What surprised you this year?
I started going to networking events this summer as a way to not only to meet potential professional contacts, but as a way to get out and and be around people if the majority of my friends were busy. They're definitely a great way to make connections, and if there's one thing I've learned, it's to always be open to the possibilities.
I can't remember who initiated the conversation; it was one of those things where we both saw each other at the same time (albeit walking in different directions) and just started talking. He was a year or two older than I and had gone to school in the city. I discovered that we both shared a liking for adventure and going out and doing things (as opposed to binge-watching Netflix all the time). He was independent and well-traveled, and was close to his family.
He asked for my number by the end of the night, and the best way to describe it was like finding twenty bucks in a washing machine. I'll call him Adam, as he looked more like one than his actual given name. We went out for drinks soon after, and being with him was a breath of fresh air, especially in light of what else was going on at the time. I was definitely attracted to his personality, but there was something about him that was both mature and sexy. He had his own place and was very ambitious.To cap it off, he pursued me, complimented me, and overall made it clear that he was interested.
I might have been getting ahead of myself, but it felt good to be wanted by a man. A man who wasn't a kid. Or at least that's how it felt when I was around him.
But then things took an unexpected turn; we were supposed to go put on what would have been our third or fourth date, and he never confirmed with me what was going on. I didn't hear from him for almost a week, and what he told me that he would explain the details, that call never came either. From then on, communication was sporadic, and I had to literally keep my phone on all the time because if I missed a call or a text, I could never reach him after the fact. I sensed that it had little to do with me, but that didn't stop the insecurities from coming out in full force. The last time we'd gotten together in person, I'd shared a little bit about some difficult experiences in my life, though kept it very-surface level. Let's just say he responded in a way that made me wish I'd hadn't said anything at all, and I occasionally wondered if that had something to do with the void in conversation.
By the time we actually got in touch again, I was very anxious and didn't want him to see me in such a state. It had been about three weeks since we'd last seen each other, but I needed to calm down first. I asked him if he wanted to touch base after Labor Day, but never received a response. We haven't spoken since, and while there are times where I've wanted to reach out, I didn't want to waste my energy on chasing him. It would have just been out of loneliness.
I was sad at first, partly because of it being over, but mostly because of how it ended. I realized how much I hate being left, or not being the one to have the last word in a situation like this. It was like getting a carrot dangled in front of my face, only to have it taken away a short time later.
Yet, meeting and getting to know him wasn't for nothing; for once, I was truly able to stand firm in the truth that I am NOT responsible for others' actions, choices, or opinions about me.
I won't deny the possibility of influence, but in any kind of relationship, both parties are completely capable of being honest with one another. Whatever his reasoning, he should have been able to come to me about it, even if something had changed at that point. We hadn't really defined what we both wanted, and because of that there might have been assumptions on both sides. And maybe it was one of those things where because you haven't spend that much time together, it's easier to just stop talking.
When that happens, it sure as hell hurts. But the best thing to do is to thank God for the experience and for what it taught me, and to hold onto that perspective.
I certainly can't depend on people to give me peace or closure when this stuff happens, but I do understand now that I need communication with the other person in order for a relationship to work. Regardless of where we're at, that doesn't change the fact that we're human. We might not owe each anything early on, but if he can't recognize that I'm human (whether that be emotionally or sexually), than that's not a man that I want to be with.
If there's one thing it comes down to, it's this:
It might sound selfish or conceited, but I stand by it. I can't blame myself anymore, and I won't. I know what I want, but I also know what I need.