One of my favorite places inNew Yorkis a sushi place in the Flatiron district. I used to live in that neck of the city when I interned and they sweetly never carded me when I was underage, making me a regular. Also because if you spend $20, you get unlimited wine – that’ll hook a gal anytime.
I continuously return to this joint, even though I’m well over age and can afford more than a Jackson for dinner because it holds such great memories for me, and each time I return, I make some more. Case in point, Friday evening with a group of my lovely ladies, catching up after weeks of not being able to sync our busy schedules. As we go through our lives, telling the best stories from the time we missed, we somehow stumble our way to talking about relationships.
Tends to be inevitable, I suppose. At the table, two of us are in relationships, the other three are single. And while we disagreed on some things, one trend we all found to be true was best summed up by my friend, K:
“I don’t care how intelligent she is; even the most-together of girls completely loses her mind when she’s in a relationship.”
I don’t think we lose all balanced thinking – but there is something about dating someone or being exclusive with a man that does something to our ability to rationalize. We place meaning and emotion into every word, movement is an indication of how our significant other feels. What’s more important than what he does is what he doesn’t do. Say he usually places his hand on the small of your back and then one afternoon, he doesn’t – suddenly, we’re concerned he isn’t into us or he’s pulling away or keeping something from us. When in reality, he is most likely preoccupied by things that have nothing to do with you.
Come to find out a man’s world does not, in fact, revolve around their girlfriend. And if it does, he probably shouldn’t be dating her and make a valiant effort to go find a life for himself. Similarly, does our every mood depend on the men we date or boyfriends? Let’s hope not. There are (and should be) many things in our life that matter that don’t involve our partners – we should have things that are independent of a dude.
Even though we feel this way, it is incredibly difficult not to assign meaning behind actions we see as signs of disinterest or growing away from us. I could outline all of the ways I’ve been guilty of reading into things far too much, but in an email my friend R (from yesterday’s post) sent me describes it perfectly:
A Sunday Monologue
Me: Working all day on Mother’s Day. Twelve hour shift that ended up lasting thirteen. Had already been planning on inviting myself over to his house to stay the night. In need of action and company.
Him: Working a twelve hour shift in the kitchen (yes, he’s a chef and I LOVE it). Good mood in the morning. By mid-dinner shift, he won’t look at me, won’t touch me, and won’t even smile at me.
Me: Feeling a little upset about it, then feeling even MORE upset that I AM upset about it because that means that I’m letting him get to me.
Him: Closes up early, impervious to a couple jokes I tried to make earlier to cheer him up. Puts on his jacket and starts to leave without saying good bye.
Me: “Hey, Mr. Sex Buddy.”
Him: Turns around. “Yeah.”
Me: “You headed out for the night?”
Him: “Yeah.” Gives me a hug.
Me: “You okay?”
Him: “It’s a long story. Just call me and I’ll tell you about it later.”
Me: “Okay. Good night.”
Him: Leaves without a second glance.
Me: Feeling mildly crushed that I won’t get to hang out with him that night. Then, feeling very angry at myself for feeling upset. Start telling myself that I’m being ridiculous and I need to suck it up and that silly, stupid stuff like THAT is why I don’t date. No dating. Dating, bad. Sadly…sex, very good, therefore I must put up with dating and gushy feelings. Blech.
Girl talk with friends. They tell me to call him and still ask to come over. I say no. They continue to encourage the calling. I start freaking out over what I’m supposed to say when I call him, because what if I invite myself over and he says no? How do I gracefully escape from that rejection. He was in a reallllly bad mood. He probably won’t want me coming over. But I want to go SO bad. Does that make me clingy? Do I call? What do I say? How do I phrase what I want to say?
My blood pressure continues to rise.
Finally make it out of work and I’m so nervous that my heart it literally racing and my hands are shaking. I continue to hate/chastise myself for acting this way and I keep telling myself to stop caring so much and just go home and forget the whole night, but it doesn’t work.
I call him. He answers. He still sounds upset. Says he going to ride his motorcycle for a while and he’ll call me in 20 minutes. I try to find an opening to see if he wants me to come over, but I can’t find one so I don’t ask. We hang up.
I start driving home and try to call you. You don’t answer so I call S. I hyperventilate on the phone to her, she tells me to calm down and that he’ll call and I’m not being clingy like I say and that I need to come have a margarita with her. I continue to screech about how much I hate dating and what it makes me. S tells me to shut up.
I turn around to go meet her. I’m still babbling about how stupid it is that I feel this way and that’s its too early and that I don’t want a relationship and “this is why I DON’T. LIKE. TO. DATE.” I call myself ridiculous and stupid and really, truly hate feeling the way I’m feeling because I know I feel that way because I’ve let him in. I feel that way because I like him, and I’m scared to.
I feel clingy for wanting to be with him, I feel stupid for letting my feelings be dependent on his feelings (I’m fine until he’s upset, then I end up upset). It’s reminiscent of how dependent I became on Mr. Coward and I need to stop and I hate, hate, hate this feeling.
I calm down slightly when I get to the restaurant to meet S. She gives me a hug. I immediately order a margarita. He calls. Exactly 20 minutes.
Me: “Feeling better?”
Him: “Definitely. I feel a lot better.”
Me: “Good, I’m glad. I’m sorry you were upset.”
Him: “Yeah, we’ll the managers did _______, and the other chef I was working with today was acting like ________, and he yelled at me for ________, and I just wanted to get out of there.”
Me: “Well, I’m glad you did. You want some company?”
Him: Stunned silence for a second. “Yeah! I would love some! Are you still at work?”
Me: *Clears throat* “Um, yeah.”
Him: “Great, I’ll see you soon then.”
I feel so relieved, too relieved to even be angry at myself for feeling so relieved that he called. I talk to S for a few minutes, finish my margarita, leave a four dollar tip on a six dollar tab and go to his place.