I guess you could call this a bonus post? I had thought I’d be able to get the whole godforsaken Filipeen saga wrapped up in 4 parts (you can read part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4) but there’s still more shittery to write about, so here I am.
Having sobbed all the way home, I actually felt better than I thought I would when I settled myself on the sofa to eat my feelings in leftover Christmas chocolate. I absolutely knew I’d done the right thing and I felt relieved it was over, that I didn’t have to deal with Filipeen again, but I couldn’t help but wonder how I’d got myself into the mess to begin with…
Why hadn’t I been quicker to walk away? Why had I let it get so far, to the point he was able to diminish my self worth? Why did I honestly think he might be the only person that would want to date me? Where did that “scarcity fear”, as Julia calls it, come from?
Those weren’t questions I had answers for right at that moment but as I pondered them, my thoughts were interrupted by a text. From him. “So I don’t really know where we left it? Am I ok to contact you? Can we still be friends?”
Mother of fuck, get a clue.
I had no ability to see how we could be friends. I hadn’t been on Bumble to make friends and ultimately when someone has stripped your character down to nothing, why would you want to keep them in your life? It made no sense to me. But he’d done a great job of making me feel guilty even about that. During the discussion yesterday, when he’d made a point about how he hoped we could be friends he commented that people who can’t remain friends after dating clearly aren’t mature. Setting up the narrative that if I said we couldn’t be friends, I was obviously immature. Even now he was manipulating my thoughts.
I didn’t even know what to say in reply, and I was too tired to try to deal with it. So I just said “I don’t know right now. How about text me if you want and I’ll see how I feel?”
That was the Sunday and on the Tuesday he took it literally when he texted me to ask if I’d watched anymore Archer. We’d been watching it together whenever I was over at his place, funnily I hadn’t been tempted to remind myself of those nights by watching more of it in the last couple of days. I replied “no, I’ve been busy seeing friends and taking care of myself”. I was hoping the terse response would help him realise I wasn’t interested in friendly chit chat.
I made it through the rest of the week relatively unscathed, given it was the first week back after the holidays and I was hardly in the best of moods to start with. To celebrate surviving I went out with a girlfriend to eat tacos, drink margaritas and catch up after the holidays. Obviously my festive tales were fairly exclusively focused on Filipeen and as we were knee deep in the pre-NYE character assassination chat, my phone buzzed. Being the terrible friend I am, I checked it mid-sentence and stopped dead.
It was the star of the story and the look on my face obviously said so. My friend’s only response was “tell me how exactly this story turns around to the point where he’s still fucking texting you now?” She was incredulous. I insisted on finishing the story before we dived into this most recent text. And as the story progressed she’d interject every so often with “and he’s STILL texting you??!?! HOW?!?!?”
When the story finally caught up with current day, I read the text out loud to her “hey! Where was that bottomless mimosa brunch place you were saying was good?” Ohhhh, now you want to leverage my downtown party lifestyle knowledge??? What am I, some fucking restaurant concierge?
My friend asked me how I felt. I said not good, I didn’t want his name popping up on my phone and disturbing my days / nights / life, and she was right when she said I needed to tell him that. Fuck what he thought about people who couldn’t stay friends after dating, fuck it if he thought I wasn’t coping, fuck it if he thought he’d got to me. She was pretty resolute about it.
So we spent the next half hour crafting the perfect response as we moved from the restaurant to Forever 21 to look for outfit pieces for an event we were going to in a few weeks. Browsing the racks we put together a text that ultimately said that I didn’t want to be friends with him, I didn’t see how that could bring value to my life, and that in hindsight I had realised that the way he treated me and how he’d acted had been incredibly selfish, confusing and unfair. I wanted to be nice but honest, I wanted to be firm but fair. And ultimately I wanted him to leave me the fuck alone. Text iterated for the 100th time…. and sent!
He replied later that night, with an essay length text, saying it was unfortunate that I saw the situation that way (insinuating, of course, that it wasn’t that way in reality at all) and that as a result he didn’t think we could be friends (when I’d just said in my text that I didn’t want us to be friends, of course he needed the last say in that) but he wished me nothing but the best because I really was an incredible person who deserved to meet someone who was right for me and the life I “really wanted to lead” (a nod to the fact he didn’t think I was honest about the life I wanted to live).
I never replied and instead deleted our entire message history.
I was grateful I had been with my friend when the brunch text came in. I probably would have sent a mindless reply otherwise. Instead we talked through the whole thing. She’s a therapist and while she can’t counsel me professionally (instead she introduced me to the therapist love of my life, Julia), she does an incredible job at putting her knowledge to use when chatting with friends in situations just like this. She’s also one of the most empathetic people I know, which helps massively and I love her for it.
Discussing it with her, I realised he gave so many excuses for why it wouldn’t work, as if he was grasping for any old reason. Yet none of them were reason enough for him to cut it off himself. He had to tell me everything that was wrong with me and leave it to me to decide if I could live with staying in the relationship while knowing he was feeling all of those things.
I don’t believe it was a actually a choice for me to make, rather it was a test to see how much I would put up with and, ultimately, a way of getting me to be the one to break it off rather than him. So that he wasn’t the cause of anymore hurt to me than I’d had in my past, so that he wasn’t the bad guy. Even wanting to stay friends afterwards, always the sign of the good guy right?
It’s bullshit. I wish he’d been man enough to say “this is how I’m feeling, it’s not working for me, I’m sorry but we can’t keep dating”. Instead, by being a coward (or trying to save me hurt, as he put it) it caused me more confusion. And if there’s one thing that causes more lasting damage than hurt, it’s confusion.
Confusion breeds doubt and insecurity. It leads to not trusting your gut and being unable to cut through the noise. I feel like it’s a go to tactic for men – confuse her, that’ll really fuck her up. Because if there’s one thing that’s easy to walk away from and explain why you walked away, it’s a messed up woman.
Well fuck him. I knew what I wanted, I put it out there and I don’t regret it. It’s me – it’s how I am, it’s how I live my life and it’s how I love (not that I loved him – to be clear). I don’t think I’ll ever fully understand the reason behind why he felt the way he did/didn’t or acted the way he did. Were we really not compatible or was he scared? I don’t know and it doesn’t actually matter.
I want someone to be all in with me, someone whose commitment I never have to question or wonder about. And that wasn’t him. End of saga.
One thought on “The Aftermath – Part 4.1?”
That emotional manipulation is a killer, so easy to see what you should have done or said in hindsight but in that moment you can only react to what’s in front of you.