a bunch of bullshit he thought I wanted to hear—and I did want to hear it, but only if it was true. Mostly I want to hear the truth, so I pulled it out of him: What is it you’re looking for? After many conversations and roundabout ways of figuring out what I think he’s after, I then ask: If I were to say that I wanted an FWB would you be interested?

Indeed, he says.

Of course. That’s all he wanted from the start, I decided. He’s never been married, doesn’t want to commit, so what arrangement could be more perfect for him?

Here’s the problem. I think he likes me. At first I thought he was playing me, and I was like, Nuh uh, mister, a player can’t be played. Snap! So I decided not to be completely honest since I’d decided no way was he being honest with me so why should I be with him?

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The problem with me not being honest is that I’m bad at it. I got caught in the lie and tried to play it off but it hit a nerve with him and now he’s not sure he can trust me.

So I came across this Buzzfeed article and realized I’ve already messed up by imposing the FWB label on this attraction we have to one another. Because if this is the definition of a friend with benefits, that’s not what I want, entirely. I want an actual friend who I talk to on a regular basis, but who has their own life while I have my own life and friends and time apart. I don’t want the pressure of making them my top priority. I don’t want them to feed me some bullshit about how they love me but can’t commit while I wait for them to change their mind.

So then I came across this Psychology Today article which makes more sense for me, and which I hope to share with Mark if he’s still interested. He says he is, but I may have destroyed my chances by breaking his trust, because I told him I’d had fewer partners than I did over the last 14 years. I didn’t completely do it on purpose—I’d hastily come up with a number mentally and subtracted a couple of he-didn’t-counts and decided that was good enough. It seemed to me that my number is small even with the two I forgot. Basically I’m a serial relationship person. I’m 41 years old, y’all. I was in two long term commitments for five and a half years each, with a few in between and after. Is that a lot?

My ex-boyfriend never knew how many. He’d told me his number which was low, and he’d made many comments about “slutty women,” so I gave him the impression I hadn’t been with many guys, knowing I was promiscuous in high school and college, and knowing he’d have judged me for that. Please keep in mind that I was also drunk back then and often blacked out (and depressed and lonely and effed up) and that I slept with people I wouldn’t have slept with otherwise. Not justifying it, but I’m not proud of my past.

I certainly did not have to tell Mark my number, and wish I had not. It was just that he’d seemed overly concerned with the possibility of me having an STD. Who did he take me for? Was it because he’s out there sleeping with dozens of women all the time? Sure seems like it takes one to know one. (Turns out he had a scare years ago.)

It’s possible I have turned into a femme fatale, or maybe it’s just that I’ve always been a jaded person who assumes the only thing the guy wants is sex, and no way will I allow myself to be used in that way without getting mine. If it’s clear to me from the start that he doesn’t want a commitment or that he’s not who I want him to be, but there’s mad chemistry, well then let’s get it on. But don’t expect me to be committed to you or to be 100% honest with you.

It could just be that he’s a nice guy who wants a relationship but is afraid to commit because he’s afraid to get hurt. I’ve reverted to my old way of treating this whole thing like a power play for me to gain control over him and the relationship to keep myself from getting hurt. I chose a different route with Steven because I loved him and I wanted to take a more spiritual approach to life, and I got my heart ripped out. I’d picked a man who could not commit, and after meeting Mark, I suspected he too is someone afraid to commit.

Look at who’s calling the kettle black. Besides Steven, when have I committed? My sponsor tells me you attract what you are. Be who you want to meet and that’s who you’ll attract. She told me, the trouble is that you don’t know what you want. You got that right, sister. I want to have my cake and eat it too, just like the guys I meet, and then get annoyed with them for being that way.

What’s the secret to a lasting relationship? Different houses, time apart, I’ve heard it said many times. Somewhere in there you’ve got to have trust. Relationships look different today than they did 20+ years ago. Not everyone gets married, or even lives together. Some people have open relationships, others have secret affairs. Is anyone faithful the whole time, if that whole time is a lifetime?

The infidelity topic came up the other day when I was on my second date with Mark, so it got me to thinking about my first husband. Maybe Ryan would fess up now if he’d really been unfaithful. We text each other on occasion, so I sent him a text and point blank asked. It’s complicated, he replies. It’s a yes or no question, I text back. I finally pull it out of him that he’d fooled around with one woman and then there was another woman, but both times were when we were “broken up.” Um, we never broke up. Not until the end, anyway. He agreed and admitted he’d justified it that way.

Wow.

I’ve been the bad guy all these years, and he had done just the same thing. Before I had done my irredeemable deed.

I knew it.

This is why beating yourself up is pointless. No one is perfect. We can both blame it all on me for why my ex-boyfriend, Steven, and I broke up, but guess what? It can’t be just one person’s fault. I was faithful to Steven the whole time, and totally committed in spite of the fact that he didn’t want to commit to me. In the past, if I suspected the guy was losing interest or cheating on me, I revenge-cheated in advance. Keep in mind that I was also drinking and not living any kind of spiritual life whatsoever.

Now I am living a spiritual life, or trying to, but it’s hard, and I defaulted to my old manipulative ways of dealing with this new guy. I am hoping we can gain trust in each other and have the conversation in which we decide to just remove any labels and see where this thing goes. In my heart of hearts I confess that I don’t see more than a physical attraction on both ends; time will tell if there becomes a deeper, more emotional connection. I don’t necessarily think that’s a bad thing, to have just the physical attraction. I am probably overthinking this whole thing.

So there you have it, folks. Some deeply personal shit from me. God help me to deal with this in the right way, and to learn from it.

Be honest, y’all! And I will try to practice what I preach. Progress, not perfection. One day at a time. And all those other cliches.

Peace and love,

TCH

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