Monday, October 10, 2016

Trust Your Instincts — Part 1 of 2

When I was a kid, there was a house in my neighborhood that I refused to sell Girl Scout cookies to. I could not shake the feeling I got from that house every time I walked past it (which was easy to do since it was two doors down from my own house). Thankfully, I grew up with a mom that never forced me to do anything I didn't want to do (except eat my vegetables). I guess she could tell that whatever feeling I had gave me real fear, and she never made me knock on that door. She may have tried to guilt me into it ("that's just less boxes you're selling, you know"), but she never forced me. And a couple of years after that incident, the man that lived there was busted for child pornography.

And ever since then, I've learned to trust my instincts. Although I try to ignore them sometimes, because I refuse to believe that people can be so inherently bad, it usually comes back to bite me in the ass. And today, I thought I'd write about one of those times.

This post is about a "relationship" I've been in and out of for a little less than a year. It/he has been near and dear to my heart for quite a while now. I have refrained from writing about it because it started and ended so many times that I never really got "over it," (and maybe a little bit because we were friends on Facebook). I also never got any closure from it. Until this weekend.

Let me back up a little and start from the beginning.

I met J the weekend before Thanksgiving last year. He worked in Rock Hill at the time, so I met him for lunch on a Saturday. We had already been talking on the phone for about a week, and we had great chemistry. When he got to the restaurant, he wasn't quite as attractive in person as his pictures led me to believe (they were taken years and quite a few pounds ago), but he was so well spoken, educated and personable that it didn't even matter. I had a really great time with him. So much so that when he told me he had five kids, I managed to keep from spitting out the water I had just taken a sip of. He explained that he had twins when he was 17 (an accident) and two kids from another woman he never married who also had a child from a previous marriage that he claimed. Her father died, so he was raising her as his own, which I thought was very selfless of him. (My own father was useless, so I have a weak spot for good fathers.)

Anyway, we finished the date, and I went home smiling ear to ear. The caveat here is that I had met someone the night before whom I really liked as well. Much more than I liked J. We'll call him B. But I still wasn't sure if that was going to go anywhere, so I kept communication open with J.

However, things continued to move along with B, and J continued to get more and more difficult with scheduling dates. He would only text or call me during work hours. If I texted him at night after he'd gotten home from work, he wouldn't respond until the next morning when he got to work, which I thought was highly suspicious. He would also schedule a date, and then something else would come up at the last minute. With his kids, with work, you name it, he had an excuse for it. So after about a month, I called things off with J. I still remember the text I sent him: "You barely have time to date one person, let alone multiples. Stick with whoever is number one on your list. I'm not interested."

"Word." Was all he said in response.

By the time February rolled around, B and I had ended things. Then one day, J texted me out of the blue telling me about his transfer to Hickory, NC (an hour north of Charlotte) for work and asking if I wanted to meet for coffee the next night when he would be in town. At first I wasn't interested. At. All. But then one night, I got a little tipsy and saw him on tinder. I left-swiped him, because I still was not interested, but I texted him anyway because I was bored I guess. We started talking and all of a sudden something flipped. It was like no time had passed, and I really wanted to see him. We hung out that next night and had a great time. This continued for about two weeks before the same issues reared their ugly heads and I was reminded of why I called things off the last time. He blew me off completely one night that we had plans. He told me to text him at a different number and then disappeared completely when I did. He texted me the next day and said it was because he went home and passed out. Um, we had plans, dude?! Then he told me the number he gave me was his personal phone, and I'd been texting him on his work phone since we'd met. Huh?? It's 2016! Who still has two phones? Whatever. It didn't matter because I'd gotten fed up with him and the half truths by this point and called things off again.

I thought I was free from him then. However, March rolled around, and I was in a lull. I had gone on two very good dates with someone that I liked who was apparently ghosting me. (I couldn't have been sure quite yet at the time because it had only been a couple of days since I'd heard from him, but instinct told me it was happening.)

Then, out of the blue, J texted me. Again. He told me he was going to be in Charlotte that night, and did I want to meet for drinks? I thought I could use the distraction from the other guy ghosting me, so I said yes. We hung out, had a great time. I even teased him about his wife/girlfriend letting him out of the house. Which he denied. He went so far as to say, "Look me up on Facebook. You'll see I don't have a girlfriend." But I didn't see the point. If he was confident enough to say that, he was probably telling the truth. But my guard was still up. I knew eventually it was going to be the same thing over again, so I was hesitant to let him in.

