How do you ignore your gut? Should you even try? Or should you just always go with it? Even when you want it to be wrong?

After the weekend of distant texting, by the time O texted on the Sunday night my gut was on full red alert. He sent a half assed text telling me they’d won the basketball tournament, and that was about it. My reply was that I guessed we weren’t doing dinner? He replied apologising, saying he didn’t realise he wouldn’t be back til later. It felt insincere. And I was majorly pissed off.  But mostly, I felt panicked. I felt panicked that things were changing and I couldn’t control them and I didn’t understand them.

I told him that I didn’t want to have to deal with inconsistency. He couldn’t go from being the texter of the century (while always claiming he wasn’t a texter) to essentially being MIA for 24 hours.

Here’s the thing with consistency when it comes to communication – I don’t need 24/7 communication but I do need 24/7 consistency. So if you only text me once every three days, that’s fine, but keep doing that. If you text me once every hour (don’t. I don’t think anyone should text someone that much), then you better be setting your alarm to keep that shit going so I don’t think you’ve died. Granted that’s an extreme example but my point is, don’t fuck with the consistency of communication. Yes life happens, yes it’s not always possible, but that’s why it’s important to think about the levels of expectation you’re setting. And that’s why numerous times I’d questioned O about the likelihood of this high bar being kept up there. And he’d always insisted it wasn’t a problem…

We didn’t end up seeing each other on the Sunday night and, in fact, it was eight days until I saw him again. Over the week his texts became less and less frequent and he dodged every opportunity for us to meet – he was busy. We eventually made preliminary plans to meet on Saturday. I was actually busy on Saturday, I was heading out of town to stay with my adopted Canadian Granny, but I didn’t want to be the blocker so I said it worked for me. And as I headed for the skytrain for a night out the city, I got the text I knew was coming from O – “really sorry, I don’t think I can meet today, I’ve thrown my back out”.

I could have written it myself, albeit the back injury was an added flair of an excuse. I had fully expected it. So why did the disappointment sting my eyes? Why did the expected call off still result in brimming tear ducts?

I think I knew at this point things weren’t going to be the same again. There would be no reverting change in his behaviour that could now not make me question him, question his integrity, question his motives, question his honesty.

Despite being on the Skytrain, heading out the city, I replied and suggested I go over with some food for him and asked if there was anything else I could take him. Banking on the fact he’d decline I didn’t pause my trip to White Rock for a single step. Expectedly, he declined the offer but said “maybe tomorrow”. I decided at that point that I’d be seeing him the next day whether it meant I had to doorstep him or not.

Later that afternoon, sat in Granny’s garden, surrounded by her beautiful potted plants with the sun beating down, I told her the whole story over numerous glasses of wine. And what she said to me still sticks in my mind – “when you’ve explained to someone how inconsistency causes you anxiety, you can’t believe someone only has good intentions for you when they then become inconsistent and seem unconcerned for the anxiety they must know they’re causing you.”

It was followed up with some sage advice about trying to draw a line in the sand and not giving anymore of myself to him. I realised I’d already given more than I would have liked, more than I intended to, more than I felt comfortable with. I’d been swept away by the whole thing and now I was left feeling adrift. Granny did a great job at lifting my spirits over dinner but there was no denying the growing sadness and confusion.

The next day as I returned back to Vancouver, I lured him into a false sense of security – I hate games, but fuck you – getting him to confirm he was still at home in bed and his flatmate was out. With that info in hand, I told him I was taking him coffee and his favourite doughnut from Tim Horton’s and I’d be over in half an hour. I didn’t ask, I told him. I left him no choice.

And here’s where I know I differ from some people. For some, as soon as someone backs away from them they put their own walls up, turn the other way and don’t look back. I, on the other hand, like to get right in amongst the shit pile and stir it up. It’s like I can’t be done with it until I’ve tested it to the nth degree. Partly it’s because I’m a hopeless optimist and hope that one day my gut will be wrong and someone backing away will all of a sudden change their mind and come running back. And I know the retort to that is why would you want someone who wasn’t sure about you? Don’t ask me, I’m all sorts of fucked up.

