I’d say it’s been a while, but you reached out to me when I was 5.5 months pregnant, checking to see if I was indeed still married and living in Costa Rica. Ugh and bleh; those are the feelings I had when I saw your message in my inbox on Facebook. You said you weren’t even on Facebook when we were together and when you messaged it was some obscure last name, so it seems you’re still up to your old ways of trickery, however mild it might be.
I was going back and forth as to whether I should even give you a story, because you and I were just so dark together, but since I’m writing about all that I’ve learned with regards to men & relationships, I’m writing about it now just to say that it happened, it was weird, and that I still get a pit in my stomach when I think of you, and the me you coaxed out into the world.
I shared in day 73 how we met during the early Fall of 2011, and sure that was fun to write about because even though we met online, which now seems quite trite, it was an incredible evening and ignited something new, fresh & deep in me. But I was also certainly ready for something resembling love after taking a nearly 9 month sabbatical from men due to my mouth being under reconstruction from knocking my teeth out the day after Christmas in 2010. My intention to find love was significant, and once I got my removable retainer with 4 teeth on it replaced with a set of temporary crowns, I was on the hunt. And there you were.
After our incredible first date, you left my house late that night without giving me your phone number. I didn’t think much of it until I logged into the dating site to thank you for a fun evening, and poof, your profile was gone. Huh? Where’d you go? I was left with literally no way to contact or connect with you. Then 2 days later I got a nudge of communication when a box of delicious chocolate vegan cupcakes from my favorite bakery appeared on my doorstep one morning with a restaurant name, date and time, and it was that night. The card said to bring at least 2 of the cupcakes. There was no name on the card but I could only assume they were from you since we’d talked about my love for cupcakes, but my dilemma of trying to go gluten free. And so I was left with the tricky decision to succumb to this little cat and mouse game you were playing with me, or to disregard it and you, and eat all the cupcakes myself; which sounded like a great option as well. But I was too curious so I rearranged some plans in order to be where you instructed with cupcakes and an open mind.
When we saw each other you apologized profusely about our first night together saying that you lost your phone and had to get another one with a new number. But that didn’t explain why your dating profile was deleted and actually didn’t matter to me because I hadn’t known your phone number to begin with. So dinner started with an eye brow raise from me, but your southern charm and dimples on your olive skin helped me soften. I noticed that you were wearing nicer clothes than our first night out; this time you had on a collared shirt, nice jeans, a puffy winter vest and a scarf. And I admit, I’m a sucker for a guy in a vest & scarf, so that helped you. We were warm and affectionate with each other and conversation flowed we well as it did a few evenings before, but this time you told m about some mysterious new work engagements you had to attend in Mexico with some other guys. When I heard this, I joked that I’d recently seen a Groupon offer (a deal site that sends out daily deals on services and vacations) for a week at an all inclusive resort outside of Tulum at the end of September, at which point you told me I should buy it because odds are you’d be close by and you could come and share it with me. Huh? Really?Your suggestion hardly made sense, but I couldn’t get the image of us lying poolside drinking fruity drinks out of my head. This time when we said goodbye phone numbers were exchanged and strangely enough, dates were softly reconfirmed for when you’d be in mexico in a few weeks, so I went home and immediately pulled up my daily Groupon offer on my computer and booked myself the all inclusive Mexico vacation experience, thinking, hoping and sort of assuming you’d be with me.
You were new to town and living on the outskirts of Salt Lake City with a business friend who you filmed videos with, but I wasn’t allowed in your house or even to get out of my car, because you said the owners had cats and were allergic to dogs. Ok, great. And so for several weeks we hung out at my house often, and many nights you’d stay late, but then disappear at some point in the night when I’d fall asleep. It was odd but a little endearing. Your dating profile still hadn’t resurfaced on “Plenty of Fish” so I figured since we talked nearly every day and saw each other 4-5 times a week, we were exclusive. But that was also because I’d never dated a guy who was deceptive or schemey before, I just assumed the best.
