After the thing with Geoff ended I spent quite a few days thinking. I wasn’t exactly brokenhearted over it. It hadn’t lasted long enough to warrant a large degree of analysis the way that the Kansas thing had, or the way that POS did (because that really was a ton to unpack). But it was enough of a blip on the radar to warrant the two posts and, more importantly, to see what, if anything, needed to be recalibrated.
I came to the conclusion that no, nothing really needed to be changed. As far as “what” I was looking for, I’d hit my mark. I’d found something normal with someone who was basically normal as well – no POS systems had been thrown in the floor, no one had threatened to kill anyone, no one had held percentage numbers over my head (even if, instead, they’d backed away and frozen me out – kind of – but my understanding is that that kind of behavior is, unfortunately, more normal than not these days).
But upon further analysis I decided that my approach needed to change. Because after all was said and done, what happened at the end – really what happened over that last month – surprised me more than it should have. And while I could easily chalk that up to the fact that Geoff simply isn’t as forthcoming as I am (which is almost forgivable, because I mean, who is…), I’ve also got a role to play in that.
For example – I knew, because he told me, that he was “chronically single.” I knew he’d been previously married, and that one had ended. I knew why his most recent relationship ended (and what happened) – but I knew all of that because I asked. It wasn’t information that he volunteered. Looking back at it, I should have asked for more details – I should have asked how long his relationships lasted on average. I should have asked what happened with my predecessors. Not because I’m nosey, not because it was one of those “dealbreaker” questions, but because it might have helped me to understand that maybe this relationship had more of an expiration date on it than I realized.
You could argue that he could have been more forthcoming, and I can’t disagree with that, but the fact remains: it’s one of many things I didn’t know about the man. Simply because conversations with him (aside from a few things he volunteered about his past or his childhood), most of the time, didn’t go much deeper than conversations about work, or about what was going on in the here and the now, and really on a superficial level – there was rarely a lot of emotion involved in it. He commented once on how “passionate” I was about a certain topic – and maybe I was getting a little fiery about something (I can’t even remember what it was now) – but my willingness to throw it all out there, to let him see ME, was largely unreciprocated.
In essence – now that it’s all over, especially looking at it from the rearview lens – I feel like I didn’t know the man at all.
That’s important because when things got hard – and by hard I mean when I told him I loved him and he didn’t reciprocate those feelings, nor did he know how to handle it really – I didn’t have the necessary information I needed to predict what was going to happen next. I THOUGHT I did. I thought his emotional stability (and our closeness) was enough to suggest that being vulnerable… being transparent about my feelings… wouldn’t be too much. My impression was that he was patient (and mature) enough to hang around while he sorted it out – but I failed to realize that really, in the grand scheme of things, all he’d invested of himself (mostly), as I said in the previous blog, was time and money.
And so when things got hard… or awkward… or when he realized that I am not some goddess to be worshipped and that I actually farted and shit (because the change in him came about after we’d spent an extensive, uninterrupted period of time together), he didn’t have much of anything invested of HIMSELF to create a foundation to stand on while he sorted everything else out.
I realize that I am not to blame for that. He had every opportunity to reciprocate the emotional investment that I put out there for him, and I am not responsible for his feelings.
However, with that in mind, I realized that my own actions, in future – especially when it comes to this new dating game – need to be adjusted.
So, in addition to the parameters I set, I’m moving forward like this:
I put my profile back up.
I’m talking to people again – again, not taking anything too seriously, like I did before.
When/if I find someone worth dating, I’ll date them.
But that profile will stay up until that person declares that they want to date me exclusively. And I’ll only agree to that after I’m satisfied that I’ve gotten to know them sufficiently – both in terms of who they are behaviorally, but also emotionally.
Until they do, I am at liberty to go out with as many people as I see fit, however that’s where it stops. I won’t go to their homes. I will not invite them to mine. I will not sleep with them.
That only happens after one of them has declared exclusivity, and after profiles have come down again.
Is that going to make things more difficult? Probably. I can’t say that I’m going to have any success with that – in fact, I may find that this levels the playing field so much that there’s no one left in it, but as Cole says, it all looks good on paper and given everything else I’ve been through, no one could really blame me for doing it this way so it’s worth a shot.
And it’s not like any of this is set into stone tablets and gold plated anyway – if it’s not going the way that I feel like it needs to go, I can always recalibrate again. I have a feeling that I’m playing a long game here anyway.
But I also have to adjust my mindset. I have to put it back to the place that it was in when I moved here – that to find what I’m looking for will truly be like finding a needle in a haystack… so much so that it probably doesn’t exist. I can’t expect it to – not because the comparisons are being made to people in Florida (if you read the archives you KNOW what I found – or didn’t find – in Florida) but because, for better or worse, I have no expectations that I’m going to find that here. Or anywhere, really. Will I eventually settle? Maybe. But I can’t see myself doing that right now. Because I know that what I want is out there – I know because I’ve found it… twice. It’s that it was under my nose the first time (and by the time I realized that it was too late) and the second time it popped up so suddenly and lasted about as long as a sneeze that I’m still, right now, not sure it wasn’t a mirage. It’s probably going to be even harder to find a third time.
So I’ve recalibrated, and whatever happens, happens.
For now, anyway.