I’m going to receive some harsh judgment and criticism for what I’m about to confess, especially from my close friends, and for a few reasons. I kept this from people and knew what I was doing. I knew it was wrong and was bad for me and did it anyway. I’m probably never going to hear the end of it, but I need to talk about it. I’m in so much emotional pain I can barely get out of bed.

Before Christmas, an old “flame” and I rekindled our friendship. We met online when I was nineteen and he was twenty-two. We talked on the phone and online for months and fell hard for each other. He was brilliant and talented and brooding and I was smitten. We ended up meeting after about three months and I remember being really disappointed in him physically. He was much heavier than I’d thought and his hygiene was…lacking. After a brief meet up, I lied and told him I had work in the morning. I blew him off for a few days before he finally asked what was up. I was honest with him and we didn’t talk again for years.

Years later, during one of the worst periods of my life, when I was drinking heavily, he messaged me on Facebook. I remember none of it except promptly telling him to fuck off. He would later tell me he’d asked me if I’d listen to him masturbate over the phone and I complied, drunkenly. Again, I remember none of this.

He entered my life again earlier last year. In a better headspace, I accepted his friend request on Facebook. We chatted casually but nothing came of it. Eventually, his politics began to annoy me so I unfriended him, seeing as though we weren’t terribly close anyway, it didn’t seem like a huge loss. He messaged me a few weeks later asking why I’d unfriended him. I told him why and he apologized and convinced me he was on my side politically, despite being a frequent Hillary-basher. I don’t know why I re-friended him, but I did. Now, actually, I’m able to see why I did.

Before Christmas, we started really talking again. He’d message me casually here and there and I’d message him with political questions. Turns out his girlfriend of eight years dumped him in the fall, so he was obviously seeking some sort of validation and attention from a woman. I knew this subconscious and I still took the bait.

He initiated a lot of conversations with sex talk, which didn’t bother me but I didn’t find ideal. Casual sex is a stage of my life I’m over and something I’m just not interested in anymore. Men are generally disappointing in bed and I’ve always had a better time by myself. I made it clear to him I was seeking a relationship and companionship and not a friends with benefits thing. I stood firm on that and he managed to sweet-talk his way over my boundaries by insisting he might be ready for that one day, specifically with me. After weeks of being a hardass, he managed to break down some of my walls and I let my guard down.

Then one day he “accidentally” sent me a dick picture. I’d seen it before, so I wasn’t horrified, but he had a tendency to “accidentally” send me messages “meant” for other girls in an attempt to make himself look more desirable to me. I was horrified by how intrusive it was. I screamed at him all night. The next morning I threatened to take action against him if he contacted me again and he relented immediately. It took about two days before I crawled right back to him.

I want to say I don’t know why I did it, but I do. I’ve always relied on the validation and attention of men to feed my ego and my self-esteem and he was the only one giving it to me. No matter how many people in my life love me or approve of me or accept me, it’s not enough until a potential love interest or sex partner finds me desirable. I’m a product of abandonment, bullying, low self-esteem. I’m still plagued daily by the things boys called me in middle school. And while I can acknowledge this, it’s still hard to apply that knowledge to any real tangible change.

This back and forth with him would continue through Christmas and January. We would talk on the phone all night until 5am or FaceTime all evening. We talked all day. He was on my mind the moment I woke up. It felt genuine. He has Asperger’s so I didn’t think he was capable of being truly insincere about his feelings, as Aspies process and express themselves linearly. He would tell me everything he liked about me or loved about me. I told him I was apprehensive to meet him, and him, me. I had hurt him in the past so he was nervous about being blindsided again. I’d had internet meet-ups go equally bad for me, and I didn’t want to repeat that grief or pain either.

We decided to meet up one night after work. He came over and we went to dinner and stayed the night at my house. He seemed…okay. I knew he talked a big game, because he’d talked about wanting to take me caveman style sexually, but in person, that energy just wasn’t there. I chalked it up to him being nervous. We laid in bed together and watched television. He mirrored my intimacy pretty well but everything just felt flat. Flatter than I’d expected. 