The first sign that something just wasn’t right with you or I guess us, was on a Saturday night about 2 weeks before I left for my Mexico trip. We talked on the phone and you said you were tired and were going to stay in and go to sleep early, and I expressed how I was disappointed simply because I had the next day off, so it would have been nice to have a Sunday together. We said goodnight and then less than a minute later, I received a txt that read, “my night is now open so do you want to be here in 10 min?” Wait what!? Didn’t you just say you were going to bed? And then it hit me; omg that txt wasn’t intended for me. And that was the first time in my life that not only did I receive a pretty blatantly errant txt message, but also one that almost made me sick to my stomach when I read it. It wasn’t just what you said in the message; it was how your message made me feel. I felt like something to cross off a do list before you went and did what you really wanted to do, which was not sleep, but instead to go out with someone that wasn’t me. I didn’t know what to say to you in reply because it was so awkward. But thankfully you called immediately when you realized the error of your txt, and when I picked up, you quickly launched into an explanation. Apparently another friend from the video crew was coming over to look at some footage from the rodeo you all had filmed together. And you two decided that after 8pm on a Saturday was the best time slot. Huh, ok. My brain was doing a battle between wanting to be involved in a fairy tale romance to feeling like I was being sucked into something really icky feeling. But I was too emotional and tired to stamp our relationship as over that night, so I took a deep breath, exhaling audibly and replied, “whatever S***, I’m going to sleep.” And I laid in bed awake for hours. I later heard the screen door of my porch open, and I saw you enter and take off your clothes and climb into bed with me, wrapping yourself around me. I wished I didn’t enjoy your physical attention so much, but it was the first time I’d had any attention in months, and so I let it in and quieted the side of my heart & brain that were teaming up carrying yellow & red flags and telling me to abandon ship. But I stayed on board and kept us moving.
The next day when we woke up together, which happened seldom, your affection for me was noticeably up a notch. And I wondered whether it was because I nonchalantly dismissed you or because you were afraid you were dangerously close to losing me. I quietly hoped for the later. You sat with me while I drank some coffee and I realized I had no idea what to do with my free day that was now in front of me. I wanted to go outside and enjoy the Fall, but you were with me and had 1 outfit on. Do I ask you to leave so I can go for a hike or go to yoga? That seemed counter intuitive. But you didn’t give me a chance to think any further about the day because you asked me to get dressed in some comfy clothes and told me we were going for a drive. Huh? Like a fall season Romantic tour through the mountains drive? But you wouldn’t say, so I followed instructions and changed into comfy clothes and away we went into your car.
We drove for 25 minutes with me not knowing where we were going and with you not giving me a clue. Did you not have any idea either and were just driving until something interesting that we could do together appeared? That’s what it kinda felt like; but then we pulled off the highway and took a few turns that seemed strategic, and we were now in a parking lot of a large shopping mall. What were we doing here? I didn’t need anything and I’d never been to this particular neighborhood before so I felt a little disoriented. But you confidently parked and asked me to stay in the car for a moment and I watched you come around and open my car door for me, and I loved this gentleman side you were expressing. And then you took my hand and guided me towards the mall’s entrance, like a total gentleman, but I still didn’t catch on to what we were doing there.
When we walked in the high ceiling building of the mall, it was as chilly inside the mall as it was outside, so the large number of people milling about had light jackets or hats on. You didn’t let go of my hand and we entered the first women’s clothing store we saw and you said, “pick out some nice things for yourself here, and we’ll visit a few more stores so pick things that you absolutely love.” I heard your words, but they initially didn’t compute. Like you wanted to see what I liked and you’d give your approval and I’d buy them? Or were you actually saying you wanted to buy me clothes? It was that and I’d never in my life had anyone but my mom take me on a shopping spree. And that was when I was 21 and got my first desk job out of college.
I said no at first and I turned around several times to leave the mall because I felt so weird and confused around what was happening? Were you trying to buy me? My look communicated the confusion in my head so you stood your ground and told me that no one should ever treat me as you did yesterday, and you were sorry. And you followed it up by telling me how you love how I express myself through my style, so you wanted to help make me feel special again by helping me express myself. Your argument in favor of a shopping spree for me worked, so away we went to several stores and I felt like Julia Roberts from the movie Pretty Woman. That day, I left the mall with nearly $800 worth of new clothing from stores like Express, Anthropologie, and Nordstrom. I was equally over the moon excited and oddly feeling like I’d just sold my soul to a devil. And we spent the rest of the day together by getting dinner and going to a movie, and like always, you left in the middle of the night. And when I woke up I saw you’d written a message to me on my chalkboard bedroom wall, and it said, “I want to be your happy ending.” And with that, you’s said the right thing and you sling shotted yourself back into being a front runner for my attention. And so we continued on in our rendezvous that never involved other people. It was as though our entire relationship existed behind closed doors without contact or influence from others.
And so my Mexico trip quickly came upon us, and there was no mention of your Mexico trip again until the day before I left. You were going to be 3 hours away from me, but you were leaving 4 days after I left, which means by the time you git there and got settled, I’d be getting ready to leave. And so my dreams of a visitor during my romantic all inclusive solo beach vacation was a no go. So I sat miserably in my hotel room in Tulum Mexico, with crappy internet, and watched the OC and Gossip Girl on Netflix. It was pouring down rain while I was there, which made the going to the beach cold and unsafe due to the wind. And when I couldn’t get a WiFi signal to watch my shows, I’d go and sit on the mostly dry lobby couches and people watch. And good thing I was there because on day 5, the day after you landed for your Mexico adventure, there was a siren in my hotel and we were given a mandatory evacuation notice because of an approaching hurricane. And within 5 min there was a line 50 people deep trying to get refunds or make other plans, but i just figured I’d wait it out as my flight was 36 hours away anyway. But I did get to watch the nice hotel crew nail wood planks over my hotel room windows and do disaster management.
