It sucks when the feelings are not returned

Disclaimer: This is creative nonfiction– names have been changed for privacy.

Since my two year relationship with a married man abruptly ended in late 2008 and I finally got the nerve to start “dating” again, after healing from my breakup with Mark, I decided to get back in the game.  But it has been nothing but difficult.

I’ve had a guy stop talking to me (literally mid-sentence) when I told him I was unsure about having children; there were several men that had strange fetishes for black women; one in particular that proceeded to send me a gratuitous naked picture of him through e-mail.  I’ve had several guys who have texted and e-mailed and then mysteriously vanished after talking to me, never wanting to meet me.  I’ve had this one guy tell me that my dissertation topic had the wrong focus and then proceeded to tell me what I should focus on in MY dissertation, which was truly bizarre.  And then there was the guy who lived in another state, his name, oddly enough happened to be Mark.  Nevertheless, after many days of nice texts and phone calls, we meet and go on a couple of nice dates.  I felt no fireworks, but I’m one of those people that feel chemistry can be “developed”, but regardless, I thought I had gained a nice friend.  But after the texts stopped and I inquired about it, his response was that he felt “no connection” to me and the phone calls and texts stopped completely.

And then there was John.  He was like a breath of fresh air in a stuffy crowded room.  He saw my heart, he truly saw the real me.  He kept telling me that I had to be patient with him.  That he really wasn’t ready for dating.  So I was patient.  After all, he was one of a kind.  I enjoyed being with him, he was interesting, kind, and sensitive, and he had a big heart.  And most of all, he was interested in me, and in what I was interested in.  His first e-mail to me said I was “amazing”.  Really?  I had been called a lot of things, but amazing was not one of them.  And in the few times we were together, I could sit in a restaurant with him and not be paranoid that I was going to be “caught” or “found out” because I was with someone else’s guy.  It was a strange feeling because with John, I was completely nervous, but utterly relaxed.

He was intimate with me at a time that I didn’t feel anyone wanted me, he was amazing the night we were together; he touched me in places that I did not know I had.  John was so sweet and just overall wonderful with me.  I’ll remember the night we enjoyed each other forever.  And yes, I fell for him.  My day would brighten and I would feel better when I would get an encouraging e-mail from him.  He had told me after the night we were together that he did not want me to get attached to him because he had issues.  But it was too late, I was already gone.  And if I’m honest, I was gone months before our night together.

But then, he pulled away.  He did not want me in the way that I wanted him.  He had told me that he “resolved” not to get into any relationships in 2010, but what I later uncovered was that he was caught up in a web of the past as well as in addictions of substance and of the heart.  His fear of commitment and full disclosure and expression had either lost him love or let the opportunity of love fall away or pass him by.  And because of this, he could not open his heart to me.

But I felt no shame in loving him, I would have been happy just to share that light, to be in his presence, to breathe in that beautiful air.  I felt so comfortable with him because he was so encouraging, and he made it okay for me just to be me.  Because I had always felt that there was something wrong with being just me.  Yes, that’s what I was looking for and what I had found so special in John, this amazing ability he has to make me feel special, even when I felt like the whole world was against me and did not understand me.

So I write this because I’m tired of beating myself up about having had feelings for someone who will probably never return those feelings.  And to keep from crying and to keep myself from feeling the emptiness in my heart and the loneliness I feel right now…as well as to help me move on.  But with no judgment about how I felt or feel about him, because it’s not wrong or right, it just is.

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