It’s also partly because if someone wants to end something with me I want them to say it. I want to make them say the words. Both for their discomfort and my closure. I’d rather be stabbed with a knife than slapped with a fish. Does that even make sense as a saying? I’m going with it. Like, if you’re going to walk away from me, then tell me, give me the brutally honest reason, don’t just leave me hanging.

So looking to get into the middle of this shit pile, I went round to O’s and for the first time since I’d known him, it was awkward. Not just because his 6’5 frame was barely able to move – apparently the back injury wasn’t a lie – but it was clear something had changed. He was in pain. And I  wasn’t very sympathetic. I couldn’t be. I couldn’t bring myself to give any more of myself. The doughnut and coffee were the extent of it.

In the 45 minutes I was there, one of his best friends came to pick something up with his girlfriend. It was another awkward interaction, with O briefly introducing me, while I sat on the edge of his bed like some pathetic groupie. They left and there was more awkward chat between us. He commented that I seemed to be enjoying his discomfort. He wasn’t wrong. But I wasn’t enjoying mine.

I left him in bed to go and meet friends at the beach, as had always been my Sunday plan before my impromptu home delivery to the invalid. I never intended to stay at his for long, I just wanted to see him, look him in the eyes, try to get a read on the situation. But I think all I’d managed to deduce in my time there was that the situation was fucked up.

He clearly knew I was pissed off but I couldn’t tell if he cared. We texted a little that afternoon, while I was enjoying a sunny beach day and he was feeling sorry for himself in bed. I still couldn’t muster any sympathy.

When he asked me to go round for dinner the next night, I was slightly surprised but I couldn’t decide if it was a good thing or not. Maybe he was going to take the opportunity to chat about things, have those open and honest (and maybe difficult) conversations that we both agreed during our first date we preferred to games and confusion and things left unsaid.

Turns out, he just wanted someone to snuggle with on the sofa. He’d made it to work that day and we met halfway between our apartments as he walked home. His 6’5 frame stood out even more when he walked with a limp. On this occasion I did feel some sympathy for him. He was clearly in a lot of pain, so I offered to take his backpack, cause I’m nice like that and despite how confused I was by the whole situation, I apparently couldn’t help myself. We stopped for food on the way home and continued back to his for a night of laying on the sofa.

There was no explanation for his distance, no reference even made to it. It was like those eight days of us not seeing each other, and the diminishing texts, hadn’t even happened. We had sex that night, despite his back injury – funny what guys can rally for – but even it wasn’t the same. Maybe because he wasn’t his usual energetic self, maybe because part of me wondered how many times this was likely to happen again, or if in fact this might be the last.

The rest of the week was more of the same, infrequent texts and an inability to meet up. I stopped attempting to make plans by the Thursday. I was sick of suggesting times, making myself available, being accommodating in the hope he might actually say yes. There’s only so many times you can be told no. I wish I was one of those people who only needed to be told no once… alas, I’m a sucker for punishment.

My anxiety was out of control, my mind a constant whirring of how the situation might be rectified, why he might have changed his mind, what I could do to change it back… talk about mental torture. I threw myself into working out. And trying to ignore the deafening silence from my phone.

It got to the weekend and I had no idea what his plans were. I made my own and adjusted to the deep, sinking feeling that had been perpetually in my stomach for the last two weeks.

Waking on Sunday morning at 8am I read a text from him that he’d sent at 3am – “any chance you’re having a late night?” Was it a drunk booty call or was he just finishing work (not uncommon for him) and he wanted to talk?

I responded saying I had but clearly not as late as some people and asked if he was ok. And then I waited. And waited. And waited for a reply. At 4pm, I decided I’d pretty much had enough. “So you’re going to text me at 3am, I reply when I wake up and then you go back to ignoring me as you’ve done for much of the past week? Really?”

Interestingly, that got his attention. He replied saying he’d been meaning to call me. “And yet here we are, texting” I replied. My phone rang almost instantly. I gave myself a couple of seconds to compose myself, or at least try to. There was a fairly high chance I was going to lose it – whether “it” was my temper or my tears, I wasn’t sure.

He said he knew he’d been off, he knew he’d been busy, he knew things had been different. I said I was disappointed with the inconsistency. He said he was sorry, he’d never meant to let me down, but that he also knew he didn’t have space in his life for someone right now, for a number of reasons.

He didn’t have space for someone in his life right now.