We’d been in somewhat consistent communication during my trip because before I left Salt Lake City for my trip, you introduced me to a service called Skype, where you said we could talk for free between countries. And we tried in the evenings but it was spotty, so instead I just sent you pictures trying to make my sad solo vacation look & feel a little less miserable by sending you sexy pictures. But then one night when we got a clear window of communication, which was also my last night in Mexico and we talked. I told you about the storm, how I was a little lonely, and you told me you missed me, but then I heard several women talking and laughing in the background, and the same sick to my stomach feeling came. You told me your friends brought some girls back, and not to worry about it. And I got off the computer staring at my hotels ceiling that was now dripping, wondering how I got myself into this scenario. I was alone, in a hurricane, in Mexico, with a sort of love interest a few hours away in a room with prostitutes. I needed a vacation from my vacation.
Now a relationship such as this could probably have gone on for several more weeks or months had I not found some self worth and began to express what was ok and not okay about when and where we saw each other and how often. I finally felt the insanity of how many games you’d been playing with me and I felt like I was done. And you felt it; which is probably why you softened. You send me an email with a Groupon trip to Croatia, that was an all expense trip for under $1000 if we booked and traveled before the end of 2011, and you suggested we go together and offered to buy my trip. Again, I felt stuck in between feeling like a princess and feeling like I was getting played. But you’re a great talker, and so before I realized what was happening I was saying yes, and you said to choose a week and you’d book it. Oh my god; this was happening. Did that mean you were now finally and officially my boyfriend? Maybe. And so I studied a calendar and of course only 1 date stood out for when I wanted to be in Croatia. On 11/11/11 of course; and so I responded to your email with that date selection and I waited for a loving and enthusiastic response.
And I waited.
And for some reason I decided to log back onto the dating app, and poof, there you were, back on the dating grid with a new picture, that I’d taken of you. It felt like an intentional and confusing direct hit to me, and it worked. But after nearly 48 hours, you reappeared with a text asking if you could come over so that we could talk. Yeah, sure. And so you arrived and handed me a hand written long letter, and then you went out and sat in your car. This scene felt like we were straight out of a movie; according to the letter you’d accidentally gotten a girl pregnant in Louisiana last spring immediately after your divorce, and this girl was due to give birth to a little girl on 11/11. You said she had asked you to be there for the birth but you weren’t sure if you wanted to go because you wanted a paternity test and you didn’t even like her. You said you’d just slept together once and she’d told you she was on birth control, but then a baby happened. This was so confusing to hear. You expressed such disgust for this unborn child that it made me sad for her, her mom and for you, and just to torture myself more, I asked for this girl’s name and I looked her up on Facebook. And there she was; she had red hair, blue eyes and she lived outside of New Orleans and worked at a grocery store. I hated her for existing; she’d ruined my 11/11/11 romantic vacation.
You’d think the decision to let go of you after that would have been easy, but surprisingly I held on. Several more times I got icky feelings in my stomach when you’d tell me you were places, and I felt in my gut you weren’t being straight with me, but you denied everything and even manipulated my judgement by telling me you’d fallen in love with me.
In love with me? With what? Our constant waves of dysfunction? And so, I sank to your level and I created a fake email address and a fake profile of a woman I thought you couldn’t resist, and I talked one of my staff at my spa into letting me use her phone number as the verifying info to create the fake account. I was disappointed in myself for doing this, but also mad at you because I knew I’d catch you, and I did; and it only took 3 days. And to this day you have no idea you were played. It was me behind those emails, and that phone call you requested? It was with my coworker, and I was standing beside her listening to you hit on her and try and get her to go out with you after you’d literally just professed your love for me and told me you had a baby girl entering the world soon. It was so dysfunctional and dark. But the good news is that having my friends involved this time meant I couldn’t and wouldn’t go back to you, and it made it easier to let you go. And so I asked you not to contact me again and I ignored your messages and blocked your number on my phone. That was my first time doing that and it felt oddly empowering.
The cupcakes you’d leave on my porch without a note lost their power over me, but your random emails every few months would still tug at my heart, especially when I was in my 90% awesome relationship, and I couldn’t help but wonder if I’d made a mistake letting you go. But thankfully, after completing a letting go ceremony, your effect on me stopped completely and I felt myself let go of you.
It happened on December 5th, 2012 during a cord cutting ceremony I did in Costa Rica to release what was standing between me and saying yes to love, and it was you that was in the way. And did it work? Well, I would say definitely, because you sent me one of your “random” emails the day after my letting go ceremony, and I felt nothing. And the next day I met my husband.
That story is coming soon