I slept with him and it was fine. Our personalities jived really well. We laughed a lot and I felt like I was talking to an old friend. He ended up leaving early in the morning and things shifted immediately after that.

He’s a musician who tours occasionally. He immediately notified me that he’d be “busier” than usual and called me to tell me he wasn’t blowing me off if he ghosted for a few days. He had to get ready for his tour. It felt odd, but seemed legitimate. I gave him some space and didn’t take it personally. We talked here and there before he left for his trip, but nothing with the same intensity or emotion with which our prior conversations had. Then he left for the week and didn’t message me once. 

I didn’t message him either. I wanted to wait for him to reach out to me. He never did. I knew when he got back and waited a couple days. Nothing. Finally I reached out to him last night and it was just a barrage of excuses. He was jet-lagged. He had a health scare. He has more shows coming up. All legitimate I’m sure, but nothing he couldn’t message me through or call me through. We’d talked every single day, all day for months and suddenly, nothing.

My gut is telling me what it’s been telling me all along; this is payback or this is a con or this is just him grieving his relationship. I feel so fucking foolish and so hurt. I believed everything he told me about there being “something there” between us. I think he just needed to conquer me to satiate his own hurt feelings from the past. 

I blocked him on everything and I hope I maintain it this time. I’m pretty emotionally vulnerable and looking for a remedy for this. I wish I was different. I wish I sought out good men but I don’t. I wish I knew my worth but I don’t. Ive never received traditional attention from men, so when I get it, I cling to it and don’t let it get away. Even if it destroys me. This hurts especially because I, too, was grasping at something from my past that made me feel young and carefree again. It was fun to be in love at that age and have the power to turn men away. He was a link to that and I wanted it to come full-circle. I’m just grieving a lot of things in this, and I know it sounds absurd. I fell really hard despite every fucking red flag popping up at every corner. I knew it was bad for me and wrong but I did it anyway. The fucked up thing is, I was actually very physically attracted to him this time around, and the irony is, I feel like he wasn’t attracted to me. 

I feel heartbroken in a way I haven’t felt in years. I haven’t let my guard down like this in years and now I remember why. Im afraid that he’s spoiled my ability to trust a man again, because he was really convincing. I feel like the rugs been pulled out from under me. I feel used and cheap and stupid. I feel like I’ve betrayed my instincts and my convictions because he told me to. 

I don’t recover from these things easily, at least I haven’t in the past. I’m trying to teach myself to be more vulnerable and not repress these things, because I know where that leads for me. 

This also has me questioning when I’ll find somebody. It’s something I want. I’m pro-monogamy, pro-relationship. I crave companionship deeply and feel lonely most of the time. I feel like my good years are flying by. I know what I’m doing wrong but I don’t know how to change it. Besides a fling I had this summer, I hadnt been in a relationship in seven years. I was so shell-shocked and so destroyed by my last heartbreak, that I couldn’t even function for years. Literally years. Love and relationships are a huge trigger for me. I can handle a lot: death, poverty, illness, loss, displacement. But one dude rejects me and I spiral. Most days I don’t feel like I deserve anything better. And when I do project the idea that I do deserve better, it’s usually overcompensation. 

Truth is, I don’t want a man who treats me like an equal; I want a man who worships me. I want the material things like flowers and gifts because I’ve literally never had that. I don’t know why either. I don’t know why I don’t attract those men. I attract broken men who hurt me.

I just need to cry a lot and purge this from my body. Thank you for reading everyone.

One thought on “grief”

  1. What a sad story. Bless your heart. Do cry and get it out. Let yourself be angry, too. Once when someone hurt me deeply I got in the car, drove out in the country, rolled up the windows and screamed, “I HATE YOU!” at the top of my lungs until my throat was sore. I got the feelings out and then was gradually able to forgive this person and forget. You sound more sad than angry… writing is good. I hope you heal quickly and thoroughly. God bless you.

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