The very thing I’d asked him a number of times and he said we’d figure it out. Wow. I guess what he meant when he said we’d “figure it out” is that he would just wait til he came to the startling realisation himself that he didn’t have space and choose to do a great impression of a ghost rather than actually talk to me about it.

So then why the fuck would he text me at 3am and ask if I’d “had a late night by any chance” then? Cause he wanted to have the chat then? I’m going to guess not. Because he wanted to see if he could squeeze one more sexscapade out of me before he ghosted me entirely? More likely.

My mind was racing while he spoke. I had so much I wanted to say to him. So much I wanted to shout at him. And instead I just asked “so that’s it?” and he said “yeah, so that’s it.” And just like that it was done. We said goodbye, I hung up and finally lost it. My tears, that is.

To say I was disappointed, is an understatement. Mostly I was disappointed in myself. Mostly because I knew I shouldn’t have allowed myself to be swept along, because I knew I was opening myself up to getting hurt again, because I knew it was going too fast. But he assured me, he said all the right things, convinced me he wouldn’t be leaving an O shaped hole in my life anytime soon. Four weeks later, that’s exactly what I was left with.

I’ll never understand how he ever thought he was going to make it work with his schedule or with whatever other issues he had going on. I’ll never understand how he could sit and talk about consistency and honesty and communication and then let things go the way they did.

And once again with a guy, I had to go looking for the answers. They just start to drift a little, but not far enough that it’s undeniable, they deny anything’s changed or they feel differently, until it gets to a point where I have to call them out on it. I’m not one of these people that can just let it go or fizzle out. I want that last conversation, I want at least some reasoning or explanation even if it’s bullshit & makes no sense. But it’s always me who has to ask the question. Sometimes I wonder what would happen if I didn’t.

But once again, that feeling of being cast adrift was with me, making itself at home within me. It had become the thing I feared the most. The feeling I don’t know how to quell and the feeling which causes self doubt in me like nothing else. Wondering if anything will ever work out, if anyone will ever live up to what they say they’re going to do, if there’s something inherently wrong with me. I wasn’t sure I could do it again. I honestly felt like I’d reached the tipping point.

I had more questions than answers, and more concerns than confidences. A friend said to me a while afterwards, realising I was struggling to come to terms with the swiftness of the zero to 100 to zero journey we’d been on – “you don’t need to know why he did what he did, just know that it wasn’t an accident.” I have no clue what happened on his end, what changed in his mind. All I know is how I felt and what I did. And those are the things I can learn from.

I didn’t want to write this story. It still stings. Not because I still harbour feelings. Unless that feeling is confusion. I like closure, I like tying up loose ends, I like closing the loop – I was able to do none of that with this situation. Him saying he didn’t have space for me or anyone in his life right now would have been an acceptable explanation (let’s forget the ghosting that took place to get there), except for the fact that two weeks later, I saw him on Bumble again, with an updated profile which now read “looking to date a tall girl”….

To O,

Fuck you.

Sincerely, this 5’4 shortarse


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Ok, Woah – Part 3 of 4


After the epic first date weekend (is a first date weekend a thing? We made it a thing), we texted a little throughout our work day on the Monday after he’d left in the morning – which was day four of seeing each other. Somewhere in amongst everything I’d learnt about him, he’d said his days were super busy and super long so someone who could appreciate the “have a great day” sign off being the end of chit chat (as I’d done when we were making plans for our first date) was on his page.

Around 9.30pm on Monday he texted to see if I had time to chat. I was just climbing into bed (what can I say, I’m a granny when it comes to bedtimes) so he called and, what I thought was a 15 minute call, turned out to be over an hour when I checked as we hung up. He was easy to talk to and the time passed without me realising. He shared a lot about his day, and his business, and his goals, and his excitement surrounding it all. I liked hearing him so jazzed about everything that was happening. 

On the call he brought up that he was a little concerned by how different we were in some respects. When I’d informed him that I eat the same thing for breakfast and lunch every weekday, because I often make poor diet decisions when I give myself choices, I knew he couldn’t get his head around that. And when I told him, in response to his burgeoning business plans, that I had no interest in running a business or being my own boss, but I still had my own goals and motivations, I think he worried that his lifestyle wouldn’t suit me. I assured him it wasn’t a concern for me and I admired people who were developing their lives in that way. It just wasn’t for me personally. We were definitely different in some ways, but none of them really concerned me at that point.