The problem was that he surprised me this time. He texted every day and called me a couple times a week. We had such a great friendship going that I couldn't not catch feelings for him. Every time we hung out (as infrequently as it happened) it was like no time had passed. We had so much to talk about (despite texting or talking every day), that there was hardly a quiet moment between us. It's hard not to develop feelings for someone you have so much chemistry with. After about a month of this, I had developed real feelings for the guy. It seemed like he really wanted to make it work this time, and so did I. We even added each other on Facebook and Snapchat this time around which added another element to the relationship. If we weren't texting, we were snap chatting.

But, of course, like most good things, it had to end. I started to realize that he would leave his work phone in his truck at night, and, during these times, he wouldn't text me from his personal phone, but he would snapchat (where the conversation disappears if you don't save it). Then he went about a week not texting me but only talking to me over snap chat every now and then. I called him out on it and the next day, what does he do? Snapchats me "Good morning." I lost it. I basically told him I didn't like being treated like a secret and to have a wonderful life with baby mama. He denied being in a relationship with baby mama or having any remaining feelings for her, but I didn't care. I was over it.

I gave it a full month. I tried really hard to move on, but this time it was me who came back to him. I drunk texted him one night about something stupid, and he responded that he would be in town that night and did I want to meet up? I said yes. We met, talked and he really seemed to open up about a lot of things, which I appreciated. I thought, for once, we were having a completely open and honest conversation, and it meant a lot to me that he felt he could open up to me like that. So I asked him if he wanted to try again. He said he did. So I looked him in the face and said, "I need more from you. Can you do that?" I told him I was fine with his schedule and not seeing him often, but he needed to make up for that in other ways. Communication being the "other way." He said that was fine. He could do it.

So we tried again. And this time was even better than the last time. He called 4-5 times a week, we talked and texted every day and things were great. Then I found out he lied to me about buying a house. Back in June, I saw a picture of house keys he'd uploaded to his Facebook with a caption that said, "House number 2," but when I had asked him about it, he told me that it had fallen through. I let it go for a little while, but something still wasn't right about his excuse. No house "falls through" after you've closed on it. It nagged at me for a couple of weeks, so I did a little online search and found the record. He had bought a house. In may. And had been lying about it for months.

I called him and asked him why he'd been lying to me. He said it was because he wasn't sure if he wanted a relationship. Then said he didn't think he wanted anything serious and could we take a step back? He said he was being offered a transfer in January, he wasn't sure where it would be, but he knew he wouldn't want to do long distance if it came to that. It hurt me, but I understood. We barely saw each other with him living an hour away. And if he was moving even farther from his kids, then that would make it pretty much impossible for us to hang out.

He said he wanted to continue talking like we had been and even hanging out when we could, he just didn't want the pressure of a relationship hanging over us. At least until he found out where he was transferring.

Okay, I thought. I could try. I did have real feelings for him, and if I wanted him in my life at all, I needed to accept that this was how it was going to be. At least until January. I could handle it until January.

The day after that conversation, he called me on his way in to work. We talked like the friends that we were even before that awful conversation. Like everything was fine. Then he left for the beach for the week with his "kids" and "parents." And he didn't say a word to me. Didn't text, call or snapchat for eight days. I was pretty upset about it but refused to reach out to him during that time. I figured if he went the whole week without talking to me, then I could move on. Even when my bunny died, and he still didn't reach out to me, I tried to let him go. I waited a few more days but, in a moment of weakness, I confronted him. I asked why he would even bother telling me all of that mess about being friends if he was just planning on ghosting me the whole time. Was he just trying to soften the blow?

His response was unexpected. "After two days I wanted to see how long it would be before you texted me. And now I have my answer.
And Snapchat didn't count."

Um. What??

Who does that??

It's one thing to play games but another thing entirely to admit to doing it. I hit a wall, and I was done. I didn't respond.

The next day he texted again. "Sorry you lost your bunny."

I still didn't respond. Like I said. I was done.

A few weeks went by and I was slowly moving on. A small part of me thought I may hear from him again eventually and I tried to prepare myself for that. I tried to move on as quickly as I could manage so that I could reject him once and for all if and when he did come back.

And then a couple nights ago I was scrolling through the 'People You May Know' feature on Facebook and click on a girl that is mutual friends with one of my best friends in Charlotte. Her second profile picture is of her and J. Dated May 18. Back when he and I were talking the 3rd time around.

I screenshot it and sent it to our mutual friend. And she tells me the girl just got engaged.... to him. While he was at the beach the week he wasn't talking to me. TWO DAYS after he'd called things off with me.

Turns out I was right about everything. Every doubt. Every suspicion. Every cancelled date. Every joke I made to him about having a girlfriend. It was all true.

And what happened next is a whole other story that I will post soon.

Trust your instincts, people. Even though I keep ignoring mine, hoping desperately that they are wrong, they have never failed me before.

But for now, please excuse me while I go listen to sad country songs about being the "other woman."

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