That's the standard narrative of the past 3 or 4 relationships that I have been in. This time, the narrative is rather different. He ticks two out of six boxes on my checklist; and even then, I have a hard time remembering what the hell is on them. I know this, I know his religious views, I know that he ticks more deal breaker boxes than not. At what point should I have told myself to disengage? After the first date? Should I not have gone out with him a second time? I knew from the first date that he's Catholic, so why did I go out with him again if it really is a deal breaker? If it is a deal breaker, I wouldn't have said that I would see how it goes; if it is a deal breaker, it doesn't matter how it would potentially go, it doesn't matter even if I gave him a chance, because a deal breaker admits of no exceptions. That is what a deal breaker is.
My actions to date show one of two things: either I fundamentally misunderstand the meaning of a deal breaker (or less charitably, I am a hypocrite who doesn't live up to what she professes to care about), or it is really not that much of a deal breaker after all.
How do I explain this? How do I explain why I can't stop myself from going out, and then catching feelings, for men who are prima facie wrong for me? The ironic thing about the conversation that we had is this: while he was thinking about the reasons to doubt whatever is going on between us, I was thinking about the reasons to doubt my doubts about whatever is going on between us. I had doubts from the beginning because of my checklist, but despite the fact that my checklist hardly describes him, there was something about him, and the way that I feel when I am with him, that made the checklist seem unimportant. But this time, it's not just about how I feel; I am not pushing away the things that would bother me (and which have bothered me in the past) in the future. I am thinking about them; I am re-evaluating what it is about these "deal breakers" that really bother me, looking beneath the surface and trying to get to the heart of the matter. I repeat my reason for not wanting to date a religion person as if it were a mantra, but all it took was Josh's take on my stand to make me question it. Does it not simply mean that I'd never really thought that much about it?
There must also be a reason I keep meeting, dating, liking, and falling for all these men who don't fucking read literature, these men who go to church, these men who don't like any of the things that I like, these men who are the opposite of me and yet I fall for them. I fall for them while professing to want to date someone like myself, but if that really were true, why do I keep falling for these people? Why have I reached a stage with him where my heart is naked, defenceless? I told myself after Dominic that enough was enough; I was sick and tired of falling into the same old pattern, going out with people who aren't suitable, and yet here I am, contemplating religion, my checklist, and why my heart feels so bruised by all the things that he's just said. They weren't anything that hadn't crossed my mind; I guess I was just blindsided by how sudden it was.
(But then again, when I wrote the previous entry, I had a feeling that something was not right. Ironic, then, that I rationalised it away while my feeling was actually spot on.)
There must be a reason that I keep dating and falling for these men who are supposedly not my type. Maybe I am simply not attracted to men whom I mistakenly believe are my type. Why else have I never - NEVER - dated anyone who reads? So I thought maybe this isn't really that important. And the next thing to fall away was religion. And this because of how he makes me feel? I wish I could take the good with the bad; I wish I could turn off this negativity that floods me the minute something goes slightly wrong. He wasn't even telling me that he didn't want to see me anymore, just that we should think about it, but my self-protection reflex is so strong that I told him that I didn't see the point in thinking; that it would just delay the inevitable. Did I believe that? Sure, I believed that I was never going to be able to fight against what he thought of as his hypocrisy: going to church while dating a girl who doesn't believe in the existence of a god. If I wanted to be rational, I would say that this sentiment of his answers every single question that we may have about this. And I tried to say that. In fact, I said exactly that. But it's still ironic; just as I was beginning to question why I am seemingly so staunchly against having religion in my life, he tells me that he has a problem with my areligiosity.
I spoke to John about what Josh said; that it's the substantive moral positions that count more than the overall beliefs/values system. John posed the following challenge: Am I willing to live with thinking that my partner is weak? And I may think that he is weak because he is unable to solve existentialist questions without recourse to a religion whose truth is self-evident only to the faithful (and therefore question-begging), whereas I have no such need for this in my life because the existentialist questions do not bother me.
But I have never thought my religious boyfriends weak. I might have thought that they were mistaken, but not weak. I don't think I pass any judgment on how a person finds comfort and solace in times of emotional distress; I don't think it's a sign of weakness that a person resorts to religion. In fact, it is not the instrumental reasons to believe in religion that I doubt; it is the truth of a/the/many religion(s) that I doubt. But at the same time, I am less of an atheist than I used to be. I have come to realise that I cannot commit to the position that I know for a fact that god does not exist, simply because I don't. God may be stipulated by many, even scientists to explain natural phenomena; but this in itself does not disprove the existence of god. It simply makes it questionable. But that's a softer stance than saying that I believe absolutely in the non-existence of god. These days, I gear more towards agnosticism than atheism.
I am tired. I have to get up in 4 hours for tennis. I don't know what I am saying anymore. I had to write, though, incoherent as this entry is.
Sometimes, I really wish I were stupid. It would make my life a lot easier. I would be happy to settle for a mundane boring life, but because I am simple-minded, I wouldn't even think of it as settling. Sometimes, I find everything to be such a struggle. Why is it so hard to find someone to settle down with? I don't understand this at all.
I really need to hit some tennis balls right now.