And Then the Wheels Fell Off

How long is too long to wait for someone to tell you they don’t actually want to be with you?

I spent this winter hibernating in the arms of HP Guy who was good company, kind, and who appeared to enjoy spending time with me. That passion I was looking for somehow never seemed to be there though, despite him insisting he wanted to keep seeing me. Eventually I began to wonder, have I just been caught in another comfort and company thing? I questioned what was going on and received an eerily familiar reply.

“Yeah I completely understand where you're coming from. I'm sorry my mind's been on other things for too long and I haven't devoted enough time to you as I should; and that's not fair.
It's a bizarre one, because I really like you and really enjoy your company. But maybe my head space isn't right, right now, and I'm having trouble committing, which is the completely honest answer. I don’t know what’s wrong with me.
I would enjoy carry on hanging out - lots, but maybe we put the dating thing on hold for now. 
It's the classic not you it's me thing and I know that sounds terrible but yeah x”

It’s a pretty classic let down, apologetic, and self-critical, as if directly from the ‘“Nice Boy’s” Guide to Letting Girls Down’. Here’s the thing though, we were dating for almost 4 months in the end, and this guy must have known that it wasn’t going anywhere, but at some point decided to let it carry on.

On one level I understand, having someone to talk to so that you don’t have to be bored, hang out with so you don’t have to be alone, and in your bed so you are comforted is preferable, it's human. It seems like this is something a girl should be able to forgive but exactly how angry am I allowed to be after being used for that again? If I was working as a professional companion my experience with men suggests I would be cleaning up!

I think the thing that really annoys me is that these men get to go away thinking, “I was polite and tried not to be rude or hurtful, I did my best, gold star for me”, months after the damage was actually done. Perhaps what I’m asking for, a little introspection before they waste my time, is too much? I know that I have a voice in my head, my conscience if you will, that tells me when I am being selfish, when I’m letting someone misinterpret my intentions, to my advantage, and I'm not correcting them. I’m not saying I always act on this but in matters of the heart I absolutely would, no matter how lonely or bored it was going to leave me. Perhaps these men don’t have that voice though, or perhaps they are actually just selfish humans and don’t care whether they hurt someone or not, because they are used to apologising “like they mean it” and being happy to live with that?

I guess the lesson I’ve learnt from this is to be far quicker off the mark with recognising these things for what they are and to be more confident in ending things when I’m not getting what I need. I’m not immune to enjoying company and comfort, and I think my lack of self-confidence makes me give men 2nd, 3rd, and 4th chances, but it’s my own life I’m wasting!

Before we close that chapter though, I would like to recount my first ever Valentine's date. 

HP Guy had secretly arranged for us to go to an ice hockey game with some extra treats. This was an excellent first Valentine's choice, especially for a girl who is not afraid to admit that if there isn’t blood, it’s not a proper sport, and I’m not interested. It was also his birthday and I'd brought him some homemade fudge for a present. (What do you get a guy when you have only just started dating?!) 

What actually happened though was that we got stuck in traffic on the way and so we were pushing it for time. Then, 2 minutes from the stadium, a car in front of us stopped suddenly at some traffic lights leading onto a major roundabout, we swerved, mounted the kerb, blew a tire, and I ended up with my face far too close to a lamppost. It turned out that HP Guy did not have coverage with a recovery service so, whilst I shivered on the side of the dual carriageway and tried not to cry, he negotiated with the RAC.

They were going to be an hour so, trying to salvage the night, he suggested we walk round the corner to the stadium and at least see part of the game. I however, was really not in the mood. I had been trying to remain chipper, reassure him that I was OK, and offer practical advice, whilst on the verge of tears and all the time being placated with guilty kisses and awkward touches by this man who had almost killed me. The thought of elbowing my way through a crowd of excited, yelling people to try and enjoy some sporting violence, before having to leave again before it ended, was not appealing to me.

We ended up waiting in a generic chain pub on the other side of the dual carriage way, sparsely populated by couples taking advantage of the bargain £15 Valentine’s Day package, and he bought me a glass of wine;
Bartender: Large or small?
Me: *raised eyebrow*
HP Guy: Large
I tried to keep up the light conversation and a chipper façade which I think he realised was rapidly disintegrating. Halfway through the much needed drink, the RAC arrived, more time was spent patiently waiting while the wheel was changed and then a decision needed to be made with regards to the rest of the night. 

I knew that if I asked him to drop me home I would end up alone, crying from the shock, so I suggested we went back to his. He agreed, to be honest I think I could have suggested most things and he would have gamely tried to please me, just to make up for the disastrous evening. It was late by now and we were both hungry so he asked if I’d like to get food? Takeaway? Now, McDonald’s is not somewhere I ever really want to get food from, but the hungry and sad little girl in me knew what was needed and meekly replied, "Can I have some Chicken Nuggets and a McFlurry?" He was more than happy to accommodate me, so we picked up our fast-fried comfort from the glaringly neon, but wood-clad, faux café and headed back to his where it was washed down with more wine.

I had work the next day and should probably have gone home but I think for both of us the thought of finishing this literal car crash of a night alone just seemed to make everything worse, so I stayed, and he dropped me home early the next morning.

So, that was my first and only Valentine’s date so far in my life. At least the bar isn't set too high for next year, I only have to avoid almost dying and it’ll be an improvement! 

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