Yes, tis the season for receiving long scorching letters of disgust and disapproval from disappointed suitors…am I the only one who gets these? Am I really the baddest ass in town?
I seem to do romantic disengagement really badly. For instance, years ago, I told a guy I was dating/sleeping with that I didn’t see it going any further. We were in bed at the time – not the best choice of venue – and he’d just given me a red rose to symbolise…whatever red roses symbolise. But WHY, he asked. Tell me, I really want to know! Well, after a while, I did – I didn’t find his body shape attractive. He was nice about it. He got out of bed and went home. He slid into a state of serious depression which lasted about two years and nearly cost him his job. Nice work, evil bitch.
Then there was the mad guy I dated a couple of years back who was already planning our honeymoon after two meetings, and who got very annoyed indeed about having romantic phone conversations cut short by phrases such as ‘but now I have to go and cook dinner.’ That ended in an email so excoriating I had to put it behind a firewall for several weeks until it was safe to touch, and a threat that if ever he saw me again he couldn’t be responsible for the demonic fury which would then be unleashed.
And now, there is the letter tucked in my bottom drawer at work, of which so far I’ve only dared to read the first two sentences. I’ve been dating this man for eight months, and so far we’ve held hands, kissed (with our mouths closed), and walked a few blocks clasping each other’s waists awkwardly. Enter my beautiful river god, and I soon realised that this dalliance would have to end. But I don’t know what got into me – instead of just sending a Dear John email, I had to accept the guy’s invitation to dinner and a movie, and then – sitting in his loungeroom clutching his specially bought fizzy grape drink – come out with ‘I’m sorry but I’ve met someone’. The atmosphere turned in a second from cozy to icy. And no wonder. In the ensuing silence, I felt impelled to add that things had been going along rather slowly between us, and so, um, and so…Yeah, quite. Anyway now I am the Hitler of interpersonal relationships, and serve me right.
It hurts. I normally think of myself as a nice person. But clearly, on these occasions, something goes badly wrong. I break rules, I behave with ill-considered callousness – to tell the truth, I get hopelessly embarrassed and then my limbic system takes over and woe betide!
Phew! Clearly, there is a right way and a wrong way. But what are they? Come on, I need a crash course!!