He asked if I wanted to do something with him on Tuesday night and, knowing how busy his week was, it was nice to see he was making time for me. At that point all I really wanted to do was hang out with him and talk more. I felt like every time we’d spent time together up to that point, whether it was lying in bed in the morning or of a drunken evening, we had learnt a lot about each other and I was pretty fascinated by him.

Tuesday ended up not going to plan and he didn’t get finished with work until after 9pm so he ended up just bringing food round to mine – day five of seeing each other – and he stayed the night – day six of seeing each other.

After some very early morning / middle of the night sex, which might just be my favourite kind, I went to the gym while he slept. Later, he walked me towards work, which was on his way home – it was all very convenient – and he took my hand. In the stark daylight of a Wednesday morning I asked if he was comfortable with that, he replied with “if you’re going to wake me up at 4am like that, then I’m definitely ok holding hands”. I wasn’t complaining about any of it. 

A couple of blocks from my office a female voice from behind us, very brightly shouted “good morning!” I presumed, as I always do, that it couldn’t be someone that knew me so turned around expecting it to be a friend of his. It turned out to be one of my colleagues who was always interested in my latest and (sometimes not) greatest dating stories and she could not have been more delighted to see me walking hand in hand with a tall, hot brown guy. I did the dutiful introductions and just as we got to where he went left and we went straight, I presumed, similarly to the date on Friday night in Yaletown, that he wouldn’t kiss me. But no, he leaned in, kissed me, and wished me a good day. Needless to say the remainder of the walk to the office was me explaining the whole story to my colleague.

The crazy week continues. After saying goodbye on Wednesday morning, we went out to dinner on the Wednesday night to my favourite fried chicken place, and then he stayed til the Thursday morning – day seven of seeing each other. And then I saw him on Friday for a drink after work – day eight of seeing him.

Ok, woah.

Seeing someone every single day for eight days since our first date seemed crazy. I’d loved it… but it made me incredibly nervous. And honestly, I like myself, but I’m not sure even I’d choose to see myself for eight days straight, if I didn’t kind of have to, you know?

When he suggested the drink on Friday, a week since our first date, I at first said I couldn’t, I was going to meet a friend, which was true though I wasn’t going out until later.  I was reluctant – I desperately felt like we needed to pump the breaks, cool it before we blew it, calm the hell down. All of which I told him, but he asked me if I could squeeze in at least one drink before I met my friend, and honestly, I did want to see him, despite those nagging feelings, so I agreed.

Sitting out on a patio in the middle of downtown, I mentioned again to O that I was concerned about the flip side of us seeing each other so much was that he would change his mind and he would go in the other direction. I had no concern that it would be me. I knew I liked him, I knew I wanted to continue getting to know him. I knew my only concern came from my fear of getting comfortable with having him in my life and then having to learn to live without him.

He told me to get out of my head. He told me there was nothing to worry about. And he assured me my fears weren’t going to come about. He said “I don’t know what’s going on, I never want to text someone as much as I do with you, I’ve been thinking about you so much during the days, and I don’t know the last time I spent this amount of time with someone. And none of it feels weird with you. So I don’t know what’s happening but we’ll figure it out.”

I desperately wanted to not get in my own way of whatever this was or whatever it might become. I didn’t want my over-thinking to ruin something so fun. But going from zero to 100 so quick, I was struggling to see how this wasn’t going to end badly. I didn’t trust that it could continue – I mean, it couldn’t, no one could or should sustain seeing each other every day of the week. I didn’t trust that he wouldn’t get bored. I didn’t believe in fairytales.

Later that night, after our drink and after I’d long finished my catchup with my friend, he ended up coming to mine, it was actually more like early Saturday morning around 3am, when he finished work – day nine of us seeing each other. He’d suggested coming over when I’d seen him earlier and I’d said for him to call when he was finished and see if I was awake, though I kind of thought it would be earlier. As proven by the fact I didn’t put my phone on silent, god forbid I missed his call.

