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A stirring account of how a woman is tired of being in relationship with the ‘wrong men’.
There is a pattern. It goes a little like this:
Boy meets me. Boy thinks that I am God’s gift to mankind. Boy makes tons of plans of things we will do together. It takes me a little time to shake off my usually pragmatic lenses of life, and I decide I am being too boring, and allow myself to go with it. As soon as I do, the boy loses interest abruptly and in some way indicates that I want or expect too much.
When I relate these stories to others, they are full of well intentioned advice which ultimately indicates to me that I am the problem. I tend to juggle many different things in my life – working full time with a fair amount of travel and unpredictability and in my spare time I do yoga and write, often at the expense of my personal life.
My travel plans continue to change till about 48 hours before the flight (and sometimes even later). Hence, when I am excited about the potential of a relationship I like to plan things, to make sure I actually can devote time to it.
Apparently, making the effort to spend time with someone sends a very different message: I’m too available, I have nothing to do but wait for them and and therefore they have the right to devalue me to the point where I’m simply a placeholder, something that is great when convenient. I am obviously crazy about them, and so they clearly can do what they want.
Let me let you in on a little secret. I’ve been in love, truly head over heels in love, once in my 37 years of existence. I have cared deeply for people I am dating, but if we talk about that sort of love that exists in the pit of your gut, in your bones, the kind where you truly love the person 360 degrees, good and bad, yep that’s happened once. And that too about 8 years ago.
Yet all these men, confident in their own ability to steal my heart, do not hesitate to think that it is my need of them that drives my desire to see them. I mean the last three and a half decades have been miserable without them, so obviously I’ve been waiting a long time, pardon me if I’m eager [insert eye-roll here].
This is not an anti-men rant, or to suggest that women always do right, rather it is an observation of a particular type of men that I seem to meet over and over again. I don’t have a name for this, but I do believe someone has coined the term “mosting” for this.
After the initial “fluff” stage, these guys typically do two things. Firstly, they begin to describe close female friends and colleagues as being super possessive of them, or perhaps in love with them. They often describe it in such detail that it gets uncomfortable.
It is a really weird thing to tell someone you are dating – why would I want to get into a cat fight with some woman I don’t know over some guy I don’t know if I’ll ever have true feelings for? Yet this has happened to me at least twice, and on multiple occasions with one person.
The fact is, I don’t know if these women are possessive because the man in question is as inconsistent with them as he is with me. Truth be told, I am not sure they are like this at all – I have never met them.
But I don’t want to be coerced into feeling jealous or feeling weird around another woman, just because it’s some man’s wet dream to have two women clawing each other’s eyes out over him because he fantasizes being the centre of some love triangle drama. I have better things to do and I’m sure, these women do too.
Secondly, they reach a point where they are clearly not into it but cannot be bothered to actually call the thing off. So, I, the person who has zero value, that is supposed to be feeling jealous of a complete stranger, have to find the time and energy to ask the questions.
I know what the answer will be of course: “I really can’t do this right now/it’s not the right time/it’s too fast.” It is as if they are doing me a favour. It makes me seethe because they are so damn predictable and if I were to write them into a novel, they would be flat characters- completely superficial and without depth.
You may wonder as to why do I take the initiative? At the end of the day, I do want to close the chapter and move on with my life, because being in limbo is absolute torture. I do want companionship at one point in my life – it need not come with a certificate or a Facebook status, but it should be real and have depth. If I let things linger on, I waste more of my own time waiting for them to dissolve.
I’m fed up. I’m sick and tired of the games and the complicated manoeuvres I need to make in order to have a normal relationship. When did saying what you feel and mean and taking responsibility for your own stuff fall out of vogue?
I don’t want to pretend like I don’t like someone so that they like me more – that’s something I did in High School (I might add, with very unsatisfactory results). I don’t want to be the problem anymore, and I don’t want to take the full blame. I’m happy to share it, but when people don’t own their own baggage, I have to bear the entire burden, and it’s dreadful.
Power dynamics are great for the ego but poor for relationships. Vulnerability is frightening because it leaves you exposed to be hurt and taken advantage of, but on the flip side, it is necessary for true connection.
I’m not sure how widespread these particular type of men are, or how they find me, but it’s usually when I’m feeling on top of the world and confident, that they flock to me like a bunch of needy sheep. They are always the same- confident on the outside and present themselves as very sweet, but, look underneath the surface and there’s a mess of emotions, insecurity and drama.
They are eager for something serious from the first days and weeks, but that quickly morphs into a fear of things moving too quickly (even though they are the ones that propelled it long way too fast to begin with).
Typically, when negativity starts to seep into other areas of my life, I’m good at handling it. However, I do hit a breaking point and when I turn around, no matter how much I’ve been there for the other person and heard them out about all their problems and fears, they are nowhere to be seen because there is just too much going on for them.
In addition, if I sense a strange dynamic, or they behave disrespectfully towards me and I try to address it, it’s never the right time to talk about one’s feelings. There’s just too much going on for them, and I’m being selfish, for wanting an answer.
The first time this happened I drove myself nuts with guilt because I truly believed I was the sole cause of why things went sour. But I realize in retrospect- it would have gone this way no matter what I did, even if I had kept silent. The only difference is that I wouldn’t have been happy, and I would have continued to be disrespected for many months, so long as I allowed it to go on. I don’t have that kind of time and energy.
This is not about love, this is so much shallower than love. This is about respect, basic respect for another human being who you have brought into your life. If you cannot adhere to rules of common decency because of some scramble in your brain, then you owe it to them to take the initiative and bow out, rather than wait around for the other person to do it.
So, I beseech you, if you are a woman and you are reading this, please don’t make your female friends feel responsible for someone else’s behaviour. If you are a man and you are reading this – please don’t do this.
It takes a lot of guts to tell someone that you are just not that into him/her, but by doing so you keep your self-respect. The last time that this happened to me, the only thought that popped into my head was “weasel.” I would have had a lot more respect for him if he had just taken the time to be straight with me and to actually say he wasn’t into me.
In all of these situations, please understand – I’m not placing full blame on another person. I’m not saying I’m perfect, but you’ve got to give me something to work with and I’ll try to be better myself. I am happy to step away from if someone is not into me or make adjustments to help someone feel comfortable and not pressured – but you have to speak up and let me know – I’m not a mind reader.
This is a two-way street, and I definitely appreciate that, but I cannot run the entire marathon alone.
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Mira Saraf was born in Canada, grew up in New Delhi, and went to a
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