If the object of your affection loves you, and you him, with heart and mind (both important and, for these purposes, ignore hormones), all will work out if you both work toward it. If the love, from either of you is less than that, stop torturing yourself and redirect your energy.
Thank you for your concerns… Unfortunately there is no object of my affection. Only ghosts and their vagaries—coming by way of hundred degree heat and passing glances, words expelled without feeling spent.
Over a year ago, you and I had an exchange about the idea of the “grand gesture.” Recently, just before leaving Chicago in May, a man I had been “casually” dating (the term casual itself a turn off, more than that, a cause to question how this works, whether I am going about it all in the right or wrong way, but nevertheless—see HUB 489, second stanza)… this man, he said to me, “What do you want?” In that moment, I didn’t know what to say, and truly, I felt no matter what I said, he wasn’t really interested in the answer.
Later, on the plane, almost home—that is, in the home stretch…
“What do you want?” —I realized…
The grand gesture. That IS what I want. Some men have decided it’s just not in them. Others take a part of the grand gesture, the easy part, say some expense or flourish, and deliver it without the actual gesture of consideration to match. I prefer the gesture to the expense. Spoil me with kisses, with your eyes staring deep into mine, with messages that tell me something of your day, where you are, who you are with, how you feel, …saying “hey you” or “I miss you” even just does not cut the surface.
That day, that very day of traveling, it seems I experienced the grand gesture for the first time in some time. Over a piece of slightly over-salted banana bread. A man, I’d known him 3 days by then, came to meet me at the airport before I departed for “lands east.” As I walked through the sliding glass doors I looked right, left, pushed back my hair, fumbled with my bags, looked up for an instant and there he was walking toward me, two double espressos in hand. Shorts, t-shirt, baseball cap, scruff. Adorable. Thoughtful. Smiling. Eyes sparkling—they do that. He kissed me—immediately. My body became a smile.
You might wonder, where is the grandeur here? Not really much expense… Train fare to the airport. $5. Two coffees. $5. Banana bread. $ Unknown.
But morning hours…
Three days, remember?
And yet, and yet, and yet… this particular risk got me in perhaps a worse predicament than the casual safety nets that I have built around me on numerous occasions. This galant gentleman who reassured me that we would be in touch, on the phone, that called me in the first weeks often with affection, has now for all intents and purposes gone missing. Should it really matter? I barely know him… We spent those first three days in each other’s presence, and then a few more when I flew back into Chicago to tidy things up. And yet I told him my fears. I told him how things that take off like this seem to just get pulled out from under me. And he stood there, holding me, looking at me with such care and concern, promising that he was in this too. He was the first man in so long not just wanting me for my body. He was a man, instead of a boy, I thought. And it’s a mystery. I still don’t know what’s happened. I’m completely in the dark.
Despite what I thought or hoped to be different about my grand gesture gent, the result of my risk, of my giving in and over to hope and desire is the same as ever… I am left waiting, responding when possible on their terms.
What do they all have in common? me.
Am I picking the wrong men?
And how on earth would I recognize the right ones?
And as I’ve said, it’s not just about men. It’s people in general, jobs in general, all pursuits, places, passions… I seem to have poor judgment.
And what it gets me are lonely, lonely days and nights. It gets me mornings where I’ll listen to people tell me awful things about myself because I had deluded myself into thinking that they are worth giving my time to, that they care for me, see me for who and what I am and value that… when all of a sudden, awful things spewing from their mouths, I realize that they saw just one thing in me that they liked, or even loved, were drawn to and needed like a drug, but that didn’t leave them with any affection for the rest of me, much less a tolerance for the parts of me that might be “different” from them or their expectations of people and the world. I know I’m not perfect, but when I trust people like I do, I trust their criticisms, and sometimes, most times, it takes me a long time to realize that their critique is actually a sign that they have never seen me or loved me. Of course, then I come off as the ungrateful one. Then I lose a contact, that I had thought was a connection, a friend even, and at times a lover. I’m battling that right now with someone who is back in Chicago. I’ve held on to him, I suppose, because my world is so very silent right now, and even his occasional messages were some kind of blip on the radar to shake up the void.
Please know, that contact with you more than shakes up the void, but I do not get to latch on to you as a partner. I realized last night how long it’s been since my lips have been touched.
I am just so tired of trusting, trusting myself with someone and then being betrayed. And the reality is that most people don’t take it all so seriously at all. That’s perhaps the reality that IS my problem, but it is how I am and I don’t know what more I can do about it than I already am. And I don’t know if I will reach any relief from it before it completely drowns me. When my waving will indeed become drowning.