When he did call, unsurprisingly I wanted to see him, and the thought of falling asleep with him in my bed had quickly become much more appealing than the thought of falling asleep by myself. I don’t know how I got so comfortable, so quickly, sharing a bed with a 6’5 guy.

Saturday morning, I made us breakfast before we both went about our days and then on the Sunday night I went over to his and he cooked dinner for us – day ten of us seeing each other. It was only week two of us having Sunday dinner together but I already knew I would totally be ok with it becoming a weekly thing. Lord help me, was I already forming traditions in my head? I didn’t stay at his that night because I really wanted to try and start implementing some distance. A safe distance. As tempting as it was to climb into bed with him.

We didn’t see each other on the Monday, the first day since our first date we hadn’t seen each other. A whole ten days later… So I finally managed to carve out some distance. That’s not to say we didn’t text each other all day.

The distance was quickly reduced to zero again when on the Tuesday we went to the outdoor cinema in Stanley Park to watch Toy Story – a movie I’d actually never fully watched. It was something I had longed to do for a date since I first experienced the outdoor movies in the park in my first Summer in Vancouver. It’s such a perfect date night – laying in the park with the movie starting as the sun sets past the beach. It was especially perfect with O, he lent me his sweater that entirely drowned me and he made a great 6’5 pillow.

In a bid to try and keep things normal and not put all of my eggs in one O-shaped basket, I went on a date with someone else on the Wednesday night. The long and short of that date story is, it was terrible. And as soon as I was done, I texted O.

On Thursday he came and stayed again, once he was done with work and I was home from a night out with friends. On the Friday we worked from my bed until lunchtime. We both had the luxury of working from home when we wanted and it was perfect to be able to take advantage of it together. He went to get us coffee as I took an 8am call. Then I made us breakfast as he made a 10am call. It was very, very comfortable.

When he left at lunchtime, we weren’t sure when we’d see each other over the weekend but we said we’d figure it out. He was playing in a basketball tournament all weekend and I had a day at the races with friends on Saturday but we thought either Saturday night depending what time the first day of the tournament finished, or Sunday once he was done with it. I had no problem with the lack of concrete plans. I hadn’t intended to have most of the plans we’d ended up with over the past two weeks but somehow they’d always been figured out. 

I texted O in the morning to wish him luck but my Saturday was a whirlwind getting ready for the races and then an afternoon of drinking so when we finally sat down for dinner back in Yaletown around 7pm I realised it was strange I hadn’t heard from him. At all. Granted, he’d been playing basketball all day. Although not ALL day because tournaments don’t work like that. But I tried to calm the concern that came creeping in and instead reason with myself that this was just normal communication levels that I should expect.

He did reply later that evening, saying it had been a good day, his phone had been in his bag and he was staying out where the tournament was that night but would see me tomorrow. It was a short message and he didn’t ask about my day. Strange… But it was a message, so again, I tried to quiet my nagging mind.

I had assumed that as I didn’t see him on Saturday, we’d likely end up having dinner on the Sunday night, by the time he got back from the tournament, and given our two weeks young tradition… but what is it they say about assuming? Yeah, I’m an ass. I messaged him around lunchtime to ask what time he thought he’d be back. I was trying to plan my afternoon and you know how much I love knowing what I’m doing. He didn’t reply. I guessed his phone was in his bag again.

I went to the park to try and preoccupy myself and enjoy some sunbathing on the beautiful, sunny Sunday afternoon. But, as I found out, sunbathing solo doesn’t actually preoccupy your mind. It just allows for a tonne of time to go over every possible scenario that may explain why he’d been so absent that weekend.

It wasn’t even that he’d been THAT absent. If it had been any other two week old “relationship” I wouldn’t have batted an eyelid. But this had been different. This was like floating along on a high of communication and plans and consistency, and then falling off a fucking cliff. Granted, it had only been a day and a half since I’d seen him but… something didn’t feel right. 

Why was it that I couldn’t just put it down to him playing basketball? Why couldn’t I just be chill about it? Why was I unable to just accept that it hadn’t even been 24 hours since I’d last heard from him, there was no reason to panic? Why was it that my gut was telling me something different?

Unfortunately, my gut had pretty much never been wrong before, gut feelings rarely are. But I so hoped that maybe, just possibly my gut was monumentally judging the situation wrongly this time.

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