anotherlongshot (anotherlongshot) wrote,

For the first time in my life - literally the first time in my life - I am taking very seriously a dating decision that lies entirely in my hands. Instead of favouring the immediate response that feels good in the moment - that is, instead of giving in to instant gratification - I am thinking twice, three times, before I communicate this decision to the person who is waiting for it. I have wasted too much time in the past acting almost solely on my feelings for someone, not thinking through the consequences of so acting, let alone whether prima facie incompatibilities would later reveal themselves as significant after all, when the initial heady rush of a new romantic high wears off and he's ordinary and bland and all I have are stark facts about him that seem to overpower my residual feelings for him. Never in my life have I thought through things as thoroughly as I am trying to think through things right now. With Wei Chuen, his Christianity started to bother me a year or so later when I'd known from the start that it was a part of who he was. Same with Dominic (except substitute Christianity for Catholicism). With Wouter, I'd known from the start the things that he wasn't, but I was so head over heels that they faded into the background as I chased the unrealistic, giddy happiness that being with him had made me feel during the first few months. But they eventually came back to matter. Perhaps the truth was that they had mattered all along. With Bruno, I did think things through, and I'd decided that his religion was something that I could perhaps live with; but even though I did feel strongly for him, I did not feel as strongly about him, and so I had never entertained the possibility of asking him to change his mind.

In fact, I am someone with a lot of pride. This pride has almost always prevented me from giving second chances to men who have left me in the past, let alone asking them to reconsider. If I remember right -- for my love life has been a constantly changing landscape of all kinds of men, especially in the past year -- 2017 was really the only year in which I'd kept getting left. The only thing that had mattered about them eventually was that, as a matter of pride, I wish I had been the one to have broken it off.

The fact that I had eventually decided against accepting Thomas' decision either way when we talked about his departure, and actively persuaded him to change his mind, is significant in itself. So is the fact that, in my latest 4,000-word essay to him, I had kept the door to a reconciliation open a tiny bit -- and this is particularly significant because he had literally walked away from me. He had caused me a lot of hurt last weekend. And by walking away from me, he had completely subverted the very basic premise for my liking him, and from which everything else follows; and so without this basic premise, there is no reason for me to hold on to anything at all. This premise is, of course, my perception of his reliability, which he had, of course, ruined by showing himself to be the exact opposite of that when he walked away.

I kept it partially open anyway in what I wrote to him. Despite all the evidence to the contrary, I kept a part of my heart open to him. It was significant and crucial that he'd texted me to say he was sorry, etc, for I'm not sure I wouldn't have sent my angry, final 'fuck you and farewell' email to him if he hadn't done so. But he did, and that softened me up; and in keeping with the weird good feeling that I had about him, there was a particular part of my email to him that brought back this good feeling in the moment of my writing it. There was no reason whatsoever for me to still feel anything positive about him. But I had sensed it, just like I had sensed that he would change his mind and come back.

What reason did I have to want to date him now? he'd asked. The only reason I would have to want to keep seeing him despite what he did is if what he did last weekend was an aberration; if it wasn't actually who he is; and, in short, if he is the person that I had thought he was. Before I said this, he'd owned up to his terrible behaviour, the lameness of the way he'd ostensibly decided to stop dating but texting me five days later to tell me that I am wonderful, the lameness of his taking the easy and lazy way out when something problematic occurred, capitulating to the apparent toughness of the situation instead of acting like an adult and solving the problem. He wasn't someone who caused insecurity in others, he said. He had been mentally inept the past month, not dealing well with the fact that he is moving, and definitely not handling our situation any much better.

Did I think that I had a false impression of him? he'd asked. That was for him to tell me. I told him exactly the kind of person that I didn't want to date: someone who bails at the first sign of trouble, someone who doesn't work through things with me, someone who isn't sure of his feelings for me - in short, someone who is unreliable in these ways. When I came back from the toilet, he said, 'I'm reliable.' He told me what he will do differently if we kept dating. He will work on problems, he will answer my text messages properly, he will do things properly, he will not play around with my feelings. And yes, he was sexually attracted to me; but because I had told him that I get emotionally attached when I sleep with someone that I liked, and because we weren't dating that time I was over at his and we made out, he'd stopped himself ('and covered you with a blanket,' he said with a small smile) before things got any further.

The thing is, I don't want him to be someone that he is not; all I want is for him to be who he is. I don't care about how frequently he texts me and how long he takes to reply to something mundane and conversational; I only care about the texting if it's about making plans and he's being frustratingly vague. It's even completely fine that he would continue to tell me 'I'm on the road' when I'm waiting to know if he's coming to college or not, because things like that -- when he says that, it does not mean that he's coming over -- can be learned, and since I have a very good memory, I am more than capable of remembering it. But what I do care about, and I care about this a lot, is his reliability. So the issue is whether I should believe him and give him a second chance based on his word.

It is not completely baseless. I did not form this impression of him out of nowhere. He had behaved in a manner that suggested this reliability -- such as overlooking the fact that I had dumped him twice. So it could be that what he did last weekend was not a reflection of who he is, but a mistake that we are all capable of making. I have made terrible mistakes in the past that are fundamentally and incontrovertibly at odds with the person that I am and want to be, so it is entirely plausible that last weekend was just such a mistake that he'd made. So giving him a second chance would not be a completely irrational decision, even if the evidence suggests that the more rational decision would be to just end it.

Still -- as much as I want to be sure that I know what I am doing, that the reasons for my decision are rationally made out, that I am not simply letting my feelings dictate my choices (hence this entry, hence my thinking it over last night, hence my making him wait before I tell him either way), matters of the heart, such as this one, are a leap of faith to some degree. Choosing to believe him is a leap of faith because I simply cannot, and do not, know with any certainty whether I can believe him. All I can rely on is an approximation of whether I have good reasons to believe him, and whether the shortfall between having these good reasons and having no good reasons to believe him can be overcome by other factors. So even if I think, objectively speaking, I have more reasons not to believe him, a combination of two things can overcome it. First, I could choose to rely also on my strong feeling about him, the way I had felt as if I could rely on and trust in the way he'd made me feel safe and secure; surely such feelings do not materialise out of nowhere, and if that is right, then, like I said, his behaviour last weekend was a mistake.

Second, and more importantly: will I regret it if I didn't give him another chance? I know myself well enough to know that I have to know for sure. Even if the path leads to heartbreak, I have to know for sure. Otherwise, I will always wonder, to varying degrees, what could have been -- and since Thomas is not someone like Matt, someone that I could never see a future with -- indeed, since Thomas is someone whom I thought had long-term potential, it means that it is even more crucial that I know for sure, even if the price of knowing is some future hurt that I can avoid now by walking away.

And so I will take this leap of faith. In any event, he knows that if he changes his mind next week, I will retaliate by scratching his beloved Mustang...I joke, of course. Back to the serious note: I think this makes sense, and the part that doesn't make sense is a risk that I'm willing to take. I'm going to text him now; I've kept him waiting for long enough.
Tags: dating, never again, personal, relationships

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