The Mating Game

 I got married really young. I was twenty-one and I had been with the guy since I was nineteen. I was still beginning to come into my own at that age and it was one of those silly situations where I thought I’d bought into those notions of soulmates and feeling like this was the best thing that ever happened to me. He was the first guy I’d ever truly been serious with and I think the longevity of the relatonship on top of a lot crazy stuff we’d gone through led me to believe I’d found the person I was going to spend the rest of my life with at nineteen.

The marriage went well until the birth of our daughter, then he changed. We grew apart because we had different mindsets. I was basically raising our daughter on my own because he worked so much and I felt suffocated and trapped by the marriage because I wasn’t getthing the opportunity to progress in life. I was at a standstill and left with literally all of the responsibilities aside from making the money. I was a dreaded homemaker and I hate sitting still, not doing anything. He never wanted to go out. I never got to see my friends. He was a homebody and I felt I was missing out on life and so we decided after we drifted apart that it was best to separate.

We tried to make the marriage work. A horrific accident concerning our daughter happened that brought us closer together, but then he contracted an STD from someone he slept with so I filed for divorce, because on top of the mind games he was playing of “I want you. I don’t want you.” it was a situation where he wasn’t being honest about what he was doing when we had agreed to communicate. A bunch of other things happened that I’m not ready to go into detail about, but the decision was final on my part and I filed the paperwork.

I had a rebound after him. It was a younger guy. Incredible looking, but after we slept together once he started talking about being in love and after I didn’t return the sentiment back, to save face and his own dignity, he trashed me in a public forum on the internet where I found out he was not only sleeping with someone else but he was on hardcore drugs. Like meth. Not surprising. This was during my brief one year stint in Kingman where the only thing youths have to do there is either drugs or get pregnant. No seriously, my next door neighbor got pregnant at fifteen and she was happy about it because she was so bored with life. Guess it’s better than being on meth or crack, but is it really?

After that, I told myself I wasn’t going to settle for anything less than what I wanted. I’d already been through a two year marriage and had been with the guy for nearly five years. I didn’t want to raise another boyfriend or be expected to answer to anyone else’s wishes or respond in ways they saw fit rather than how I actually felt. I briefly saw another guy in Kingman. Great guy, coworker of mine and we had similar situations concerning our kids but when I was given the opportunity to move to Texas, he wasn’t happy that I chose moving over living with him (we’d only been seeing each other a couple months. Slow down.) He wanted to offer me everything, but I didn’t want everything from someone. I wanted the chance to experience life for myself and on my own for a bit.

The two years that I lived in Houston, I stuck by that. Between phone calls with my ex husband who was already having second thoughts about his second marriage, to some really terrible dates: a guy who was more interested in my room mate who had been in a relationship for eight years, and a few socially awkward guys; I completely got turned off from the idea of being with anyone because it felt like by being with any of them, I was settling for less than I wanted.

I started seeing a guy that I met through RIFT during a period where I couldn’t get into my World of Warcraft account because I’d used a fake name when I created the account and i had to remove my authenticator which was on a phone I lost (I did get my account back, thank God. For the Horde!) and I even moved to Pennsylvania to live with him for about seven months, but there too, I felt as if I wasn’t emotionally getting what I needed. In a fight where I pointed out the fact that I felt like the relationship status we had was a joke, he had the gall to tell me no one would ever love me as much as he did. Which, was probably the most hilarious thing I’d ever heard and might have worked better on someone with lower self esteem and who hadn’t already been in a fairly serious relationship before.

After an incident where he let his anger and selfishness get the best of him and I was scared to the point of a panic attack and a trip to the hospital for it, I officially broke up with him, moved back to Arizona and then cut off all contact. Worked out better that way in the end. I’d been paying bills and for a lot of his stuff when he made at least twice as much if not more than me, so I turned off his phone and changed my number, email account and blocked him on facebook. When I’m done. I’m done. But it put me right back into that mindset. I’m not going to settle for any less than what I want and with my desire to really get my writing out there, I decided it was better to marry myself to my writing than to bother with nonsensical settling.

I got a FWB. A girl has needs. It had been over three years. We’d been friends for well over a decade. It seemed like a good enough arrangement until he wanted it on his time and was constantly trying to go for it in awkward situations or when I clearly had no interest. To the point where the talk of how horny he was or the girls who wouldn’t date him so he wanted loving reached a point of obnoxiousness. Even in a FWB situation, talking about other chicks you want who don’t want you and making it sound like you’re just settling for me isn’t exactly pillow talk. So again, shrugged off the idea of dealing with men. It’s all too complex and in reality, in truth, I again was settling if only for the fact that I was passing time with this guy because I’ve had slim options or haven’t been interested in those who are interested in me. No offense to them, just like I said, since my divorce there’s a whole new set of standards I have when it comes to dating.

But now I’ve got a crush. A genuine crush. Eegads! What do I do with that? It doesn’t help that I’ve also been watching a lot of Miranda lately. How I felt at one with her. If you haven’t watched the show, do. But, she had a terrible time in the beginning with this guy she liked named Gary. Every awkward moment, I felt myself going: This is how I picture every single horrifying scenario I can run through in my mind on how all of this is going to play out. I had actual visualizations of there being cut scenes in my life of just how wrong everything could go because God forbid, I found someone I actually genuinely have a crazy high school girl crush on. Something that hasn’t really happened, mind you, since I met my ex husband when I was nineteen. We’ll ignore the crazy cut scenes in my head that have played over about a particular celebrity in a band that rhymes with Organic mats the– omg am I listening to Sisqó?

Now, I’m like a deer caught in the headlights. How much is talking too much? Are there things I just shouldn’t say? Am I being too forward? Am I not being forward enough? Is he coming off genuinely uninterested or am I missing signals because I’m so far out of my natural element that we’re communicating in riddles? Is bad karma going to strike? I mean, I have been pretty straightforward in life about the things I am not going to tolerate and I’ve weaved and dodged multiple instances where someone was interested in me and I refused to let my guard down.

But my heart beats a little faster and I feel flustered. I think to myself, God has it really been nearly a decade since I’ve dealt with this sort of anxiety?

I’m no stranger to rejection. Nearly everyone I was interested in while in high school had no interest in me. I did get the chance to go on a date with one once. Cute cute boy I met at church, way out of my league and he asked me out years after my crush. Date went great but by the end of it he liked me in that way more than I liked him and it felt more like going out with an old friend. My ex husband really is the only man I’ve been really into at that level that I’ve bagged and it’s been so long, I don’t even remember how I did it. It’s just what a low blow after all my talk against this sort of vulnerability, and it turns out to be the bullocks from high school all over again. Which reminds me of how true Palahniuk’s quote from Invisible Monsters is: “The one you love and the one who loves you are never, ever the same person.” It’s been my mantra for years to serve as a reminder that all of it isn’t really worth it and there’s more freedom in not letting someone in than settling for less than you desire.

So do I go as The Master, listening to the sound of the drums of my heart beat until I go mad or do I live life as The Doctor, living on a whim to explore and take in as much experience from life as possible with good friends and occasional companions? I don’t want to be a one off Christmas special in this case being the special guest of someone else’s Time Lord life. I lost my train of thought trying to make Doctor Who references.

I’m flustered. I’m just not used to it and I don’t know what to do with it. It could just be one of those situations I need to transcribe out through my fiction and let it go.

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